Piper Boat Owners' Club

A club open to anyone who owns a Piper-built boat


Ever since we had Jess and a friend who is an experienced yachtsman told us about the benefit of springs we’ve been using them, but for the past few years I have been under the mistaken belief that the fender eyes welded onto the gunwales were only strong enough for fenders. Not so! Whilst emailing Dot I suddenly remembered that for ages I've been meaning to ask her if it was permissible to attach a ‘spring’ to them, so was delighted when she replied “Yes the fender eyes are perfect for springs and you don't get the rubbing-on-the-handrail problem” which is great news for us!

Ever since we started mooring outside the cottage I've been splicing broken rope together. Somehow, it seems a waste to use good rope only for it to be broken again when another boat speeds past. A bit ago I made up a stern line with an eye at each end, and I use a bit of cut hose to stop it chaffing and wearing on the mooring ring; this so far hasn't broken. For the bow I have used both the central 'T' and the gunwale mounted cleat on Jess, again often with a bit of old hose or rubber mat round the ring, but this invariably is the rope that breaks, probably because it tends to work loose.

By chance Dot’s advice came just before a bank holiday weekend. Such weekends, and the following week, are noticeable for the increase in traffic, and an increase in speed too. I was impressed with the result; an instant improvement being demonstrated by my not having to keep tightening up the bow rope at all. Since then we’ve managed two months, including a school holiday week, without having to adjust the lines once. Thank you Dot!

Then this last year, whilst out on Jess, we found ourselves more than once wanting to tie up where there were no rings and no piling, so had no option other than to use mooring pins. We all know about getting pins in as far as possible, angled away from the boat, and to keep the mooring lines as low as possible, but in wet weather the ground is often so soft that pins invariably work loose. I found that simply using a centrally positioned third pin with a line running to the two fender eyes worked wonders. (I actually use a thinner line for this spring because it’s easier to thread through the eyes.) Yes, all three pins do work loose but we certainly don’t end up with a pin dragged out and the boat across the canal, and there was noticeably a lot less movement from passing boats.

Even when using piling hooks I find an additional hook helps. I’ve always been in the habit, where possible, of positioning the hooks next to the piling tie-rod bolts, which certainly helps prevent them getting jammed between the vertical piling and the horizontal rubbing strip by the morning.

To take a line back to a second hook at the opposing angle reduces boat movement and the effectiveness is born out by the hooks being free to remove in the morning. Any additional time spent tying in extra hooks is more than compensated for by the saving in time not having to use the lump hammer to remove wedged in hooks! Also, this can be an alternative arrangement when using mooring pins too, rather than taking lines to the fender eyes.

One thing you rapidly learn is that every mooring is different, one rope arrangement will suit one better than another and the more options you have the better. However you tie up your boat - I wish you a comfy night!

'Springs' by Michael Minifie.

From Pipeline Spring 2008.



Return to Pipeline Index