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Old 17 August 2019, 03:19   #1
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‘Dockline’ - to splice or not to splice...

...that is the question!

Looking to replace the lines on our 7.5 for general mooring (bow/ stern and springs).

Thinking 12mm dockline and like the look of the braided stuff, feels nice to work with. It seems to be available all over the place with a pre spliced loop on one end.

Question - what is really best/ what are people’s thoughts? Is it better without?

Originally I’d always thought a loop would be practical and safe for use on fitted cleats, however on a recent sailing trip the skipper was dead against that idea and insisted on a bowline straight through the cleat!?

Thoughts/ recommendations gratefully received!
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Old 17 August 2019, 03:45   #2
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Mine have a soft loop spliced in one end & free at the other. The spliced loop goes through the cleat on my A frame.
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Old 17 August 2019, 04:32   #3
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Why would you not have both?
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Old 17 August 2019, 04:43   #4
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I put an eye-splice in one end of my mooring lines and open the other.

Only benefit I can think of in tying a bowline through a cleat v. looping through an eye-splice is that technically putting an eye-splice in a line reduces its breaking strength. However mooring lines should be way strong enough.

Quicker to the pass line through eye-splice and not reliant on some bod not tying the bowline properly!

I think your wafi skipper is either rather anal or had had some bad experience.
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Old 17 August 2019, 06:52   #5
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Was he tieing the bow line through the cleat? Or using it the same way?

Pretty sure a bowline also reduces rope strength.

But! A bowline moves. So you move areas of friction.

If you are going to tie... Why not just cleat it?
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Old 17 August 2019, 14:08   #6
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I make up my own 3 strand lines from bulk rope and I usually have 1 end with a spliced eye and 1 end with a bowline eye so I can take it out if I need to.


The commercial workboats here mainly have specified moorings and made-to-length docklines which are spliced through the cleats bolted on the pontoons. Apart from reducing the chances of it coming adrift accidentally, it also reduces the chances of some little prick nicking them or flicking them off as a laugh...
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Old 17 August 2019, 14:19   #7
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[Pretty sure a bowline also reduces rope strength.] dont climbers use bowline.
if its spliced its semi fixed if knotted can be use quickly for other purposes if required
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Old 17 August 2019, 14:44   #8
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I have both spliced and crown knot back splice it all depends on what you want and the ease of use to ur Application go with what feels better with you.
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Old 17 August 2019, 15:21   #9
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[Pretty sure a bowline also reduces rope strength.] dont climbers use bowline.

They do, but every knot is weaker than the rope itself. A bowline is pretty strong but only about 65% of the rope itself. Theoretically I think a splice can be very close to 100%. Climbers don’t generally use splices because they aren’t as adaptable - very rarely is gear or rope failure the cause of a climbing accident.
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Old 18 August 2019, 06:01   #10
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They do, but every knot is weaker than the rope itself. A bowline is pretty strong but only about 65% of the rope itself. Theoretically I think a splice can be very close to 100%. Climbers don’t generally use splices because they aren’t as adaptable - very rarely is gear or rope failure the cause of a climbing accident.
yep your right 20-40% loss some knots 65%, splices can attain 100%, climbing ropes are dynamic stretching with shock load i use it on my boat we throw it away even if not used at work, i think every 5 years less if used heavily but its load rating is a lot more that needed, 5 times i think not sure if tieing use stronger rope P for plenty IMO
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Old 20 August 2019, 16:47   #11
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dont climbers use bowline.
Only the ones who climb in tweeds and boots with tricouni nails.

Rethreaded figure 8 is the modern standard. Easier to tie and to check on your partner.
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Old 21 August 2019, 02:52   #12
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Rethreaded figure 8 is the modern standard. Easier to tie and to check on your partner.


It is for tying to a harness, but I would still use a bowline for tying off anchors on static objects like big trees. I may be out of date* but have seen plenty of others doing likewise and never seen someone climb in tweed!

*almost certainly as my newest harness is probably due for retirement.
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Old 21 August 2019, 03:33   #13
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at 65 it was tweed in my day i'll leave dangling off a piece of string to spiders now days
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Old 21 August 2019, 05:06   #14
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Realistically, how many of you have snapped a dockline with a knot in it on something as light as a rib?

I know technically you reduce the strength, but you'll be damaging the boat way before that knot breaks unless you're silly enough to be using blue polyprop.
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Old 21 August 2019, 16:36   #15
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I'd be inclined to focus on size - for me min 14mm- line and qulity than whether to tie at both ends or splice one end. For my boat lines with eye splice round the Aframe + the painter workshort term. Springs, simple line tied / cleated at each end
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Old 21 August 2019, 16:42   #16
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It is for tying to a harness, but I would still use a bowline for tying off anchors on static objects like big trees.
Good point Pays to know a good few knots or have plenty of slings and crabs...

As for on the boat. All my lines except the painter have a spliced loop in one end. I do like splicing...
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