Cruising

Cleat Surrogate

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If you need to tie up to a short pontoon, you’ll have to rethink your usual arrangement of dock lines. You’ll have to lead the stern line forward—which is far from ideal—and take a short spring line from a midships cleat to the same dock cleat as the stern line (as shown above). Use two bow lines, if possible, to keep yawing to a minimum. If your boat doesn’t have a midships cleat, resist the temptation to tie the spring to a stanchion or shroud except as a very temporary measure (and never let a boatbuilder see you tie a dock line to a stanchion). If you can, fasten a block or shackle to the toerail and make the springline fast to that. John Bennet

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