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Lazylines, last on, first off as a rule.

When you’re using lazy lines a good mantra to learn is “Last on First Off”. Now this does not always make sense until you have some experience…. so let me explain.

When you come into a dock, you back up to the dock using your engines. Logically this is a really good time to have the lazy lines sunk down deep and not in the way of your props. Once you have got yourself tied on and have used your engines to put a “little” tension into the stern lines, you can safely put your engines in neutral and start pulling up the windward lazy line.

This will pull you forward and keep you off the dock without having to worry too much about your props turning. If you’re on a catamaran you can still use the leeward engine and then the lazy line as you pull it up is just keeping you straight.

Ok, so this obviously is “last on” but why first off when you depart?

Its temping to use lazy lines like you might your anchor chain when your’ve gone stern-too using your anchor. It can pull you nicely away from the dock and allow you to get your lines back onboard before you have to put your engine/s into forward. This is safe with an anchor, but with lazy lines the following is a very likely occurrence.

They pull you forward but across the dock tie point for the lines, therefore running it under your hull/s. Then when you let go the lines they take a while to sink and whilst you are waiting for this you have no control without using your engines. Lines sink reasonably fast but how deep do they need to go before they have cleared any foul point? can you see in Marina water? have they run under your hulls and over the top of your sail drive in the process?

Much better to let them go first, throw them a long way from the boat, wait a moment for them to sink and then use your engine/s to push away from the dock and keep you straight. If you have a catamaran even easier just do one side at a time.

Now if you are side on using lazy lines to keep you off the dock this situation gets even worse, because if you let them pull you off the dock, i.e. don’t let them go first, they will twist the boat and whilst under tension and holding themselves up can and do often, loop over the top of your prop or sail drive.

So lazy lines, “last on first off”, Sort of the reverse of stern-too with an anchor.

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