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      Hi folks, tip for those who dont use mid cleats………
      Getting into your pontoon berth in some wind conditions can sometimes be a challenge. If your in a marina with a lock, as we are, or visit one like Eastbourne, Chichester or Port Solent, here is a boat handling tip for those of you do not already know it.
      Make a dedicated mooring line a metre or so longer than the distance from the centre cleat on your boat to the back of your boat.
      As you come in to the pontoon or lock, secure the line to the centre cleat of your boat.
      As the centre of the boat passes the cleat on the end of the pontoon finger by a couple of metres (mark the line with tape to get the right point), or in a lock as soon as the centre cleat is near a suitable fixed point or cleat. Secure the line to the cleat on the end of the finger, or in the lock, one of the lock cleats.
      You will need to take a double bend around the cleat to lock it off securely.
      Drive the boat gently against the mooring line using the rudder to vector thrust to port or starboard to position the boat parallel to the pontoon or lock wall. With practice you will find you only need tick over or just over for you to put your boat exactly where you want it.
      Gently does it, you don’t need huge handfuls of power. You can now get your fore and aft lines in position before selecting neutral and having got your boat in exactly where you want it.
      Hope this of use.

      Best regards.

      Ant & Cid


      We use a the mid-ship cleat all the time, as there’s only 2 of us usually, and the deck it too high for SWMB?O to just from.

      We use a lassoo method rather than a fixed length though. You get a long warp (we use our spring). Thread the end through the centre of the cleat and tie it using a bowline so that the loop is around the aft post of the cleat. The make a big loop (lassoo) about 3 or 4 meters long to drop over the pontoon cleat. Then I run the line around the front post of the cleat and back to the kite winch on the relevent side.

      When coming in, you drive the boat up next to the cleat you want to catch, get your crew to drop the lassoo over the cleat, take up the slack on the winch, and then drive slowly forwards (or backwards, as this work in reverse too) to keep the boat alongside.

      You can then ease the warp to move the boat along to where you want it. Then it will sit there quite happily while you get the other lines on.


        Good tips Bob, we have tried the big bowline trick it works well. I some times struggle with the old varifocals looping over the cleat 🙂
        As you say once you get it right, one will use it all the time. Like sprinning off either fore or aft against wind or current its a trick once learned make a lot of sense short handed or when there are just two of you on the boat.

        Best regards

        Ant and Cid.


          Spot on – it works for Faith and I too.
          As you say….it is particularly handy if the is a bit of a breeze and you are being blown off.



            We do the same only the loop is held open by threading it through plastic tubing to form an open loop.


              That’s a good tip Mike!
              I have seen pontoons with a plastic pipe at the end of the finger with a loop on a plastic pole that is picked up to the mid cleat. Not sure what happens if you miss the loop but, in principal it works. We have found our new mooring ropes slip the cleat even with two bends. I am thinking Bobs bowline trick will be a better solution. Maybe there is a pole and bowline combo that would work with the line threaded through the pole? Scope for a few berthing trials and tests? make a good article?
              Best regards
              Ant and Cid

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