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Why don't GRP cruisers have centre lines ? ! ?


Justin Smith

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We usually holiday on canal boats but have hired about 5 GRP cruisers (on the Broads and the Ouse) plus another 4 or 5 day boats. What I cannot work out is why the latter two types do not have centre lines ! ? !

On a canal boat you just step off onto the tow path with the centre line in your hand and (to use the famous words of the guy giving us our instruction on our first canal hire) "you have control of the boat".

I can never work out how to moor up on a cruiser, how can "you have control of the boat" with only a front or rear line ?

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1 hour ago, Justin Smith said:

I can never work out how to moor up on a cruiser, how can "you have control of the boat" with only a front or rear line ?

 

Cruisers do generally have centre cleats so that if you wish you can step off with a centre line as you would with a NB.

 

If there is no centre cleat then you step off with both a bow and stern line and actually have much more control than you would with a centre line - a centre line allows the boat to pivot around the centre point whilst this is not a problem on the still water of the canals, on a river, or tidal waters if you are holding the centre line then the current/flow can get between the boat and the bank and will push the bow out, pivoting around the centre cleat, as the stern hits the bank the bow continues to be pushed outwards until it ends up at 90 degrees to the flow and you lose control - you cannot hold a boat against a current.

 

A centre line should NEVER be  used as a mooring line.

 

Moor your cruiser with the bow into the current and pull the stern in - add spring lines (2 & 3 in the picture) and nothing will move the boat.

Using this method we are quite safe where we have a difference between high water and low water of up to 10 feet without having to adjust the lines.

 

The best way to get to the bank is to have a person in the bow, approach the bank at about 45 degrees, once within a couple of feet of the bank the person in the bow lasso's the bollard or hooks thru the mooring ring, brings the line back to the forward cleat and loosely ties it off.

The helm then drives slowly forward against the bow line this brings the stern in and whilst the bow line is tight step off with the stern line (or lasso the bollard / ring) and bring it back and tie off onto the boat,

 

 

Yacht_Mooring_Lines.jpg

 

 

 

 

The boat we hired on the Caledonian canal did not have a centre cleat but just moor up as above.

 

 

 

 

Scotland2013 2 025.JPG

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Because most grp cruisers are short enough that one person can hold both a bow and stern line?

 

The centre line, attached to a ring on the roof, is a relatively recent concept. Working boat motors had the 'back end line' attached to a rail across the front of the engineroom bulkhead, but that is too far back to be easily used as a centre line. And as canals transitioned from working days to leisure use the back end line was not carried across to leisure boats. It only evolved more recently, presumably in response to the particular needs of leisure narrow boats, and that evolutionary pressure has not been there in other boating contexts.

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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

The centre line, attached to a ring on the roof, is a relatively recent concept. Working boat motors had the 'back end line' attached to a rail across the front of the engine room bulkhead, but that is too far back to be easily used as a centre line.

 

 

It's a far more useful position.  Step off the stern with the last of the way on and strap the boat to a parallel stop.

 

I suspect I may be teaching Grandma to suck eggs here though - it's unlikely to be news to you!

 

2 hours ago, David Mack said:

as canals transitioned from working days to leisure use the back end line was not carried across to leisure boats. It only evolved more recently, presumably in response to the particular needs of leisure narrow boats, and that evolutionary pressure has not been there in other boating contexts.

 

Or to phrase it a bit less kindly, grownups used to handling 30 tonne loads don't use centre lines ...

 

They are in the wrong place, they are dangerous on flowing water and they make it awkward to control a boat on still waters like the canals.  I'm not sure why they aren't banned under RCR regulations!

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Juno weighs about a ton and is 23 foot long, I can step off the back deck with the back and front line in hand, I can also easily control her by holding onto the hand rail. She doesn't really need a centre line.

 

Both the narrow boats I've owned have had centre lines but at 45 foot/10 tonnes and 62 foot/17 tonnes they were quite a bit bigger 

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There are a few locks near me (on a river) where (dependant on water levels) the weir rushes past the landing stage and holding the boat on its center line I not a pleasant experience, where as holding the bow and stern lines is fine.

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1 hour ago, Quattrodave said:

There are a few locks near me (on a river) where (dependant on water levels) the weir rushes past the landing stage and holding the boat on its center line I not a pleasant experience, where as holding the bow and stern lines is fine.

 

 

It can come as quite a shock when 'muddy ditch boaters' make their first foray onto flowing waters, it becomes a very different form of boating and boat handling.

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A centreline on a grp boat can be tied to the cabin handrails if you can get it roughly in the centre,otherwise a cleat can be bolted on in a suitable location.

It does make temporary mooring up a bit easier in calm conditions,when single handed,however when mooring against a windward bank when a bit breezy or on a river with some flow on it,you can find yourself in trouble when one end of the boat moves away from the bank and you don't have enough leverage from the centre to pull it back in.

Better in these conditions to place the bow and stern lines in a position you can get hold of easily before stepping off.

A good idea I have found,is to have the bow and stern lines different coloured rope so in windy conditions and perhaps rushing a bit,you can quickly see which is which.

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I wonder whether there is a simple, practical reason for this -- namely that the roof of a GRP cruiser isn't strong enough?

 

My boat is a steel cruiser so a foot in both camps. It has two centre-line rings on the coach roof which I find very useful, especially when single handed.

 

I sometimes use centre and rear which gives tremendous control, but it can be necessary to take a turn or two in strong-ish streams to prevent the boat from removing my arm from its sockets.

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2 minutes ago, Bacchus said:

I wonder whether there is a simple, practical reason for this -- namely that the roof of a GRP cruiser isn't strong enough?

 

My boat is a steel cruiser so a foot in both camps. It has two centre-line rings on the coach roof which I find very useful, especially when single handed.

 

I sometimes use centre and rear which gives tremendous control, but it can be necessary to take a turn or two in strong-ish streams to prevent the boat from removing my arm from its sockets.

 

Not convinced as the boat is correspondingly lighter, hence I can easily control Juno with the handrail

 

On my narrow boats I could have a centre line that could be reached from the back deck - this wouldn't work with the bow line as, on a 62 foot narrow boat the resulting line is very long and, other than reaching the back deck the length is unnecessary, a nuisance even. On Juno a fairly standard mooring line reaches from the front cleat to the back deck and can be grabbed as one is getting off.

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14 hours ago, David Mack said:

Because most grp cruisers are short enough that one person can hold both a bow and stern line?

 

The centre line, attached to a ring on the roof, is a relatively recent concept. Working boat motors had the 'back end line' attached to a rail across the front of the engineroom bulkhead, but that is too far back to be easily used as a centre line. And as canals transitioned from working days to leisure use the back end line was not carried across to leisure boats. It only evolved more recently, presumably in response to the particular needs of leisure narrow boats, and that evolutionary pressure has not been there in other boating contexts.

I'd second this. There is a lot of talk these days about centrelines on narrowboats, but they were rare before about 1990. And we didn't have any problems without them !

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11 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

They are in the wrong place, they are dangerous on flowing water and they make it awkward to control a boat on still waters like the canals.  I'm not sure why they aren't banned under RCR regulations!

I'm not sure RCR know much about boat lines, they specialise in repainted gearboxes.

 

On the rivers, I tend to extend the front line all the way back and lie it along the roof so it is available as I step off the rear with the stern line.

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2 minutes ago, matty40s said:

On the rivers, I tend to extend the front line all the way back and lie it along the roof so it is available as I step off the rear with the stern line.

I my case  the chief officer goes  to the bow where she has a rope ready .

 

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I have a centre line on mine.  It's a line running up from the bow cleat, up onto the roof and over the windscreen into the cockpit.  I have a fairlead screwed into each handrail and can step off, drop the rope into the fairlead on whichever side I want, and tie up on lock bollards, etc.  When tying up properly, the center line reverts to being the bow line.

no name.jpg

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On 15/11/2021 at 22:52, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

 

The boat we hired on the Caledonian canal did not have a centre cleat but just moor up as above.

 

 

 

 

Scotland2013 2 025.JPG

Of all the cruisers we hired over the years there was only one had a centre cleat and that was Crapi in Brittany.

 

Capture.JPG.1a74e9a543931bbf1f9f7156473333bd.JPG

 

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8 hours ago, Tom Morgan said:

I have a centre line on mine.  It's a line running up from the bow cleat, up onto the roof and over the windscreen into the cockpit.  I have a fairlead screwed into each handrail and can step off, drop the rope into the fairlead on whichever side I want, and tie up on lock bollards, etc.  When tying up properly, the center line reverts to being the bow line.

no name.jpg

 

 

That looks fine for still waters, but I'd suggest if you go onto rivers with a bit of flow that you do not do it that way, even for a 'temporary' waiting for the lock mooring.

 

Once a bit of water gets between the boat and the bank there is no way to hold it.

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6 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

That looks fine for still waters, but I'd suggest if you go onto rivers with a bit of flow that you do not do it that way, even for a 'temporary' waiting for the lock mooring.

 

Once a bit of water gets between the boat and the bank there is no way to hold it.

We once followed a narrowboater up the Trent. Every lock they tied it up below the lock with the centreline and every lock they looked on in disbelief as the boat tilted to an alarming angle as the lock was emptied. Then they proceeded to try and rein the boat back in. against the flow of the water. :rolleyes:

 

Not sure how far they got before they tried a different method.  

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3 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

We once followed a narrowboater up the Trent. Every lock they tied it up below the lock with the centreline and every lock they looked on in disbelief as the boat tilted to an alarming angle as the lock was emptied. Then they proceeded to try and rein the boat back in. against the flow of the water. :rolleyes:

 

Not sure how far they got before they tried a different method.  

 

 

Did you try talking to them and explaining .................  ?

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6 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Did you try talking to them and explaining .................  ?

No. We were mid river waiting for the lock to drain down and head in. 

 

We let them in the front of the locks, where they again used the centre rope on the sliders and we stayed well away at the back of the locks.

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12 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

We let them in the front of the locks, where they again used the centre rope on the sliders and we stayed well away at the back of the locks.

 

That's just cruel.

The worst place to be when going upstream - and just using a centre line is madness, I was going to say "I'm surprised the lockie didn't tell them", but thinking about it the Lockies are just part timers / vollies and are not really 'worldy-wise' on boat handling - they know how to press the buttons and log your number on their tablet.

The days when the Trent lockies were boaters or ex-boaters and understood things are long gone.

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On 16/11/2021 at 01:24, TheBiscuits said:

They [center lines] are in the wrong place, they are dangerous on flowing water and they make it awkward to control a boat on still waters like the canals.  I'm not sure why they aren't banned under RCR regulations!

I have never found that. I find they work brilliantly !

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5 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

That's just cruel.

The worst place to be when going upstream - and just using a centre line is madness, I was going to say "I'm surprised the lockie didn't tell them", but thinking about it the Lockies are just part timers / vollies and are not really 'worldy-wise' on boat handling - they know how to press the buttons and log your number on their tablet.

The days when the Trent lockies were boaters or ex-boaters and understood things are long gone.

We didn't want to get caught in the cross fire or their bickering :lol:

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