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Owl

Rope length for extra long centre line

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Hi everyone :) I am thinking to get an extra long centre line so when I am single handed locking I can wrap it around a bollard and be able to take it with me to the paddles. I was wondering what a good length would be as I'm not sure how much lock layout and depth varies? The boat is 27 feet if that makes a difference. 

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12 minutes ago, Owl said:

Hi everyone :) I am thinking to get an extra long centre line so when I am single handed locking I can wrap it around a bollard and be able to take it with me to the paddles. I was wondering what a good length would be as I'm not sure how much lock layout and depth varies? The boat is 27 feet if that makes a difference. 

Next time you are in a lock, why not just pace out the distance you need to cover and that is the length of rope yope you need. It's not really a question anyone else can, or should, answer, surely. 

 

Howard

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16 minutes ago, Owl said:

Hi everyone :) I am thinking to get an extra long centre line so when I am single handed locking I can wrap it around a bollard and be able to take it with me to the paddles. I was wondering what a good length would be as I'm not sure how much lock layout and depth varies? The boat is 27 feet if that makes a difference. 

Not too long to go round your prop I suggest.

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That should be handy when it slips over the  side &winds itself around shaft &prop which by sods law it will at some time in the boats lifeIf your boat is 27 t long a rope of 14ft or longer will do the job nicely the prop wrapping that is + 14 ft wont help alot with your problem I would stem the cill gently (uphill) in forward gear (tickover )& open the paddle/s enough for a smooth ride Down hill it will sit still in the lock & you can take the bow line ashore

Edited by X Alan W
  • Greenie 1

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I have a small 25ft boat and a 50ft boat and I use the same method for both boats with using two ropes, stern and bow when in a lock as I find it almost impossible to keep it under control with only one center rope, however i’m on wide canals with big locks or very wide canals with very big locks, and very deep drops, so that might make the difference.    When I use the ropes I just do a few turns around a bollard to stop it going back and forward, but not enough turns so it completely locks the rope so the rope can still slip with the weight of the boat, I then don’t have to bother with the ropes for the majority of the lock operation.    Having a rope long enough is like saying how long is a piece of string, I probably would find a rope too long to easily handle if it was to take back to the paddles.   I find a 10m rope about right for the deep locks, but unnessasary long for the small locks.

Edited by Robbo

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1 hour ago, mrsmelly said:

Not too long to go round your prop I suggest.

One of my centre lines is of this length, that is the one I use on the Thames and Trent/ other deep locks, you cant do those locks in a 70 footer by yourself without a line that si shorter than prop chewing length, you just have to be careful.

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Thanks for your ideas and thoughts :) I guess I'm just scared as a new boater of being on my own in a lock and opening the paddles only for the ropes not to be long enough and fall down into the lock and the boat to move away from the sides meaning I can't get back to the boat and worst case scenario it rushing towards the cill and sinking. Probably being paranoid! but I've found what seems obvious when you've been doing stuff for a while isn't necessarily when you're really new to stuff and on your own so I thought it would be good to have a long rope to hold onto for peace of mind. I've not been through locks on my own and the ones I'll be going through seem quite wide and deep. Just thought some more experienced single handed boaters with shorter boats might have some advice, not really looking for the most efficient way to do things just the safest and most fool proof.  

  • Greenie 1

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6 minutes ago, matty40s said:

One of my centre lines is of this length, that is the one I use on the Thames and Trent/ other deep locks, you cant do those locks in a 70 footer by yourself without a line that si shorter than prop chewing length, you just have to be careful.

You need crew young man, crew!!

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19 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

You need crew young man, crew!!

I have a splendidly able crew sometimes, most of the time now, however, when moving other folks boats not always, and I find Trent locks far easier staying on the boat with a long rope than faffing around with 2 or on the bank. 

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for normal cruising we have 2 centre lines (one each side to save having to flick over mushroom vents etc) these are long enough to reach the back of the cabin roof so you can step off with a rope in hand (but short enough that they can never reach the prop)

for thames locks we have a much longer rope (probably 2 x boat length) that can be put on but in practice we have needed it maybe 4 times in the last 3 years

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I have had to add extra length to my ropes for going down on the Weaver locks, Don't really need a rope at all but its the rules

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1 hour ago, Owl said:

Hi everyone :) I am thinking to get an extra long centre line so when I am single handed locking I can wrap it around a bollard and be able to take it with me to the paddles. I was wondering what a good length would be as I'm not sure how much lock layout and depth varies? The boat is 27 feet if that makes a difference. 

If your centre rope is long enough to tie up in deep locks, it will be long enough to reach your prop. Coil it up and put it on your roof behind the handrail when not in use.

The centre rope on it's own will be ok for narrow locks,around a bollard if they are in a suitable place [they frequently are not] or a couple of turns around the lock ladder.

Broad locks will require the boat to be secured fore and aft to prevent it walloping the opposite lock wall.

In both locks my technique is to open the paddles about three turns of the windlass,stroll back to the ropes to adjust for the rise or fall,and when the water is above the cill [uphill] or below [downhill] then usually you can open the paddles fully,but keep an eye on proceedings in case you need to adjust the ropes further.

After a few locks solo,you will develop your own locking technique.

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2 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

Not too long to go round your prop I suggest.

 

It's gonna be a REALLY SHORT rope then!!

 

 

1 hour ago, Jess-- said:

for normal cruising we have 2 centre lines (one each side to save having to flick over mushroom vents etc) these are long enough to reach the back of the cabin roof so you can step off with a rope in hand (but short enough that they can never reach the prop)

for thames locks we have a much longer rope (probably 2 x boat length) that can be put on but in practice we have needed it maybe 4 times in the last 3 years

 

Thames locks used to be the one type of place a centre line isn't a great deal of use given the requirement to always use bow and stern lines. I get by just fine with my centre line in them though whenever there is no lockie on duty, which seems to be most of the time these days. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

It's gonna be a REALLY SHORT rope then!!

 

 

Yeah I hadnt clocked that bit lol. I thought narrowboats were 70 feet long and my shortass 68 footer was the tiny exception.

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1 hour ago, eightacre said:

We use synthetic hemp lines from Tradline, http://www.tradline.co.uk/

Their centre lines are 12m (we use two), and we have found them sufficient for every lock we have visited.

 

Curious now. What's the difference between a centre line and any other line? (Possibly only the length?!!)

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At Gairlochy Locks, the lock keepers lower a rope down which is secured at the lockside to you as the lock is too deep to throw one up. 

Never came across this before. 

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This is how I control the narrow boat going up in wide locks.  Not easy to see but I've fitted an extra cleat to the front slide, arranged side to side.  In practice the centre line is taken forward and hooked around the cleat (easily done from the lock side).  

The boat is now easy to control and if needed the rope is easily flicked back off, eliminates any side to side wallowing.

 Easy mod and one of the most useful I've done.  Not the best pic but it's the white painted cleat on the front slide.

 

 

 

IMG_0113.JPG

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To the OP, by the variety of responses, all giving advice which, by and large, is not relevant to you and your boat, you may now realise the reasoning behind my initial response saying in effect that only you can decide on your own requirements. Buy some rope and experiment to find what suits you best.

 

Howard

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3 minutes ago, NB Esk said:

This is how I control the narrow boat going up in wide locks.  Not easy to see but I've fitted an extra cleat to the front slide, arranged side to side.  In practice the centre line is taken forward and hooked around the cleat (easily done from the lock side).  

The boat is now easy to control and if needed the rope is easily flicked back off, eliminates any side to side wallowing.

 Easy mod and one of the most useful I've done.  Not the best pic but it's the white painted cleat on the front slide.

 

 

 

IMG_0113.JPG

 

Errrrr..... what white painted cleat???

 

I can't see one, and am most intrigued by what you say.

 

  • Happy 1

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5 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Errrrr..... what white painted cleat???

 

I can't see one, and am most intrigued by what you say.

 

It's on the rear end of the slide.

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4 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Errrrr..... what white painted cleat???

 

I can't see one, and am most intrigued by what you say.

 

its either the white plastic chair on the opposite bank or the 5 gallon white plastic bottle which the yellow centre line drops over , looks just like a hose to me.

  • Haha 1

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