Spring line

michael charters
27th June 2010, 03:08
any one know what a "spring line" is? "Cast off forward, cast off aft, let go spring?"

Cisco
27th June 2010, 03:20
One of the three 'types' of mooring lines. Head lines and stern lines lead ahead and astern.....breast lines lead out on the beam -or abreast the ship - and hold her alongside.
Springs or backsprings lead aft ( if run from the focsle ) or ahead ( if run from aft). Combined with the head and stern lines they stop the ship from surging up and down the berth.
The name 'spring' may well come from the fact that they can be used to 'spring' the ship off the wharf when letting go. For example... let go everything but the frd spring... give her a tickle ahead with the engine... she will pivot on the spring... and the stern will 'spring' off the wharf.... hope this helps.

RNW
27th June 2010, 05:07
Hi Michael,

I have posted a photo of a spring line, although Cisco has described it perfectly.

Dickyboy
27th June 2010, 05:29
I've seen two or three springs part in my time. Good hefty steel ones. The order "Let go Fore & Aft, Hold the Back Spring'' then the ship sprung off using it. No order coming to ''Let go the Spring'' even when sparks begin to fly and the wire starts to hum and unravel. Time to stand very well clear, if possible behind something, and wait for the inevitable. They will often part on a fairlead or roller lead which means that where they part is inboard. There comes a point when it's just to dangerous to let it go, no one wants to be cut in two. All in a days work, but something to talk about later in the mess.

Keltic Star
27th June 2010, 08:14
Letting go the back spring when swinging off with it was probably the most dangerous un-docking maneuver ever undertaken. Wow how that chain stopper would kick as one hit it with whatever weapon was handy to release it.

An early, well learned, lesson in ship handling from Captain Les Bowler in Everard's was "to avoid prop or rudder damage, never risk exposing your private parts to the dock by using a back spring". Although not always possible coming off on the forward spring is such an easy and graceful operation in comparison.

michael charters
28th June 2010, 15:51
Thanks for the expert answers. sorry I posted thread in wrong category. hope it did not needle anyone. Thanks again

Dickyboy
28th June 2010, 22:28
Letting go the back spring when swinging off with it was probably the most dangerous un-docking maneuver ever undertaken. Wow how that chain stopper would kick as one hit it with whatever weapon was handy to release it.

An early, well learned, lesson in ship handling from Captain Les Bowler in Everard's was "to avoid prop or rudder damage, never risk exposing your private parts to the dock by using a back spring". Although not always possible coming off on the forward spring is such an easy and graceful operation in comparison.

We always used to take the weight off of the chain stopper once the turns were on the bitts, and the top two or three turns tied down with the chain stoppers rope tail. Nothing more dangerous that getting the spring, with the weight on it turning up around the stopper. Getting the spring off the bitts and onto a drum when letting go could be dodgy. Ease to the stopper, turns off the bitts, turns on the drum, stopper off and heave away. Fine unless the weight came back on the spring for some reason. Stopper turns against the lay of the wire if I recall correctly. A sharp flick of the stopper would usually take the weight off it, if things were straightforward.
Cor! It's all coming back :o

John Dryden
28th June 2010, 23:02
I remember when I was introduced to the art of letting go,the Indian sailors running about and shouting at each other when things went wrong and all the time the sound of wire tightening and straining.Scary at first but soon got a grip of it and using the stoppers instead of standing by the aft phone.

michael charters
28th June 2010, 23:29
I remember a fire on a Jute Quay in Antwerp. We were along side on 'Picardy", The fire was so intense it started cracking the glass on porthole. Flammable deck cargo. So we Cut all the lines with and axe. We floated down river, the winch post ripped the radar off another ship and our gangway was crushed to pulp. I think the spring snapped on that ocassion. the engine room was full of smoke, turning gear was still engaged. saved by tugs, About 1970

John Cassels
29th June 2010, 09:21
We always used to take the weight off of the chain stopper once the turns were on the bitts, and the top two or three turns tied down with the chain stoppers rope tail. Nothing more dangerous that getting the spring, with the weight on it turning up around the stopper. Getting the spring off the bitts and onto a drum when letting go could be dodgy. Ease to the stopper, turns off the bitts, turns on the drum, stopper off and heave away. Fine unless the weight came back on the spring for some reason. Stopper turns against the lay of the wire if I recall correctly. A sharp flick of the stopper would usually take the weight off it, if things were straightforward.
Cor! It's all coming back :o

Was a stopper not put on against the lay for rope and with the lay for wire ?.
or is it just my memory in neutral again ?.

joebuckham
29th June 2010, 11:01
Was a stopper not put on against the lay for rope and with the lay for wire ?.
or is it just my memory in neutral again ?.

this could divide the membership, as our fine old brains go into overdrive.

my recall, rope stopper was applied with the lay, and the wire (chain) stopper against the lay and if the bosun thought it necessary a cow hitch with parts a goodly distance from each other so no chance of jamming(Thumb)

JoK
29th June 2010, 18:13
Letting go the back spring when swinging off with it was probably the most dangerous un-docking maneuver ever undertaken. Wow how that chain stopper would kick as one hit it with whatever weapon was handy to release it.

An early, well learned, lesson in ship handling from Captain Les Bowler in Everard's was "to avoid prop or rudder damage, never risk exposing your private parts to the dock by using a back spring". Although not always possible coming off on the forward spring is such an easy and graceful operation in comparison.

I sailed on an old timer steamer, her shaft lines run out at an angle so that if you stood on the stern you could look down and see the propellers past the line of the hull. On two different occasions, with new COs, we climbed the dock face when the back spring was used. The steam engines would keep on chugging, the prop kept turning and clawing it's way up the wall until the ship would fall back into the water. Unsettling sensation, I swear the engine would lean in at you on the control platform.

Dickyboy
29th June 2010, 23:29
Was a stopper not put on against the lay for rope and with the lay for wire ?.
or is it just my memory in neutral again ?.

I think that Joe has got it right, that's the way I seem to remember it as well.
I think the mechanics of the stoppers was different for rope and wire. With rope it was the same as the lay because the length of the stopper would grip the rope by tucking (Gripping) into the lay as it tightened, and no damage would be caused with a rope stopper on a rope. Whereas with a wire stopper, it was more about getting to twist the stopper against the lay. Sort of two opposite forces cancelling each other out. If you see what I mean?
I remember the double hitches, fine unless when giving the stopper a flick to let it go, then the weight came back on the spring again, and the two hitches came together. A mad panic, and the hope that the weight would come off the stopper so that you could separate the hitches and undo them without losing a finger or two. Can't get the chain stopper off? Stand well back! One could always cut a rope stopper of course.
(Thumb)

michael charters
30th June 2010, 01:29
That's what I call seamenship. dealing with ropes, and making ready for sea going.
As lecky I would have been scuppered with out the help of bonus and his crew.

Wanstead
30th June 2010, 14:51
Rope Stopper: Against the lay
Wire Stopper: Cow hitch and with the lay

Burned Toast
30th June 2010, 15:05
Ask any of the girls in the mechanics South Shields:sweat:(Jester)

Klaatu83
30th June 2010, 18:47
I don't know if this holds true in the Royal Navy, but one of the differences between the Merchant Marine and the U.S. Navy is that merchant seamen use terms such as head line, stern line, breast line, forward spring line and after spring line. However, that's too straight forward for the Navy. They insist upon NUMBERING their mooring lines (let go number one, let go number four, etc. I once sailed with an ex-Navy captain who insisted upon doing it that way. In no time at all he succeeded in getting everybody hopelessly confused.

Naytikos
31st August 2010, 01:57
A useful trick when mooring a small craft to a wharf in a rough sea is to bring the yacht/motor cruiser/whatever parallel to the dock and put out springs from bow and stern to cleats opposite the other end of the boat. i.e. the bow spring would be secured to a point on the wharf in line with the stern, and vice-versa. The two springs obviously cross each other.
Breast lines from bow and stern are then made fast in the normal way.
The boat will ride the surge but cannot strike the wharf.
Of course getting ashore can be a bit of a problem!

Plane Sailing
31st August 2010, 09:46
This could be interesting! I remember that a chain stopper was against the lay of the wire whereas a rope stopper went with the lay of the rope.

Mind you it's been a few years since I last tied one!

E.Martin
22nd November 2010, 16:47
Was a stopper not put on against the lay for rope and with the lay for wire ?.
or is it just my memory in neutral again ?.

Cow Hitch.

david freeman
1st December 2010, 20:47
SToppers. Although a grease monkey, something tells me that on tankers when belaying a spring the stopper used by BP was a stopper block? Two halves hinged down one side, with wire profile on the inside: When the block was closed the stopper was wedged closed bya slip wedge and sledge hammer. The whole block on a short chain was secured to the deck locating lug by the bits concernd.The 'spring' tension was taken up by the capstan/winch, and then the tension eased on to the stopper: Which now carried the full tension- while the tail end of the spring was unwound from the bits concerned. To release the taught 'spring' while in the block the slip wedge was given a severe clout and the block flew open releasing the stopper, allowing the spring mooring cable to snaked over the leads: a dangerous time to be around the mooring stations on decK. This was for springs and the remote buoyed mooring stations fore and aft at offshore loading and discharge terminals for oil tankers. I may have the arrangements mixed up but I am sure one of You deckies will correct me?

Pat Kennedy
1st December 2010, 21:52
Wanstead is right. post #15
I'm sure him and me learned our trade on the same ships.

jmcg
3rd December 2010, 20:43
More than a whiff of Alfred Holt & Co here I guess. Yes #15 and #22 are as I remember the stopper hitches.

Also, I can recall on a few "Bluies" the "spring" wire was what was known as a "combination". It was made up of an amalgm of very flexible wire and tarred rope yarns. Much more easy on the hands and with greater breaking strain than its equivalent total wire. On its own reel under the f'o'cle ladder and on the f'r'ard end of poop deck

Do you remember those Pat?

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

Pat Kennedy
3rd December 2010, 21:05
I do John, although they were introduced later on in my career with the Mighty China. Mostly they were horribly kinked, full of jags, and handling them was like wrestling with alligators.
I can still see the grooves worn in the bitts by the enormous forces generated when you surged the wire through them. Sparks and smoke, and grinding noise, the urge to drop it and run for cover was strong!

fisherman
3rd December 2010, 21:58
One of the most gratifying messages one could here as an AB, would be well done on the spring, when after berthing at some awkward port or in a bad water run, or may be the bridge ( skipper or pilot cocked up) there is yourself and aJOS who seem to be the ones who stop the foward momentum of a 16,000 ton ship by serging on the bits skillfully? luckilly, who knows, sparks rust & paint chippings flying all over and shouting at the lad to mind the coils feed me fee me, you eventually stop the bugger going ahead a good feeling on a 12 to 4 berthing. Fisherman ( it does snow in cornwall)

jmcg
3rd December 2010, 23:41
Fisherman

I could not agree more. First trip deck boy (Clytoneus) I was tasked fo'rard with another chap on the spring. It was alien and challenging and I wondered had I f***** up because all the others were on the F. head.

As you say it was scary and those on the spring were out on their own. All the bawling from the bridge "Hold the Spring" until it was "singing" and as Pat has said wearing the bitts and sparking/crackling.

Oh - nostalgia - would we do it all again? Yes!


BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

Boatman25
4th December 2010, 00:18
When the white stuff started coming out head for the hills

Michal-S
8th May 2013, 08:42
Back in 80s there was an working instruction, in all our national fleet, allowing only A/B seamen to handle spring lines that used to be steel wire then.
A considerable time later I joined some small vessel where Captain instructed crew to shift forward spring, on wharf, one bollard afterwards every time we finished mooring, irrespective on position applied already by linehandlers during berthing. The purpose was to have a nice long spring for unberthing but, sometimes, it meant having a spring fast well past amidships.

woodend
8th May 2013, 10:47
Learnt a great deal on the Cadet ship OBUASI when we did it all and we took a pride in our abilities. As tug Master you relied on the crew to get the wire up and down quickly and then a little later in life it was always a pleasure as Pilot to watch an experienced and well organised crew tie up and let go and you relied on it in heavy weather. There was nothing better than to hear 'all clear aft' and know the 'prop' and rudder were clear!

jmcg
8th May 2013, 11:29
Wanstead is right. post #15
I'm sure him and me learned our trade on the same ships.



Oh Wanstead- I guess he has morphed in to some other being. Was he not the ex AH, Watts Watts guy with the 2nd Mates ticket and then FOC Master (FG) with VLCCS?

I wonder if the wires in question are still called "Springs" or indeed in this day and age of bow thrusters etc they are still required.

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

Waighty
8th May 2013, 17:35
I'd be surprised if wire 'springs are used these days, surely everyone uses HPME poly rope - just as strong as wire for mooring purpose

jmcg
8th May 2013, 18:46
Thanks for the comment in reply Waighty. Polyprop had just made their entrance during my early years, we still had the Manila fibre ropes plus polyester (big, hard & awkward ropes).

In addition the "standard" wire ropes were 6x19 or 6X24. Most of these were deadly in use, severe lacerations (jags) were common. Fortunately, I never witnessed or experienced a "parting". I do however recall a situation in Lairds when a rigger or AB lost his leg when a wire parted on a launch or relaunch.

I would doubt if cost was a factor in the China but I often wonder why there was such a variation in the type and quality of mooring ropes. British Ropes are no more - all wires are now foreign made.

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

slick
8th May 2013, 19:14
All,
Handling springs, avoid wearing gloves, 'jags and snags', does anyone remember 'Iron Boy gloves' it was as though they were palmed with staples.
A pair of pliers to wriggle the jags and snags back to the wire.
The one gift of the wire was that just before parting 'stranding' gave us warning.
To broaden this out I consider a more dangerous operation was the topping and lowering of derricks with cleats on the side of the Masthouse/ Tabernacle a chain stopper every time.
Lowering, you were really relying on friction to overcome the apparent increase in weight of the derrick when lowering.
Four round turns and then crossovers maybe five.
Clarke Chapman steam winches you had to disengage the the runner system before starting the operation.
Did anyone ever convert a single whip runner into a gun tackle for that special lift, burlap around the head of the derrick and a couple of turns and shackled back.
I know that some people will be a little disdainful but it was seamanship tooth and claw.

Yours aye,

slick

PS I have my Safety Helmet to hand.

Orbitaman
8th May 2013, 19:19
"all wires are now foreign made."
A sweeping statement and totally wrong. Bridon operate two of the most technologically advanced rope and wire manufacturing facilities in the world in Birtley and Doncaster.

slick
8th May 2013, 20:07
all,
Further to #33 has anyone used 'Book Stoppers'?
Yours aye,

slick

Duncan112
8th May 2013, 20:50
I'd be surprised if wire 'springs are used these days, surely everyone uses HPME poly rope - just as strong as wire for mooring purpose

Took over a vessel from the Australians which used wire springs and poly mooring ropes - the new Flag State (HK when it was still a Crown Colony) asked us to change to all of one type - mixed media so to speak, was dissaproved of. We went to all polyprop which necessitated enlarging the drums.

jmcg
8th May 2013, 21:18
All,

Did anyone ever convert a single whip runner into a gun tackle for that special lift, burlap around the head of the derrick and a couple of turns and shackled back.
I know that some people will be a little disdainful but it was seamanship tooth and claw.

Yours aye,

slick

PS I have my Safety Helmet to hand.

This was common practice "down the coast " on Palm Line (ers) - at least on the two I was on. Quite often at Lagos and Appapa side too. Mechanical advantage X 2 not including reducion for friction.

This rig was used in by gone days to haul muzzle-loading guns back into the battery after being fired and reloaded. Hence the name Gun Tackle!

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

lakercapt
8th May 2013, 22:26
On "Lakers" we numbered the mooring wires.
#1 lead for'd (from the forward mooring position)
#2 lead aft (from the forward mooring position)
#3 lead for'd (from the after mooring position)
#4 lead aft (from the after mooring position)
the mooring positions were not as a regular vessel at the bow and stern but at the waist.
Worked well and if we were going to stay moored for a longer spell a bow line and stern line would be added.
All these wires were on self tensioning winches but with manual controls.

Leratty
9th May 2013, 16:12
Springs I enjoyed working with them, not too sure why? However was always on them & loved it. Especially when we sprang off somewhere, truly something to watch that wire (must have been the latent engineer in me) often used to get that wire singing like a full choir. What about when the chain stopper would go? I have posted before on a couple of occasions when they broke & also when tow lines broke, one a stern line in Antwerp at night, can still see & hear it now. Always thought those Antwerp tug masters were a little on the crazy side the way they took up a tow with no easing into it, just full on. Of course I was not a tug master so possibly method in their madness (to me)?
JCMG was it the Port Wimbledon (on charter from WW?) & another can't think of her name now also on charter to PL that had a very unusual hull, all knuckle plated, very odd-unattractive to look at? I often wondered why the designer or Co had such a design?
LakerCapt. what a superb system the self tensioning winches were when they came in? They did for me at the end of my sea time, two bulkers had them.

jmcg
9th May 2013, 17:00
Quote : JCMG was it the Port Wimbledon (on charter from WW?) & another can't think of her name now also on charter to PL that had a very unusual hull, all knuckle plated, very odd-unattractive to look at? I often wondered why the designer or Co had such a design?

The Wimbledon and Weybridge ('57/58 build) were similar vessels - much admired or disliked- depending on your mind's eye. When the Wimbledon was under charter to Port Line she took the Port prefix.

Both had "unusual" hulls particularly the stern. They looked much more attractive in the all black WW livery.

BW

J (Gleam)(Gleam)

Leratty
9th May 2013, 17:02
Joe, thanks for that. Yes now I remember I heard that, but did they sail like a dolphin leaping from swell crest to swell crest? I do recall I believe they were very low free-board. Ah Eddie had the right to follow his dream, pretty expensive one though was he a frustrated naval architect I wonder? Reckon there were not too many who admired them design-looks wise, though taste is in the eye of the beholder they say? What happened to them, were they sold off to another owner when Eddie got bored, or did they serve their sea going life out with WW's? It saddens me when we hear of Co's like WW, Houlder, Bolton, Dalgliesh, SASL, John I Jacobs, and many many more all gone now, such history etc.

jmcg
9th May 2013, 17:09
Sold on to other traders - Indian or Pakistani if I can recall.

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

jmcg
9th May 2013, 17:34
"all wires are now foreign made."
A sweeping statement and totally wrong. Bridon operate two of the most technologically advanced rope and wire manufacturing facilities in the world in Birtley and Doncaster.


Sorry about the sweeping statement- you are correct in so far as Bridon (Melrose) are concerned.


My recollection was based on a purchase I experienced some years ago- the wire/cable was munufactured in India and marketed by a UK company. The cost and delivery time by Bridon was unacceptable.

Hope this clarifies.

BW
J(Gleam)(Gleam)

Waighty
15th May 2013, 17:38
Thanks for the comment in reply Waighty. Polyprop had just made their entrance during my early years, we still had the Manila fibre ropes plus polyester (big, hard & awkward ropes).

In addition the "standard" wire ropes were 6x19 or 6X24. Most of these were deadly in use, severe lacerations (jags) were common. Fortunately, I never witnessed or experienced a "parting". I do however recall a situation in Lairds when a rigger or AB lost his leg when a wire parted on a launch or relaunch.

I would doubt if cost was a factor in the China but I often wonder why there was such a variation in the type and quality of mooring ropes. British Ropes are no more - all wires are now foreign made.

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

I remember the manila ropes very well - heavy, more so when wet. Also remember circa 1974/75 being told that the Bank Line vessel Olivebank had to wait off the berth at Melbourne because the linesmen wouldn't handle the heavy manila ropes. They had to wait until ployprop lines appeared on the quayside and were passed from shore to ship; must have cost Bank Line a few quid!

I wonder if the story was true?

Pat Kennedy
15th May 2013, 22:26
Thanks for the comment in reply Waighty. Polyprop had just made their entrance during my early years, we still had the Manila fibre ropes plus polyester (big, hard & awkward ropes).

In addition the "standard" wire ropes were 6x19 or 6X24. Most of these were deadly in use, severe lacerations (jags) were common. Fortunately, I never witnessed or experienced a "parting". I do however recall a situation in Lairds when a rigger or AB lost his leg when a wire parted on a launch or relaunch.

I would doubt if cost was a factor in the China but I often wonder why there was such a variation in the type and quality of mooring ropes. British Ropes are no more - all wires are now foreign made.

BW

J(Gleam)(Gleam)

John,
That was in 1984, when Lairds launched the oil rig, Sovereign Explorer. A wire rope carried away as the rig moved down the slipway and the backlash caught one of the sailor gang, Harry McCamley, who was an ex Blue Funnel AB, and flung him into the Mersey.
Amazingly, Harry survived although he lost both legs and one arm.
I saw him about a year later in a pub in Birkenhead, seemingly quite happy with life and coping very well with his disabilities.
Peter Trodden who is a regular poster here, sees Harry now and then.
Regards,
Pat(Thumb)

Finally01
28th June 2013, 17:30
On the bridge is always exciting for anyone. Deck on bridge is usually reserved for caption, from where he can easily see, precept, and can give orders for proper working of ship. The pressure of air is specially en-joyful, specially at the night time. Great time can spend at there.

Ken Wood
30th June 2013, 00:13
Saw a few wire springs part in my time, some very near misses but luckily I am still here. When I graduated to the bridge, and when I spent time piloting, I vowed never to put men at risk with the springs. With a bit of forward planning and much practice, it was possible to use the spring as designed and let it go with no risk to personnel. After a while it became very easy but one could never become complacent.

Leratty
30th June 2013, 09:23
Ken, there would be members with far more knowledge than I on the use of springs, although it was always my position. I enjoyed it too as you had to be quick as well as skilful with the old chain stoppers. My experience in the main was they were skilfully utilised with the exception of Antwerp with both springs & tug lines. It is there I experienced a No of broken springs & tug lines which in my limited experience could have been avoided. It seemed to me they the Belgian crews were mad as they just went full ahead with some scary sights. Someone of your ilk was required there as indeed they the springs were dangerous if inappropriately handled.