Over the years we've made various minor alterations to Bluebird, most of which are shared here. We hope you find one or two good ideas you can use or adapt for your own boat.

Center Lines

In most cases Dawncraft, in fact many cruisers, have mooring cleats at the back on either side of the transom and a single mooring cleat on the foredeck. Although we have additional forward cleats it still means the crew having to step ashore holding both the forward and aft ropes.

While this usually isn’t a massive handicap, the crew took a bad tumble on a particularly slippery jetty one day. And while the accident may not have been prevented by having only one rope to handle, it may have helped.

We fitted an additional cleat on each side of the boat halfway along the side deck and attached a short line, which just reaches back to the cockpit. The crew reports that stepping ashore and bringing the boat to a stop is much easier with just the one line to muster.

We now keep the bowlines on the foredeck, looped around the pulpit rail, which means we don’t get the mouldy lines down the side decks back to the cockpit where the wet forward ropes have lain.

It also gives us extra mooring options. For example, when moored on the outside of a curved bank with the end sticking out on a slack line, we can get another mooring line in the middle to keep us tight in and fast against the movement caused by passing narrowboats. It’s also handy for a quick visit to the facilities when you only need the centre to hold the boat for a short stop.

When we leave the boat on a towpath mooring overnight we use the centre cleat to attach the chain and padlock. If you only secure one end, the boat can still swing out into the cut if someone were to cast it adrift.

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