Back Cove Blog

Mooring and Docking


Among the best perks of my position as Engineering Manager at Back Cove is performing sea trials to validate a new model or engineering change. Launching a boat that is fresh off the production floor is always exciting, though there have been moments of nervousness as I departed the dock knowing one of our infamous New England Nor’easters was brewing. But then again, what better time for a sea trial?

Nevertheless, after a rough-weather trial, it is always a relief once the boat returns to harbor and is securely tied. I take comfort that any Back Cove or Sabre will be safe and sound at the dock during a storm, primarily because of how the strong points are designed.

Technical Details

All of our models meet ABYC guidelines so, if we use the Back Cove 41 as an example, all mooring cleats and the structure to which they are attached must withstand a working load of almost 10,000 pounds. Maybe this seems like a lot to ask from a single metal part, but a fully-loaded Back Cove 41 weighs about 30,000 lbs, and the 5/16” diameter mounting posts on our stainless steel cleats can withstand a 35,000-pound pull-force before failure.

Since it is unlikely the cleat itself will fail, detailed attention is given to the strong points to which the cleat is mounted.

Cleat Mounting

All Back Coves and Sabres have cleats mounted into solid fiberglass. The mounting studs pass through ½” of solid fiberglass and a ½” backing plate. We finish the connection with stainless washers and nylon lock nuts. When force is applied to the cleat, it is distributed from the threads to the nut, then to the washer, the backing plate, and finally to the fiberglass deck. It would be a terrifying force that could rip these cleats off the deck, and I hope never to witness a storm generating those conditions.

Dock Lines

Dock lines and fenders are the final elements necessary to make any boat genuinely secure at the dock, no matter the conditions. For many boaters; a proper spring line can be masterfully used to maneuver a vessel under challenging conditions. Because all Back Cove yachts have a bow thruster, and many have the optional stern thruster, using spring lines to move into or off of the dock is typically not necessary. However, midship forward and aft spring lines to secure a vessel for long-term docking are advantageous.Dock Line Diagram

Once spring lines are in place, a boat can easily be moved forward/aft to make the best use of dock space. Finally, adding bow and stern lines keeps the vessel tight to the dock. I prefer to use the outside transom cleat to maximize access to the swim platform and transom door as illustrated in the drawing above.

Cleats can accept two spliced loops of 5/8" braided dock lineWe have significant tidal changes in Maine, so short spring lines perpendicular to the dock are usually avoided, as they do not allow an adequate vertical range of movement. The 10” deck cleats mounted to the toe-rail on all Back Coves are good for 5/8” braided dock lines and can accept two spliced loops each.  

When tying up to a mooring, I recommend a 5/8” rope bridle to split the loads between the starboard and port forward cleats. The length of the bridle and painter should be 2.5x the height of the strong point above the waterline.

Fenders

Last but not least, I recommend three fenders on the docked side of the vessel, as illustrated below. The first located aft on the pop-up cleat (on 2016 and newer Back Coves), one amidships at the beamiest part of the hull and one somewhere in between on the rail or stanchion. I like to make my fender whips out of ½” dock line, so they are long enough to tie up to the highest part of the bow rail. Using the bow rails to tie off the fenders also keeps the cleats free for dock lines. Felt fender covers, of course, add to the presentation of the boat and cover up smudges on the unprotected rubber fender.fender diagram

Now that we know everything is secure boat-side, how reliable do the dock-side cleats look at your favorite tie-up spot?

– Keith Warren, Engineering Manager, Back Cove Yachts

Bookmark and Share

Yacht or Boat?: What’s the difference?


Yacht, Ship, or Boat – which is it?

Back Cove 37 Downeast - Luxury Motor Yacht

The English language is full of this kind of intriguing conundrum. Definitions of words like yacht, boat, or ship aren’t always sufficiently indicative of which is appropriate and when. The result is that most of us develop and use our own (unspoken) rules within our boating communities or, when the rules don’t apply, we just wing it!

If ‘winging it’ isn’t your style, or you’re new to the boating community, we have some guidelines to help you along the way to nautical fluency.

YACHT

Back Cove 41 - single engine downeast motor yachtI don’t think anybody would argue that ‘yacht’ connotates something fancier than a boat or a ship. Interestingly enough,  outside of the United States, ‘yacht’ generally refers to a sailboat unless specifically called a motor yacht. Unhelpfully, those of us in the US still have to contend with the power/sail question, and ‘boat’ is still used interchangeably. Back Cove and our sister company Sabre refer to our products as ‘yachts,’ (if that wasn’t already obvious). We craft personal luxury vessels designed for recreation, relaxation, and comfort, so yacht certainly seems the most appropriate.

SHIP

Cargo or Container ShipMost associate ‘ship’ with something larger than a boat, and less recreational than a yacht. In short, a “working” vessel. One person pointed out to me that a ship generally needs a full crew, while a yacht sometimes doesn’t, and a boat almost never does. For example, a 200-foot cargo ship (or mega-yacht) almost certainly requires a crew, but an experienced team of two can safely and masterfully handle any Back Cove or Sabre yacht. Meanwhile, if we consider the rowboat, a single person could well manage on their own – with a little practice.

BOAT

A rowboat is a great example of the definition of "boat"Defining ‘boat’ seems to be stickier than ‘yacht’ or ‘ship.’ We hear many captains referring to their ‘boat,’ irrespective of size, function, or fit-and-finish. Short of being deliberately confusing, it seems as though the word boat has become a colloquialism, pet phrase, or slang term for any floating object more complicated than a raft. So, setting slang aside, the rest shakes out pretty cleanly. A boat can be used for recreation or pleasure but is generally smaller than either a ship or a yacht, and with fewer amenities. Boats tend to be powered either by small engines, or elbow-grease (again, think rowboat).

When in Rome…

As we mentioned above, everybody has their own ‘rules.’ Moreover, the plasticity of language means that any guidelines have a substantial amount of grey area. So always be aware of those familiar with the vessel in question. If you are invited out on ‘the boat,’ it’s safe to say that is an acceptable term. If a captain or owner refers to their vessel as a ‘yacht,’ then use yacht. When in Rome, do as the Romans do!

There is one bit of unequivocally good news in all this confusion – when it’s yours, you can call it whatever you like!

Back Cove 32 - A Downeast Motor Yacht

PS – Do you find any other nautical terms confusing or unclear? Let us know in the comments!

Bookmark and Share

Downeast Beginnings: 800 Back Cove Yachts


Back Cove Production Team and Associates gather with the 800th Back Cove yacht.In the autumn of 2017 Back Cove launched our 800th yacht. It’s an impressive milestone that becomes even more significant when you consider all that it implies: 800 Downeast-style yachts, crafted by more than 200 of Maine’s best boatbuilders, championed by a network of more than 20 dealerships, in locations around the globe. Suddenly, our founding question of whether a simple and nautically sensible design could capture the heart of the boating public had a clear answer.

It was 2003, and the popularity of Downeast style was growing rapidly. Designs that had once only been popular in New England quickly were becoming the boats of choice all over the USA and in many export markets. Sabre dealers were selling all of the production that we could build and they wanted more. They asked Sabre to come up with a smaller less complicated Downeast style boat that could be made in larger volumes to satisfy the growing demand.

That spring, the Sabre Design Team met with six dealerships in Manchester, NH ( a common airport location for Southwest Airlines) to unveil the first ever Back Cove yacht. Differentiating Sabre and Back Cove would be reasonably simple; Back Cove was to be smaller, with a single diesel engine and a bow thruster, and interior fiberglass liners to simplify assembly. Sabre would remain larger, with twin-engine propulsion, stick built interiors, and their sizes would range from 38 to (eventually) 66 feet in length.The dealers fell in love with the concept, and the Back Cove 29 was born.

Then the issue of location. The company had previously purchased the assets and facilities of North End Composites, in Rockland, Maine, but the custom fiberglass and tooling business was on a bumpy road. The shop needed something to build on a consistent production-oriented basis that would smooth bumps in the road and support a strong workforce. The Back Cove range suited the facilities perfectly, and the plan was off and running.

Back Cove 29 - retired in 2010

Building upon the success of the Back Cove 29, seven additional models were introduced over the next 14 years. The Back Cove 26 debuted in 2004, and the 33 followed two years later. In 2009 the Back Cove 37 expanded the lineup over the 35′ range, and we knew things were really cooking. By the time Back Cove celebrated our 10th birthday, the 33 had evolved to become the 34, and our design team had introduced two more models coming in at 30 and 41 feet in length. Since then Back Cove has introduced the Downeast 37, a second version of the original Back Cove 37, and most recently we introduced the new Back Cove 32. Back Cove yachts can be found in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Central America, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the UK, France, Italy, Greece, and Norway.

Today, as hull 800 left our facilities, we resolved the question of whether a Downeast boat with a simple but consistent trade dress, built in the Maine tradition, could succeed in a market full of white plastic cruisers.

The answer is a resounding “yes.”

 

– Bentley Collins, VP Sales & Marketing, Sabre Yachts & Back Cove Yachts

 

Bookmark and Share

Back Cove’s New Lead Project Engineer


We are excited to announce that Joshua St. Germain has been promoted to Lead Project Engineer.

Josh will take a leading role in the planning, scheduling, and execution of complex technical projects within the Back Cove Engineering Department. Josh’s judgment will be critical to the successful implementation of the challenging assignments required to maintain Back Cove’s outstanding reputation in the industry.

In the nearly five years that Josh has been on the Engineering Team, he has been instrumental in engineering new models and introducing them to production. He will continue to validate new product design during prototyping, support production, and make improvements to our products; all things at which Josh has proven to excel during his time on our team. Josh’s knowledge and enthusiasm for all marine products make him a perfect candidate to grow with our company and to assume more leadership within our technical team.

Our sincerest congratulations to Josh!

Bookmark and Share

Meet our new National Sales Manager!


Jamie Bloomquist – National Sales Manager, Back Cove Yachts

Jamie has over 25 years of experience working in sales, marketing, and business development. He has worked as a professional photographer, founded two technology companies, and was the co-creator and President of USHarbors, delivering tide charts and marine weather for over 1,200 harbors nationwide.

Jamie grew up boating on Chautauqua Lake, in New York State but has spent the last 15 years living in Camden, Maine boating on Lake Megunticook and Penobscot Bay with his wife and two children.

Bookmark and Share