Chandlery June 2006 Issue

Roll with the Tide

The maker of Tideminders say the new spheres are lighter so that they will float better.

If you keep your boat in tidal waters, where particular attention must be paid to the docking or mooring lines, you’ll be interested to know about Tideminders. What the marketers at Go With the Flow Solutions in Norton Shores, Mich., call a dock/mooring line system is actually a series of injection-molded, high-density polyethylene spheres with holes through them. (Sailors of gaff-rigged boats will recognize them as parrel-beads.) Users simply thread their dock lines through the holes, tie figure-8 knots in the line to contain the spheres, wrap that portion of the line around a piling, and secure the other ends to a cleat onboard. When the tide drops or rises, the spheres roll down or up the piling, effectively tending the line and reportedly keeping it free from abrasion.

Lawrence Gray, Tideminders’ inventor, has a patent pending on this device, and claims that it will protect lines (up to 1 inch in diameter) against fouling and chafing. He said the balls roll up and down, and “they offer constant tension with built-in shock absorption.”

Gray sent PS two sets of his Tideminders (each set of nine spheres sells for $50), and we put one to work on a floating dock. He specified seven spheres for each 10-inch piling, or nine for 12-inch pilings. The original spheres were heavy (9 ounces each), which means they might become immersed and subject to marine growth. But Gray recently began fabricating a new model that both floats and is lighter (6 ounces). The ones we examined—the heavier models—are rugged, and the “system” appears to be an improvement over short, cut-off sections of PVC tubing commonly used for this purpose. The only downside we can see is that the Tideminders aren’t apt to be as useful if your berth has square pilings, and they’re expensive. We’ll let you know how they fare over time.

Contact - Tideminders, 800/968-5147, www.dr-shrink.com.

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