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post #11 of Old 11-03-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

I've had the opportunity to dock single-handed a few times this summer due to taking non-mobile people out sailing quite a few times.

One trick I started using that had not seen in any videos was to tie the bow spring line and stern line together
I then did just like Denise and brought the boat up to the dock stopped or just barely moving then stepped off with the bow line.

I was able to tie the bow line on the mid dock cleat then was able to bring in the stern line quickly as it was tied to the tail of the bow line.

The bow want to blow off a little as it is only tied by the spring but a quick tug on the spring was able to pull the bow in enough for me to reach the bow breast line.

Depending on the wind you may have to move crisply but with about three feet between us the the power boat I was able to manage with no help.

In the past I tried to have someone throw me the stern line but found that they would get nervous and not get me the line and by the second throw it got closer than I liked.

I tried stepping off the boat with both lines in my hand but found that it was easy to get them fouled with each other.

Tying the tail of the lines together gave me the best of both worlds.
I could step off and only have to focus on one line.
Once that line was cleated I could easily retrieve the stern line.

I would also highly recommend you get your wife accustom to handling the helm while docking.

One way to do it is to find a day when no one is around and a slip with no boat next to you.
Go into the slip and out of the slip and each of you do steering and for-deck jobs.
If you are ambitions do it all yourself.

The problem with docking is that you need a certain amount of experience. Let's say it takes 20 times for a particular boat for a particular slip. You can get that experience on one-afternoon or it can take you a couple years.
No harm in inviting a third and arm them with a fender and boat hook.

The bottom line is that every boat slip combination is a little different and once you have done it enough you will find the most comfortable process.

For example on the boat I was on above, the stern of the boat extends past the dock and their are no mid-boat cleats. I also had no-one that I could put on the helm to give power for me to use a single line technique which is my goto strategy.
So I came up with an alternative. There are many ways to make it work.

The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.

Last edited by davidpm; 11-03-2013 at 11:28 PM.
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