Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Columbus OH
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If you really think you might hit another boat with your current arrangemant, see if you can trade docks with someone who goes head in to starboard. If not try a spring line.
I have the same situation. I have a spring line that I make fast to the port winch (amidship cleat would be better) and tie a bowline on the other end. The length of the line is set so that as I come in (with enough speed to overpower the wind) my wife drops the bowline over the first piling on port and the spring stops the boat before the bow reaches the main pier. Just before the line tightens I hit reverse hard to stop forward progress. Then I shift back to forward at idle speed.
With engine in gear and the spring line out on port, the boat sits still while I casually arrange the other lines. If you want to move the stern to port to reach a piling, turn the wheel to starboard. To reach the piling on starboard, turn to port.
You will either want to have fenders positioned where the sides will come to rest against the finger pier or have the fenders (bumpers actually) permanently attached to the pilings
One important detail; you have to put the spring line out on the same side as the finger pier or amidship piling. Otherwise the boat continues to want to motor in circles around the piling you are springing off of.
What ever you do, don't let the intimidation of docking keep you in the marina. My wife gets freaked out sometimes when we meet a challenging docking situation. I tell her that we have insurance for a reason and that is the reason.