Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
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You need to do a number of dry runs before you even leave the dock. First thing is to have them each grab the boat standing on the dock and practice moving it around. This will give them a feel for it. Then have them move the boat around in the slip with the lines, first around cleats, then straight to the boat. Then have them practice making the lines fast. Do this for a long time until they are all comfortable with it. Then do a couple of dry runs at their stations with dummy lines so they can get the practice and feel. Then leave dock, turn around and re-dock while it is all fresh in their minds. Then go sailing.
I would also recommend spending a couple hours just practicing docking as a family. We spend about 4 hours practicing docking as part of my USSailing keelboat class, and it was extremely valuable for the newbies in the class and I appreciated the practice too.
However, to answer you question about what I would do.... I would have everyone sit quietly on the opposite side of the boat and watch while I brought it in by myself a few times. Nothing is worse than a newbie panicking and overcompensating because they think they have to _do_ something _big_ to get a boat docked. Show em how easy it is, and that one person can do it if they stay calm and focused, and how slow and relaxed you can do it. Then tell them that they can help, but only if they can be as slow, calm and relaxed as you. hahah. (this last paragraph is only half joking)
Last edited by tenuki; 06-09-2007 at 10:45 PM.