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post #13 of Old 07-23-2003
Join Date: Nov 2001
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single-handed docking

I don''t have and outboard, but one of those diesels, but... I have a two blade folding prop that is offset, C&C 29 MkII, talk about prop walk. I single hand almost all the time. The key for me is three fold. First, I have my home dock set up so that all the lines are left set up the right length for me. When I leave the slip, I make sure the lines are easily grabbed by my boathook as I slip in. The second key speed. I back in, so I go well past my slip in forward, allow the boat to almost stop, usually 50-100ft past my slip. I put engine in reverse, takes a couple of minutes to achieve any sternway, then slip engine into neutral and allow the rudder to do the job. I continue to move it into reverse and neutral, depending on current and wind to just maintain steerage. Once again the key is speed that just maintains steerage. The third key is gabbing the aft spring line and the bow line as I slide into the slip. I put the spring over the cleat and walk forward to make sure the bow stays in and the cleat that line. The stern line comes last. I found this be be easier after trying all kinds of ways to get in bow first. The advantage is I can stop the boat with the engine by putting it in forward, but takes a long time in reverse so I actually have more control of speed by backing in. The most difficult thing is if the current and the wind are both moving the boat the same direction. Makes for some need for quick movement.

When I am docking at a foreign dock the key for me is preparation. I have fenders on both sides with bow and stern lines on both sides, especially if I don''t know the area. There is usually more help at other docks than at home so it is always nice to have some dock help.

Anyway, that is my 2cents. I had to plan almost as much for going out from the dock. If the wind is strong as I am leaving, letting go of the bow and stern line without drifting into the boats close to me before I have steerage is also interesting. This actually has me running crazily around the boat more frequently than docking.
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