Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
Thanked 85 Times in 75 Posts
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You absolutely have a difficult situation. I can't address the courses, but over the last several years, I have looked at many written sources, whatever video sources I can find and asked questions about docking in crosswinds in narrow slips (my issue) or where there are adverse currents. I have yet to see any videos addressing these situations. The written answers are always the same....spring lines, walk the boat out, etc. No one has told me how you keep the boat from being swept sideways by wind or current into the pilings. In principle, spring lines are great, but if there's any chance to get far enough into slip so that a spring line can even come into play, one has to come in hot to maintain steerage, and once the spring line takes effect, you've got to stop that boat in 2-3 ft. Nevermind trying to snatch the cleat off the deck. And if someone fumbles the line....that would be me since I usually single hand...the pier will absolutely stop the boat...quickly and expensively. Or dragging the lifeline stanchions along the outer pilings.
Well I'm glad there's someone out there who understands what I deal with on a regular basis, and the lack of available instructional materials for a situation with strong currents.
I can say that I could not imagine pulling into my fairway with a C320. I nearly bought one and decided to go smaller. The outboard with hard link makes a huge difference at slow speeds. My C250 is supposedly overpowered with a 15 hp outboard, but I'll tell you it comes in very handy when docking with the current pushing me in. If I miss the spring line (which happens infrequently) we can gun it to stop the boat and she responds well. That's another reason to back in - gunning the outboard in forward is far more effective than gunning it in reverse. The latter only serves to pull it out of the latch and raise the prop out of the water.
In my marina any sailboat 30' or over seems to go to the F-dock all the way at the end of the marina. They can pull straight in and out without going through the fairway.
Things are great back in the old slip. We never came close to hitting the dock all last year, no matter which way the current was pushing us.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
Last edited by TakeFive; 06-02-2011 at 07:44 AM.