So, What's My Decision?
Yesterday, I spent some time at the boat watching the boat move about in its slip as the wind shifted and studied the marina. I think I have a decision.
Exactly what will be done will depend on the wind conditions (speed, direction, steady or gusting or shifting) and the presence of waves. Generally, I think I going to stay with my current technique as described in the original post, except modified as follows to deal with the 2 ft. up and down wave motion, and the increased pressure on the leeward outer piling (the boat will come to rest there initially if a bow first approach is made into the slip….it only takes a couple of seconds for the boat to be blown downwind 2 ft.). I will modify the technique as follows:
On the existing post pad bumper on the leeward outer piling, I’m going to periodically spray that pad with McLube Sailkote to keep it as slick and low friction a surface as possible. This will allow the boat to move up and down on the pad more easily for the short duration that I will be against the pad/piling, lessening the chance for damage.
I will add a second buddy line below the existing one on the finger pier side to provide added protection for my neighbor against the possibility that my bow will swing down on him.
I will make the special thin fender board mentioned in Post # 4 (thin board, vinyl “P” type edging and/or foam on boat side, with special low friction slider blocks on piling side). I will have to do some testing to see whether it can be pre-deployed, or perhaps, pre-positioned, but remotely deployed from the cockpit using a lanyard and line arrangement.
I chose to stay with this approach because I feel it gives me the best control over the boat, and best chance of getting into the slip on the first and only attempt that I will have. Under the conditions stated in the problem, and with geometry and parameters of the boat and fairway, I will be committed once I start down the fairway, and aborting will not be possible. I especially do not like to do anything or put myself in any situation where I do not have a possible escape (workable plan B).
One technique I considered as a close alternate was, on my approach down the fairway, to snug up to the outer pilings of the immediately adjacent upwind slips, and get a spring line over to hold the boat while I went forward to place lines on my slip’s windward piling. Then, I could pivot the bow about my windward outer piling, and with windward lines already on the piling at this point, work the boat into it’s slip, thus never going down on the leeward piling, neighbor, or finger pier. I discarded this, since the 45 degree crosswind is blowing me away from the pilings that I have to tie to (especially significant in higher winds). To offset the wind and stay close to these pilings, the bow would have to be angled towards the pilings and the stern would be away such that I might have difficulty, even with a boat hook, in getting a spring line on a piling. If I failed to get the line over, I would be swept down onto the pier and other boats with little chance to escape.
Now if the wind and waves are really kicking up:
I will just anchor out (or go to another, more sheltered marina, but slip availability and ground transportation might be a problem). To this end, I will place and keep aboard the boat some drinking water (in bottles) and stock the boat with a bit of prepared canned food that doesn’t require refrigeration or lots of preparation. This will make an unexpected overnight comfortable.
If I need to get off the boat at its home pier for some reason, I can anchor directly upwind from the visitor’s T at the end of my pier; then place a snatch block on the rode, with line through my stern cleat and to a winch. I would then winch in so that the boat is parallel to the T, and gradually let out more rode until I reach the T, where I can tie up. I can use the engine to help fine tune position as I approach the T (i.e. engine allows swinging about an arc from anchor location). Once tied up securely (T has outboard pilings, so I wouldn’t be against the pier), I’ll place a weight (kellet) on the anchor rode at the boat and slack the rode so that it lies on the bottom and won’t trip any boats that might pass by.
Again thanks for all the suggestions. You have helped me clarify in my mind what I need to do. I apologize for the length of all the posts, but on something like this, “the devil is in the details”.
Lots of people have read this thread and more probably will read it in the future. Any readers with other ideas, or suggestions, please continue to post them. I won’t necessarily make comment, but others will see your ideas and recommendations, and may be able to use them.