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Old 09-13-2011
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Docking with two

Looking for some practical advice on docking with only two people on the boat. First, some comments as to the situation ....

1) New empty nesters ... so far, so good. But we no longer have our dockhands ... ah, daughters ...to assist in docking. The people at the dock used to smile when we would come in with everyone on-baord because it was like a well-oiled machine, everyone knowing their role. Now, .... not as good.

2) It is a center-cockpit boat, so the person at the helm is NOT in a position to quickly exit or move very far to assist.

3) In most cases, we try to dock on the boat's port side.

4) We have a loop in the end of the spring line so it can be dropped right over the cleat, knowing it is the right length.

So, with that being said, we tried the "spring line to the aft dock cleat, hard to starboard, leave in idle forward" method. I know this works really well for power boats. They pin right to the dock. What I found was the curvature of the sailboat hull didn't really lend itself well to this method. The bow went considerably to the right, even with the spring line taut. Would not have been a pretty sight if I had a neighbor next to me in my well.

I had another idea as I was driving home that seems to make sense. Looking for comments.

Besides the spring line, lay another line from the bow cleat back to the beamiest part of the boat. Step off the boat, drop the spring line over the aft dock cleat, walk forward (as the boat continues to slowly move forward), grab the line attached to the bow cleat and wrap it on the forward dock cleat (careful to keep the bow in the center of the slip) while the helmsperson turns hard to starboard.

In this case, the boat is pinned to the dock, but the bow line is keeping it from swinging to far right. The only time when this would be a real issue is if the wind is blowing like snot from the starboard side. In that case, I may want to secure the stern line and not worry immediately about the bow line. Simply feather the throttle to find equilibrium.

Any thoughts on any of this? Any other preferred methods? My wife is handling the lines. I've tried to convince her to dock the boat and let me handle the lines. She is not interested in that.
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