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Can you get a picture of your slip setup?
It would help us visualize what is going on.
As you get better at this you will find that you will go through a couple transitions.
At first you will only be comfortable with crew.
After you get better at doing it yourself you will find that having crew makes you nervous and you prefer doing it yourself.
The place you put the spring line can be adjusted so it balances the boat.
I'm not sure it is highly recommend but on boats without a center cleat I have attached it to the rail if it is one of those rails with slots or to the base of a stanchion, usually amid ships somewhere works well.
If it is not placed properly the stern can indeed drift off. Placed properly with the wheel turned toward the dock it should work great.
This assumes your dock extends long enough which is why we could use pictures.
What boat do you have, length, width, engine etc?
Sounds like you have a challenging location.
Attached is pic I took last Friday while I was trying to make some mainsail adjustments. This was taken in the morning with no wind. By late morning the trades pick up and generally are above 20 knots. The wind will be coming from the stern but will normally be a little off the port so it will be pushing the boat into the slip as well as off the dock I am trying to tie to. The most practical way to tie off is to bring the boat to a stop along the pier, step off and tie off. I normall rig a line that connects to a whinch and a tie point located at mid ship on my boat. With this line I can step onto the dock and control the boat with the stern and mid ship line. I can tie these off to dock cleats and the boat is fine with only these two lines attached. In the picture, my dockmates boat is out so I basically have a double wide slip- good for practice docking as nothing to hit. The other thing that casues docking trouble in what we call "surf beat". This harbor is man made using rock jetties and when there is a large north swell (most of winter) the surge in the harbor moves your boat around a lot when docking or even tied to the pier.
Boat is S&S 34 with 37 feet ovrall including self steer (10 foot beam). Engine is Yanmar 3gmd 20 hp.
Last edited by casey1999; 11-29-2011 at 04:22 PM.