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post #69 of Old 01-16-2012
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I usually come into my slip at a slight angle (after a turn to starboard), such that the port side of the bow would contact the rub-rail along the left side of the slip (as you look at it from the boat) IF the engine completely died. That way, if worse came to worse, I could let the bow slide along the dock rub-rail to lessen any impact (but I've never had to do so, even on the occasions when I was forced to dock without the engine working). At this point I'm going less than a knot with the engine in neutral, and have been bleeding off speed since I left the main channel (if the wind is particularly strong I let the engine idle in reverse to bleed off speed a bit faster and slow my approach). My goal is to have just enough speed to maintain steerage as I turn into the slip. My slip is cross-wind to the prevailing westerlies, pushing me to port. As the bow gets just inside of the slip (or maybe just slightly before) I put the engine in reverse, rev it a bit, and let the prop-walk swing the stern to port. If I've timed everything just right the boat comes to a stop about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way into the slip (and just about straight). The wind then gently pushes the boat to port as I step onto the dock, walk forward, and and grab the pulpit (NOT the stanchions) to guide the boat the rest of the way into the slip.

Never forget them. Do something to prevent it from happening again.
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