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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.
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