Thanks, Brent. I'm a little anxious about docking, but there are a few things in my favor.
First off, my 'dock' is going to be a 30' long float attached to a monster mooring ball (3' steel sphere?) at one end. So:
A. It will always point into the current.
B. I own one entire side of the 'dock'; I can do 'touch and go' approaches until I'm happy (or out of gas).
I've seen a few different variations of a 'lasso' made from a fixed length stern line. Let's say it's a 6' stern line with a rigid 4' section and the eye coming out the end of the tube.
1. With fenders out and lifeline down, approach the dock from down current.
2. At just above headway speed, come alongside and drop the loop over the dock cleat for the stern line.
2a. If I miss with the lasso, go back for another pass.
3. Leave the engine in gear and the boat should snug itself up to the dock.
4. Step onto the dock to make fast the bow line.
5. Kill the engine.
I didn't invent it, but that 's my plan. I worry about stepping off the boat with the engine in gear, but I worry about everything. I suppose if I got the stern line fully on the cleat (both horns), I should be able to kill the motor and step off the boat holding the bow line. I guess the most likely failure is that I'll end up down current of the float with the boat connected by the stern line. Embarrassing perhaps, but no harm done.
Opinions? (hard to imagine, but someone here might have one