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post #36 of Old 11-10-2012
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Re: Docking with an outboard

this post is slowing down... but I'll just mention that I typically keep the motor straight and use the rudder.

The other thing to bear in mind with some smaller outboards is that they don't have reverse (such as a 2-stroke 4 hp). Those can usually spin 180 degrees for "reverse" which actually doesn't work too bad. I've used one of those quite a few times easing in and out of slips with a 27' while the 8hp was getting tuned up.

I think the main thing is planning ahead for your approach and trajectory and don't rush. I know my boat won't really be quickly stopped by reverse with the motors I've had on it, so I go just fast enough to maintain steering, then coast into the slip. And never be afraid to abort your approach and swing around if necessary to improve your angle or speed. I've had to do that in heavy winds and after making a couple adjusted approaches feel better about sliding in as smooth as a calm day than bouncing around between pylons just to get it in there...

If you are worried about bouncing around, string a couple strategic fenders to protect from dock corners or pylons. You can also run a taught rope between your slip and the adjacent (if it's the open style with only a walkway on one side) between the dock and pylon. You might do that anyway if you're worried about your neighbor bouncing off of you!

Once you feel comfortable it's fun!

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