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post #5 of Old 12-08-2012
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docking alone

I am relatively new to docking shorthand and but do it regularly as my crew consists of my wife and two little ones. First and foremost, there is no one correct, steadfast approach as docking is always dictated by conditions (wind, tide, currents, etc). After taking a half day worth of docking instruction, I regularly back the boat in down the fairway into the slip and a small burst of forward thrust to stop the boat. Grabbing lines after that is easy. The key is as slow as possible with just enough speed to maintain steerage. I keep a midship cleat with a large loop that I could toss over a pylon to stop the boat if I was unable to stop with thrust (emergency break). Backing in at speed is nerve wracking the first 10 times or so. I now dock regularly without assistance from the rest of the crew.

In a couple high crosswind docking situations (20+ knots), I've went in bow first. There aren't style points for docking so I err on the side of safety for crew and boat.
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