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Old 12-10-2012
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Re: docking alone

As Gary indicated, a full keel boat is very difficult to maneuver in reverse. The solution is to avoid being in that position if at all possible. Most times you can choose the situation that works for your boat. On my A35, I don't even consider backing in anywhere if the boat has to maintain direction in reverse. It is just not predictable enough when singlehanded with no one to fend off or attach a spring. You just can't be in two places at once. I will sometimes back OUT when I can push off by hand and then goose it to gain enough speed for the rudder to start to grab. With someone aboard that is capable of working a spring it can be a different story but not alone.

The best bet is to come in bow first, very slowly. Come in on your port side at a slight angle so that as the reverse propwash pivots the boat clockwise and the boat comes to a stop parallel with the dock. With spring lines ready to grab right at the gate, you can jump off, in neutral, and quickly secure the lines as needed.

Being singlehanded sometimes requires some inventive strategies. Sometimes there are just things you have to avoid doing and make other plans like carrying fuel in jerry jugs instead of even thinking about getting into that crowded fuel dock.
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