the pointy end is the bow
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: La Conner, Washington
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Re: Close quarter maneuvering in a swift current
Oi yoi yoi! We've had similar experiences in the Swinomish Channel. The channel runs between 1.5 and 2 knots on big tides. First one way, then the other. We always try and put the bow into the current, which works most of the time, but sometimes the wind and the current are contrary, and that's when it gets interesting. Head into a light current and as you slow down to approach the dock, the wind behind you starts exerting more influence and then you just start reacting, because the plan has just gone to h3ll.
When we leave the dock, if the current is behind us, it's off with the stern line, pull in on the bow line, which swings the stern away from the dock and then back away from the dock in reverse. But we had a close call just like you were describing when I was going down the end of an alleyway slip looking for an open spot and I when I found there wasn't one and started to swing the boat around in a three point turn, the current really started pushing us into the end of the dead end faster than I anticipated. I ended up getting pretty aggressive on the throttle to get out of that bind, and that was either going to save us, or cost us more money. It saved us fortunately.
JRD22 has a float near his place that surprised us once or twice because the dock is in a back eddy that is doing something different than the main current. I hope my insurance agent isn't on sailnet.
1983 Fraser 41
La Conner, WA
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Boating for over 25 years, some of them successfully.
Last edited by erps; 12-13-2012 at 08:14 PM.