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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 08-23-2013
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2 last minute questions

next week I am bareboating a Beneteau 34 for 4 days out of Annapolis with with my 2 kids (11 and 13). My adult company fell through so I will basically be single handing the boat.
it is a Beneteau 34 with in mast furling main and a furling jib so it sounds very doable.

Even though I have plenty of sailing experience my self on 30-40ft as an owner before I got married and as crew afterwards. I have never single handed a boat (with 2 kids)

my goal is to have the kids really like it and learn so I can do more of these trips with them. I got them some sailing books for kids so they are learning the terms already.

so here are my two questions:
1 - Any tips for sailing this boat single handed with the two kids (especially when it comes to docking)

2 - Any great destinations around Annapolis for me and my crew? ( I am already reviewing the eatery sticky)
what times should I make sure I get to the dock or mooring so I get a good spot (and avoid possible late afternoon thunderstorms)

thanks for any advice that might be coming my way
Marc
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

In general, singlehanding or with novice crew I find it easier to do the docking etc by myself and just ask them to keep out of the way.
Otherwise if you want them to assist not only do you need to run through the procedure ie brief them but practise it.
I find people often go into a brain freeze state particularly when you are asking them to do something that needs to be done now, and you spend more time watching etc than it is worth.
So check out the berths and have spring lines etc ready Fenders may also be good.
That said they will enjoy it more if they actively participate eg learning to steer upwind. Have a great time.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

I've sailed A LOT with kids aged 8-14. I'm a skipper in my local sea scout association. I've been skippering since I was 15.

Kids aged 13 are already able to navigate and steer the boat by themselvs (with adult supervision of course), given a bit of practice and teaching.

The kid thats 13 should be able to handle the forward lines on the boat, if he/she is comfortable with it (most kids I've sailed with would be THRILLED to do it).

Consider letting them do as much as possible on board, I've found young children to like sailing much, much more if they get to actually participate in the activity. Have them hoist the sails, trim the jib etc. Help them out when something is too hard for them to do, e.g. the final few inches of raising the main.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

Your teens should be able to help with the docking. They can throw a dock line, or help make sure the line gets around a piling. The trick is for the captain to make sure you go VERY SLOW into the slips.

I agree with Chris, get them steering the boat, and maybe cranking the winches. Make the winching a contest whenever you tack.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

For docking - teach them safety - no part of the body goes between the boat and the dock, then teach them how to cleat a line and do it outside (under) the life lines. Put whichever one seems to understand the brief best on the bow (further away) and keep the other one close at hand. Going into strange docks you never know if lines are rigged, or even good - it's best to pre-rig your own bow, stern and springs if the company provided them. Check for fenders before you get underway also.

Single handed docking is easier if you understand the concept is to drive the boat into the dock and hold it there until you have at least two lines secured to the dock.
I don't mean full speed crash tactics. Put a fender on the bow, and the rest at mid-ship on the side you intend to dock too (the one with the finger pier). If there isn't a finger pier don't dock unless you are very comfortable with the boat.
I literally fender the heck out of my home dock and literally drift in at minimal speed, then depending on wind an current either idle against the dock or move about in a spirited fashion getting two lines aboard.
If it's not my home dock, I fender my middle/widest spot and steer it to a rest, holding it there with helm and idle if needed.
Never ever approach a dock faster than you must to maintain control, and certainly not faster than you are willing to ram it.

Take one of the fenders and toss it overboard in a calm creek/river - then play around backing and docking and such. Let the kids do it also.

If you want a nice, calm easy first day I'd suggest behind Gibson Island (Magothy River). 6-10 feet of good bottom holding. Good swimming, lots of other kids/families and plenty of eyeball action between the horse farm and the parade of boats coming and going. Mind the narrows if you don't have a chart plotter - follow someone else in (good advise on most places you don't know). Behind Dobbins Island on the Magothy is a bit more hopping if the kids are stir crazy. It's got an actual beach they can swim to and hang out with other kids.
Day two take them to Rock Hall and visit the museum and get a decent day of shopping and junk food.
Then take them to Galesville or St Micheals, drop a anchor, swim and grab some eats.
Day four, head back to Napolis

That keeps your sailing time down to what a teen and pre-teen can handle without mutiny, yet changes the scene every day.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

Some rules for your young crew:

1. Stay on the boat, stay on the boat, stay on the boat.
2. Do not place any body part between the boat, and another object (dock, piling, another boat...whatever)
3. In a choice between hurting yourself or breaking equipment, let the equimpent break and save yourself from injury.

Have fun!
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

1. Put your kids to work. Enlist them in sailing the boat. Let them do as much as possible, even if they can't do it well. My Dad sometimes made fun of my steering, but he let me steer the boat from the youngest age and it was the only way to improve. Have them trim the sails and handle the anchor - it is a great way to learn.

2. Lots of great places around Annapolis. Buy Schellenberger's Cruising the Chesapeake and the Maryland Cruising Guide chart book. Go under the Bay Bridge and through Knapps Narrows and Kent Narrows - your kids will enjoy the bridges. I would hit Baltimore, St. Michaels, Oxford, Chestertown, Cambridge, Solomons Island, Rhode River and perhaps Galesville. Bring a dinghy, rafts, fishing poles, and crabbing gear.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

Lighthouse cruise bys and history should be fun.

Manual course and chart following are keep busy lessons while underway.

If I were the Captain, I'd ban cell phones for the crew and keep mine turned off unless needed for emergencies.
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Re: 2 last minute questions

I agree with Max. Get the kids involved.

When docking, station one child on each side of the boat, at it's widest point, and ask them to get a dock line on each outer piling as the boat comes in. If either one is successful, you'll be golden. Come in slow, and don't rely on them to stop the boat by pulling on the dock line. Use the motor to stop it. You should be able to get a short line from a winch or winch cleat to the finger pier. That line alone should hold the boat in place long enough for you to go around and attach each of the other lines. Keep a boat hook where you can get it if necessary. Don't attach fenders until the boat is in the slip, and do remove them before you leave the slip. Fenders often get pinched between the boat and pilings, and they often push the bow in a direction where you don't want to go.

Of course, take note of the windspeed and direction before you enter the slip, and use that info to refine your plan.
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Old 08-23-2013
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Re: 2 last minute questions

When we first brought Halcyon home, it was our first time docking a boat that size. The wind was fantastic for sailing up the bay but made for less than ideal docking by novices. We had our 15 YO nephew and his girlfriend with us.

While every child is different, I would make sure they keep focused on helping you dock the boat and listening to your instructions. They can get distracted by shiny objects after the boat is secured but you need their attention for that ten minutes it takes to get the boat into the slip.
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