Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Washington, DC
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Re: Docking for Dummies
It's been a little over a year since I posted about my docking woes, and I thought I would update this thread, for any others in similar circumstances.
I did get a little better at docking during my first season with the boat. The 'This Old Boat' article on bannister line docking helped. I was able to use a line on the bannister line to keep the bow under control as I backed out of my slip. That was usually enough control to back out, shift to forward, and turn toward the exit of my fairway. If it seemed like wind coming in the direction of my fairway exit would put me in danger of not making the turn, I just drove out the fairway backwards; fortunately my boat really does back quite well.
But docking still made me pretty nervous, and I was sick of my palms sweating every time I contemplated untying from the slip, so this summer I enrolled in Maryland's School of Sailing two-day docking course*. That was maybe the best idea I've had since buying the boat and it was worth every penny. Now I back in my slip fairly easily, and I use spring lines and the throttle to keep the boat in place during tying up and untying, which makes leaving and departing so much less stressful.
So those of you who are new at docking - don't be afraid to get some help. I found it was much easier to try new techniques on someone else's boat with someone guiding me through what to do. Even my wife was like "I wouldn't have let you try that thing with the warps if you told me you read about it in an article, but knowing someone had taught you to do it made me more comfortable."
*Disclaimer: I have no connection with the school. But I thought they were great, so I'm naming them here.
1987 Pearson 28-2, Deale MD