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post #51 of 62 Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Docking for Dummies

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Originally Posted by emcentar View Post
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.
I took the same class a couple of years ago and also thought it was well worth the money. I learned a lot in the two days. Unfortunately, I do not get to practice all of those skills as much as I'd like to because I have a side-tie slip.

I really liked the single lever control for throttle and gear shift on the IP that we used for the class. Seemed to be much easier than my twin levers. Also, the IP had quite a bit of prop walk, which was used to good effect in the class. My boat has very little prop walk.


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post #52 of 62 Old 09-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Docking for Dummies

Agreed. When backing in or doing a back-and-fill on my own boat, I pin the wheel with my knees and use two hands to shift and adjust the throttle. But every now again, I forget to reduce the throttle with one hand before shifting with the other when going back and forth, and I really miss that single-lever control on the IP.

Apparently quite a few people buy Island Packets after taking courses with them, and I can kind of see why. I never really considered them when I was searching but I liked quite a few things about that boat.

1987 Pearson 28-2, Deale MD
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post #53 of 62 Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Docking for Dummies

You can get single lever controls for the Edson wheel. There are multiple companies making throttle controls that work, and nothing changes at the engine end. I like the implementation simplicity of dual-lever controls, but understand why single lever could be better. It's not a cheap upgrade (about $1000 if using new parts), but it is a lot cheaper than a new boat.

Did you sail the Island Packet in the class? Boats that behave nicely around the marina are great, but ultimately I want a boat that sails well and my impression (from reading reviews) is that I'd be disappointed with an Island Packet.

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post #54 of 62 Old 09-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Docking for Dummies

Nope, I didn't sail her. I have heard they aren't suited to the light winds we often have on the Chesapeake, but it really did make my Pearson feel like a camper. And I love my boat.

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post #55 of 62 Old 09-03-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Docking for Dummies

It's true I spend much more time just hanging out on my boat than I ever thought I would when I was looking for a boat. It's my county-house-escape-from-the-city even when I don't plan to sail. I'm glad I didn't go shorter than 28 feet and I can already see myself fighting a case of 5-foot itis in a few years.

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post #56 of 62 Old 09-03-2014
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Re: Docking for Dummies

I try to avoid having to use both levers when I dock. If all is going well, just putting it into forward, neutral, or reverse should do the trick with the throttle at its minimum. Occasionally, a little "goosing" the throttle might be required, but the aim should be to let the wind, current, and momentum do the work, with the prop walk assisting.
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Re: Docking for Dummies

On most boats I find that I need to use a good amount of reverse to get the boat moving, then go into neutral to stop the prop spin to minimize prop walk. Leaving the boat at idle speed in reverse doesn't give me enough control.

This is my experience on the 3 or 4 boats that I've sailed that have inboard engines. I'm sure that others do behave differently.

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post #58 of 62 Old 09-04-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Docking for Dummies

Same here. I need to kick the throttle some when changing direction (stopping the boat from moving forward and then getting some momentum in reverse) and getting the bow through a stiff wind when turning the boat using a back and fill. That's true on my boat and on the Island Packet 32 I took the docking course on.

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post #59 of 62 Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Docking for Dummies

emcentar! I bought my boat in Deale! (was at Sherman's up by the bridge)


Guess this discussion has me wondering where I fit in all this.

I've not pulled into many slips over the past 9 years but when I have, I've always used the "only go as fast as you want to hit" rule and have done ok.

I've had lots and lots of practice with wind water and current docking, port or starboard on our club's floating docks, the Chessey.s docks with pilings (pilings bother me) (Port on my boat is always easier)

I've practiced quite a bit going into/out floating finger docks that are only about 18" wide and floating, where the river current is always running north or south giving the boat's keel a big push N or S when she's turned 90 degrees to the flow. I've done ok with that quite a bit, and the restaurant patrons ( 15 ft above the dock) sometimes applaud LOL


So, I guess I'm ok with slips. I do practice reverse quite a bit and can really steer my boat in reverse, but like we all know, she has to be moving for rev rudder to work.

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post #60 of 62 Old 09-04-2014
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Re: Docking for Dummies

All the above sound like good advice. The only thing (I might have missed) is to get out there and practice, practice, practice. I like to go out to where there is a mark of some sort and practice approching it in forward, reverse, upwind, downwind, different speeds, etc. etc. Do it over and over in all types of wind. After a while you'll get in sync with the movement of your boat. I'ts also fun. It's really fun during crab season when I pick up my traps. Yumm!!

By the way, be sure not to get your prop wrapped in a line! If you're new to this, use a pole like a man-overboard pole - or shorter - to practice with. No line to get fouled. I've seen sailing schools use a baton about 3 feet in length for this purpose.

Last edited by Scotty C-M; 09-04-2014 at 11:12 PM.
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