What is the best way to dock safely a Catalina 30' Tall Rig while being singlehanded? - SailNet Community

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Old 10-02-2007
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What is the best way to dock safely a Catalina 30' Tall Rig while being singlehanded?

I would like to find out what the best way to dock safely a Catalina 30' Tall Rig (bowsprit), 10000 lbs, while being singlehanded? (approaching the unprotected dock at Ontario lake bow first)

On the starboards side, the boat has a cleat at the bow, one cleat at the widest beam, and one cleat at the stern.

The dock configuration is unprotected starboard docking, low dock with 3 cleats on the starboard side, 2 cleats toward the bow and one metal pole (to the left of it is the starboard side of my neighbour's sailboat) with ropes on the port side of the stern.

The approach to the dock is one right 90 degree angle turn towards land and then one left 90 degree turn to align my sailboat with the dock.

The prevailing winds (8-12 kts) are such that the stern gets pushed diagonally in choppy water to starboard if not enough speed is maintained on approach.

Any good suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 10-02-2007
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Bow spring

I would make up a special bow spring line, just the right size for your dock and boat. Drive in, pull up, drop the spring over the aft-most dock cleat, drive forward slowly with full port rudder.
The forward thrust will tension the spring and pull the bow into the dock, this is countered by the rudder deflection pushing the stern to starboard, so the boat is pressed into the fenders and the dock.
You can then wander round at leisure attaching the other lines.
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Old 10-02-2007
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I agree with everthing you said except not the bowline but the midsip or breast spring line. Here are the rules.

Make a slow and deliberate turn into the slip
from the opposite side of the fairway. Using
a Midship or Breast Spring line, drop a loop
over the first cleat or piling as you enter the
slip.
Hold the bitter end of the line and snub the
line as slack is taken up by the forward
progress of the boat. When the line tightens,
the boat will move toward the finger dock
and remain parallel.
Continue a forward propeller thrust from the
engine and cleat or hold the spring line until
additional dock lines are attached.
Three Cardinal Rules of Docking
1. Dock into the wind (or current).
2. Point your bow into the wind (or current) when docking.
3. If you cannot dock into the wind, change the wind or change your slip and
obey rules 1 and 2.
Always Dock Into The Wind
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Old 10-02-2007
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Seeking,
I have a C30 TR, and it's relatively easy to dock. Since wind and currents are constantly changing, and the position of the dock does not, you simply have to deal with the given conditions. Anyway, the one thing you can control is your speed as you approach the dock. I come in at 2 kts, as this is the slowest speed at which I still have rudder control. Any slower than that, and you're at the mercy of the wind and currents, much faster, and you could collide with the dock. Two knots, maybe 2.5 kts. Take it out of gear about 100 feet out, make your turns as you coast in, and then throw it in reverse when the bow is about 10 feet into the slip. A couple of good revs in reverse will bring her to a full stop. Step off the boat with your stern line in hand.
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Old 10-02-2007
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That was very civil of you folks . . . considering the nature of the OP's first post.
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Old 10-02-2007
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Melnra-

Hate to break it to you... there are often times when you just won't be able to dock into the wind and/or current. Generally, you are assigned a given slip... and the wind isn't always going to cooperate with you about the slip's orientation and how the wind and/or current are going to affect docking in it. IMHO, you really need to learn how to dock a boat in adverse conditions, since more often than not, that is what you'll have.

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Thank you Idiens and Melrna

Thank you Idiens and Melrna for your sugestions.

While being in the helm area, on approach, even if I reach out on the starboard side, next to the bimini metal frame, I find it difficult to reach the 1st aft cleat on the low dock in order to drop the line loop over the cleat. Is there any better way to drop the line loop over the 1st aft cleat in a predictable manner at all times using one of the aluminum pole extenders?

I tried the pole extender idea with the boat securely attached to the dock for practice, nevertheless I was not able to find a way to secure the line loop to the pole extender and at the same time insure that the loop is going to end over the cleat every time. Any ideas?
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Old 10-02-2007
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I gotta agree with SD, our slip is not only with the wind, it's with the current and to top it all off, the channel is to port, so when leaving the dock, I have wind, current and prop walk working against me, entering the dock, it seems to work to my advantage.

Turn a 24,000# full keeler in tight fairways is like driving a tractor/trailer rig though a starbucks drive threw........kind of a hairballer
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You could always attach a loop in the dock line to the end of the boat hook using clips of some sort... and the you would be able to use the boat hook to secure the line pretty accurately each time, since the line would be fairly secure on the boat hook, but the clips would allow it to detach once the line tightens up on the cleat. I made something like this for my friend's boat hook... using thin stainless strips.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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If you have a conventional finger slip, I'd save the pole extender for when you have crew. Even then, I wouldn't use one. Have your old lady de-board with a bow line in hand, and tell her to be ready to "catch" the bowspirt if you happen to come it too fast. If she doesn't do exactly what you say, just yell louder.
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