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  #1  
Old 09-16-2008
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Docking Minutia

Docking Procedure

We have a Catalina 30 docked Bow in, Port side finger pier, Single piling starboard.
This slip has two minor challenges. At the dock we have a port stern line, a spring line from a mid-dock cleat to the port bow, bow line from port bow to dock and bow line starboard bow to dock.
  • Dead ahead of the bow about two feet ahead, where the boat rests while properly tied off, is a very important looking green tube about 3 feet tall full of dock cable and wireless technology. We absolutely can not bump the dock forward even a little.
  • When the wind blows it usually comes from the dead on the port beam. When we back out we need to turn to port 90’ to leave the slip. This is hard because the wind catches the bow more than the stern and makes us fall off to starboard and the prop walk makes it even worse.
Since we had no wind tonight I tried coming up with a sure fire way to dock and leave the dock single handed so our captain will feel more comfortable by himself. I’m looking for sanity check, improvements, concerns etc. It seemed to work in a calm situation.
This is what I came up:
To leave dock:
  • Start engine
  • Remove stern line
  • Setup a temporary spring line from center stanchion, just looped over the dock cleat near the outboard end of the finger pier, and tie of to port side cleat behind winch.
  • Put engine in forward wheel centered. (This sucks the boat against the dock)
  • Remove the three other dock lines.
  • As quickly and as smoothly as possible: Put engine in neutral, flip off temporary spring line, put engine in reverse, use boat hook to push hard against the port dock piling to cant boat stern to starboard.
  • Pull out and execute 90 degree port turn if possible, if not make 270 degree starboard turn.

To enter dock:
  • Remove both port life lines
  • Rig temporary spring line from center stanchion outboard of life lines back to cockpit.
  • Enter slip and use reverse if necessary to stop forward motion.
  • Flip temporary spring line over dock cleat and tie off on rear port side sheet cleat.
  • Put engine in forward, Center wheel and lock.
  • Get off boat and tie up three forward lines
  • Stop engine, Remove temporary spring, Tie stern line
I would like to mark the temporary spring line so the place to cleat it is clear. I’m thinking of an anchor line marker.
I know the book says to turn the wheel to starboard when doing this maneuver but it seemed to work better centered.

Any foreseeable problems with this procedure?
Any improvements?
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Old 09-17-2008
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In a very similar situation, I back my 35' boat into the slip (singlehanded), and then pull out bow-first. Backing out of a slip is often difficult, because you can't always get up enough speed in reverse to acquire steerageway by the rudder. Therefore, you only have nominal control, if any, over the boat's direction. By backing in, and pulling out bow-first, you avoid those problems. Because I am a frequent singlehander, I avoid using spring lines when I can find a simpler way to get in or out of a slip.

As a general rule, I don't like to use a stanchion for a dock or spring line. I saw one pulled through the deck when used that way, and don't trust that they are designed to withstand that much stress.

Last edited by Sailormon6; 09-17-2008 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 09-17-2008
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Google Capt. Jack Klang and get his book. He sells it privatley. He covers just about every docking and wind situation there is.
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Old 09-17-2008
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Old 09-17-2008
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I agree with Sailormon6 about the stanchion. They are not meant to take the lateral strain that you will be exerting on them.

Is there a midship cleat that you could use instead? I would suggest that you could fix one end of the line to a cleat in/near the cockpit, loop it under the midship cleat (or one horn of the cleat), around the dock cleat, back around the midship cleat, and back toward the cockpit. This would allow you to control the temporary spring line, and control it from the helm, but not risk overtaxing the stanchion, or bedding.
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Old 09-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailormon6 View Post
In a very similar situation, I back my 35' boat into the slip (singlehanded), and then pull out bow-first.
Right now the Captain is living aboard so he likes the privacy the bow in gives him.
Will try the stern in as soon as he moves back on land. Thanks
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Old 09-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I agree with Sailormon6 about the stanchion. They are not meant to take the lateral strain that you will be exerting on them.

Is there a midship cleat that you could use instead? I would suggest that you could fix one end of the line to a cleat in/near the cockpit, loop it under the midship cleat (or one horn of the cleat), around the dock cleat, back around the midship cleat, and back toward the cockpit. This would allow you to control the temporary spring line, and control it from the helm, but not risk overtaxing the stanchion, or bedding.
Sadly the Catalina has no midship cleat. I could use a shroud but if I'm going to rip something off the boat I'd rather it be a stanchion than a shroud.
I tested the force in low throttle and it is only about 50 lbs or less.
But your point about the stanchion risk is well taken.
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Old 09-17-2008
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I had a similar situation at the slip I had prior to this year. I found two lines critical to my docking proceedures. 1) a longish bow line that could reach to, or almost to, the cockpit but not long enough to reach the prop/shaft. 2) a short line that I made up with a small loop in one end that goes over the winch drum and a much bigger loop in the other end that goes over the dock piling adjacent to the cockpit.

My docking proceedure (learned from a friend who was single handing well into his 70's) was to come into the slip as normal. As soon as I could reach I would drop the line with the big loop over the piling. This serves to stop the boats forward motion and keep the stern from drifting away from dock. When the loop goes over, I would step off the boat onto the dock, grabbing the bowline as I went. This allows you to control the bow of the boat without having to worry about the rest of the boat. Worked very well.

With all other lines removed except the bowline and the "loop/brake line". Leaving the dock involved leading the bowline around a piling and back to the cockpit. I would shift into reverse, reach over and remove the "loop/brake line", throttle up to increase way and stearage, and flip the bowline off the piling as boat reverses.

Not sure if that explain in enough detail, but it was a system that worked and that I still use if the situation dictates.
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Old 09-17-2008
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Smile Docking Minutia

I have a CS 30 with a similar docking setup. Our finger pier runs from the retaining wall to a single piling. I have a dock line tied around the piling with a 1/4" spring loaded snap on the end. On the toerail I have mounted a Johnson Toerail Folding Cleat. When docking I bring the boat in, stop it next to the piling, reach over grab the dock line and snap, snap it onto the folding cleat put the boat into forward and turn the wheel away from the dock. The boat snugs up nicely to the dock. Depending on the amount of wind is blowing you off the dock will determine the amount of forward thrust you will need. You will need to practise at the dock to find the balance point as to where you would mount the folding cleat on the toerail. When leaving just reverse the procedure. When leaving the dock with a strong wind I always have to back into the wind. My sailboat, as most, is like a weathervane in strong wind until you get her moving.
I learned this technique from my slip neighbour who sails a 32' O'Day single handed regularly.

Good Luck
Paul
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Old 09-17-2008
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So, I'm thinking about starting to do the same thing on my C30, and expect that I will use a slide attached to my genoa track in lieu of a stanchion...

David
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