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  #21  
Old 06-03-2011
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Docking is an art

Since we don't know the full situation that's giving you the most problems, here is some quick advice:

1) You can't fight the wind or current and win. So, use them to your advantage!
2) The more you practice, the better you'll be.
3) Every boat handles differently, especially in reverse.
4) Unless you have water flowing over the rudder, the boat is going to "prop-walk" when throttle is applied...how much depends on the particular boat.
5) Travel within any marina should be done at the speed at which you plan on impacting things.
6) The rudder is what steers the boat...and it's located in the stern (this is opposite from your car).
7) Communicate the docking plan with your crew well before you approach the dock.
8) Yelling only makes things more entertaining for the rest of us.
9) Always look like you know what you're doing.

Advice for your Crew/Dockhand(s):

1) Communicate the docking plan with the Helmsman before the boat approaches the dock (and before bystanders are able to hear).
2) Preplace dock lines and fenders. Some Captains/Skippers, only need a couple fenders...some should line their entire boat with them.
3) Never run, walking quickly is OK.
4) Step from the boat onto the dock instead of jumping if at all possible.
5) Never get any part of your body between the boat and anything it's going to hit. A fiberglass repair job is cheaper than X-rays.
6) Do NOT try to pull on dock lines to stop or slow the boat. Instead, get the line wrapped around a cleat as quickly as possible. Learn how to "sweat" dock lines and attach them properly to the cleats.
7) Yelling at the Helmsman/Captain/Skipper will only add to the entertainment value for any bystanders.
8) Always look like you know what you're doing.

Practice, practice, and then practice some more.

For a docking simulator, go to the Presidio Yacht Club website.

Hope this helps,

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"

PS When you're really, really, really good, you'll be able to dock without crew...EVEN when you're on crutches! (Yep, I've done it.)
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  #22  
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a good way to practice is to go do figure 8's in reverse out in open water where there is nothing to bump into. Do it in different orientations to the wind and you will have a good idea of how tightly your boat will turn in each direction and how much the wind tends to blow the bow off.
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  #23  
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Docking is an art

Since we don't know the full situation that's giving you the most problems, here is some quick advice:

1) You can't fight the wind or current and win. So, use them to your advantage!
2) The more you practice, the better you'll be.
3) Every boat handles differently, especially in reverse.
4) Unless you have water flowing over the rudder, the boat is going to "prop-walk" when throttle is applied...how much depends on the particular boat.
5) Travel within any marina should be done at the speed at which you plan on impacting things.
6) The rudder is what steers the boat...and it's located in the stern (this is opposite from your car).
7) Communicate the docking plan with your crew well before you approach the dock.
8) Yelling only makes things more entertaining for the rest of us.
9) Always look like you know what you're doing.

Advice for your Crew/Dockhand(s):

1) Communicate the docking plan with the Helmsman before the boat approaches the dock (and before bystanders are able to hear).
2) Preplace dock lines and fenders. Some Captains/Skippers, only need a couple fenders...some should line their entire boat with them.
3) Never run, walking quickly is OK.
4) Step from the boat onto the dock instead of jumping if at all possible.
5) Never get any part of your body between the boat and anything it's going to hit. A fiberglass repair job is cheaper than X-rays.
6) Do NOT try to pull on dock lines to stop or slow the boat. Instead, get the line wrapped around a cleat as quickly as possible. Learn how to "sweat" dock lines and attach them properly to the cleats.
7) Yelling at the Helmsman/Captain/Skipper will only add to the entertainment value for any bystanders.
8) Always look like you know what you're doing.

Practice, practice, and then practice some more.

For a docking simulator, go to the Presidio Yacht Club website.

Hope this helps,

Skipper, J/36 "Zero Tolerance"

PS When you're really, really, really good, you'll be able to dock without crew...EVEN when you're on crutches! (Yep, I've done it.)
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  #24  
Old 06-03-2011
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+1 on practice. I prefer the slow and steady method. My last marina was VERY tight and I had to back in. Could approach from only one direction, not a full boat length the other direction between my dock and the fuel dock. What worked in that situation was
:
1-approach the end pilings to port and perpendicular to my dock barely fast enough to steer.
2- when piling was about mid-boat or a little forward turn starboard about 45 degrees.
3- bump transmission into reverse and use prop walk to bring the aft in line with my end pilings.
4- reverse and forward to keep boat in line until I could grab the up-wind mid cleated line onto a piling.

Did this every time I went out and back mostly by myself. Only had to pull out and try again a couple of times in very stiff cross wind. The key for me was moving SLOW and getting the upwind mid cleat line around a piling, from that point the boat wasn't going anywhere.

Good luck, lots of good advice already in this thread.
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Questions:
Is there any way to start from 0 knots and then back your boat out of a slip without any lines attached? I single hand and find it impossible to untie the boat, jump on and back out. The prop walk makes her want to do a 360 in the slip. Have tried sputs of reverse power but nothing seems to work. I normally have a 15 knot wind trying to blow me back into the slip which does not help.

I have found the only thing I can do is pull the boat out as far as possible, then jump on and reverse out. By this time I am clear of obstacles and the prop walk is no a problem. Boat is an S&S 34.
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My spring line (the one from the stern area) to my midship cleat is my first line to grab and last to loose when docking or backing out.

When comming in it will prvent me from hitting the dock ( I go bow first.) and will do the same when backing out. When backing out myself uncleat it from the mid ship cleat, I can hold it and control it with my hands until I am at the wheel, I can then give the endine some gas in reversae and slowly throw it on the finger opier, dock, or holder when backing out so its in position when i come in to grab

Dave
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  #27  
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The best place to practice backing up is in a mooring field with open mooring balls. You have enough room to maneuver, but still have visual references for speed and prop walk. A channel marker works as second best. Find a slow time when there is little traffic.
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  #28  
Old 06-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Questions:
Is there any way to start from 0 knots and then back your boat out of a slip without any lines attached? I single hand and find it impossible to untie the boat, jump on and back out. The prop walk makes her want to do a 360 in the slip. Have tried sputs of reverse power but nothing seems to work. I normally have a 15 knot wind trying to blow me back into the slip which does not help.
This can be difficult. I've had success by angling the boat counter to the prop walk before engaging engine.
Two examples:

My last boat was a Catalina 36 with pronounce prop walk in reverse that would kick the stern to port. I was tied to the dock on the port side. I would release the lines such that my bow would be angled in towards the dock and my stern away from it. I had another sailboat to starboard but I could get a good 10 degree angle. Then I would engage the engine. By the time I would get some movement, the stern would have been kicked parallel. I could then shift into neutral and use the rudder to steer.

My current boat is larger, Catalina 400. I'm tied on the starboard side with very little room between me and the power boat to port. The alley behind my slip is maybe a couple feet wider than my boat length. I do the same thing here, but it is harder. The prop walk wants to pull my stern to port, yet to back out and then steer out of the marina I need to back out to starboard. Again, I'll angle the boat, bringing the stern into the dock as far as possible, engage the engine until I have motion, then use the rudder. Sometimes it just doesn't work (like today) and I ended up having to back all the way out of the marina.

Dave
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  #29  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casey1999 View Post
Questions:
Is there any way to start from 0 knots and then back your boat out of a slip without any lines attached? I single hand and find it impossible to untie the boat, jump on and back out. The prop walk makes her want to do a 360 in the slip. Have tried sputs of reverse power but nothing seems to work. I normally have a 15 knot wind trying to blow me back into the slip which does not help.

I have found the only thing I can do is pull the boat out as far as possible, then jump on and reverse out. By this time I am clear of obstacles and the prop walk is no a problem. Boat is an S&S 34.
The best solution is to back into your slip, and then to pull out, bow-first, under power, especially with the strong wind blowing into your slip. Sailboats don't usually have much power or control when backing. They do their best when under power in forward gear.

Although you don't mention it, when the wind is blowing 15 into your slip, and you're entering your slip bow-first, you must have some difficulty stopping the boat and getting the lines tied. By backing into the slip, you'll find it easier to get in, as well as easier to get out. Moreover, it will be easier to board the boat at the stern than at the bow, because the bow is usually much higher than the stern, which makes it a longer step down to a finger pier.
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I agree with "fallard". The best way to come into a slip is to use the spring that that prevents you going any further in the direction you are going (whether it be forward or reverse).

If you set up an example - say port tie up, stern in. Before getting anywhere near the slip (berth?) all the port fenders should be ready to deploy as well as bow warp, bow springer, stern warp and stern springer. If I was reversing in and there was someone on the slip to assist, I would come in slow have a crew member throw the stern springer and ask the help to tie up on the forward cleat on the dock. If no one is there, a nimble crewman can do the the job. Regardless of what you do with the throttle or gears, the stern of the boat cannot possibly hit the end of the slip.

I have a 36' yacht and do a fair bit of single-handed sailing. I leave the stern springer tied off onto the forward slip cleat. With some scrap pieces of 50mm PVC we made up a hanger in which the loosely coiled stern springer sits. It is about 4' up from the slip to a 90 degree elbow. It then extends out about 3' into the slip. It is finished off with a "U" shaped piece of PVC in which the loosely coiled stern springer is located, already tied off to the slip. When coming into the slip I do not have to move from the tiller or throttle to pick up the springer. The stern springer cleat is also located near the tiller. Once the stern springer is in hand I quickly pass it under the life lines and rap it around the cleat.

I also know that if I cannot easily reach the springer from the helm position, then I am not correctly lined up. I put the vessel into forward and then come back and give it another go.

Once attached to the slip your next move is totally dependent on prevailing winds and currents.

Hope this helps
Ross
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