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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 07-04-2011
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Sailing into Your Slip -- Ready or Not

Iíve read about boats that do all kinds of maneuvers under sail alone, such as grabbing moorings, and docking, but hadnít done much of it myself until today (July 4) -- though it wasnít on purpose. My wife and I were having a decent time on the Patuxent River, when at a time I had lowered the engine to move into a different position, we found that the ďrunĒ switch on the engine wouldnít engage, and we were without an engine. This happened between a half mile and mile from the breakwater of the marina, so after consulting the engine manual (Mercury 9.9 Bigfoot long shaft, and considering calling BoatUS, we decided to sail in.

We got through the breakwater okay, but had a difficulty with the current in sailing toward the dock. Once we passed the docks, we raised both sails, and sailed in a big circle preparing for a second pass. As we neared the proper dock, I could see that we needed more power (we had turned and lost most of our speed because of wind direction), so, we lowered the sails for safety and used our paddles to get into our fairway. Once there, we snagged the bowlines and pulled ourselves in.

Itís not something I want to do everyday, but itís nice to know that we could do it.
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Old 07-04-2011
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You must be down in/near Solomons. I'd do it every time if I could. There's just not enough breeze in my creek, no matter which way the breeze is blowing. It's very sheltered.

After every race, we'd sail to the marina dock without the engine just because we could. It was great for proficiency.
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Old 07-04-2011
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Arknoah, that is good improvisation! Unless pulling into the slip is dead upwind, it is doable.

Your experience reminds of my experience in my first ASA class (101). The mainsail tore and became unusable followed by the outboard not cranking. Two students and an instructor sailed back to the marina and docked with only a foresail. The experience was a great lesson.
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Old 07-04-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alive3and3Well View Post
Arknoah, that is good improvisation! Unless pulling into the slip is dead upwind, it is doable.
On the contrary, dead upwind is quite do-able - and an awful lot safer if there's quite a breeze blowing at the time.
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Old 07-05-2011
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Same happened to me once. It started me on years of sailing without engines. (I do use one now)
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Did it all the time with my Columbia 24 back in the day ('70s) but not since with the bigger boats I've owned. A relative let me keep her at his dock and there was a fair amount of room to maneuver to deal with whatever wind conditions we had. My dock now is a half mile up a fairly narrow creek off the Chesapeake after a zigzagging narrow entrance channel. Not much room for tacking. The iron sail is a virtual necessity.
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Old 07-05-2011
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I have done it plenty of times on left coast and would not be afraid to do it on Cheseapeake if I had to. Only caviot is bridge in Sassfras River. I would have to make sure it was up in plenty of time before I got there. But I would be prepared to drop hook in middle of river if I had to wait. Would not do so if I had alternative but I know I could do it.
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Old 07-05-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
You must be down in/near Solomons. I'd do it every time if I could. There's just not enough breeze in my creek, no matter which way the breeze is blowing. It's very sheltered.

After every race, we'd sail to the marina dock without the engine just because we could. It was great for proficiency.
Yep. We're right across at the Naval Air Station, the West Basin Marina.
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Old 07-06-2011
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my parents used to sail into their slip all the time at the St. Francis Yacht club with a pearson ariel. My father tells me that he would use the hatches (and subsequent air flow through the cabin) to help steer the boat into the slip. I was too young to remember it, but having walked past the St. Francis marina a few times, I am very impressed with his skills now that I sail my own boat.

Here's a picture of the marina:

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Old 07-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arknoah View Post
Yep. We're right across at the Naval Air Station, the West Basin Marina.
I'm doing the Eastport-Solomons race on July 15th and will be malingering in the area for the Screwpile Regatta. Maybe I'll see you there.
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