Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Houston TX
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Re: Sailed singlehanded for the first time yesterday.
As mentioned, go slow. Go as slow as you can and maintain steerage. I go bow in first with the pier finger on port. When I give a shot of reverse thrust, prop walk pulls me to the dock and stops the boat. If the wind is behind you go to neutral earlier than you would normally think. I leave the dock lines on the dock so when cleated on the boat it's perfect every time. I step off with the oh sh** pole, aka boat hook in hand (if windy) and cleat the midships springline first, then the stern, and bow last.
If there are people on the dock, pretend they are not there unless they offer help. Then tell them exactly what you want.
I find it almost easier to do by myself than with crew assistance.
Everyone has their own method but this has always worked for me even in windy conditions.
BTW, I really enjoy taking people out but singlehanding a sailboat is one of the greatest pastimes known to man/woman.
Also, if you don't wear a PFD in the cockpit, at least put it on if you leave the cockpit.