I've read a lot of posts regarding single handing on this forum. Have even posted a number of items myself. But fair warning, this is going to be a long thread, and before someone asks what's my point, let me answer. It's mostly in jest, so read and enjoy. Maybe post some of your own experiences. And don't hesitate to offer suggestions as to how to do it well using some of your favorite techniquies.
It's an admission, despite messing with sailboats for 43 years, I still don't quite have it down pat (of course, being from the south might explain some of that, because, everyone knows those guys aren't quite as smart as people from other parts of the country).
It's an aknowledgement that lots of sailers can do it well. Why, many places 15-20 kts. is the norm (true) and people routinely single hand boats of all sizes, some up into the 40-50 ft. range. And they single hand docking routinely in the 25-35 kt. range, and occasionally, there is a post of single handed docking up in the 45 kt. range. Oh, I forgot to mention, those are crosswind dockings. Now, I've got to admit, I believe some of those docking stories are a little like fish stories, but I could be wrong. Anyway, let's push on....
(The system dropped me out on an edit with the details, so I'll try again another day).
I really was going to publish some YouTube illustrations that I think would have interesting:
Docking with Crosswind....I'm afraid it looks like this sometimes and I want to avoid it this way.
Come in hotter, but you might get this result.....been there, but hit only once and no VW.
At about 20 kts., at my marina, the waves look like this. No good for the boat if I'm single handing.
And if I mess up on the approach on my dead end fairway, there is no escape and I could wind up like this:
In 20 kts. I will be making a downwind/crosswind approach into the slip. The southwest wind gives me a 45 degree starboard bow crosswind in the dock. My boat is 11' 9" in a 14' slip. I did some measurements, and cross slip movement in 20 kts. will be about 3/4 kt. or 1.2 ft/sec., so I don't get very far in before hitting the leeward piling....I stop at that point because I don't want to damage the stanchions or sides. Then stabilize the boat so wind does not drag it out of the slip. It's tied up at this point and I can work to get proper lines on and finish the docking. If I don't get far enough into slip or the situation stabilized, wind will either sweep me out of slip or bow down on neighbor. It's never pretty by myself. To get that far into the slip requires me to be at the wheel actively trying to manage the bow into the slip and to complete the 90 degree turn. I know people say "spring lines" but I have to get a certain distance inside the slip before I can use it. And in the few seconds that I have, I can't even get from wheel to the piling to place or pick up that spring line. Anyway, that's the way I do it.
Even went to Pier 39 in San Francisco three times to see how they did it....picked wrong days, I guess, not much wind at pier, but plenty out on the bay. Locally, no one goes out when it's 20 or above anyway, except this one old guy with a 15 ft. Westwight Potter. It gets choppy with the shallow water so it's not too much fun. I thought I would learn from the long distance cruisers at our marina (4 or 5) but they never go out unless they are leaving for the Bahamas.
What I strive for and hope to attain some day is docking ability like this.
At any rate, I've never done this. But if I do, I hope the girl in the blue bathing suit is there to help.