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  #21  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

The key to backing with minimal prop walk is to use short, sharp (high rpm) bursts on the throttle - get moving fast enough for steerage, then go back to idle. If you do that you can even go through neutral and idle it in forward, the prop walk from being in forward at idle will cancel the port prop walk in reverse that you got from the short burst.
By short burst I mean a second or two - if you can see the boat is moving that's probably two much. Large boats change directions slowly, but then inevitably keep going because of the small car's worth of weight in lead on the keel.

The other way to eliminate prop walk is to get a maxi prop, the blades reverse.

Setting up your slip is the other key, spring lines should be rigged for easy pick up on the very first piling you come up to. Note I said lines, two, one going forward and one aft.
Once you have to lines in your hand from the pier you can do practically anything, you can cleat one and use the other as a breast to get the bow/stern in etc.
With just one line all you have is a noodle if you it is in the wrong direction.

If you are going into a guest slip you have to work it as best you can. Preparation is the key, including dock line selection - they should ALL be at least as long as your boat so any one of them can be a spring line. You should also have at least four fenders sized appropriately for your boat (nothing under 8 inches diameter for boats you can't just pull in with a hook, those tiny fenders are worse than useless).

I hate slips with no fingers at all and tend to back into them as I'm too old to climb over the bow to get back on the boat - as the stern passes the pilings I put two quick lines on - one on each side, then I work them while backing to keep the stern centered and off the dock.
The bow takes care of it self as the outer pilings keep it out of trouble until you are well back in the slip.

Parallel parking with minimal room is trickier, and helps is there is someone on the pier.
Getting off is easier, as long as you have 3 or 4 feet of room to stern.
Keep a short line on the stern and have it well fendered, let go the bow (you can push it, but wind and or current will laugh at that) back hard down turning the stern into the pier and against the pilings, the bow will turn out. Its like bouncing against a curb. Then go forward and back until the bow is clear.
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  #22  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
Springline is your friend. Check out this out and get the Jack Klang video.

Cool Tools – Single Handed Docking and Sail Trim with Captain Jack Klang

It really works and well worth the cost of the video. Good luck !!!
It looks like this video isn't easily available anymore. The Captain Jack website is gone (the link from CoolTools doesn't work) and Amazon lists the video as unavailable.
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  #23  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

For the guy with the O'Day 25, I'd buy a single track mounted cleat first and try it out. I personally found them annoying on my similar Catalina 25, they really liked to grab the genoa sheets when we were out sailing, and then someone would need to go forward to clear them. Trying to shadow the cleat behind a stanchion eliminated most of this, but made it harder to use the cleats. After a few months I stopped using them.

A sub-5000lb 25' boat with an outboard that pivots lets you get away with some things that are a lot harder to do on a larger and heavier boat. It's been a learning experience for me going from a 5000lb Catalina 25 with an outboard to having a 8000lb 29' boat with an inboard. This thread has had some useful tricks.
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Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

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Originally Posted by Alex W View Post
It looks like this video isn't easily available anymore. The Captain Jack website is gone (the link from CoolTools doesn't work) and Amazon lists the video as unavailable.
Anyone wants to borrow mine, just pm me.
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  #25  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Technically a spring line is led from the bow to a piling behind it or the stern to a piling in front of it.
I was taught that a spring line could leave any cleat and go any direction that prevent for/aft movement. To properly identify it, you would say:

[name of cleat on boat][direction of travel from cleat] spring line.

ie: bow aft spring line, or mid-ship forward spring line, or aft forward spring line, etc.
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Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

When you are next secure at the dock, prepare a spring line that runs from your mid-ship cleat to a cleat on the dock closest to your bow, if backing in, or stern, if going in bow first. Make it a different color than the rest. Say it is red, if the rest are blue. A spliced eye should lay over the mid-ship cleat and tied permanently to the dock cleat.

As you approach, you can ask someone on the dock to hand you the red line and lay the eye over the mid-ship cleat. Leave her in gear at idle and you will remain pinned against the dock forever. Works in forward or reverse, as long as that is the way to set it up to begin with.

I also keep guests sitting down by lying to them that I can't see. However, the above method is easiest for them to handle too. Stand them next to the mid-ship cleat and tell them to put the red line over it. No need for smart nautical stuff for the guest or the dock hand.

Finally, you've probably heard...... slow is pro. You should only move fast enough to gain rudder authority. If unaccustomed to maneuvering backward, practice approaching empty mooring balls. Also, when in reverse, do not be shy about using your bowthruster. Sure, you should be able to dock without it. However, going backward, it is your rudder.
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  #27  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

Quote:
With just one line all you have is a noodle if you it is in the wrong direction.
It doesnt work in every situation like this. I agree with evrything which was posted, but in a scenario like our slip the best line to grab is a single line which is permanently set up at the coorect length on the middle piling in our finger pier. This piling when the boat is actuly finally docked lies slightly aft of amidships. This single spring cant act as a noodle and prevents direction fore and aft. Also much easier to only have to grab on line initially than try and balance two IMHO.

By grabbing this permanent spring line first and dropping the loop over the midship cleat you have eliminated forward motion to hit the dock or rearward motion to drift out of the slip. We also have permanent spring lines on the forward and rear pilings which are much longer lengths whic get applied later as part of the final tie up.

Again the main thing here is to get captured and stop movement. There are many differing ways to accomplish this and somke depend on current, wind and whatever your particular slips nuances dictate. There is no one absolute correct way. In YOUR OWN slips you can do things permanently to make things easier.

Comming into a slip with no lines is always a challenge. As Chuck said getting lines aorund the first poles you pass is a good start and you can use these in combination with your engine to prevent hitting the dock or drifting out while you get the next lines. Getting a line to a midship cleat is usually the great stabilizer if you can also get that line to a piling amidship also.

Practice is the nest teacher so when you are faced with docking in a strange slip you know how your boat handles, and if you have help howto direct that person. This by the way should be talked through BEFORE you hit that slip like agreeing on wind direction current etc. We travel a lot in The lI Sound etc and getting a slip or vgetting fuel is common in strange places. Its good to stand off a minute and acccess the situation with your partner and get your plan together discussing the variables before just charging in.

Dave
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  #28  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

Quote:
[name of cleat on boat][direction of travel from cleat] spring line.
Yes I was taught the same way. Our first spring line is then our midship static ( it can go forward or rearward as it is on a puiling in the middle of the boat) spring line then correct?

I agree we have this line and the other two springs colored differently, bow aft and stern forward are red. Midship static is Yellow. Bow and stern blue.

I laughed when you told how you tell you guests that you need to see so sit down. I used to do that and one of them lept forward out of the cockpit and stumbled up to the bow to get out of my line of sight as I just shook my head is disbeleif.

Dave
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Re: docking alone

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Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Yes I was taught the same way. Our first spring line is then our midship static ( it can go forward or rearward as it is on a puiling in the middle of the boat) spring line then correct?....
If I understood you correctly, this line is essentially straight out from the boat from the mid-ship cleat. You can move only slightly for or aft of it, like a bow or stern line. If so, the only disadvantage is that you can't put it on until you are almost exactly where you belong in the slip and must be pretty close the first try (you must be good!). The method I posted above allow you to get it started when half way in and the extra length would still allow you get it over the cleat, if a couple of feet off the dock, and it will automatically pivot you toward the dock when it fully extends. You have to leave the transmission in gear to hold you on the dock.

No right or wrong way, as long as we all get settled and the ritas are cold.

Quote:
I laughed when you told how you tell you guests that you need to see so sit down. I used to do that and one of them lept forward out of the cockpit and stumbled up to the bow to get out of my line of sight as I just shook my head is disbeleif.
I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that now. We should start a thread on unbelievable guest moves.
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  #30  
Old 12-09-2012
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Re: docking alone

Over the years I've learned a lot about docking single handed, and there is a major difference between how the varios keeled boats handle backing up. For example, when I had a Catalina 27 with a fin keel and tiller steering, I would put the engine, Atomic-4 inboard, in reverse, gun the engine a bit, shove the tiller hard to port and within seconds the boat was manueverable and I was able to slip into the pier just like I was parking a car. It was a piece of cake.

Now I have a Morgan 33 Out Island with a full keel. Full keeled boats are much more difficult to manuever in reverse, and often they just prop-walk in various directions with no steerage in reverse. YES - different directions of prop-walk. I know it sounds weird, and most folks would scoff at this, but when I experienced it, which has been on several occasions, I was flabergasted.

Consequently, I try to utilize all the elements at hand, wind, tidal currents, prop-walk, etc... It took a bit of practice, but I'm now at the point where I think I could park this hull in any slip where I have 10-feet of fairway clearance - I've done it a dozen times during the past two months and under conditions where people on the docks are amazed. When I docked at Saint Augustine City Marina, a location where the tide screams through the floating docks, the dockmaster asked if I would nose into the slip just to be on the safe side. I said I would rather back in to facilitate easier departure in the morning when no one would be there to assist me. I correctly gauged the wind and current, slowly eased the boat into the fairway, cut the wheel hard to port, and when the boat was 10 feet from the boat opposite my slip, I quickly put the transmission in reverse, turned the wheel to starboard and gunned the engine. The boat came to a stop and with a bit of forward and reverse jockying and, of course, steering hard to port and starboard at the same time, I was able to back the boat directly into the slip, never touched a piling, and stopped it a foot from the pier. At that point the dockmaster slipped a line on the stearn and I proceeded to tie off on the pilings. All of this took less than 2 minutes, but when you're maneuvering between yachts that go for several million dollars each it sure brings out the pucker factor. When I stopped the boat there were a dozen people on the dock applauding. I'm not sure if they were applauding my docking skills, or applauding that I didn't damage their boats in the process.

Bottom line - go out to a soft marker buoy and practice backing down with your boat to that bouy from various directions. Learn how YOUR boat handles in the wind and tidal currents, and what is the best method of approaching. It takes a bit of practice, but in the end you'll feel a lot more comfortable when entering a strange marina.

Good Luck,

Gary
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