Tips for single handing through Ballard locks? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-21-2013 Thread Starter
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Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

Any tips for going through the Ballard locks single handed?

Run the bow 50+ft line aft to cockpit outside of the shrouds so I can both?

Any other suggestions?
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-21-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

What's the configuration of the locks? If they are like the NY Lock system, I've described my single-handed procedure a couple of times in different threads. Just do a search and they should come up.

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post #3 of 16 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

If you go through the small locks, have a amidship line to secure you to the floating wall bollards quickly. Once secure you can take care of bow and stern lines. Try the small locks first. If in the big locks single handing, try and raft up next to someone else, an extra pair of hands will come in handy.


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post #4 of 16 Old 04-22-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

Matthew: Have you gone through the locks with crew you? I highly encourage you to do it that way first. If you need someone to go through the locks with you the first time you can send me an PM or email.

I hate single handing the locks, but I've done it many times. It is easier in the small locks, but I've done both. You may not have a choice as to which lock to use.

You won't know which side you are tying up on, so put dock lines on both sides bow and stern and fenders all the way around the boat (this took 6 fenders on my Catalina 25, 3 on each side). You need the 50' lines on the starboard side when leaving, port when returning. Run the dock lines under the bow pulpit and loop them over so that a lock employee or someone on another boat can grab them with a boat hook. This is all good practice in any condition, but a requirement when single handing.

Otherwise be slow, calm, and careful and follow their instructions. If you are using the big locks they'll put you on the outside of a raft up (usually 4 deep), make sure that you don't approach until the previous boat has already tied up. It is unlikely that they will raft anyone to you. It is almost certain that they won't put you onto the wall.

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post #5 of 16 Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

As mentioned, get a 2nd person the first time or two. ONce you know what goes on.....then single handing as I did last friday and sunday eve for the first and 2nd times were not that hard. I was in the small locks, so not too bad.

THey do recomend that you secure the aft end first, which I did, I also had a 50' line tied to eas front cleat lead back to me, so I could use it sooner than later if need be to hook up to a bollard. Coming back being as you are at the same level as the lock folks, they will reach over with boat hooks and help you. Going to the lake is a bit trickier except when leaving, since you will be lower than them. Hopefully you do not get one of the lock masters that likes to boat hook the upper rigging, this seems to make things harder, altho they think it makes it easier!

Then was Alex coming into the north end of shilshoal about 530 or so sunday evening? I saw a P28 tan in color coming in as I was going north. name began with an e then a V?!?!?!?!

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post #6 of 16 Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

A nice tidbit of navigating the Ballard Locks HERE.

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post #7 of 16 Old 04-23-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

That sounds like me Marty, though I don't have any tan on my boat (the hull is white). The boat's name is Elena and it has a navy dodger and sail cover. It was my first time single handing on this boat, and I had a great time once the wind kicked up. There was a C&C 32 just ahead of me that is more tan, so you might have seen both of us.

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post #8 of 16 Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

Alex,

Yes, Elena from looking at the back could be correct. Did not look real close as I was literally going out as you were coming in. I do recall a C&C in front of you, along with another C&C?!?

THe shadows/sun angle at the time could also have caused some tan in the boat hull look too. Or possibly my sunglass's for that matter too. I was on my way back to edmonds from going thru the locks for the 2nd time singlehanded as mentioned on here earlier.

TOok a swag that it might have been you after you were going the other way.....

Mathew missed a great race out of meydenbauer YC, there were two other R24's he could have race against that were part of Renton sailing club. THey also had a SJ 24 in the same group too.

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post #9 of 16 Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

Yes, there were 2 C&Cs (one 32, one 38), a Hunter 33, and myself all coming in at the same time. There was a PSSG meetup group event over in Port Orchard that I crashed the end of, then we all sailed back together when the wind picked up. It was a really nice day to be on the water...even just when motoring over.

I think I saw you and waved to you as you headed out while I was going in. Maybe that was a different boat.

It's not too late to sign up for the SYC Tri-Island race this weekend. I'm signed up in the cruiser/racer category and would love to see some more ~200 PHRF boats in the fleet (right now there are two of us, a Santana 27 and my Pearson 28-2).

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Last edited by Alex W; 04-24-2013 at 01:27 PM. Reason: thread hijacking since 1974
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-26-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Tips for single handing through Ballard locks?

Thanks everyone!

Is it true that even for the small locks you must use 50 foot lines?

I have read this is so because of the unlikely event that the floating bollards get stuck and do not descend when going from lake to sound.
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