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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Re: Protocol for entering new marinas.
Donna's pretty much got it.
Your biggest issue as I see it is that you're not yet fully confident in how your boat handles in tight situations. I'd really suggest finding a place to practice that is relatively open, with a dock you can pull up to from a variety of angles and directions and do just that.. practice practice practice. Often a fuel dock is a good place for this (after hours, of course) They often are well protected around the edges with bumper rails etc and also may have lines to grab waiting on the dock.
There's a saying that goes 'never approach a dock faster than you're willing to hit it' but there comes a time when too tentative an approach can get you into some trouble. That's why I say find a way to practice, know how quickly you can stop the boat with reverse, know your turning radius at various speeds, know and use whatever 'propwalk' you have.
If you have a folding prop AND your boat steers well in reverse (not always the case) then it may be wise to back into an unfamiliar docking situation. By backing in you have better 'brakes' when you apply power in fwd gear. You have a better view of where the leading end of the boat is, but be aware that the bow will swing in the opposite direction in a turn.. and having backed in, leaving will be more straightforward.
We know plenty of newish sailor's whose high-anxiety trigger is having to dock the boat.. the only thing to do is practice and perfect your technique in as many situations as you can find.
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Last edited by Faster; 10-12-2014 at 01:22 PM.