Learning to dock shorthanded - Page 4 - SailNet Community

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  #31  
Old 11-05-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

To the OP, what size boat are we talking here? Full keel? Fin? Spade or skeg rudder? Predominant winds? Tidal directions, etc....? There's so little info available yet there's a ton of different advice... All well and good, but ultimately very confusing, no? Our marina makes anyone look like a hero... Predominant winds and tide are N/S, as are the slips so we're either sticking the bow or the stern into the wind 99% of the time. Motor in, slow down, turn, a little reverse in the last three feet with compensation for prop walk, stop, step off the boat, and tie up.

The last marina was always a cross wind, sometimes very strong... Blow off in the summer, blow on in the winter. The spring line method was the ticket 99% of the time. A full keel boat would have had to use a stern line to back against to,swing a bow out when leaving their slip... In the end, better advice can be given if we're aware of the variables.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

It's a fin keel, spade rudder, 33 foot. The predominant winds are north/south and the slip runs north south. My slip docks pointing north, which isn't so bad with a northerly. The more stressful docking is with a southerly pushing us into the dock. The other stressful component is when the current pushes the boat away from our side of the slip (starboard dock), where prop walk doesn't help.

The hints about the spring line and leaving the boat idling forward sound useful. I'm going to give that a couple of goes this weekend and see how that runs.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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Originally Posted by jklumpp0 View Post
...
The hints about the spring line and leaving the boat idling forward sound useful. I'm going to give that a couple of goes this weekend and see how that runs.
That's the attitude! Again the suggestion that you begin your practice first properly secured to the dock. By easing the bow and stern lines you can work up to the point where with only the spring line in use, you are both keeping the boat against the dock with adequate power and using rudder to maintain a parallel position. Depending on the wind direction and the precise location of the spring line, the boat may want to rotate, thus the rudder use.
Practice with just the spring line to get a feel for applying power and rudder angle...
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

I have been single handing for many years. (get your minds out of the gutter!) I seldom can rely on company or even someone on the dock to help me out without making matters worst. I have put much thought into how to design something to assist at this. I am a mechanical designer, mostly large facility and hospital environmental systems. I did design, but never built, a bow catcher device, V shaped stainless steel frame that attached to the dock with pivots (so frame can move up and down) and with fender floats to hold the V frame up. When you pull the boat into the V the floats would allow the frame you sink down but supply resistance to stop the boat. The boat would kind of ride up on the frame and floats, with the shape of the hull it would sinking the floats and end of the frame. When the boat stopped and settled into the resting spot by the floats rising to the surface and pushing the boat back into it's final resting spot. Floats would have to be sized for the weight of your boat.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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Originally Posted by jklumpp0 View Post
The other stressful component is when the current pushes the boat away from our side of the slip (starboard dock), where prop walk doesn't help.
In that case use a mid shop line attached to a cleat if you have one, or a shroud. Get that line to a cleat or rail on the dock. Then you can get the rest of the docklines attached.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

You could also try something like this:



The lines between the "cheater line" and the bumper can help keep the bow centered in the slip as you enter. If used in conjunction with the spring line, the boat should basically dock itself.

(OK, that last sentence was a bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea...)
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

My wife and I bought our first "big" boat back in January, went from a 25' to a 36'. It was a huge learning curve. What helped us a lot was our taking two docking lessons. Expensive? Maybe, $300 per day (about 6 hours each), but when compared to the cost of our boat and the boats around us it's pocket change.

One thing the lessons DID NOT adequately do was teach us how to combat the cross wind. We decided pretty early on that we liked docking stern first. Our so-called professional instructor for the second lesson could not safely dock stern first without the wind blowing our bow into our neighbor. (The first lesson the wind was pushing our bow into our finger pier, so that was easy). So I came up with our own method that has (so far) worked perfectly every time. So if you're interested in backing in, let me know. It's a bit complicated and hard to explain. I wish I could get someone to take a YouTube video of it, but it's always just me and my wife on the boat.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

With some more experience, I might try backing in to also utilize prop walk. But for now I'd be happy with a soft-touch landing
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Someday we will all be able to do this;
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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Originally Posted by bshock View Post
It's a bit complicated and hard to explain. I wish I could get someone to take a YouTube video of it, but it's always just me and my wife on the boat.
Go for it. I like complicated?
Step by step, we can follow.
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