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post #41 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Maybe I just have an easy slip. I just got my first bigger boat this year and was nervous about docking. I have to say that I find there is nothing to it. I tried it once with the wife onboard but told her to let me do everything. Was a piece of cake. I have since gone out singlehand several times and never have an issue docking. I am the clinton river and the slips are right on the river. I just drive up the river and make a left turn into the slip. I bring the boat to a stop, kill the engine and grab the boat hook. Snag my two back lines, then hop off and grap my bow lines off the wall and tie up. Just for the hell of it I tried backing in and had no issue at all. Just backed right in. Although I could not tie off that way because the slip is not rigged for it and I think I was bottoming out because I could not get less than about two or three feet from the seawall. And its a tartan 30 which I have always heard was a pain to back up. I found no issue at all. Not sure what gives but I never even think/worry about docking. Was/is way easier than I was thinking.
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post #42 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Abraham, next time, try backing in from the other direction. Then I suspect you'll understand why people say she doesn't back well.

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post #43 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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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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post #44 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

This is my procedure for docking stern first. Rather than re-type from a post I did on another website, I just provided a link. I hope that's not bad ettiquete. I don't necessarily wish to steer people away from Sailnet.

Association Forum - VK docking system in pictures
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post #45 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

We, my wife and I, are both in our mid 60's and had to struggle with docking. She just didn't have the arm strength, and I didn't have the skill, to stop our boat, 36', dead in the water at a dock. We switched roles and with the aid of a "Docking Stick" and our center cleat we now have no problems docking. We have found out that she has a much 'softer' touch at the helm than I. Hope this helps.
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post #46 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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Originally Posted by bshock View Post
This is my procedure for docking stern first. Rather than re-type from a post I did on another website, I just provided a link. I hope that's not bad ettiquete. I don't necessarily wish to steer people away from Sailnet.

Association Forum - VK docking system in pictures
Looks like a nice simple system.

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post #47 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Something that was drilled into me was
1.rudder only steers when water moving across it.
2.only get prop walk when prop is spinning
3. when bow goes to right stern goes to the left( and vise a versus) e.g. boats especially fin keel boats pivot

therefore when docking and want boat to steer not walk use very brief but strong bursts of engine with neutral in between
Use the pivot to your advantage.
use the wind to aid docking. if wind pushing you into slip and docking bow first ghost using bursts of reverse to position boat
go as slow as you can.
don't stand behind the wheel constantly or be stuck on side where throttle is -move around to see where you really are.
my 2 cents

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post #48 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

I never leave the dock alone. The problem is that I just can't predict what conditions will be when I return. The wind can be on the nose, to port, to starboard, or behind me. Currents run parallel with my slip. The exit to the marina is to the left in the pic below.

Here is my situation;


I'm in the slip occupied by the boat in yellow. You can see that the fairway is tight, and there is usually a SeaRay 340 in the slip next to me...


My boat is 35' long, and I believe that the distance from the piling to the end of the slip is about 33'.

Here is another view;


What I do when leaving is; Double the green line on the bow. Start the motor, cast off all lines except the green bow line, put the boat into reverse. Because prop walk will push my bow to starboard, I do not let the crew on the bow release the green line until the bow swings to port (or is next to the finger pier). I even encourage them to give a tug on the line to help pivot the bow to starboard.

If the crew on the bow releases the line early, and the bow does not swing to port, I will back down the fairwary.

When returning;

I have fenders out, and bow, stern and spring lines rigged before I enter the fairway. When I enter the fairway, I have crew go up to the shrouds (the red arrow), with the spring line (red) in hand, and prepare to step onto the dock. As soon as they can, I have them step onto the dock, and secure the spring line first. I then put the boat into reverse to stop any forward momentum, and prop walk pushes the stern to snuggle against the dock. I then tell them to QUICKLY go forward, and grab the port bow line (green) to keep me from swinging into my neighbor's SeaRay. As they do this, I step off and secure the stern line.

I am open to suggestions, but I can't imagine doing this single handed.


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post #49 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

I would want to be in the Searay's slip. That would help with your approach and launch. And if you need to dock on the Port side then get a slip on the opposite side of the main dock. Put a request into the yard to be relocated, I had to wait four years till I got what I wanted. And I have the same issue you have, my boat is longer then the dock finger making stopping the boat with the dock cleats difficult, needing to tie a dock line off up near the companionway.

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post #50 of 66 Old 11-06-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
I never leave the dock alone. The problem is that I just can't predict what conditions will be when I return. The wind can be on the nose, to port, to starboard, or behind me. Currents run parallel with my slip. The exit to the marina is to the left in the pic below.

Here is my situation;


I'm in the slip occupied by the boat in yellow. You can see that the fairway is tight, and there is usually a SeaRay 340 in the slip next to me...


My boat is 35' long, and I believe that the distance from the piling to the end of the slip is about 33'.

Here is another view;


What I do when leaving is; Double the green line on the bow. Start the motor, cast off all lines except the green bow line, put the boat into reverse. Because prop walk will push my bow to starboard, I do not let the crew on the bow release the green line until the bow swings to port (or is next to the finger pier). I even encourage them to give a tug on the line to help pivot the bow to starboard.

If the crew on the bow releases the line early, and the bow does not swing to port, I will back down the fairwary.

When returning;

I have fenders out, and bow, stern and spring lines rigged before I enter the fairway. When I enter the fairway, I have crew go up to the shrouds (the red arrow), with the spring line (red) in hand, and prepare to step onto the dock. As soon as they can, I have them step onto the dock, and secure the spring line first. I then put the boat into reverse to stop any forward momentum, and prop walk pushes the stern to snuggle against the dock. I then tell them to QUICKLY go forward, and grab the port bow line (green) to keep me from swinging into my neighbor's SeaRay. As they do this, I step off and secure the stern line.

I am open to suggestions, but I can't imagine doing this single handed.
My dock set up is almost identical to yours. True, you will never be able to predict what the wind will be doing later, but it should be able to be handled. My boat is a C34, so 35' LOA, and I single hand 90% of the time and dock without help almost 100% of the time.

I have one long spring line that is measured and marked for my slip. It runs from the mid ship cleat, or a shroud on other boats I sail, outside the lifelines to the back cleat. That line is dropped over the cleat or post on the end of my pier and I control it as the boat moves forward until it stops 6" from the bow touching the dock. Nobody jumps off and does anything quickly, it is controlled and so far never an accident.
The worst winds for me are a N or NE wind on my stern as it forces me to come in a little hot. However, I have done it in above 30Kts of wind with little problem. A E wind wants to push me off the pier, but the spring controls that and snugs me in.
I use the same spring line when traveling, it is just not pre measured. Once that line is on I am comforable with a port of starboard tie.
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