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Old 11-03-2013
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Learning to dock shorthanded

My wife and I have been struggling to find a good docking strategy when it's just the two of us. I'm at the helm and feel comfortable using the motor to control forward / aft movement, but there is a moment when we always lose control of either the bow or stern. Right as we lose forward momentum one of the ends of the boat tends to drift perpendicularly to the dock. I have no idea how people single-hand docking.

Anyway, what are the best strategies for docking short handed? We've been tying a line to the shrouds and using that as a beam line, but it hasn't been very smooth...
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Old 11-03-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

You may be dealing with prop walk, the tendency of your stern to go one way or the other depending on which way your prop is turning. It's more pronounced the slower you go, and also more pronounced in reverse.

On my boat, the prop pushes the stern to port when in reverse (I back into my slip.)

Figure out how your prop walk affects your boat and plan for it. This may mean putting the boat into a position that looks wrong until the last moment when it all comes together, and your wife drops a line on the cleat to golf claps from impressed observers.

Also, a bit of advice that I got here on sailnet: they call it a rubrail for a reason. I enjoyed docking a lot more--and was better at it--once I stopped worrying so much about incidental contact with the dock.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

I think our problem may be more fundamental - prop walk is certainly an issue but isn't very pronounced on our folding prop. I think we're trying to do to much with only one or two lines; I want to stop the boat from progressing forward (hitting the gear box is no fun), as well as prevent a perpendicular current from pushing either our bow or stern into the next boat over.

We have two (sometimes three) docking lines - a line from the bow through some cleats, a stern line, and a "beam line" tied to the shrouds. The most difficult docking is when the current is from behind, pushing the boat forward into moorage. If it helps, we try to tie the beam line up to the middle cleat as tight as possible and then deal with the sideways movement with the fore/aft lines.
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Old 11-03-2013
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklumpp0 View Post
I'm at the helm and feel comfortable using the motor to control forward / aft movement, .
Means you are not comfortable doing the things your expecting wife to do and she may be clueless at this point.

you tube has hundreds of learn to sail dock, anchor etc videos.

Dock or slip? There is a difference. Current wind prop walk and inertia of the boat should always be accounted for. I dock single hand all the time because every time I've ever tried it was "practice" Most of the time, I step off the dead stopped boat (no rush or wild jump) bow and stern lines in hand. Or at least what ever line is towards the current or wind. I would suggest, you teach or have someone else teach the Mrs. how to steer and use the fwd neut and rev to practice bringing the boat to a dead stop while the current,, wind, prop walk or combination of all ease the boat alongside the dock. If you ever fell overboard it would be a good thing for her to know how to handle the boat too.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Awesome link, thanks
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

If you do a search on the site you should find this covered many times. One of the favored teachers of short or single handed docking is Capt. Jack Klang. He is a proponent of spring line docking and it does work. It is not a matter of too few lines, in most cases it is trying to do too many of the wrong lines.
Google Capt. jack or got to Quantumm Sails website and he is covered there.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklumpp0 View Post
I think our problem may be more fundamental - prop walk is certainly an issue but isn't very pronounced on our folding prop. I think we're trying to do to much with only one or two lines; I want to stop the boat from progressing forward (hitting the gear box is no fun), as well as prevent a perpendicular current from pushing either our bow or stern into the next boat over.

We have two (sometimes three) docking lines - a line from the bow through some cleats, a stern line, and a "beam line" tied to the shrouds. The most difficult docking is when the current is from behind, pushing the boat forward into moorage. If it helps, we try to tie the beam line up to the middle cleat as tight as possible and then deal with the sideways movement with the fore/aft lines.
Stern line first.

Go on you tube and look up spring lines. Very very handy tricks to learn.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklumpp0 View Post
Right as we lose forward momentum one of the ends of the boat tends to drift perpendicularly to the dock.
I keep forward momentum as I pull into my slip. I hold a bow and stern line in hand, shift into neutral, step onto the dock and hook the stern line around the aft horn of the cleat on the end of the dock which when taut stops forward momentum. I whip it around the cleat a few times then move to the bow and cleat it.
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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

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Re: Learning to dock shorthanded

You should be able to hold your boat on the dock with just an after midships spring line, and the proper amount of forward power and rudder angle. Set the rudder to hold the bow against any crosswind. Then you can secure the bow and stern lines at your leisure.

The best way to practice this manuvoer , is to practice when preparing to depart. Ease the bow and stern lines a bit, use power on an after midships spring to completely slack the other dock lines. Use the rudder keep the boat parallel to the dock. When you are comfortable with maintaining the boat attitude, take in the dock lines, then the spring just as you back out.

The trick in docking is properly setting the after midships spring as you enter your slip, then control the boat by power and rudder angle.

Try "midships spring line" in Google.
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