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post #1 of 19 Old 07-07-2014 Thread Starter
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Docking and Undocking

I found these helpful instructions on docking and undocking today:

Docking and Undocking - BoatSafe.com

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It's inevitable that when conditions are at their worst, you'll have an audience. Prior planning and practice will not only keep you and your passengers safe and protect your boat, it will also help you avoid serious personal humiliation.

Undocking Plan

When the wind or current is pushing your boat away from the dock the procedure is simple.

1. Cast off lines and pull in fenders as the wind blows you away.
2. When clear and safely away from the dock and other boats, shift to forward and depart at idle speed.
3. Be careful to make sure you have been pushed safely away and that the stern will not hit the dock as you motor forward and turn. Remember: A boat does not steer like a car, it pivots on its axis.


If the wind or current is pushing your boat toward the dock you will have to do some extra planning.

1. Cast off all lines except an after bow spring line. This line will keep you from moving forward and allow the stern to pivot away from the dock. (see illustration)
2. You may want to use a fender forward to cushion the bow of the boat against the dock.
3. Turn the motor or rudder to the direction necessary to push the stern away from the dock.
4. Shift into forward at idle speed. Slowly, very slowly.
5. The stern will swing away from the dock. When it is clear of all obstacles and traffic, cast off the spring line and back away from the dock.
6. When you are safely away, shift to forward and idle away from the dock.

Once you are clear of the dock, stow lines and fenders so they will not be in the way or pose a tripping hazard. Be sure to control speed when leaving the dock and check for other boats, swimmers or other obstacles.
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1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-07-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Docking and Undocking

More interesting info on docking:

Docking in Currents

The basics of docking - Consumer Products | YAMAHA MOTOR CO., LTD.

Timuquana Country Club - Dock

Docking in Style - with Twin Screw Boats : Boat Handling


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-07-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
It's inevitable that when conditions are at their worst, you'll have an audience...
Truer words were never spoken

95 Catalina 30 Island Time

The sail, the play of its pulse so like our own lives: so thin and yet so full of life, so noiseless when it labors hardest, so noisy and impatient when least effective." - Henry David Thoreau
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-07-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

Moon em!
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Denise, Bristol PA, Oday 30. On Tidal Delaware River, Anchor Yacht Club.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-07-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

Well how timely,
We have had our boat in a marina here in Nanaimo's Newcastle Channel for a few months now. The fingers at the marina are perpendicular to the current and the prevailing winds.
Unlike most people in the marina we actually use our boat, but with the way the marina was set up we have been man handling our boat in and out of the slip.
The marina was set up for maximum slip space and not for ease of getting in and out.
We have grown tired of this so we have moved or boat out of this marina. Now we have lots of room, no current and are sheltered from the wind. And it's cheaper too.

We have three rules;
No screaming.
No bleeding on the sails.
No slobbering on the charts.
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-07-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

I suppose there are many more possible combinations of wind, current, docking space, etc. I suppose the best thing is to be aware of what's going on, have the knowledge how your boat behaves and what tools you can use (like your spring lines, roving fenders, etc) and then make a detailed plan ahead of time (with plan A, plan B and maybe even plan C) and communicate that thoroughly with your crew. Having someone on the dock to help is a great tool.
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-07-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

The slips in our marina are into the wind during the summer. I have to make a RH turn into my slip for a Starboard tie. This past Friday, we had a 15+ knot headwind wind and with my slow speed non-manueverabilty, things got real sporty. Long story short, I blew the first landing, got turned around, and blown against the boats and pilings on the other side of the fairway, needing 2 helpers to keep us off sterns and poles... finaly got her in on the
3rd attempt. The good boat suffered only a broken stancheon where one of the helpers pushed hard using the top of the stancheon. Bent right over and cracked at the bottom. Weld job coming.

I guess my point here is all the training in the world still boils down to decision making. Do I or don't I attempt? What are the alternatives? If I do attempt and things go sideways, what might be the results?

Dave

Allmand Sail 31 #15 "Traveler"
GOD, Family, career
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-08-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

Thanks for this advice! I'd rather read and learn from others mistakes than to learn from expensive mistakes of my own. Granted there is no better lesson than experience. Also thank you for the suggested websites. is there any other free reading online. Is there some good books I should pick up on sailing. I know there are probably thousands of books out there on sailing but as with anything there is a select few that top the rest. I need a good A-Z. Thanks again for these sailing know hows!
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-08-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

Docking and undocking is a skill that must always remain in a constant state of improvement. Just Sudnay I saw a guy with a beautiful 50 footer get blown broadside against the stern/bow of all the boats on the dock. I saw this happening from a mile away when he was making his fourth attempt to get into his dock. For one thing, he had his anchor hanging from the bow. That is never a good sign. I was buying ice at the marine store and I got the marina to send 4 guys out to help him because you could just see what was going to happen. He ended up on the lee side of the alley. We had him stable but he decided to "throttle" his way out again and raked his whole side with a powerboat anchor, swim platforms and other assorted appendages sticking from the boats. I should have just told him to stay put, and let's think this through, but he just wanted out of there. At that point he was resting safely against a couple of pilings. I was tempted to just ask him if I could pull it in for him, but that is complicated, of course. The damage was heartbraking to watch as it looked like it was slow motion. Beautiful blue gelcoat with big scrapes down the side. The toe rail has major gouges in it, and at least one bent stantion that I saw. I was able to get a fender on my stern to fend him off. He was yelling at his wife to "push him off" but really she was just putting herself in harms way. In that 20 knot wind, there is no "pushing" that boat off while he throttles through it. There has to be ten grand in damage that didn't have to happen.

He came over and spoke to me afterwards, but what can you say to this guy? He thinks he needs significant speed to make the turn into his slip which always seems to have him busting into his dock way to fast and then full reverse to stop it. Sure, he needs to keep way, but not that much way. And, he can just throttle a bit during the actual turn to help swing her around. This can be practiced away from the dock. It is very concerning to see him that out of control and willing to put his wife in the middle of it. I am tempted to leave a note on his boat offering to go out with him and practice a little.

I come down the alley between 2 and 3 knots. That is usually plenty to make the turn. If I need to, I can throttle a burst or two when the rudder is hard over to help. I have the fenders out at this point. The spring line is waiting on a hook on the dock. One crew or me simply has to run up amidships and take the line off the hook and put in on the cleat. At this point I am slowly entering the slip enough away from the dock that the fenders wont be rubbing, etc. I judge my distance from the dock by this piling on the other side. "Way" here is just enough to keep some control. Then, I just grab the stern line with a boat hook. Once the spring line and stern line are on the boat, I can gently throttle forward and pin the boat against the dock on the fenders. All the way in I am slowly hitting reverse so that we don't bounce off the spring line, but rather get to the end of it, and then put on some pressure. If it is blowing hard away from the dock, then I need just a bit more throttle to pin the boat. Then I can leisurely go up to the bow and secure that line.
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-08-2014
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Re: Docking and Undocking

I look at sailing the same way I look at riding a bike.
You can read all the books you want but you will never know what riding a bike is like until you actually get on one and start pedaling.
Start off small and learn from your mistakes. If you are like most people you will only make those mistakes once.....or maybe twice.
A small boat is less expensive to own, maintain and repair. Start off small and work your way up.

We have three rules;
No screaming.
No bleeding on the sails.
No slobbering on the charts.
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