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Old 06-09-2007
KKaptainKen's Avatar
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I think Welshwind's "Bow sailing" is the key and backing into the slip is the answer.

We once had our Endeavour 37 in a North "pointing" slip and could always count on a brisk South or South-west breeze in the late afternoon or early evening when we returned from a cruise. The Endeavour has a shoal keel and prop-walks to port in a big way. (I tell people that the boat can only go in two directions ... forward and sideways!)

After much practice and trial and error, I found I could cruise along about 15 feet from the ends of the finger docks (the boat heading West) at idle speed or in neutral until the boat's midship portion was adjacent to our slip. At this point I would slide 'er into reverse. The boat would slow and stop; the bow would start swinging to starboard ("bow sailing" toward the North); the stern would start walking to port. If I timed everything right, the stern would be even with the slip, stopped, and the boat at about a 45 degree angle pointing North-west, so to speak. Then, applying more or less reverse thrust as the bow continued to "sail" North, I'd just back right in.

When I got good at it the dock idlers were all impressed; I almost looked like I knew what I was doing. I never bothered to correct that assumption.

Make a few (about four) buoys out of empty milk jugs, string of suitable length and some bricks. Find an out-of-the way spot, stop the boat and plant the buoys a suitable distance off your boat's beam to simulate the width, length and orientation of your slip. Then practice, practice, practice!

As others have pointed out, the trick is to learn the way your boat moves under given conditions of wind and engine power and then USE this instead of trying to fight it. Good luck!

Just my two cents.
Cruisers don't have plans ... just intentions.
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Old 06-09-2007
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Spring lines plus a wheel at the corner of the dock you are gonna pivot on should work fine. I've seen people actually just manually maneuver boats out of difficult slips from the dock with lines, yank em around and get em pointed the right way from the end of the finger peir, then step on and motor off. Nothing says you have to do it the hard way.

I was out with a friend in his cape dory 28 the other day and we were practicing spinning the boat with propwalk, power bursts against rudders, etc. It was pretty cool, you can actually just more or less sit there and spin if you need to and are in practice, but I finally mentioned that I wasn't a power boater and would like to do some sailing. hahah.

capt ken has it right, make some buoys and go out and spend a whole afternoon practicing someplace wide open where a mistake won't mean anything.

Last edited by tenuki; 06-09-2007 at 11:02 PM.
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