Docking under sail... DDW??! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 32 Old 09-18-2007 Thread Starter
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Docking under sail... DDW??!

Ok, I had an odd run-in with the docks yesterday. I was docking under sail (there is no motor on this boat I was using) and I was on a downwind run.

I decided to not follow the golden rule and "only go as fast as you are comfortable hitting the dock" as it was mainly a metal frame with wood for walkways. This would have been a disasterous event, as the spreaders keep this boat from blowing the main when DDW/

I turned and headed up, and just gently beached the little boat on the cove across from the marina, but this raised a question I have not had to ask before...

How do you do this? Should I have headed into the wind, and backed water with some sort of backed sail? Should I have just used the jib only and let it fly when I needed to stop?
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post #2 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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There is no such thing as stopping when going ddw regardless of what you do with the sails. About the best you can hope for is slowly kissing the dock. Our first boat was an E27 with no engine which was kept on a mooring in Newport and when we did have to approach a dock ddw, it was with the jib only and at an oblique angle when possible. The fun part is trying to get into a slip with other, ususally very expensive, boats around.
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post #3 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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The best thing to do when docking in a slip where you're facing DDW is to drop or furl the sails and let the wind push you into the slip. If you want a bit more control...keep a bit of jib up, but you probably won't need it.

Don't forget, you can bleed off quite a bit of momentum by turning the rudder from side to side...

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post #4 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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I'm sure it's not a universal rule, but for obvious reasons, I don't know of any marinas in Narragansett Bay that permit docking under sail . . . at least ones with "very expensive boats around".

There was a young French, transient sailor at our marina for a couple weeks a while back, without power. He would always come in solo and dock in and out of his narrow slip under sail. For some reason, management was oblivious to this - as far as I knew. Truely amazing helmsman skills, and no damage was ever done to adjacent boats.

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post #5 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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Are we talking a slip or a dock here? A slip dead-downwind is almost easier, since you are end-on to the wind as you enter, taking the above advice.

If a dock, with nothing but a long wharf face and no way to avoid the ddw approach (ie no corners or other edges to come alongside). Then drop sail as close to the dock as you dare, let the boat fall back parallel (tricky once you're bare poles) and have the fenders ready. Helps to have folks on the dock to help fend off too.

In really screeching conditions, you may have to just wait it out, find another windwardish spot, or risk your gel coat. Or take a lesson from the big ships, who hire tugs to push or pull as needed for a soft landing.

One thing I've thought of, but never had to try -- head up, drop anchor well out from the dock, douse sail as you drop back (anchor better hold though, or your stern is toast). Fenders (or people fending you off ) catch the stern and get a line on, then you get the wind on the "desired" side to swing the bow in as you pay out enough anchor rode to keep the forces in check. Once you're alongside, let out more rode so it's lying on the bottom and out of others' way. Then just heave in when you want to leave the dock. I'm thinking of a fuel dock, you're out of fuel, and you just *have* to come alongside in spite of the crappy wind speed and angle.

Anyone ever try this? I'm curious to see if it worked.
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post #6 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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When about 50 yards away from the dock drop the main. Then once 25 yards away let the jib out completely and furl (if you have one), or you can drop it but make sure it doesnt fall in the water! Another option is to take the slack out of the jib and just hold on the the very end of the jib sheet. Of course depending on wind conditions you must change the distances but this is a good base rule for when you have straight downwind shot into your slip in (8-15 knots). Remember to take current and tidal ebbs into account on your approach.

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Last edited by VASailor10; 09-18-2007 at 01:50 PM.
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post #7 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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Many years ago I used to sail an Oday Javelin (14 ft daysailer) on Lake Michigan. This is when I lost all respect for power boat drivers. Because I kept her on a trailer, I had to sail in to a boat launching ramp. We had a dock next to the ramp, which would have made it easy, except for the power boaters. One sails in only as fast as one is willing to hit the dock, and because I was doing less than 40 mph some ahol in a power boat would punch in ahead of me, and I would have to go around again. And again. And again. And again. Fortunately, I usually did not have a pressing urgency to land before dark, because I sometimes would repeatedly abort attempts to land for hours. I once landed by coming alongside the fifth power boat that cut me off, and was verbally abused until I left the boat and walked over to the person and offered to kick his butt (I was careful to select a somewhat smaller person.) Take my advice -- buy a small outboard for landing purposes!
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post #8 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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We have a tight marina and our slip is in the inside corner with boats all around. I know its not glamorous, but when the wind is at all a factor I will simply coast in as close as I can, come to a dead stop a slip or so down from my spot and pole myself in piling to piling with the boathook. No damage, no nervous stomach, no glory! Other days I try to coast/turn and back her in with the motor using prop walk, very elegant like (50% chance of embarrasment, 100% rush when it works!).
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post #9 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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Whenever possible I come into my slip without power, it is so much quieter. I will drop the main first since it is a pain to get down due to full battens etc. Then when I am down to about one knot and the right distance away based on the wind direction and strenght I get my crew to pull the jib down and then we glide into the berth.
Slow is good and it helps that I have an outboard rudder so I can scull a bit if I judge wrong and run out of steam.

In the old days when I was much fitter I sailed a 26 foot boat single handed without a motor. In that case I dropped the jib early and moved it away rfom the bow to faciliate docking. Then when I judged my speed to be about right I dropped the main. It would come all the way down by just releasing the halyard.

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post #10 of 32 Old 09-18-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAGTIMEDON View Post
Many years ago I used to sail an Oday Javelin (14 ft daysailer) on Lake Michigan. This is when I lost all respect for power boat drivers. Because I kept her on a trailer, I had to sail in to a boat launching ramp. We had a dock next to the ramp, which would have made it easy, except for the power boaters. One sails in only as fast as one is willing to hit the dock, and because I was doing less than 40 mph some ahol in a power boat would punch in ahead of me, and I would have to go around again. And again. And again. And again. Fortunately, I usually did not have a pressing urgency to land before dark, because I sometimes would repeatedly abort attempts to land for hours. I once landed by coming alongside the fifth power boat that cut me off, and was verbally abused until I left the boat and walked over to the person and offered to kick his butt (I was careful to select a somewhat smaller person.) Take my advice -- buy a small outboard for landing purposes!
I had this experience earlier this summer. I finally ended up doing much tighter circles off the end of the dock than I was really comfortable with (it wasn't my boat; it was a Bucc 18 someone loaned me) just to keep my place in line. Docking is one of the primary reasons I got a little motor for my trailer sailor.

-Andy
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