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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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Old 09-11-2009
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Red face Docking jitters

My husband and I recently bought a Tanzer 8.5 w/ 15 hp yanmar and the main thing that concerns us is the leaving and returning to our slip.We are in a stern to slip w/ bow mooring but we have Circe sitting bow to for added privacy and better views.Just wanted to put the comment out there to try and get some suggetions on how to aleviate some of our concerns.thanks to all in advance.
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Old 09-11-2009
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Practice, go slow and don't worry - you won't damage the dock. Everyone goes through the same learning curve and trepidation. just like driving a car.
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we're not so much worried about the dock as much as worried about hitting either one of the 38' s/v on either side of us nothing but fenders between us and them,thank for the quick reply all info is helpful
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We were told to go slow until we get experience. Right, so how do we get experience without wreaking havoc on ourselves and our slip neighbors? What we did was to spend a fair amount of time in a quiet cove nearby just starting, stopping, and steering the boat under power. We learned how long it takes to stop, how much reverse is needed to stop short, when and how much does prop walk kick in, how much throttle is needed to ease forward or back, how much forward speed can I scrub off with rudder before the boat turns. Then we tethered a buoy and simulated close quarter manuvers like stopping short, coming along side, and moving away. Then we did it all again on a windy day. We also spent some time practicing heading in and backing in to the marina's empty t heads under different wind conditions. Another thing that helped was to watch more experienced boaters dock their boats. Not sure if all that is how if 'supposed' to be done, but it worked wonders for us. In just this one summer, we have become reasonably competent at docking and undocking.
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It is important to learn how your boat handles in reverse; how prop-walk affects your boat; how it steers in reverse. Take the boat out and try to steer around a fixed object suchas a small buoy to get comfortable with your boats particular hadling characteristics.
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Old 09-11-2009
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Don't worry, I think docking is the part we all hate the most. Practise and don't be embarrassed if you don't land perfectly. We've all been there and my docking still sucks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickanlisa View Post
We are in a stern to slip w/ bow mooring but we have Circe sitting bow to for added privacy and better views.
I agree and in addition, I find that I'm more comfortable with backing out of a slip than I am with backing in. As with most fin keels and spade rudders, prop walk can be tricky at times. A right hand prop in reverse will give substantial stern walk to port making a starboard turn difficult. When backing out of your slip, I've found that putting the trans. in nutral after building a little speed and clearing the dock, will eliminate the prop walk and allow a much easier turn. If you're going to be turning to port, the prop walk will assist.

Yeah, just starting out with 29' of 'barge' out front can be a little intimidating, but with practice and time you both will become comfortable with docking. Until that happens, go with one of my former instructor's philosophies..."when docking, go at the speed with which you would want to hit the dock".
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Old 09-11-2009
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One of the things my wife Glinda and I do is go over what we want to do prior to starting in or out of our slip, this takes some of the nervious feelings away and another item we wouldn't leave home without is a set wireless head sets that we have on, so we can talk with each other without yelling back and forth, it's also very useful when your anchoring, it's a must for us.

Good Luck,

Mike & Glinda
s/v Blue Bayou
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Looks like you've gotten some good advice here. If you google about docking a sailboat, you'll find some detailed info from some experts.

I understand your concern about not hitting the boat next to you. That would make you very unpopular. Does your slip allow you to cross-tie your boat? Ours does...there's a piling between our slip and the next, and we ran a 3/4" line from that piling, parallel to our boat, to the shore/sidewalk. We tensioned the line as much as possible. We call it our "layup" line. If we're docking and there's a strong wind blowing us off the dock, we just give up and let our boat "layup" on the line. No harm done. Then we just take our time using lines to pull our boat (31 footer) over to our dock.

Our layup line is particularly handy if I'm single-handing and the wind's blowing me away from the dock. Easy.

If you don't have a center piling, obviously this technique won't work. Still, do everything within reason to "soften" your slip....fenders, carpet, etc. to shield your boat from anything on the dock that could harm it. Protecting the boat next to you will be a function of as many fenders as you can spare.

If you're backing into your slip, you've added another level of complexity that should be avoided. Bow first is easier. Job one is to not hit the other guy's boat. The view is of lesser importance.

If you go bow in, you can rig a preventer line. Put a line on a piling or cleat at the end of your dock where you can easily grab it as you enter your slip. Your crew will grab that line and attach it to a cleat, or anything solid on your boat AMIDSHIPS. Once that line, of a predetermined length, is attached, you can continue to slowly motor into your slip and that line will force your boat to hug your dock. Note that it must be attached amidships or slightly aft of amidships or it won't work. To far forward and your stern will tend to swing out into the other boat.
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I agree with Mike and Glinda's practice of going over the whole procedure prior to executing. We have been doing that, and we find that it has helped a lot. It is also beneficial in that often Cyn will think of something that I didn't, or vice versa.

To back in or head in really depends on the boat and what feels right for you. We have found that it is much easier to get our Catalina 30 in backwards, in spite of what many people have told us about that particular boat not backing well. The bottom line is to do what works for you.
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