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post #21 of 24 Old 07-06-2010
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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
For effortless 'dock/slip' landing .... tie a 'sissy line' between the longest distance between to the pilings that are on the 'usual' windward side. Affix a 'line' somewhere near the middle of the boat and affix a large 'carabiner' to the end. When 'coming in' just snap the carabiner over the sissy line and let it slide along the sissy line ... will hold the boat in place temporarily quite well.
Rich calls it a sissy line, I call it a buddy line, that is that line between the outer pilings and the dock, parallel to and on either side of the boat when itís in the slip. Itís great for your home slip.

Re: my post above about my July 4 crosswind docking: the rest of the story.

As I explained in the post above, there was not time to use a spring line in that case because of a combination of strong crosswind, narrow slip, and maneuvering requirements. Where I left off was: the boat is resting against the downwind outer piling and the buddy line, and only partially in the slip. How to get the rest of the way in? Iíve found that single handing docking/undocking goes better if I can do most of my evolutions from the cockpit. Running up and down the deck takes time, and takes one away from the controls. To that end, I have a turning block attached to the bow stem plate (or alternately, to the midship cleat for same function depending on what I plan to do), and a long line led through this block. On one end there is a carabineer hook (great for quickly hooking one line to another). The carabineer end is run outside the life lines back to helm area and secured there. The other end of the line runs back to one of the primary winches, two wraps on winch, then terminates into a turning block with cam cleat that I have attached to the push pit rail. I have a second shorter line with carabineer hook for the stern which I secure to the stern cleat. These are not dock linesÖ.they are just docking assist lines. When boat is in the correct position in slip, they will be removed after normal dock lines are in place. The concept to two sets of lines: dock lines and docking assist lines opens up all sorts of possibilities to simplify short handed docking. Back to the July 4 situation: Clip the long carabineer line onto the buddy line at the bow and use the winch (if required) to pull the bow off the downwind buddy line (the carabineer slides towards the bow on the buddy line as it is taken in). Get the stern off the downwind piling using the short carabineer stern line at the midship cleat and clipped onto the buddy line. Use engine to power ahead to position the boat and place dock lines in place. Remove docking assist lines. All of this can be done in a leisurely fashion.

My take on single handingÖdo it, but start in mild conditions, experiment, and work up to more difficult situations. Plan ahead and preposition lines. If you donít have a midship cleat, get one that mounts on the genoa trackÖ.they are expensive but well worth the expense. Use temporary dock assist lines that you tailor to your particular boat and slip. The spring line concept really does work in many situations, but not always. Have a plan for each situation. If it looks confusing, do a drive by or just lay off the dock area while you sort things out and preposition the lines. Almost every time Iíve gotten into trouble, I either didnít place the assist lines correctly, or in a hurry, decided to skip them this time, only to find out I really did need them. If things begin to go wrong, if you can, abort the landing, go out and start again from the beginning. Always have boat hooks (I use two, one at helm station and one on cabin top) ready. Occasionally, things go really wrong and you find yourself docking in the wrong place, so have at least two unattached lines on deck ready for these situations. If you are going to need fenders have them on deck, sometimes pre deployed, sometimes not, depending on whether they might get hung on something in the docking process (then things do begin to go bad). If you contact something hard (piling, dock, other boat), stop the forward motion immediately and secure the situation with those extra lines/fenders mentioned above and then calmly study the situation to see how best to get out of it. Read/study other peopleís ideas/techniques, including Capt. Klangsí.
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post #22 of 24 Old 07-06-2010
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Never a bad idea to keep the motor running as a backup in an iffy situation. Glad I could help.


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post #23 of 24 Old 07-06-2010
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Thanks for your docking description. We have similar boats and similar docking says he can/does use the spring line, one says there is not time enough to use it. A couple of comments:

You say to come in a little hotter in high wind conditions and use the momentum/speed to carry you into the slip after you make your turn. My slip is relatively short...once the outer piling passes the helm station, I have only about 3-4 feet in which to stop the forward motion of the boat. On at least one occasion (not single handing) in a significant crosswind situation, I was unable to stop the boat (no damage, but rattled the anchor pretty loud), so I tend to be careful about hot landings. In my docking post, I was coming downwind and used reverse to check the forward speed, but just enough so that I still had good rudder/directional control. I agree that you must maintain good rudder/directional control. Also, in my case, by the time I reach the outer piling to place a spring line, my bow is ~ 3-4 feet from the pier, and if I miss, or fail to get the slack out, I've crashed against the pier. Also, laying against a piling (if you don't do it too hard) is not of itself bad as it gives something to pivot on or work against, but bow falling downwind is another story if there is no buddy line to hold it). Again, thanks...I'll re-examine my docking situation with your technique in mind.....Edit: I've thought a good bit about your technique, which works for you, but given my relatively short slip, I believe that I have less potential for damage to go slower and allow the boat to rest temporarily against the downwind outer piling and buddy line as opposed to coming in hotter, trying to get that spring line on, and then stopping in 3-4 feet. One fumble on the line or backing down and I have damage for sure while that outer piling isn't going to hurt the boat if I come against it easy and stop forward motion immediately. On a similar transient slip without buddy lines but with outer piling, I would preplace my two 15" round fenders at the bow on downwind side to protect the neighbor's boat and use a line from leeward stern cleat to the outer leeward piling (put it on piling the second that I stop forward motion) and and then back to twist the boat into the slip center, and work from there to get it fully in. However, if the slip were longer, I would use the spring line approach with the line such that I could control it's length from the helmstation.

Last edited by NCC320; 07-06-2010 at 08:50 PM.
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post #24 of 24 Old 07-06-2010
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NCC, I hate docks like yours but visit one often all summer long. In the case of this slip it is more difficult and in their case there is no piling between boats which makes it even dicier in big wind. I always request a downwind dock to stay away from the slip neighbor, but get it only about half the time.

If the wind is light I just use the spring line in my hand because of the short dock and cleat it off when I have the boat in position. I do use less throttle on this dock as it is steel at the the bow and I don't like steel much.If it is going to blow me off the dock I still come in with enough way on to control the boat but still stop it. In that case I use an even longer spring looped back to itself. I can still tension it by hand on the dock cleat but know it will stop me.
Your statement that you are pinned to the downwind post and only 1/3 into your slip would cause me to add speed to control where the boat is going. We have pretty heavy boats and even 1-2 kts of speed gives you total control of where she is going. I have been in that position in strange ports, and avoid it like the plaque.
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