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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > Trying to leave the dock
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Thread: Trying to leave the dock Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-09-2007 11:57 PM
tenuki 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.
06-09-2007 11:52 AM
KKaptainKen Rogan;

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.
06-09-2007 10:58 AM
Rogan Thanks for all the help everyone. Finally got some lessons on board the boat. Of course we wanted to practice docking. We turned when our instructor told us to and totally missed our slip. After three more attempts our instructor deemed the boat one of the hardest to dock boats she has been on. We have a shoal keel and one of the smallest rudders ever. The boat is a bear to get turning. But pulsing the power seems to get the turn going and practicing spring lines tied to the dock will probably be the way we operate her in the wind when leaving the dock.
06-04-2007 04:07 PM
welshwind
Bow sailing

Isn't the condition he is talking about known as bow sailing? If I encounter that situation, I simply let the wind take the bow downwind and back up stern-to-wind until I get to where I can manuever. Once I learned to NOT fight the wind and to use it around the dock, it all became much easier. This type of backing hasn't required dealing with the springs lines and such.
06-04-2007 03:44 PM
duffer1960 I use the aft spring line technique also and it works great. My dock is on the starboard side of the boat; the boat walks to port when in reverse; I need to swing the stern to starboard when backing out. The springline on the aft starboard corner enables me to do that. I play with the tension on the line while backing out to keep the boat parallel with the dock, once I am out far enough, I hold the line fast, and the stern swings around.

If you don't want to use the spring line technique, you could pull the old spin-o-rama technique; it works great with a fin keel: once out of the slip, turn hard to starboard and give forward thrust, just enough to get the bow rotating starboard, then switch to reverse without changing the rudder angle; this checks forward motion and walks the stern to port. Before the boat starts moving backwards too much, shift into forward again; this stops backward motion and swings the bow starboard. Just keep repeating the process until you are pointed in the correct direction. Remember, keep the wheel turned to starboard at all times. I can spin my 38 footer on its keel using this technique.

Note, if your prop walk is to starboard instead, then reverse all of the directions above (keep the wheel turned to port at all times).

Yeah, people may think your crazy, but it works.
06-04-2007 03:02 PM
sailingdog I'm not a big fan of using Polypropylene for dock lines. It is significantly weaker than nylon and far more subject to UV degradation IIRC.
06-04-2007 02:37 PM
sailaway21 Rogan,
In general, I would always recommend getting your spring lines out first. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that you should have at least one spring line on the dock before you run any breast or head/stern lines-always. A spring line can, quite easily, become a breast line, or even end up a stern line. But a head line or a breast line will little serve you when you really need a spring line to work against. The reason I say always is that nature is fickle. If your engine control is going to fail in the ahead position, is it going to fail during the hour trip up river, or is it going to fail in the five seconds before you need to move it to astern to prevent ramming M/V Legal Beagle? There is nothing like a spring line for controlling the vessel alongside. And, as Val says, you should leave them rigged at all times when alongside. In a situation where excessive strain is placed on your lines, ie...collision, large surge, tide/current, the breast lines will always part first. Your springs and head/stern will part last, and prevent you fro doing the severe damage more likely to result from running ahead or astern. The suggestion on polypropylene is a good one as it floats in salt water, but will not take the strain of other synthetics.
06-04-2007 10:08 AM
Rogan Thanks for all the responses everyone. It's much appreciated. I've already read Jack Klangs PDF on docking but there wasn't anything directly addressing the conditions we found ourselves in. Keeping the boat backed in might definitely be the solution although then getting the boat docked might well become the problem. But we're going to try the port spring line as well.
06-04-2007 09:53 AM
sailingdog
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailaway21
Rogan,
You might wish to peruse the thread called "docking tricks" in the seamanship forum. It contains many stories, 37 of 'em, on how to avoid merging fiberglas with immovable objects. If you are feeling particularly beset by the forces of wind and tide, you might consider reading the thread in "Off Topic" called "ouch". It won't tell you much, but it will sure put your woes in perspective. (G)
Merging fiberglass with movable objects is almost as bad... And Cam's Ouch thread will be a classic.
06-04-2007 03:06 AM
sailaway21 Rogan,
You might wish to peruse the thread called "docking tricks" in the seamanship forum. It contains many stories, 37 of 'em, on how to avoid merging fiberglas with immovable objects. If you are feeling particularly beset by the forces of wind and tide, you might consider reading the thread in "Off Topic" called "ouch". It won't tell you much, but it will sure put your woes in perspective. (G)
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