SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

Thread: Holding Position Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-25-2009 08:10 AM
christyleigh Actually for me Captain Ron's method is what I use to enter my slip. A lot less speed and bravado of course , but since my boat is European I have right prop walk in reverse so I simply turn left to the dock at maybe a 45 degree angle or less, hit reverse, and the prop walks me to the right, right up to my right side tie up dock. That's if I have to come in faster than usual because of wind or tide, but usually I still use the reverse prop walk to make a square 90 degree turn into my slip area and help to sidle right up to the dock. And I also have to use a similar method when I go next door to Brewers for fuel by making a left turning 180 and using the right reverse prop walk to tightly finish the turn and stop at the fuel dock.
As for your original question knowing your boats Prop Walk is key when trying to hold in place. Also knowing how tight a 360 turn you can make with your prop walk helping you to make it, or how to Back and Fill to do it in a few cuts if you have to when wind is just Not going to let you stay in place. Too many variables to spell out a procedure because every situation is different.
11-24-2009 10:43 PM
The heave-to under bare poles approach

Motorsailing 800 NM back from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego (the infamous Cabo Bash) in 1993 meant refueling in Turtle Bay. The fuel was pumped/siphoned down via a long hose directly from barrels on a dock too rough and high to tie up to so you were supposed to anchor in the fairway and back up to the dock Mediterranean style.

Once your turn was about to come up (sometimes taking a day or two....) it was advisable to try and hold position as close as possible to the vessel being fueled or someone else might sneak in. In our case, we were right after a motoryacht taking on 1500 gallon or so, without anyone having any clue whether this was going to take 20 or 200 minutes.

A stiff wind was blowing straight onto the dock and there was not enough room to make smooth circles. Since I couldn't see myself making forced back-and-fill turns for more than a handful of minutes I started to try and keep the bow into the wind by countering the rudder and applying a little forward power.

Soon we found ourselves effectively hove-to under bare poles; i.e. on bow and rudder alone while slowly drifting/yawing sideways, i.e. parallel to the dock, until we threatened to run out of space and I had to push the bow through the wind with a little extra engine power, after which we would sidle the whole way back on the opposite tack, etc.

After 10 or 20 stressful minutes it was actually starting to become fun, especially when it occurred to me that we should be able to sidle directly into the fairway next to the fuel point, drop the anchor and let the wind push us back to the dock. When our turn finally came, this worked just fine (although we managed to make enough clumsy manoevers with the fuel hose to spoil our brief moment of glory).

As already mentioned by several responders, it all depends on the type of vessel, the local conditions and your own experience. Although I have hit too many docks, pilings and bow anchor stocks over the years to consider myself a hotrod dock acrobat, what I learned from this episode is that being forced to wait and think things through definitely has its plus sides.

Flying Dutchman
11-24-2009 08:22 PM
Boasun Have had that happen to me. But then I was on work boats and if there is another work boat in there, then many times I just come up along side them and wait until they are finished fueling and taking on stores. thus the fuel farm know I am waiting and the boat inside know that they can't hang around delaying getting underway.
11-24-2009 08:01 PM
Sabreman I was thinking of something like this. Rodney is my hero.

YouTube - Caddyshack - Funny Boat Scene
11-24-2009 05:41 PM
deniseO30 Capn Ron's method would be good to have in one's list of "things you can do if you have to" lol
11-24-2009 05:15 PM
JohnRPollard Then there's always the Captain Ron method:

11-24-2009 05:09 PM
klem Depending on your hull design, you can sometime do a really good job of holding position and other times, you just have to head back out. On boats where the propeller is placed just forward of the rudder, you can really control the direction of you thrust and keep the boat head to wind. The technique is to spin the wheel hard over and engage forwards then put it back in neutral just before being pointed into the wind. This does not work on a lot of modern boats where the props are further forwards and there is a lot of windage forwards which make the boats quickly fall off the wind.

There are also a few rare boats that actually hold position really well stern to. These tend to be boats with large rigs placed very far forwards. Just using a little reverse every now and then can keep you in the same spot. You do have to be careful about moving sideways.

Realistically, it is usually easier just to go out and motor in circles slowly.
11-24-2009 05:05 PM
Sabreman I agree with John. Happens quite often in the Chesapeake on summer weekends at the busier locations (Baltimore, Annapolis, Herrington Harbor, etc.) or smaller ports. We do one of three things 1) point the boat into the wind and maintain bare steerage until the situation resolves itself, 2) stand off and circle until the situation resolves itself, 3) max throttle and yell like Rodney Dangerfield. Ok, I never tried the last one, but it's entertaining to watch.

I can't afford to mix it up.
11-24-2009 05:05 PM
CaptainForce I find this situation common while waiting for a bridge opening on the ICW. It's an event that develops great skill in manuvering and if it happens enough in a significant current you will increase your ability to approach a dock in a wide variety of conditions, but I agree, when the conditions are troublesome it's best to double back. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
11-24-2009 04:53 PM
Originally Posted by bacampbe View Post
...if it happens to me again I think I'll head back out to open water and tell them to call me when they are ready for me.
I think that's what I'd do too.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome