SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Sailing into the slip 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)
09-27-2012 01:46 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

When I first started sailing at about 14 years old with my dad, he never had a motor on any of his boats. So it is good to know how to do it all with out a motor. But the motor sure makes it easy...
09-27-2012 12:46 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
I think that capta said it accurately - do it when you have to but hedge your bets. But it's good to know that you could. Again, the variations are infinite and I certainly would not attempt every one of them nor would I do it in every type boat. I'm not that crazy.
Maybe your quote should be "probably could". Nothing is 100%.
09-26-2012 10:31 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

I've argued against doing this, but I can also see the benefit of doing a "practice run" into the gas dock, T-end, or mooring ball when conditions are favorable. It is a good skill to have.

However, I think doing it every time with traffic and other boats around is a little reckless for any boat over a thousand lbs or so displacement (i.e., too large to easily paddle out of trouble).
09-26-2012 10:20 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

I think that capta said it accurately - do it when you have to but hedge your bets. But it's good to know that you could. Again, the variations are infinite and I certainly would not attempt every one of them nor would I do it in every type boat. I'm not that crazy.

Those on SailNet who know me understand that I'm not foolhardy or a show-off (ok, maybe a little) or would risk anyone's vessel. I just think that it's a good skill to have in one's back pocket. It's not like I sail around my marina without an engine for kicks....

Can you do this single handing?
In anything with a sail up to 22', sure. In a laser, I'd try it standing up just for fun. Did pretty much what I described in a GP 14. Exhausting but fun.
09-26-2012 09:26 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

Agree with above. A good seamen/women reduces risks. And a major way is not to take any unecessary chances, and keeping all your equipment in good working order.

Sure sailing a small light weight boat into a slip may be somthing you can do on a daily basis. have a problem, just kick off the obsticle with your foot. A bigger boat forget about it, you are only endagering your crew, your boat, and others' boats.
09-26-2012 09:16 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

Practice, practice, practice? Let's be serious!
Sailing an 84' passenger carrying schooner 2 or 3 trips per day; practicing sailing to the dock is not something you do. Can it be done? Of course, and I did it when I had to with 40 passengers, very little wind and too much current to wait for a tow (they were called). Any dock, the easiest dock! Definitely a tow from there to our dock.
If one has the confidence and skills (you will know when you do) then there is no need to show off or practice. Racers are by nature show offs, not that I'm criticizing, mind you, and in theory they are a crew who works fairly well together, but still, why?
As for the anchorage scenario, let's be a wee bit serious here.
If your anchor is dislodged by a dragging boat (most likely he's alongside you doing damage, dragging both of you into someone else), but if not, you've still got all that tackle down; how are you going to sail? No engine to power up on it to pull it, in that much wind (you certainly can't sail up on your anchor in a crowded anchorage)? So now you are dragging, possibly dislodging others' anchors; you are going to hoist sail? I kinda think you've not thought your scenario; it's a lose, lose situation that no amount of practice, skill or forethought can help. If this happens you are going to have to deal with it in real time, period.
If any of you doubt that you have the skill to sail into the slip, then keep sailing with lots of room around you and get a good feel for your boat. One day, if Murphy has his way, you will be forced to sail to to a dock. Don't think about your slip, just find an easy, long and open dock and get your boat, crew and self there safely.
We often sail our boat on and off the anchor here in the West Indies. But if there are ANY other boats anywhere near us, the engine is running, even if it never goes in gear. I sooner sink my boat before I'd do damage to anyone's else's boat.
Those who sail without an engine, again why? Even a small electric motor can save your boat or someone else's from unnecessary damage. For those on a very limited budget, at $120.00 a year ($10.00 a month) for emergency towing, really!!!!
If you're going to sail into a slip near me, I won't think you're a great sailor, I won't have a beer with you or even drink mine with you. I'll think you a fool and a menace.
09-26-2012 01:42 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

My only time sailing into my slip (almost) was when I broke the run switch on my outboard, and my wife and I had to sail into the marina and almost to the slip -- but we couldn't make the turn into the fairway and had to paddle as noted in yet another sailing blog entry:

Get My Boat Back in the Slip Without an Engine? You Betcha! | ilyasadventures

It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be even for an inexperienced sailor, and if we happened to be at the end of a dock, we would have been home free. One thing for certain is that our fairways are narrow enough that we would need to be exceedingly careful to sail all the way out and in on a regular basis.
09-25-2012 05:42 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

Originally Posted by Sabreman View Post
Woof. Difficult, but not impossible. In my boat...... hmmm.. interesting problem... let's see ...

The fingers aren't too bad, directionally. The angle is good for sailing - exiting is far easier than docking. Certainly, there won't be much wind in there due to ghosting by the buildings so too much speed shouldn't be a problem. Nor is current a problem. The leward slips are easy - I'd hug the windward (right), bleeding speed and letting sideslip drive me to leeward. There don't appear to be slips per se, so it would be port side of the boat to the dock. Windward (right side) slips are harder, especially the ones at the head of the finger. Same tactic, but I'd keep up a little more speed and get a line on a piling fast.

I think that coming off one of these buoys is harder in this situation because there is almost no room to fall off. But I'd use an old dinghy tactic and lead a mooring line to a stern cleat, then unfurl the jib and off I go downwind without worrying about falling off and sliding into another boat before I had enough way. Picking up a mooring would probably be for me the biggest challenge because there is only one shot to do it. I'd approach headed downwind under jib alone and then do a U turn to pickup. My biggest worry would be that most sloops require something a boat length to turn so it would be tight.

I'd give it a couple passes then commit. Maybe anchor to windward and kedge downwind.
Can you do this single handing?
09-25-2012 05:35 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

Sabreman, I would love to be there with a video camera when you attempt that in Boot Key. BTW, Boot Key, as anyone that has ever been there will tell you, can be pretty windy and rough. The buildings are nearly all one story, thus very little protection from the winds. The mooring balls are so tight that you wonder why boats are not slamming into boats during a tidal change or wind shift, the the fairways of the marinas are really tight - kinda like Annapolis Harbor.

Good Luck,

09-25-2012 01:10 PM
Re: Sailing into the slip

Originally Posted by crstophr View Post
The less money you have the more essential it becomes. If you can pay someone to regularly inspect, maintain, and replace your engine then you're far less likely to have a failure requiring docking skills under sail. If you can afford boat towing insurance you at least have a backup plan when an engine fails.

It could also be essential if your means of communication is cut off for some reason. Radio failure and a dead cell phone for example.

If you need to sail on a tight budget with a cheap old "fixer-upper" boat the relative cost of paying for mechanics to do your maintenance plus extra towing insurance may for some be too much. It's not a valid assumption to believe everyone has towing available. Paying for a tow without insurance in this case could be 50-100% the cost of the boat. It could actually make more financial sense to scuttle the boat and buy another old one than pay to tow it home and then pay to repair or buy a new motor. That's when sailing onto the dock becomes essential to the wallet and happiness of someone who has a greatly reduced boating budget.

When my outboard failed I could have just kept sailing. While I was working on the motor at home I could have still gone sailing without it. I decided not to because I consider the motor an important safety and convenience factor even if it's not essential.

Marina pricing does tend to keep us segregated. Folks in this situation won't usually be in the same marina with the $250k yachts. I'm in such a low rent Marina and am surrounded by boats in deteriorating condition. I watch people sail in and out of their slip and on and off the dock all the time. Some even have working motors but just choose to sail. Some have no motors at all. There are no marina rules prohibiting it. I'm constantly inspired by the skill of these sailors. Watching these folks do this casually is what motivated me to learn.

Each marina may have a different set of rules. We have to select them based on cost and whether or not we can live with those rules no matter which side of this debate you're on.
I don't have much money so I learned how to work on my 30 year old 20 hp inboard yanmar diesel. Has not failed me yet and it was pretty abused when I got it- stalled going into the dock on my first sail when I hit revese, but runs like a kitten now after some good maintenace.

I have a towing policy in case of engine failure but also in case of a major rig failure like a demasting. A tow off shore could cost me in the 10s or thousands of dollars. Towing insurace is relatively cheap.

As far as lack of radio, there are other signaling methods besides the radio (flags, mirror, whistle, horn). I once gave another sailboat a tow to his slip when his engine failed. He waved me down. He could not sail into his slip as there was no wind- totally calm.
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