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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > docking alone
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-10-2012 06:37 PM
chef2sail
Re: docking alone

Sounds like my mom. She is 85 now, buty in the day in her 60s she could stil,l drive a car with a clutch although her enormous Buick Esate Wagon ( boat) had automatic. My dad had a Porshe 911 and one of those old Trans Ams with the Big Red Bird on the Hood. My mom burned out 3 clutches in 4 years taking the Trans Am once in a while. What we didnt know is she couldnt put the car in gear with the clutch in reverse so she always parked in a parking lot was away from everyone so she wouldnt have to reverse this 450 hp monster car. I got a call on day to pick her up as someone had parked in front of her and she was aprked in. When I got there thats what happened she was on the out reaches of an empty parking lot with a VW bug parked in front of her and no one else within 200 yards. Reverse to my mom in this car and on our sailboat was another curse word
12-10-2012 06:24 PM
smurphny
Re: docking alone

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
I have a friend with an Alberg 35 that I go out on a fair amount. I thought my boat like other was difficult in reverse and the knowing the prop walk made it manageable, but his boat is damn near unpredictable.

They are beauties and especially to those of us who appreciate the "older classic syles" and have learned to sail in that era.

Dave
Reverse is always a surprise and something to be avoided at all costs! Last year in Menemsha, the dockmaster hollered to me that I could fit right in on the far side of the fuel dock and then back right out....RIGHT. I would have wound up tangled in Quitsa's swordfish pulpit.
So many people have no clue as to what you can and can't do in one of these.
12-10-2012 12:54 PM
chef2sail
Re: docking alone

Quote:
On my A35, I don't even consider backing in anywhere if the boat has to maintain direction in reverse.smurphy
I have a friend with an Alberg 35 that I go out on a fair amount. I thought my boat like other was difficult in reverse and the knowing the prop walk made it manageable, but his boat is damn near unpredictable.

They are beauties and especially to those of us who appreciate the "older classic syles" and have learned to sail in that era.

Dave
12-10-2012 12:03 PM
smurphny
Re: docking alone

As Gary indicated, a full keel boat is very difficult to maneuver in reverse. The solution is to avoid being in that position if at all possible. Most times you can choose the situation that works for your boat. On my A35, I don't even consider backing in anywhere if the boat has to maintain direction in reverse. It is just not predictable enough when singlehanded with no one to fend off or attach a spring. You just can't be in two places at once. I will sometimes back OUT when I can push off by hand and then goose it to gain enough speed for the rudder to start to grab. With someone aboard that is capable of working a spring it can be a different story but not alone.

The best bet is to come in bow first, very slowly. Come in on your port side at a slight angle so that as the reverse propwash pivots the boat clockwise and the boat comes to a stop parallel with the dock. With spring lines ready to grab right at the gate, you can jump off, in neutral, and quickly secure the lines as needed.

Being singlehanded sometimes requires some inventive strategies. Sometimes there are just things you have to avoid doing and make other plans like carrying fuel in jerry jugs instead of even thinking about getting into that crowded fuel dock.
12-09-2012 11:24 PM
sck5
Re: docking alone

all of the above plus lots of fenders. lots of them. you dont want to bash into that lawyer's boat in the next slip do you?
12-09-2012 10:01 PM
Adele-H
Re: docking alone

Spring line it is all about the springs!
Spring , bow, done (if you reverse in the slip).
12-09-2012 02:54 PM
travlineasy
Re: docking alone

Over the years I've learned a lot about docking single handed, and there is a major difference between how the varios keeled boats handle backing up. For example, when I had a Catalina 27 with a fin keel and tiller steering, I would put the engine, Atomic-4 inboard, in reverse, gun the engine a bit, shove the tiller hard to port and within seconds the boat was manueverable and I was able to slip into the pier just like I was parking a car. It was a piece of cake.

Now I have a Morgan 33 Out Island with a full keel. Full keeled boats are much more difficult to manuever in reverse, and often they just prop-walk in various directions with no steerage in reverse. YES - different directions of prop-walk. I know it sounds weird, and most folks would scoff at this, but when I experienced it, which has been on several occasions, I was flabergasted.

Consequently, I try to utilize all the elements at hand, wind, tidal currents, prop-walk, etc... It took a bit of practice, but I'm now at the point where I think I could park this hull in any slip where I have 10-feet of fairway clearance - I've done it a dozen times during the past two months and under conditions where people on the docks are amazed. When I docked at Saint Augustine City Marina, a location where the tide screams through the floating docks, the dockmaster asked if I would nose into the slip just to be on the safe side. I said I would rather back in to facilitate easier departure in the morning when no one would be there to assist me. I correctly gauged the wind and current, slowly eased the boat into the fairway, cut the wheel hard to port, and when the boat was 10 feet from the boat opposite my slip, I quickly put the transmission in reverse, turned the wheel to starboard and gunned the engine. The boat came to a stop and with a bit of forward and reverse jockying and, of course, steering hard to port and starboard at the same time, I was able to back the boat directly into the slip, never touched a piling, and stopped it a foot from the pier. At that point the dockmaster slipped a line on the stearn and I proceeded to tie off on the pilings. All of this took less than 2 minutes, but when you're maneuvering between yachts that go for several million dollars each it sure brings out the pucker factor. When I stopped the boat there were a dozen people on the dock applauding. I'm not sure if they were applauding my docking skills, or applauding that I didn't damage their boats in the process.

Bottom line - go out to a soft marker buoy and practice backing down with your boat to that bouy from various directions. Learn how YOUR boat handles in the wind and tidal currents, and what is the best method of approaching. It takes a bit of practice, but in the end you'll feel a lot more comfortable when entering a strange marina.

Good Luck,

Gary
12-09-2012 02:32 PM
Minnewaska
Re: docking alone

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Yes I was taught the same way. Our first spring line is then our midship static ( it can go forward or rearward as it is on a puiling in the middle of the boat) spring line then correct?....
If I understood you correctly, this line is essentially straight out from the boat from the mid-ship cleat. You can move only slightly for or aft of it, like a bow or stern line. If so, the only disadvantage is that you can't put it on until you are almost exactly where you belong in the slip and must be pretty close the first try (you must be good!). The method I posted above allow you to get it started when half way in and the extra length would still allow you get it over the cleat, if a couple of feet off the dock, and it will automatically pivot you toward the dock when it fully extends. You have to leave the transmission in gear to hold you on the dock.

No right or wrong way, as long as we all get settled and the ritas are cold.

Quote:
I laughed when you told how you tell you guests that you need to see so sit down. I used to do that and one of them lept forward out of the cockpit and stumbled up to the bow to get out of my line of sight as I just shook my head is disbeleif.
I'm going to have to keep an eye out for that now. We should start a thread on unbelievable guest moves.
12-09-2012 02:11 PM
chef2sail
Re: docking alone

Quote:
[name of cleat on boat][direction of travel from cleat] spring line.
Yes I was taught the same way. Our first spring line is then our midship static ( it can go forward or rearward as it is on a puiling in the middle of the boat) spring line then correct?

I agree we have this line and the other two springs colored differently, bow aft and stern forward are red. Midship static is Yellow. Bow and stern blue.

I laughed when you told how you tell you guests that you need to see so sit down. I used to do that and one of them lept forward out of the cockpit and stumbled up to the bow to get out of my line of sight as I just shook my head is disbeleif.

Dave
12-09-2012 02:04 PM
chef2sail
Re: docking alone

Quote:
With just one line all you have is a noodle if you it is in the wrong direction.
It doesnt work in every situation like this. I agree with evrything which was posted, but in a scenario like our slip the best line to grab is a single line which is permanently set up at the coorect length on the middle piling in our finger pier. This piling when the boat is actuly finally docked lies slightly aft of amidships. This single spring cant act as a noodle and prevents direction fore and aft. Also much easier to only have to grab on line initially than try and balance two IMHO.

By grabbing this permanent spring line first and dropping the loop over the midship cleat you have eliminated forward motion to hit the dock or rearward motion to drift out of the slip. We also have permanent spring lines on the forward and rear pilings which are much longer lengths whic get applied later as part of the final tie up.

Again the main thing here is to get captured and stop movement. There are many differing ways to accomplish this and somke depend on current, wind and whatever your particular slips nuances dictate. There is no one absolute correct way. In YOUR OWN slips you can do things permanently to make things easier.

Comming into a slip with no lines is always a challenge. As Chuck said getting lines aorund the first poles you pass is a good start and you can use these in combination with your engine to prevent hitting the dock or drifting out while you get the next lines. Getting a line to a midship cleat is usually the great stabilizer if you can also get that line to a piling amidship also.

Practice is the nest teacher so when you are faced with docking in a strange slip you know how your boat handles, and if you have help howto direct that person. This by the way should be talked through BEFORE you hit that slip like agreeing on wind direction current etc. We travel a lot in The lI Sound etc and getting a slip or vgetting fuel is common in strange places. Its good to stand off a minute and acccess the situation with your partner and get your plan together discussing the variables before just charging in.

Dave
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