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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 07-13-2013
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Docking in current

The boat is a Bristol 32.
It has very little reverse and even less control in reverse.

The current is with the slip.
On a ebb current of about 2+ knots there is no steerage approaching the slip.
The reverse is ineffective.

Slack and flood current the slip is easy.

I tried ferry gliding in a ebb current but control backwards is very sketchy.

Anything else I could try? I'm usually alone.

I thought of dropping an anchor and backing up into the slip but that seems a little tricky by myself.

The blue boat shows where you end up if you do it wrong. At that point you are pinned against the dock and need a power boat to pull you off.
At this marina it is not uncommon for even dual engine power boats to get pinned against the dock.
The current is very strong.
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Last edited by davidpm; 07-13-2013 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
On a ebb current of about 21 knots there is no steerage approaching the slip.
The current is very strong.
??? 21 knots??? I cannot help you here, other than to suggest a different marina that is not located in rapids... What you need is a boat that can go at least 22 knots to make headway... i.e. get one of Larry Ellison's catamarans and dock them under sail...

Unless, of course, you're not quite correct about the quoted current....
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

David, assuming you mean 2.1 kn max. it's a little difficult to get a full picture of what you're up against. How much room do you have in the fairway between docks?
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

If it's 2.1 kts, can you point into it in the fairway, power slowly forward, and hold the boat in position? If so, you could effectively (maybe), back into the slip while still in forward, reducing throttle a bit. I'm thinking that you never use reverse in this approach. You'd need to be careful to never loose the bow, you'd have to keep working the rudder so that the stern stays directly behind the bow, and into the current....even if you're not initially aligned with the slip. If you loose the bow, you'll surely end up pinned against the pilings as indicated.

I hope you have good rub rails, that will help if you end up against a piling. If the rub rails touch either piling on the way in, you'd still have some control of the stern, again in forward all the time.

It's a tough one! I knew a guy who got good at this in Newburyport...he practiced the drill near some moorings before trying it in the slipway. Master this and you'll be one good close quarters boat handler!
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

Quote:
Originally Posted by flandria View Post
??? 21 knots??? I cannot help you here, other than to suggest a different marina that is not located in rapids... What you need is a boat that can go at least 22 knots to make headway... i.e. get one of Larry Ellison's catamarans and dock them under sail...

Unless, of course, you're not quite correct about the quoted current....
Sorry about that typo. Yes 2+ knots
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

If my picture is north up then to the west I have plenty of room. Probably several hundred feet.
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Re: Docking in current

Quote:
Originally Posted by capecodda View Post
If it's 2.1 kts, can you point into it in the fairway, power slowly forward, and hold the boat in position? If so, you could effectively (maybe), back into the slip while still in forward, reducing throttle a bit. I'm thinking that you never use reverse in this approach. You'd need to be careful to never loose the bow, you'd have to keep working the rudder so that the stern stays directly behind the bow, and into the current....even if you're not initially aligned with the slip. If you loose the bow, you'll surely end up pinned against the pilings as indicated.

I hope you have good rub rails, that will help if you end up against a piling. If the rub rails touch either piling on the way in, you'd still have some control of the stern, again in forward all the time.

It's a tough one! I knew a guy who got good at this in Newburyport...he practiced the drill near some moorings before trying it in the slipway. Master this and you'll be one good close quarters boat handler!
The technique you are describing is called ferry gliding by some.
Ferry Gliding

Thanks for the encouragement that it might be possible in this situation.

I tried if for about half an hour and it was very tricky.
The boat was slipping port even while going straight back.
The rudder was very reactive.

A couple of times I got close but the center of my stern was lined up with the pole so I had to bail.

Starting in exactly the right place escaped me for about 6 tries until someone showed up on the dock and we just fought it in and suffered the scrapes.

Sadly their is no rub rail at all. The hull bulges out below the rail.

I was thinking of a fender board but the chanses of it getting pulled out of place are almost 100%.

I also thought about laying against the pole on purpose, fendering it properly and bending the boat around the pole but then I can't figure on how to get to the dock with a line.

My neighbor is a very short power boat that doesn't reach to pole.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

I keep my boat in the Columbia River, so I have to deal with this every day.

In any kind of current, it's just about possible to back into an "uphill" slip without some chance of getting pinned. And, my boat is a very maneuverable J/42.

The problem is that you're very vulnerable for the few seconds between when your transom passes the end of the finger pier, and when your pivot point passes. If a cross-current happens any time during those 3 or 4 seconds, you can't accelerate out of there fast enough and you're going to get pinned.

If there's a way to avoid this, I haven't discovered it. I eventually gave up on the slip and switched to a "downhill" slip.

I think you're stuck with waiting for the flood.

Or, using warps.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

Attach a fender board on your starboard side. Lay up against the piling like the blue boat shows. Run a line from your stern cleat, around the piling, and back to the cockpit. Put the engine in reverse, hold the line, and the boat will pivot back into the slip. You "steer" by how much line you let out. This technique is easy and works really, really well. It does require that the neighboring boat not stick out beyond the piling, but you said that's not an issue.
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Old 07-13-2013
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Re: Docking in current

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminri View Post
Attach a fender board on your starboard side. Lay up against the piling like the blue boat shows. Run a line from your stern cleat, around the piling, and back to the cockpit. Put the engine in reverse, hold the line, and the boat will pivot back into the slip. You "steer" by how much line you let out. This technique is easy and works really, really well. It does require that the neighboring boat not stick out beyond the piling, but you said that's not an issue.
I love that idea. I actually saw that technique taught by an ASA certifying instructor during an ASA instructors class. It was very impressive.
The boat was something like a 38' late model Beniteau with something like 80 hp engine.

From a practical point of view however I have several problems.

I'm not sure I could position the boat on the fender board by myself, he had 4 instructor candidates available and we were all fending off. I would only have one shot and have to hit the exact spot. Too far forward and my bow would go into the next slip. Too far back and I would miss the board.

I really doubt if the engine has enough reverse to make this happen.

The biggest problem however is I can't think of a way to test this.

Maybe 4 guys and towboat.

I like it though in theory and I have seen it done.
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