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sailak 07-02-2009 12:04 PM

Help leaving the slip.
Howdy folks,

The wife and I have had the boat now for just over a month..learning quickly! <G>

We were just assigned a different slip (currently in transient hell) and this one is port side to dock. The boat is an Omega 36, fin keel sloop. Stern goes to left from prop-walk when in reverse. The wind blows the bow around quite a bit -- she really seems to want to set stern to the wind. <G> I'm wondering how to get out of the slip with the least amount of drama. When docked starboard side to the dock I would use a line to the end of the dock to pivot the boat to exit to the left but being port side to I no longer have that option.

I'm thinking cast off all but the bow line and allow the boat to swing some to starboard, then cast off the bowline and let her drift straight back. Once back far enough I should be able to make the left turn to exit.

Wind here is very consistent at about 10-15 degrees left of the bow.

A picture to help. Cleats where the "Cs" are.

celenoglu 07-02-2009 12:24 PM

Keep your bow line, untie your stern line and apply some power in reverse. Two things might happen. If the boat behaves to turn to port keep your rudder to port and keep going in reverse. Leave the pontoons in reverse. If the boat seems parallel to the slip, apply some power in reverse and maneuvre between the pontoons.

You might also wait for some time, with your bowline which will direct the boat to the wind. If prop walk is not too much, keep your rudder to starboard and leave te slip.

L124C 07-02-2009 12:24 PM

Go with the flow! (Just don't hit anything doing it!)
Unless you are in a very tight situation, I think you are over thinking the process. Several different factors effect a sailboats handling characteristics under power, and two of them (wind and tide) fluctuate. I try to encourage the boat to do what I want her to do. If she doesn't cooperate . I work with what she is willing to do. If she turns stern to windward, I'll simply back her out until she decides she doesn't want to do that any more (sometimes she'll back all the way, nothing wrong with that!). Then, when the stern swings one way or another, I back as far as I can, then go forward, and hopefully get enough way on to turn the bow the way I want it to go. If not, do it again. You might also try giving a pretty good shot of reverse initially while leaving the slip (to get way on), then going into neutral to eliminate the effect of the prop. Looking at your diagram, it looks like you shouldn't need power at all to back out if it's windy, thereby eliminating prop walk altogether. You might also consider backing into the slip if thats easier. If I'm approaching a unfamiliar docking or mooring situation, I'll bring the boat to a standstill, and see what her tendencies are (given the conditions) before approaching. Sometimes, based on my observations and knowledge of the boats tendencies, I've chosen to back into the situation, or approach from a different angle.

RhosynMor 07-02-2009 12:42 PM

never be afraid to walk your boat out ofthe slip

CaptainForce 07-02-2009 12:51 PM

I see you begin your post with, "My wife and I" and that team is your best solution. My method with arrivals and departures from the dock when wind or current is a problem is to have my wife at the helm and provide her with the simple task by using the lines and not fighting nature as best as possible. The easiest exit for us would be for me to walk the boat back with a single bow line and the wind's assistance to a point where the bow is held with the cleat at the end of the finger pier. Sitting at center rudder this is no task and no action at the helm. upon releasing the bow I would step aboard at the bow while shoving the bow so the wind is forcing the starbord away from the dock,- still nothing required at the helm. As I walk back to the helm the wind will move the bow until you are facing directly out the channel and at this time your wife or you can easily motor out. A second option can be applied if you lack the agility to step up on the bow from the fingerpier. In this case you would prepare a bow line in advance to be the last remaining line holding the boat directly into the wind at the end of the finger pier. As before, center rudder with no action from the helm required. While standing at the bow and with about three feet of your jib unfurled release the bowline and pull the clew of your jib to starboard. Still no action from the helm required. As your bow draws away from the wind and you are facing out the channel motor forward. No rudder activity, using and not fighting the wind...easy out! 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

k1vsk 07-02-2009 12:53 PM

Everybody has a slightly different way of doing the same thing but in all cases, remember this -
The wind is your friend; don't try fighting it as you will always lose and more so when there is not enough water flowing past the rudder to make it affect the boat's position.

You want to minimize the effect of the prop while maximizing the effect of the rudder.

In the diagram you included, my bow would tend to slip toward the other boat making it difficult to make that turn without either holding the bow in or backing quickly enough to preclude prop-walk by starting at high rpm and shifting into neutral thereby eliminating prop walk as the boat drifts out under control of the rudder.

midnightsailor 07-02-2009 12:55 PM

I See several possibilities depending on how much room you have behind your boat and how far it is to be out of your docckage area and into open water. If you have enough room behind your boat and you wish to power out(or sail?) with the bow pointed out to the exit, I would take my starboard bow line to the cleat at the end of the dock while pushing or letting the boat drift back with the prevailing wind.This should let the boat stream out from the end of the finger the wind "weather cocking" the boat so that the bow is pointing somewhat in the direction of the exit. Then , with a wheel hard to starboard (or a tiller hard to port) carefully apply power in reverse continuing to back up while slipping of the bow line from the dock cleat(BTW, when you cleat to the dock just slip the bowline around it and then back to the boat so you can let go of the end and let it slip past the cleat and oull it aboard). Then when you feel you have enough room, turn wheel hard to port(tiller hard to starboard) and give a quick burst of power. This should push the bow enough to port that you should now be pointing towrd the exit, or close enough that you can continue to power straigth out. ( Again, you need enough room behind your boat for this.,Otherwise you may have to repeat the wheel hard to starboard, gentle power in reverse and then back to wheel hard to port with a burst of power in forward to get her to face out toward the exit.
If it isn't too far out of your slip to open water you could reverse all the way out toward the exit in reverse. Slipping the port bow line around the cleat at the end of the finger would help this manuever as the wind pushes your bow to starboard and the propwalk brings your steern to port, now facing with stern toward exit and coninue backing out,letting bowline slip offf arounf the cleat at end of dock. Rick

jaschrumpf 07-02-2009 12:58 PM

Why don't you learn to back the boat into the slip? Sure is easier to pull out of a slip going forward, and coming in you have more opportunity to overcome the prop walk and get her going straight back in.

Here's how I do mine:

Back the boat slowly into the slip and get the spring line on her as close to amidships as possible. At the same time, have your mate grab the bow line (now the "bottom" cleat on your drawing) and tie it off. Keep a little reverse on her and she'll pull herself up against the dock because of the action on the spring line. Once she's there you can put her in neutral, tie off the stern line, and Bob's yer uncle!

Exiting the dock then becomes much simpler with a straightaway pullout.

Good luck, whatever you do!

painkiller 07-02-2009 01:08 PM


Your plan sounds pretty good. Backing out to the fairway seems the way to go, given your prop walk and the predominant wind direction.

RhosynMor has a great point about walking the boat out or, in your example, you can just let her drift, keeping a line on to guide her around the corner.

Instead of keeping the bow line on, you could try keeping an aft spring on and motoring against it, wheel turned to starboard. This will kick your stern into the pier (use a fender or rubrail, of course) and will keep the boat fixed in place. You can then tend to the other lines at your leisure. Once you're ready to go, take the engine out of forward gear and either let her blow out or guide her with some reverse (and make use of that great prop walk). The nice thing about this approach as opposed to keeping the bow line on is that, with your predominate wind off the bow, the spring won't be under tension once you pull the engine out of forward. The missus will easily be able to uncleat it. You could also run loop the spring around the aft cleat and keep it in hand at the helm. When you're ready, pop the engine out of gear, flick the spring, and you're off to the races.

But basically any departure that doesn't injure anyone or any boat works just fine. I'm still trying to find the perfect method of departure when the breeze is irregular. :-)

sailingfool 07-02-2009 01:18 PM

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The easiest way to exit is to back out of the slip and stop the boat. Let the wind push the bow to starboad. If needed to hold boat in the fairway, use some forward with hard right rudder. As the boat turns close to 90%, exit out the fairway in reverse. In my boat standing in front of the wheel, facing aft, makes steering in reverse more natural.

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