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davidpm 12-31-2009 06:56 PM

Ferry Gliding
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The attached page from Good Old Boat talks about ferry gliding.
It makes sense in open water but will the current really run consistently in among the finger piers?

You can't read the text in the attached page but the picture sort of explains it.

The concept is that if you are in strong current you just put your nose toward the current and adjust your power until you have a sog of 0.

Now you can move sideways, forward or back just by minor adjustments of throttle or helm.
So even with strong current you can move very slowly in perfect control into a slip.

This must be an open water situation where the docks are purely surface setup and the current flows freely. In LIS where I sail I'm pretty sure the current flow every which way depending on what the shore line is doing.

CaptainForce 12-31-2009 07:58 PM

This is a technique that is well established in white water canoeing and the activity is tempered by changes in currents and tucking behind boulders. Yes, it is a tactic that we employ when manuvering to a dock in strong current, as well as backing into a slip when the current is hard set onto the mouth of the slip. When backing by low idle forward and occassional neutral it's easy to have the bow drift off the set an turn you off your destination. You can't afford to drift broadside, so you have to be ready to bail out in forward and re-position. This is very easy to practice and develop your skill by manuvering around a lobster/crab float or mooring ball in strong current. The diagram posted above would likely have minimum current after entering the breakwater with the cut out of the shoreline to the left, but for sure, you would need to "crab" or "ferry" into the entrance to the basin. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

klem 12-31-2009 09:07 PM

The finger piers create a lot of turbulence but tend not to cause eddies of any real size so the technique will still work but not as well as in open water. If you have something solid like a bulkhead, it will create a large eddy and this will not work. Your boat will be affected differently depending on its draft(floats only disturb the water's surface).

When used correctly, a steady current can sometimes allow you to maneuver your boat more easily.

St Anna 01-01-2010 01:21 AM

I can tell you its a lot easier said than done!

CaptainForce 01-01-2010 08:49 AM


Originally Posted by St Anna (Post 555800)
I can tell you its a lot easier said than done!

Yes & no! I think it's like the first time you put on skates. Very difficult until you get a feel for it. That's why helmsmen should practice this skill away from obstacles. I think another huge factor is the underwater profile. With my full keel contiguous with the rudder, I track very well into the current, but I can't back down a fairway in a marina like those fin keel boats. I would suspect that fin keel boats that have that quick turning axis might have much more difficultly ferrying. 'take care and joy, aythya crew

imagine2frolic 01-01-2010 10:06 AM

I have used this numerous times to crab sideways into a slip. Having the motors nearly 20ft. apart makes it all that much easier to make adjustments........i2f

CaptainForce 01-01-2010 11:53 AM


Originally Posted by imagine2frolic (Post 555847)
I have used this numerous times to crab sideways into a slip. Having the motors nearly 20ft. apart makes it all that much easier to make adjustments........i2f

I had not included multi-hulls in comparing underwater profiles and the ease of ferrying & backing a distance down a fairway. I understand your ability to ferry with the cat, but tell us more. Do you also find good control at backing a fair distance in a confined space. I suspect you have the best of both when it comes to this manuvering. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew

Jim H 01-01-2010 01:01 PM

I've done it, but only with the current nose on. In the courses I had, we were also shown to use a transit to help pull sideways onto a pontoon (dock). For example, line up a post on the dock with a tree on the shore behind, and keep them in alignment as you slide the boat sideways across the current. That will help you use the throttle to keep the boat perfectly parallel to where you want to go.

I will admit, but a bit of embarrassment, that I think this was called "fairy gliding" until I read this post... :)

imagine2frolic 01-01-2010 01:43 PM

Because I have a limited view of the strbrd bow, and practically zero of the port. I find it easiest to back into nearly every situation. I can keep a straigh track foir as long as I wish when backing up. The funny :laugher thing is that when I first bought the boat, the size had me a wee bit intimidated. Immediatley I realized how easy she was to handle in all situations.........i2f

captbillc 01-01-2010 02:12 PM

you can also use the wind to go sideways while holding position with the engine.

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