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Petar 06-28-2011 12:07 AM

Bow in or stern in at the dock?
I've been reading various posts on this form and have watched people in the marina mooring their boats various ways. In essence, majority of boats are tied "bow in" and lesser number "stern in". I owned a 31 and now 38 ft sailboat and always tie "bow in". I have not even tried tying "stern in". Firstly, every boat including sailboats are much more maouverable coming "bow in" to the slip. The bow of the boat is much stronger should you misjudge and hit or ride up the dock which has never happened to me so far. i do not want to even try to think about the damage I can sustain should I misjudge and ride up the dock with my stern and damage the rudder in the process. When we are leaving the dock we are usually fresh and rested and a bit more difficult manouver to come out sternway should not be that hard to execute. On the other hand, when we are returning back to the slip after a day or several days of sailing, cruising etc, we are definitely more exhausted and need more focus on how do we "park" the boat. Finally, I fail to see the benefit of tying the boat "stern in". Can someone try and clarify it for me, why would someone do that in the first place.

PBzeer 06-28-2011 12:18 AM

In part, it depends on your individual situation. Another factor can be ease of access or prevailing winds, tides or currents. Some would rather back in, than back out. Some like to be able to "watch" the dock, while others may prefer privacy. Mostly, it's just one's own preference.

blt2ski 06-28-2011 12:41 AM

I'd agree with PB re personal preference. I do generally speaking back in. Altho I have sailed in forwards a few weeks back. For me, backing in is somewhat easier than forward in/reverse out. As the back in works with the prop kick, back out, I am opposite of the prop kick! Also for what ever reason, I find loading backed in to be easier, or at least from the proverbial psych end of things it seems easier. backed in also faces the generally speaking south wind, altho in the summer a northwesterly is the more prevalent. That is usually a bit more on the side vs the higher winds out of the south in the winter on the nose/stern of the boat. backed in with the nose out is seems to make for a better ride in 40+ knot winds.

Going out when I solo is also easier to go out forward, backing in or forward in while solo, with practice, both have become a 6 and 1/2 dozen or another! Altho in HIGH winds ie 30+, backing out is easier solo, as the wind pushes me into the dock, vs a northerly, the bow moves to the east and into the boat next to me. Altho if I had a really long line from front to stern to pull in as I go out, this would help.......

So, take you pick as to which you want to do. If you have a walk thru stern, backing in may be better for loading etc. You then have side or stern access.

Really, its all personal, no right or wrong. Of course the person acros from me goes in bow first, but he is ALL wrong about the why and where for! LOL, now to see if mr dodenja catches my he is mooring incorrectly LOLOLOL


sck5 06-28-2011 12:51 AM

with a very short finger pier it is easier for my admiral to get on and off if i tie up stern to

jackdale 06-28-2011 12:55 AM

It is easier to get gear and provisions on and off a stern tied boat, especially ones with an open transoms and twin or folding wheels.

You do lose privacy when stern tied.

SlowButSteady 06-28-2011 01:51 AM

A couple of things make stern-in docking problematic for my boat. First, my Cal 2-27 is actually about 26.5 feet LOA. But, that doesn't take the one to one and a half foot overhang of the pulpit into account. The slip is 25 feet long and I'm allowed a three foot overhang, or 28 feet from the very end of the slip to the very end of the boat (EVERYTHING included). Since my boat is just about 28 feet, including the pulpit, I would just be able to dock stern in and be legal. So, I would have to have the transom right up against the end of the slip to be legal. (When bow-in, the pulpit overhang is kosher, as long as the bow itself isn't over the edge of the dock.) However, even though the rudder on my boat isn't transom-hung, it still projects just slightly aft of the transom. This means that to be stern-in, I would probably want to leave at least a foot or two of room between the dock and the rudder, putting the bow/pulpit well beyond the three-foot overhang limit. And, apparently the harbor patrol DOES keep an eye out for such things.

SecondWindNC 06-28-2011 09:16 AM

It depends on the boat and the dock. Ease of boarding can be a factor, especially with fixed docks and/or short finger piers, as the boarding gates on most boats are somewhat aft of midships. Bow-in can mean climbing over the lifelines and down to the dock rather than having access to the boarding gate. Also, wind and current play a role. If your slip is downwind or down current, it can be advantageous to be tied stern-in, so that you can motor forward into that current when leaving the slip, providing more control than you would have by trying to build enough speed for steerage in reverse.

We have some boats on our dock that tie up bow-in, but over half prefer having the stern facing the dock, for their own various reasons. We always have the charter boats riding stern-in at the beginning of each charter, for boarding and so that the charterer can leave the slip by just motoring straight out in forward gear.

Donna_F 06-28-2011 10:21 AM

Bow In Here
We go bow in primarily because of the privacy.

People have a tendency to look down into cockpits as they walk the dock. With our stern facing away from the dock we can keep the cabin open all night without losing privacy. If we have a passenger who might have difficulty boarding we pull the boat forward enough to let down the lifelines then readjust the lines so the bowsprit doesn't bang against the dock.

Tim R. 06-28-2011 10:30 AM

All based on privacy. I have power boats on either side that are stern in. We are bow in with the stern facing open water.

ronspiker 06-28-2011 10:36 AM

Depends on boat, pier and mainly conditions. I prefer stern first but current and wind prevent doing that about 35% of the time.

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