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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 08-09-2011
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How would you dock her?

I like docking with the stern to the dock with the short finger pier. Approaching bow-to i usually just pull up with the slip on my beam. Then i have someone on the starboard bow grab the bow line off the pole. I, at the stern, just pull us back into the slip with the line rigged between the slips.

exhibit a:





we've been doing it like this forever and never really thought much about it. I've recently been wanting to single-hand the boat a bit and this is a tough maneuver alone. Also, just considering better ways to dock.

I've been reading practical seamanship and, under Dashew's advice, am doing my best to consider backing in as an option. Here's what i'm going to try this weekend. It will take advantage of the prop walk, but i'm concerned about the speed i may need to maintain control.

exhibit b:



Do you see any other options?
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Old 08-09-2011
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Great diagrams.

Do you have port or starboard prop walk? I assume port. Remember if you shift to neutral, prop walk disappears.

You will likely need .5 knots to maintain steerage way. Wind could be a big issue.

You do not have enough space ahead of you slip to get sufficient steerage way.

You have a good plan.
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Old 08-09-2011
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Well, I would try this. Nice slow wide approach to the slip head on so you are headed straight into it. About 1/3 in, reverse thrust to back the boat out of the slip to port. Then forward, putting the boat right about where # 4 is on your 3rd pic. Then, just back it in as you would under your backup plan. I think this might give you more positive control throughout the procedure. Backing a long distance can get difficult with wind and if you get too close to shore and try to adjust a little forward, you're going to go to port and closer to shore, alongside that parking lot.

Mike
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Old 08-09-2011
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I dock more or less the same way (backing in). My fairway is long and straight whereas yours is curved, and I start my backing outside the fairway in open water. I wouldn't worry too much about speed. Back in sufficiently fast to give good control over the boat. As you start making your turn in you can shift to forward just prior to entering the slip to slow the boat if needed. And if you misjudge the turn, shift to forward, abort the docking, go out and start again. You'll have lots of braking power when you shift into forward. Be sure to tighten your wheel brake to hold the rudder at it's setting and to avoid rudder from slamming into stops, where you might get damage. The brake setting should be such that you can correct the rudder position as required by overriding the brake. Set the brake just as you start the final turn into the slip. Using buddy lines (parallel lines from outer pilings to pier on either side of the slip) are helpful when single handing. As mentioned above, wind can be a serious issue, both in keeping the boat under control (my bow likes to fall off in a crosswind), and in making your 180 turn in the fairway. In my case, I can check out the control that I have in open water before I enter the fairway. If I have good control, I back into the fairway and slip. With wind, if I know, or find out that I don't have good control, then I go bow first into the slip on that day. You might want to pad the finger pier edge also just in case the boat blows down on it on those days that you go bow first. Those buddy lines will be really helpful too on bow first, singlehanded approaches. It looks strange, but you can back down a really long fairway, and if more open water is availiable nearby, I would consider starting my backing there, and making a long journey down your curving fairway....looks funny, but works. Good luck.

p.s. Different people have different ideas, but I think backing a long distance is better than trying to go to the dead end of a narrow fairway and then trying to start backing into the slip. If you misjudge or wind gets you out of position, you can be trapped into an impossible situation that you can't get out of without contacting other boats or shore. It depends a lot on the boat too...some back well once you get them moving, some don't. If yours backs well once moving in reverse, backing into the slip is more or less like going bow first....just drive it in between the pilings. And if you have to abort, shift to forward, apply as much power as needed. You probably should practice both methods when you have crew aboard (standing by to assist if needed, but otherwise not doing anything) to determine which technique works for you, your slip, and your boat.

Last edited by NCC320; 08-09-2011 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 08-09-2011
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I think your plan will work fine. You can even stand in front of the wheel and steer facing the stern. Once you get moving you should be able to keep the RPM low and then once you're lined up ( take a nice wide turn @ 4 ) and moving straight back into the slip..put it in neutral. You can use a little forward if you need to slow.
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Old 08-09-2011
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As someone with a full keel boat, I am not one who selects backing over distance as a good option. Most vessels with a port prop walk will pivot in a clockwise manner (viewed from above) remaining in position when the rudder is hard to starboard and the helmsman alternates from forward to reverse. Try this skill of pivoting when out away from the dock. My choice of maneuvering may be one that you could apply even with your Erickson's better ability to back. I would enter half way into the slip bow first and then back out with my port prop walk turning me. Here, I would place the rudder hard to starboard and pivot, alternating forward and reverse until my stern was pointed to the piling that will end up at the starboard bow. Reversing into the slip with the port prop walk should be easy and always controlled with another moment in forward to continue the clockwise pivot if needed. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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You're right, the stern walks to port in reverse.

mike and captain force, Spinning it around right at the slip was on my radar. I think i'd rather ger her around out in the fairway, but if the long distance backing is no good, this may be my best option.

wind is almost never a concern back here, its like being in a big hole. I can often raise sails for whatever reason at the dock with no issue. Rarely though, we will get a nice breeze straight down the channel.

thanks for the input, everyone.

Last edited by jaminotte; 08-09-2011 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 08-09-2011
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Backing up is no big deal with a bit of practice, but it does expose your rudder (weakest part of the whole contraption) to potential damage. Make sure it's good water all the way.
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Old 08-09-2011
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Any reason you don't nose in, like the boat next to you?
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Old 08-09-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaminotte View Post
I've been reading practical seamanship and, under Dashew's advice, am doing my best to consider backing in as an option. Here's what i'm going to try this weekend. It will take advantage of the prop walk, but i'm concerned about the speed i may need to maintain control.

exhibit b
Great pictures. How did you generate them? Screenshot and Photoshop?

Your exhibit b is very similar to how I dock. My boat is 45' end to end and the fairway I back down is only 50' clear across. The most important thing for me is to get going fast enough in reverse to have good steering control. With control comes force (as noted above) so you have to keep a good grip on the wheel. In forward the rudder tends to stream straight; in reverse it wants to bang up against the stop - don't let go!

Some practice in open water will serve you well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinLA View Post
Well, I would try this. Nice slow wide approach to the slip head on so you are headed straight into it. About 1/3 in, reverse thrust to back the boat out of the slip to port. Then forward, putting the boat right about where # 4 is on your 3rd pic. Then, just back it in as you would under your backup plan.
That might work for the OP and is a good skill to have anyway. For me, the clearance in my fairway makes it a little spooky. I've done it but the long run in reverse is less stressful on my boat.
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