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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #71  
Old 01-16-2012
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A dock mate has a 29 foot boat which he sails with his wife and two daughters (probably 14-16 years old). He has had the boat less than a year, and is new to sailing. Almost every time he leaves or returns to the slip, he manages to turn it into hair raising adventure. He tries to park the boat as if it was a car. He has no sense of how heavy the boat is, the fact that it is in water and has no brakes or what effect conditions (wind and current) are having on the boat. At first, I would run over and try to help. I have told him someone is going to get hurt or killed, and offered to teach him how to maneuver the boat under power. He responded "maybe later" and now does his best to ignore me. Now, I simply watch every time he leaves or returns. I should turn on the video recorder!
Saturday he came in on a dead calm day. He was going too fast, turned into the slip too soon, coming very close to his neighbor (single finger two boat slips); bounces the bow off the dock; his daughter does a heroic jump off the bow (with a lot of freeboard) onto the dock while the boat is still moving at a good clip; somebody secures a dock line, and the boat jerks to a halt, with the Stearn swinging out and once again almost hitting the neighbor! In the Summer, he will be experiencing 20+ knot winds off his Starboard quarter, with his dock mate's boat downwind. Tricky conditions for someone who knows what they are doing! Worse yet, I have never seen him abort a bad approach and try again. I told the neighbor I had seen Capitan Clueless bounce off his boat twice while operating on calm days. He thanked me, and said he would put fenders on both sides of his boat. I doubt fenders are going to prevent the carnage that is headed his way this Summer! The standing rigging on Clueless's boat is questionable at best, but that's another subject. It wouldn't bother me so much if kids were not involved. Just hope nobody gets hurt.
Film at eleven!

Last edited by L124C; 01-16-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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  #72  
Old 01-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
Recently, I was crewing on a beautiful 53 foot wooden Yawl. As we approached the dock, I jumped onto the dock and went forward to handle the bow lines. Suddenly, crew started yelling, "We've lost the motor". I did all that I could, which was to put a shoulder into the bow, but she threw my 230 lbs aside like I was a flea and proceed to climb the dock and ram her bow into a boardwalk that was perpendicular to the dock. The sound of splintering wood that I heard still disturbs me! Simply following the axiom "Never approach a dock at a speed at which you don't want to hit it" would have avoided the incident. I mention this because in the last month, I have seen 2 other similar incidents. IMO, there is no need to approach a dock this fast. With most keel boats, you have several Tons in motion, and no brakes. If you come in hot, lose your transmission, transmission or throttle linkage, or your motor, you are screwed! When approaching a slip, I throttle back, then go to neutral before I even commit to the slip. Then... if something fails, I can kill the motor and have room to maneuver. Otherwise, I meander into the slip, usually putting her into reverse, about half way in. No heroic busts of reverse are needed. If I have a strong head wind at the dock, I leave her in forward longer. With a tail wind, I put her in revese earlier. However, I am not approaching the dock any faster. Don't mean to rant, but I've seen too many boats rammed into to docks for no reason recently!
BTW, I assume some will say I was foolish to try to slow the Yawl with my body weight. I agree, but I couldn't stand there and do nothing. Not my nature. I had plenty of room to avoid being pinned. Had she be moving at an appropriate speed, I would have had some effect.
Agreed and Agreed!

Let the boat hit though. I learned my lesson on that one. I was on the dock and assisting a neighbor coming in by catching his lines. He "appeared" to be drifting in faster than normal, so I grabbed his bow rail to hold him in place. Unfortunately for me, he still had it in gear and goosed it forward instead of reverse, pinning my arm between a piling and the rail. I ended up with a broken wrist, but his boat was fine. From that point on, I will say something, but if you are going to hit the dock, then you are on your own.
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  #73  
Old 01-16-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L124C View Post
The REALLY bad habit I've developed is SAILING. It's expensive, takes up a lot of my time and is certainly NOT the safest hobby I could have. Yet...I love it and the boat I sail on.
We've lost several experienced sailors in good boats within eyesight of the Golden Gate Bridge over the past several years. In addition, maneuvering on a heaving,wet deck, heeling at 20 degrees, with lines and powerful sails flailing about, seems absolutely insane to some non sailors! Operating under power (the topic of this thread) is (or should be!) the relatively safe part of sailing.
In all seriousness and with all due respect, I am always curious what attracts a person who is apparently very risk adverse to sailing?
Forgive me, far off topic, but I've seen it more than once and always wanted to ask!
You think I'm Risk adverse?
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  #74  
Old 01-16-2012
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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
You think I'm Risk adverse?
Given your response, yes, and it would surprise me if that is you on the bike. In any case, I decided my response was off topic and inappropriate, so I deleted it (apparently not soon enough!). However, I am curious about the question, so I posted it here: Are you a risk adverse sailor?
However, if that is you on the bike (and not behind the camera) you probably can't address the issue. My apologies for my assumption.

Last edited by L124C; 01-16-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 01-16-2012
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L124C,

I think being risk adverse is not the same as practicing good risk management. I also think that stepping off a moving boat is a bad idea, but have done riskier things thatn that motorcycle jump. (did those too as a teenager)
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  #76  
Old 01-16-2012
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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
You think I'm Risk adverse?
I think you're trying to shift your obligation from showing why you worry about blowing out a knee, breaking your foot, or getting sucked into the prop when stepping off a slowly-moving boat, to showing that you are a badass in other areas of your life, which seems totally irrelevant to me.

Maybe you are not only risk-averse, but also inconsistent?
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  #77  
Old 01-16-2012
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Somebody smart once said "Docking is simple. All you do is match the speed of the boat to the speed of the dock."
L124C, davidpm, RonRelyea and 2 others like this.
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  #78  
Old 01-17-2012
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Ok Dock-Masters, please comment on my dock and de-docking procedures (note I am singling handling a 34 footer- 16,000 lbs most times) Also note I can only tie the boat off on the port side and generally have about a 20 knot wind on the stern quarter of the boat which is trying to push the boat both back into the slip and also off the dock into my neighbors boat (double wide slip with nothing (not ever a piling) between:

To leave the dock:
I have engine running, warmed up and in neutral (have tested fwd and rev at dock). I have all lines untied except one at the stern and one mid ship. I walk the boat out and try to build up speed so when I go aboard I have steerage. If boat goes out of control, I re-cleat and reposition. Step on moving boat and put engine in reverse and continue backing out of slip to fairway. I have tried to untie boat then reverse out but by the time I get to the throttle the bow is already pushed off the pier by 5 feet or more, and if I hit reverse the boat will just do a 360 in the slip due to prop walk and wind action. Walking it out is the only way I can figure out how to get her out and relatively the safest method.

Returning to dock:
If wind is light I have no problem, can bring her in very slow next to the dock without touching anything and at a stop.

When wind is strong, I need some speed so that I get to the dock before the wind pushes off my bow. I also need to hit reverse to counter the stong wind pushing the boat into the slip. I have tried coming in very slow in windy conditions only to have the bow get blown off. And when this happens it is not a simple thing to just back out and try again. If I hit reverse, between the prop walk and the wind, the boat will want to do a 360 in the slip and potential hit my dock mate- things are much harder when single handing as even a simple push off with a boat hook is not possible as you need to be at the helm and engine controls.

I have a bunch of old tires and plan to set them up on my dock, plan is rather ram them than my neighbors boat.
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Old 01-17-2012
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Ok Dock-Masters, please comment on my dock and de-docking procedures (note I am singling handling a 34 footer- 16,000 lbs most times) .... Walking it out is the only way I can figure out how to get her out and relatively the safest method....
There's nothing wrong with walking the boat out of, or into, the slip. Some people seem to think that one should be able to "park" a boat just like they park a car. But, a boat ain't a Buick. Walking the boat, with or without the aid of bow and stern lines and/or a boathook (and perhaps even some choice verbiage), is perfectly acceptable.
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Old 01-17-2012
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Originally Posted by AdamLein View Post
I think you're trying to shift your obligation from showing why you worry about blowing out a knee, breaking your foot, or getting sucked into the prop when stepping off a slowly-moving boat, to showing that you are a badass in other areas of your life, which seems totally irrelevant to me.

Maybe you are not only risk-averse, but also inconsistent?
How did this become so personal?

I'm adverse to dumb risk with no reward. When I ride a bike, I wear a helmet and body armor. Sure, I 'could' ride without, and some folks will even call you names for wearing a helmet. OTOH, I'm aware that people have died in 0 mph spills in a parking lot, so why risk it?

Stepping off a boat with it in gear, gets you little to no return. I don't fear breaking a foot, but I am aware that it happens. Have you NEVER tripped? Never mis-judged traction or distance?

and it does not take all that much to REALLY mess something up inadvertently. I've been around boats enough to know quite a few people with freakishly torn ligaments, broken bones, etc. it happens! you can stay at the helm and lasso a cleat. you can come to a full stop and then step off. you can come to a full stop and then give it a little reverse motion if ya want. or I mean, MY GOD!!! you might even have to do it a second time!!



And I have in actual fact stepped off a boat onto a dock and ended up on my ass. Having an unattended boat in gear at that point serves what purpose?
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