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post #2 of Old 06-07-2004
Jeff_H's Avatar
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Singlehanding to and from the dock

I single-hand my boat quite often as well. I agree with you that docking is the hardest part. I have been lucky in that I don''t keep my boat in a marina so that I have lots of manuevering room. A couple quick thoughts here:

Set up in clear water; In other words, have a boat hook and any other docking asists ready in advance.

When in doubt make a practice run of sorts to test wind and current direction and stopping distance before entering the convines of your marina.

Practice in the open and then with crew on board who are their to protect but not assist you until you feel confident.

Have your docklines made up with loops at the right length so that you can quickly drop them on a cleat and keep moving.

I usually find it easier to back into the slip.

In a cross breeze I use the Halpern Mk III docker. The Halpern MK III Docker consists of an old wire halyard run the length of the boat outboard of everything. Riding on that wire is a small Harken wire block. Tied through the shackle of the block is a loop of line slightly longer in length than the beam of the boat so that the loop when folded is slightly longer than roughly half the beam of the boat.

When the Halpern MK III Docker is deployed the old halyard is run tightly along the windward or up current side (which ever is stronger) of the boat, outboard of everything and is cleated at the bow cleat and stern cleats. The block is pulled aft to the helmsmen’s station and the loop is held in the helmsman’s hand. As the outer most windward or up current pile passes by the helmsman, the loop is dropped over the piling. As the boat continues to back in the block runs up the length of the wire. Meanwhile the helmsman focuses on steering towards and catching an aft dock line. The loop of line prevents the bow from paying off to leeward. Once the stern is tied off you can rig the remaining springs and breast lines as necessary.

Good luck,
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