Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Singlehanding to and from the dock
It is a lot of fun coming in under sail and it helps you develop a better sense of how your boat moves. I am not sure that you can do this in a crowded marina but I pretty routinely sail my 38 footer into and out of the dock. I have a routine where I can and do single-handed her in but it is easier with crew. As others have mentioned the key is to leave your lines where they are easy to retrieve.
Since my boat sits in the slip stern in, my standard landing is a ''deadstick'' approach. I typically will spin the boat upwind maybe 4 to 6 boat lengths directly upwind of my slip and drop my mainsail, which puts me moving upwind slowly with the sail on the deck. By the time the sail is on the deck, I am maybe 3 more boat lengths further upwind. I throw over the helm and then head dead downwind a boat length and a half or so to one side of my slip, flaking the sail as I go. As I get near the dock I throw over the helm hard over so as to slow the speed and judge the distance so that transom just misses the closest outboard piling of my slip. As the piling goes by I grab the bow line with a boat hook(while standing on the stern) and first pull the boat to a stop and then start pulling the boat aft. As the boat starts to move aft I reverse the wheel to guide the boat down the middle of the slip. I adjust course and speed with the angle and pressure on the bow line as I walk forward. I drop the bow line on the forward cleat and walk aft to grab the stern line. I typcally have my stern line in hand by the time that the bow line pulls up snug stopping the boat''s aft motion. A pull across the boat with the stern line keeps the bow from swinging into the next slip. I then move around the boat tying off the rest of the lines. With a little practice you develop a sense of timing that makes it really easier to do than it sounds.