Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-28-2018 Thread Starter
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Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

I’ve reached the age, unfortunately, where arthritis has begun in my right hand. Does anyone have any insight into how to tie up when docking? My husband isn’t enthusiastic about me learning to man the wheel while pulling into the slip. 🙂 That leaves me in charge of the lines and the stress on my hand and wrist is getting pretty painful. Any help from others suffering from arthritis would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

I sympathize with you...

Not all docks are created equally.

Of course if there is someone competent ashore to handle the lines... all you need to do is toss them the mid ship line and have them cleat it tight to stop the boats motion. The momentum will likely cause the bow to go in or maybe out. Toss the bow and stern line to the dockside line handler and let the skipper direct the tie up.

If no dockside handler... its always best... if you can to get the mid ship close to a cleat. You may be able to drop the line over the cleat holding the end.... a loop... and just wrap in around your midship cleat. A few wraps will trap/wedge the line tight enough to prevent it slipping and stopping the boat. The skipper can properly tie the mid ship AND take the bow and stern lies ashore and tie them

You may have to move the boat forward or aft depending on the cleat config on the dock.

The key is to stop the boat with a short mid ship tie.

Try this some time and see if this works.

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post #3 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Husband needs to at least share the wheel. Does he think it's rocket science?

Since line handling is so much more physical, I generally do the lines while my wife is at the helm. She's good as anyone at it.
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

In your home slip, You could splice an eye in the ends of your dock lines and just drop them over the cleats on the boat and/or dock.
Handling the wheel, the throttle and gear shift would probably be just as painful, if not more so, than tying up the dock lines, so I don't see that as a good solution.
Aren't there medications to control the pain of arthritis? If you are not sailing every day and docking several times every day, I should think that with medication you should be OK.

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post #5 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

Just say “No” if you’re getting hurt doing something. You two can learn a different way to do this. There are a zillion ways to dock, and there’s one that will work for you, one that doesn’t hurt.

In my opinion, you should insist that you and your husband make a commitment to changing with the times and to learning new tricks. Start by talking about how the two of you work together as a team.

I encourage you to take a day or two or three to practice driving the boat into the slip. Pick a calm day to start. I recommend that you and your husband hire a certified instructor so you have a “neutral” person. You can learn to do it, if you can get your hands on the wheel and the throttle.

An instructor can work with you to eliminate the need to use physical strength to dock. Think about it: if big boats can get into the dock without relying on physical strength, so can you!

It’s time for both of you to learn new boat handling skills. For example, you can throw a bridle over a cleat tonstop the boat, rather than holding the dockline. No need to even leave the boat or use any strength.

Watch this video. It’s just ONE example of how to use lines to your advantage at the dock.
https://vimeo.com/110882884

*******

But again, I emphasize that if you sail as a couple, you should both be able to get the boat back to the slip safely if one of you is incapacitated. All you need is practice! practice until you’re able to handle the helm while docking.

Judy
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Last edited by jblumhorst; 06-28-2018 at 11:09 AM.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

A few years back, we switched roles. Not sure, but my guess is that handling a wheel and throttle is easier than quickly addressing a cleat with an arthritic hand...but maybe not as Capta posits.

For a long time, my wife drove to moorings and drove the boat during anchoring. She got very comfortable with this, and we developed good hand signals. But she still didn't want to dock, where the possibility of doing damage to the boat is higher.

We practiced a bit with a 3rd party doing the lines and me standing next to her at the wheel. Then, we came to a conclusion. As we docked, if necessary, I could give verbal directions to her while jumping off the boat to the dock and getting lines secured. If it was AI, it would be like having Alexa drive the boat. This idea gave her added confidence (because if we crashed, it was still technically my fault). Calm directions (a little closer, a touch of reverse, a touch of forward, a little to port, etc).

Now, she's gotten better at it than I was. Hardly ever need verbal commands. YMMV.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

Quote:
Originally Posted by CLOSECALL View Post
Husband needs to at least share the wheel. Does he think it's rocket science?

Since line handling is so much more physical, I generally do the lines while my wife is at the helm. She's good as anyone at it.
This. I generally have my wife or daughter steer when anchoring, and sometimes when docking. But in fact, I most often had my small daughter handle the lines. If I brought the boat in right, a 12-year old could easily handle the lines. It only got screwed up when an adult tried to help her.

(note: I had a large cruising catamaran at the time, not the little tri in the avitar)

Also, he can learn to dock the boat by himself; I singlehand most of the time.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

Whatever solution you come up with it seems wise for you to learn how to handle the helm while docking. Any time there is only one person with a particular skill in your crew you are vulnerable to problems if that person becomes incapacitated for any reason.

I recently had to learn to dock in a slip after years of keeping a boat on a mooring. I practiced by doing touch and go's on an unoccupied face dock so it would not matter if I did not stop in time. This also made it so that I didn't have to reverse out of a slip after I finished, and only had to worry about one side of the boat at a time. I started out trying to bring the boat in about 6 ft off the dock and progressively got closer. I also spent a good bit of time just practicing making 90 degree turns to get a sense of the boat's turning radius and where the center of rotation is located. (You have to be careful not to hug the opposite side of the fairway when docking because the stern will kick out when you turn sharply.) Another good thing to practice is simply bringing the boat to a stop with the bow at an unoccupied mooring ball as though you were going to try to pick up the mooring. Remember, Neutral is your friend! Just as it takes practice to learn how to park a car in a parking space, it takes practice to learn how do dock a boat, but it is definitely a skill you can learn. I put in the time to practice, and the first time I docked for real, my crew was able to step onto the dock from a motionless boat that had not touched either of the fingers or the end of the dock. Without the practice, I am sure it would have been a lot more dramatic.
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bpfox View Post
I’ve reached the age, unfortunately, where arthritis has begun in my right hand. Does anyone have any insight into how to tie up when docking? My husband isn’t enthusiastic about me learning to man the wheel while pulling into the slip. 🙂 That leaves me in charge of the lines and the stress on my hand and wrist is getting pretty painful. Any help from others suffering from arthritis would be much appreciated!
This just sends me over the edge. You married this..... (this creep?) Shame on him, shame, on you for not taking lessons without an ego driven "captain" Stay home, see how he does solo.

If he actually knew what he was doing he could pull into a slip and park the boat at a dead stop and you could both just step off lightly and casually tie up. (in calm conditions)

if you are in pulling, shoving, and praying the lines will dock the boat while, using muscles men or women should not have to test against 10,000Lbs of boat. you both need docking lessons.

2 words for self study "spring lines" and 3 words to search with. "how to use"
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Last edited by deniseO30; 06-28-2018 at 02:40 PM.
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-28-2018
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Re: Tips and tricks for docking with arthritis

A man's position is at the wheel.

Deal with it.

As someone said, just stay home a few times until he understands what solo sailing and solo docking is all about.

Then go back aboard if he docks himself.

After 8 years solo I can tell you it doesn't become easier.

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