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PaulinVictoria 04-20-2019 01:38 AM

Difficult docking
 
1 Attachment(s)
Had a very difficult docking situation today, looking back I can't really see any way I could have done much better.
Approaching with the current (no choice) and with the wind on my quarter, narrow channel into the space between the docks, hoping to end up where the green blob is. There's zero spring line opportunities (what is it with Canadians and bullrails?), and I am single-handing.

Anyways, I ended up impaled sideways on the end of the finger, and managed to drag it off and eventually hit the bit of dock I needed close enough to be able to get a line off the dock and onto a cleat. Lots of gouges in the gelcoat but no holes at least.

The only alternative I can see in hindsight would have been to attempt a 180 turn on the outside of the dock, and tried to come in against the current and wind, and then let them carry me into the dock on the inside. Problem there is there would be a big risk of the wind taking the bow either way, and definitely a one shot deal, and there are boats on all sides.

I'm sure it's easy in a sportfishing boat with a 150hp engine that will stop on a dime, with a 6hp diesel that doesn't like to shift fwd/rev quickly, not so easy.

What sayeth the peanut gallery?

Minnewaska 04-20-2019 06:42 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
The only thing harder than a difficult docking situation, is trying to understand someone else explaining theirs. :)

My internet is slow this morning and won’t open the pic. Sounds like you made it. A good docking is one where no one gets hurt. A great docking is one where you can use the boat again.

eherlihy 04-20-2019 07:32 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
My connection will not open the picture either. As a rule, I embed a full size image if I want others to look at it. I usually do not click on thumbnails.

Part of the skill of docking is knowing when to not make an attempt. When I teach advanced docking I stress if you are unsure of a situation, take your time and evaluate all options, including not docking. Single handing and with current AND wind against you, is what I call a "three strikes" situation. Either wait for wind and or current to change, or call for help.

The attempt was made with your C&C 27? Does this boat have an inboard, or an outboard?

Arcb 04-20-2019 07:43 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
I cant open the image either, I tried both my wifi and my LTE, but based on what I think I understood from the description I think I might have been inclined to do a 180 and back down on the dock. Or maybe get more fenders? I don't see anything wrong wrong with a hard landing if you bounce, provided you have the power to recover from the bounce.

RegisteredUser 04-20-2019 08:42 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
You prefer current against you.
Much easier to maneuver in forward

capecodda 04-20-2019 09:23 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by eherlihy (Post 2051597114)
My connection will not open the picture either. As a rule, I embed a full size image if I want others to look at it. I usually do not click on thumbnails.

Part of the skill of docking is knowing when to not make an attempt. When I teach advanced docking I stress if you are unsure of a situation, take your time and evaluate all options, including not docking. Single handing and with current AND wind against you, is what I call a "three strikes" situation. Either wait for wind and or current to change, or call for help.

The attempt was made with your C&C 27? Does this boat have an inboard, or an outboard?

^^^^
I've been at this for more than 40 years on different 5 boats from 22 to 52 feet. If I arrive at a marina, and they direct me to a slip that won't work based on conditions, I ask them to find me someplace else or anchor out.

SanderO 04-20-2019 09:28 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by capecodda (Post 2051597138)
^^^^
I've been at this for more than 40 years on different 5 boats from 22 to 52 feet. If I arrive at a marina, and they direct me to a slip that won't work based on conditions, I ask them to find me someplace else or anchor out.

would never consider a marina when I can anchor out.... 99.99% of the time

Jeff_H 04-20-2019 10:48 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
As others have said, I can't open the image but I would be hesitant to attempt a single handed docking in conditions that are too risky.

That said, it does happen to all of us at some point. Here is what I have done when faced with that.

I first prototype the situation out in free water with lots of searoom. I will make several practice runs of a similar length to get a sense of what to expect. That alone might convince me that this is a really bad idea.

I might have tried backing down the fairway rather than going in bow first or trying to turn around in the fair way, since I would want the bow facing outward in case I needed to bail out since my prop is more efficient in forward.

That would also put me in a position where the rotation of the prop walk would more effectively swivel me into the slip and the bow's tendency to pay off in a breeze would also work for me.

I would be tempted to hang dinghy style from a bow line while rigging working lines If that can be done safely in the conditions. I probably would evaluate using fenders and dock boards to keep me out of trouble, but only if they can help rather than risk catching them on something and screwing up the maneuver.

I tend to do a lot of 'warping' maneuvers, where I run dock lines to snatch blocks and back to a winch, but I have 3 winches on each side of the boat in the cockpit to work with making that easier to do.

When the wind is blowing me down on the slip I want to get into, I have rigged a warping line across the fairway and used that to keep me from being pinned. I have some very long line for that purpose.(100 feet of 3/8") I tie one end on a cleat, and put an open loop on the cleat or piling that I am warping from, so I can recover my line with out having to go back to the pick it up. I run the working end of that line through a snatch block back to a winch. I can then slowly let the boat move towards the slip by easing the bow line and using rudder and prop to pivot to where I want to be. That buys a lot of time to rig additional working lines.

For what it's worth, we all have been in your shoes and the is what touch up paint or gelcoat is for. It actually sounds like you did about as good a job of it as you could have under the circumstances and it's easy to throw out advice sitting quietly at a key board. It's a lot harder to actually size up and respond to a situation in real time.

Jeff

pdqaltair 04-20-2019 10:56 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by capecodda (Post 2051597138)
^^^^
I've been at this for more than 40 years on different 5 boats from 22 to 52 feet. If I arrive at a marina, and they direct me to a slip that won't work based on conditions, I ask them to find me someplace else or anchor out.

This. Numerous times I have anchored out or requested a different slip when I felt that I could not dock safely in the one suggested, and I've always felt smart with that decision. Perhaps it was my lack of skill or the lack of crew, but it matters not. If I am not certain I can do it safely, I don't.

I guess you have to make a few mistakes to learn this simple truth. I did, none of them damaging. But too close for comfort.

One of my clearest memories was in a strong cross current in Chincoteague (several knots) driving a big cat. With the right crew is might have been possible, but I declined and used a bulkhead nearby. I felt humiliated when a boat pulled into the slip 30 minutes later. And then, walking into town I saw the horrible dock rash he got in the process. I felt a lot better after that. I had made the right call.

capecodda 04-20-2019 11:04 AM

Re: Difficult docking
 
Jeff's advice is right on.

And know this, every one who really uses their boat has scratched gel coat, scraped awl grip, bent railings, or worse. It happens. I've got a power boat with a single screw and it's so easy to drive that I could do water ballet. The sail boats I've owned have all had their close maneuvering quirks, lots of displacement, lots of windage, lots of underwater stuff to be influenced by current, and a little tiny engine. What could possibly go wrong :).


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