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You're about to dock stern to with mooring lines. 20 crosswind. How do you aproach?

  • From the windward side of your berth with the bow into the wind

    Votes: 11 30.6%
  • Straight

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • From the leeward side of your berth with the stern into the wind

    Votes: 25 69.4%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to complete an online sailing test and got stuck in one question:

You're about to dock stern to with mooring lines. The wind is 20 knots from the side. How do you approach the quay?

A) From the windward side of your berth with the bow into the wind
B) Straight
C) From the leeward side of your berth with the stern into the wind

I find both A and C answers valid. It seems to me to me that it is possible to dock using both techniques. I've found others asking similar questions and receiving mixed answers. Some people are suggesting backing with the wind, the others against.

What do you think is the correct answer? Thanks!
 

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Well, I have done it both ways. Part depends on the fairway.

Problem with backing into the wind, which seems the most correct, is that you have to really have a head of steam or when you turn or your bow will be slow to follow. Bow's fall off with the wind. So that manuever needs a bit of thrust.

Problem with following the wind down is that when you turn and that bow starts to follow, it may not stop and you will find yourself pointing the exact opposite way or sideways into the dock. THis is the least controlled method IMHO.

If I had the fairway, I would back into the wind with a good head of steam because it would keep the boat the most controlled following into the slip. That's my opinion. C.

Course, I have had more than my share of "Oh CRAP!". Nothing a little gel coat doesn't fix.

Brian
 

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A

But It kind of matters to me, backing a right-hand prop, whether the crosswind is from stbd or port.

If from port, the stern-walk plus the crosswind will put her into a stbd swing too rapid to allow us to stay parallel to the slip long enough to enter it; if it's from stbd though, better chance to hold your heading as you back up, since the turning forces of wind on the bow, and prop-walk, tend to cancel each other out.

But sometimes I just can't get it done without using the outer piling as a pivot point--get the lee quarter partly into the slip, grab the (eventual) leeward bow line from the soon-to-be lee bow outer piling, cleat it to the lee quarter, and back against it as a spring line to pry the bow upwind using the (fendered or rubrailed) outer piling as the fulcrum. Once bow gets parallel to the slip then ease the line some as you move astern and get in.
 

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I would favor A Backing in with the bow to the wind. Then once you begin the turn into your slip the wind will help push the bow off to help you line up in the slip.
Timing and speed would be critical. I think I would favor my dock side of the fairway and let the wind turn my stern into the slip. If the bow gets past 90 degrees to the wind it will be tough to get it back, so I think you'd want to be halfway into the slip by the time that happens.

With the stern to the wind the wind will work to prevent your turn pushing your bow downwind, rather than allowing you to bring it up.
 

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I also would come stern into the wind, if I was going to attempt it.

The real problem with this scenario though is, you usually don't get a choice which side of the dock to come in on.
 

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Had a big commercial salmon troller, had to back it in with strong side wind.
1 Came down the fairway, which was fairly wide, with the wind
2. Made a hard right turn putting the bow about half way into the wind
3. Let the wind catch the starboard side of the boat and start a drift
4. As the bow starts to blow downwind use hard right rudder and a short blast of power to kick the stern to port
5. Use short bit of reverse to kill forward motion, which wasn't too much
6. Repeat #4 until you are lined up with the slip
7. One final shot of reverse into the slip, then a shot of forward to stop the boat

It was kind of like "walking" it in, drift, kick the stern left, back a little and repeat. For whatever reason this boat didn't have a lot of propwalk if just short bursts of reverse were used. The primary function was to keep kicking the stern to the left to counter the bow drifting downwind. Worst fear was to let the bow blow back down too much, massive pucker time, no way to recover except to try to back out of the fairway against the wind. Not good.

Paul T
 

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Pull in bow first. Turn her around later, after the wind has died.
Do it the logical, easy way. Leave the macho, exhibitionism to the adolescents.
 

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There are too many variables not identified, but let us assume that adjacent vessels are not sticking out beyond the pilings at the ends of their slips and the wind is strong enough to be more significant than the effects of prop walk. My vessel, typically of most will have the bow move off the wind if I have little speed; therefore, I would need to approach into the wind and place the quarter of the vessel to the outside windward piling. As the bow is blown off the wind I would be backing into the slip with both a quarter spring and bow line on the earlier referenced piling. There would be no urgency in gaining lines to leeward, but as the quarter spring tightens the stern will come close to gain the upwind stern line. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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Pull in bow first. Turn her around later, after the wind has died.
Do it the logical, easy way. Leave the macho, exhibitionism to the adolescents.
That would have been nice if we had a float. We were in San Francisco Bay Fisherman's wharf. Just 2 pilings on one side and a steel ladder on the far left side of the slip which you couldn't get to except from the stern of the boat, hence the need to back in, no heroics, just necessity. :D

Paul T
 

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Leaving a line or two hanging off the pilings makes getting connected much easier.
 

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I'd back in from leeward, leaving the turn late and using the 'upwind' momentum of the bow to counteract the tendency for it to blow off.. Requires quick action to secure once stopped, though.

If you go in from windward you're swinging the bow downwind already in the turn, and the wind will exaggerate and increase the bow's blowing off downwind... IMO...

We had a cross-wind slip for 20+ years in an area where it blew 20 or better every nice day.. something to get used to.
 

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..............If you go in from windward you're swinging the bow downwind already in the turn, and the wind will exaggerate and increase the bow's blowing off downwind... IMO............
This can be true unless, when you place your quarter at the outside windward piling, you warp around the piling with a line to the bow and stern. This gives you absolute control of the rate at which your bow turns off the wind once you have partially entered the slip. I would repeat, though, that this strategy does not work if the adjacent boats extend beyond the end pilings of the slips.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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I have to do this very often.

Without warping in the approach is more dependent on propwalk than anything. That said you will be blowing down. There is no time to line up and back in. You have to align the boat on the fly, balancing the dynamics of windage and drift with rotation. Frankly I usually work to get the stern of the boat and the back ten feet or so stuffed in and then rotate from there with bursts of forward and after thrust, prop walk, and rudder. I can almost always get the boat centered in the slip that way without warps although sometimes rotating on a piling.

Warps make it easier but single-handed warps aren't generally going to happen unless you have everything set up ahead of time. Even then it can be rough.
 

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..........Warps make it easier but single-handed warps aren't generally going to happen unless you have everything set up ahead of time. Even then it can be rough.
Still more information missing from this poorly proposed question. Are you single handed? Are there no extending vessels blocking your ability to warp on the piling? Is the slip in a location with the wind opposing or favoring your prop walk? Are you on a fin keeled or full keeled vessel?,-Huge difference! I see why conditions would favor the A or C answer.
 

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I usually go with approach C from leeward. I agree with the comments that it is hard to control how fast the bow falls off when you approach from windward. The trick to avoid the prop walk issue is to get up a head of steam, and then put the engine in neutral. Now I can steer easily in reverse. When I need to kill speed, a little shot of forward thrust (being careful to know where my rudder is as I can move the stern of my Nordic 44 quickly with a little forward thrust.)
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Stupid question. Probably one of the misleader questions designed so that no one gets a perfect score. These kinds of "tests" really suck. It depends on the boat. Boats back down differently, captains do things differently. Current, gusts, "mooring lines"??????? :hothead
 

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Well, I would tend to go w/ "C" for all the reasons mentioned, mostly that the bow will want to blow downwind. Get some speed up, shift into to minimize propwalk and steer it into the slip.
THAT SAID.... it depends. On my boat I have a left hand prop. Thinking about the prevailing wind if I were to approach the slip from Windward and back down towards the slip, the prop walk will pull me to starboard slightly and swing the stern into the slip. Approaching from leeward I'd be fighting both the propwalk AND the bow wanting to blow downwind. Would be much harder to make the turn.

I think I would stick w/ C though b/c things will happen slower than in A.
 

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Once you've completed the exam and it's scored it would be interesting to know what the "correct" answer might be and the explanation as to why.
 

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I have to do this very often.

Without warping in the approach is more dependent on propwalk than anything. That said you will be blowing down. There is no time to line up and back in. You have to align the boat on the fly, balancing the dynamics of windage and drift with rotation. Frankly I usually work to get the stern of the boat and the back ten feet or so stuffed in and then rotate from there with bursts of forward and after thrust, prop walk, and rudder. I can almost always get the boat centered in the slip that way without warps although sometimes rotating on a piling.

Warps make it easier but single-handed warps aren't generally going to happen unless you have everything set up ahead of time. Even then it can be rough.
Thanks for explaining the last bit, i was wondering since I'm singlehanding at least 75% of the time.

I'm lucky to be the last slip at the end by the "T" dock, so if the wind is that tough across, blowing me away from the long T dock into my neighboring slip, I can usually just tie up on the outside of the T and either walk the boat around the corner with 2 lines and pivot into my slip around my port bow piling, or if it's blowing hard, can have someone else (if they're there) do that while I steer around with some motor help -- and they have the lines to keep me from blowing downwind away from the T dock side.

This is a big logistical issue for me single handing and makes getting out of the slip (and in) the toughest part of sailing when the wind's 15+ from the SW (still trying to come up with the best arrangement of lines and cheek blocks on stanchion bases so I can singlehandedly keep the bow pulled into the dock/crosswind while trying to steer/drive the boat out of the slip.

Jon
 
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