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Hi All,

After our first "real" cruise last week (8 nights on the boat), involving 7 different docking scenarios... I watched as some of the power boats came into port with mom on the bow and dad driving (typical arrangement) but they had small (sometimes large) headsets on. WOW! There's something that might be really usefull. I'm behind the dodger, she's on the bow 27' forward of me, she turns around and I see her lips moving... :rolleyes: No clue what she's trying to tell me. We've had the "hand signal talk", the "don't try and idle chat" talk, but something always seems to come up.

Do any of you use handless headset communicators on board?

Dave
 

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yes, we do use headset to communicate. They sure do come handy when wind is blowing and noises, great for docking.I have a 34 ft boat that make it easy for us commincate when she is that far ahead of me.
I have to admit it was money well spend and no mistake taken of hand signal changes. Just make sure you have lots of battery for the device.
I think to me it was more of learning device at first to commincate and wouldn't do without them.
 

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My wife and I utilized the "marriage savers" for the first time this season. In the past, we got along fine without them, but this year we moved to a slip which was challenging, especially when there was a good blow, because the slip is much larger than needed for our boat. After the first couple of times docking, we tried the "marriage savers". They've made things much easier. I recommend them.

Bob
Morning Dew, PSC Crealock 37, #360
 

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They were one of the best Christmas presents my husband gave me and consequently gave himself. Before we had them communication between the bow and stern during docking, anchoring, etc was difficult at best, and often created, shall I say, attitude issues. You guys know what they say about when momma's happy...well these made momma happy.
 

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In my opinion the biggest communication issue is that people are at opposite ends of the boat WAY too early. Stay together in the cockpit discussing things calmly during the approach. On most boats a leisurely stroll forward takes well under 10 seconds.

If you back in you want your extra hand aft anyway ESPECIALLY for bow lines.

Headset communicators are one more thing to drop over the side. *sigh*
 

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We could fill our boats with useful gadgets, but shortly you and your sailing partner shouldn't need all that much communication when docking.
For us it's a quick pass by an unfamiliar dock, then back out to decide how to set up the lines and fenders for docking. Most often it's going to be back spring, bow and then stern, anyway. After the discussion, there's little to say, really. You put the boat where your partner needs it to be to get the lines on in the order discussed. Perhaps a few fingers raised to indicate the distance of the bow from the dock, if you have an aft cockpit boat, but really there just isn't that much to talk about, once you are committed.
We will rarely give a line to someone ashore, as that is a recipe for disaster. For some strange reason, they will never follow directions and place the line where you wanted.
So, if past experience holds, you'll use the head sets and then they'll sit in a drawer unused and unnecessary, after a bit more experience as a team.
 

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We will rarely give a line to someone ashore, as that is a recipe for disaster. For some strange reason, they will never follow directions and place the line where you wanted.
You forgot the part where they stand there holding the line, thinking--apparently--they can stop a 25,000 or 40,000 lb boat without taking a couple of turns around a piling or cleat. *sigh*
 

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We have been using Cruising Solutions' Marriage Savers for the last 10 years and have found them a great addition.



As in the above, on our boat my (much) better half does the "driving" while we're anchoring or mooring up the yacht as it makes no sense to me to have a 105# person attempting to manage lines on a 23,000# boat. The only shortcoming is a spouse that feels compelled to loudly yell "hello's" to friends and acquaintances upon arrivals/departures. If so, one soon learns to keep one's own earphone volume low!

FWIW...
 

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...it makes no sense to me to have a 105# person attempting to manage lines on a 23,000# boat.
That's the part that I never really "got." Why is it that on probably 80% of the boats you see, the one who is best able to do heavy, physical labor is sitting there with two fingers on the wheel, and two fingers on the throttle, while the smaller and (usually) weaker one is trying to manhandle the anchor, fenders, dock lines, and so on? No sense whatsoever.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's the part that I never really "got." Why is it that on probably 80% of the boats you see, the one who is best able to do heavy, physical labor is sitting there with two fingers on the wheel, and two fingers on the throttle, while the smaller and (usually) weaker one is trying to manhandle the anchor, fenders, dock lines, and so on? No sense whatsoever.
I hear you. In our case... the Allmand has very poor slow speed manuverability, tight quarters parking with the other 11' beamer next door, the wife won't even try to drive us in. She really can't do alot other than be a good lookout on the bow and fend off oops's with the boat pole (best she can). I'm really single handing the dockings. But I'll take a good lookout in a busy, tight quartered marina any day of the week! ;)
 

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I hear you. In our case... the Allmand has very poor slow speed manuverability, tight quarters parking with the other 11' beamer next door, the wife won't even try to drive us in. She really can't do alot other than be a good lookout on the bow and fend off oops's with the boat pole (best she can). I'm really single handing the dockings. But I'll take a good lookout in a busy, tight quartered marina any day of the week! ;)
Exactly... same with us, too, except my little P26 still seems huge to us newbies. My wife freaks if we're within 20 feet of anything... boat, dock, seagull, floating stick.... she loves to pilot in open areas, but won't touch the tiller anywhere near a dock. She's getting better.... ;)

Barry
 

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I got gifted a set of headsets, there was too much static so we tossed them.
 

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I hear you. In our case... the Allmand has very poor slow speed manuverability, tight quarters parking with the other 11' beamer next door, the wife won't even try to drive us in. She really can't do alot other than be a good lookout on the bow and fend off oops's with the boat pole (best she can). I'm really single handing the dockings. But I'll take a good lookout in a busy, tight quartered marina any day of the week! ;)
David--

We sail a 42' yacht and are moored in a basin that is very tight and so requires deft handling. Initially, my wife refused to take the wheel at all until we were well clear of the marina. She got over it, finally, when I asked her to take the wheel for a moment while I freed the boat hook as we approached our slip on one occasion. Having freed the boat hook, I simply refused to return to the wheel. "We'll crash!" she wailed. "No we won't" I replied, "just go slow and do what I tell you". Our discussion went on for a few minutes but she finally got that I really wasn't coming back to the cockpit and so "bit the bullet" and handled the boat. It was a little awkward initially but we have a rule when approaching a dock, mooring, or what have you--if you're not bored on the approach, you're going too fast--and with that, and a little coaching, she did/does very well. At this point she is the only female that handles a boat in our marina-and often gets applause from on-lookers-and now describes "driving" the boat as akin to driving a bus--slow and sometimes awkward, but predictable.

Take your wife out, let her drive and get a sense of the boat (that the stern moves right when the bow moves left for example) and you'll be surprised at how well she'll do. And, with her involved in the management/operation of the boat, you'll be surprised at how much more fun her boating will be.
 
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That's the part that I never really "got." Why is it that on probably 80% of the boats you see, the one who is best able to do heavy, physical labor is sitting there with two fingers on the wheel, and two fingers on the throttle, while the smaller and (usually) weaker one is trying to manhandle the anchor, fenders, dock lines, and so on? No sense whatsoever.
Sometimes it takes a little while for couples new to sailing to work it out. Being at the helm is less physical work, but I find that the mental part of it is work, too. Coming into the slip I think about what's going on around the boat, make sure I'm not too fast or too slow, keep track of the line handler, wind, current, is that boat at the fuel dock leaving and heading our way? etc. Having to do all that in windy conditions can be intimidating. Add to that the people on the dock just waiting for an allision or the screaming show (which doesn't happen on our boat).

When we plan stays at new marinas we try to look at a photo before we leave the house. Google Earth, marina website photos, whatever is available. When I make the reservation I ask for the slip number ahead of time and the location. Slip assignments ahead of time are not always available but if we do get it we can sort of have a picture of the slip and how we might get into it. Then we just just need to account for wind and current and adjust as needed.

If we're returning to our own slip we'll strategize during the trip up the channel to our marina. We can see the marina flag from a distance to have some indication of wind. Because our marina is not protected, wind is most often our biggest problem.
 

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That's the part that I never really "got." Why is it that on probably 80% of the boats you see, the one who is best able to do heavy, physical labor is sitting there with two fingers on the wheel, and two fingers on the throttle, while the smaller and (usually) weaker one is trying to manhandle the anchor, fenders, dock lines, and so on? No sense whatsoever.
Its more than 80%.
I did a scientific survey... OK I counted all the boats on the ICW from Norfolk to Virgina to Ft Lauderdale and I reckon there was 5 or less boats with a female at the helm and with a guy there but not at the helm. That includes fishing dinghys, everything.

What I actually do is try to do a "drive by", and as SVAuspicious says, keep the crew in the cockpit, and on the drive by check what the actual layout is and whats gunna happen and whats gunna screw up, then come up with a plan. Then I get the hell right out of the dock, marina, anchorage and come back in for my real approach.
If I screw up I don't try to manouver the boat. I get the hell back out, way out, wait till I settle down and do for it again.

In some docks there can really be only one chance to do it. The fuel dock is so far in the middle of the marina they may as well have put it in the car park. Then again, as SVAuspicious says, have the crew in the cockpit till the last moment. they lines have already been set up.

Oh, and the bit about chucking docklines to people on shore... this is a pain because its what I have to do being solo sailor... so I have a SET proceedure:
I walk forward to the line, grab the coil, look at the guy on shore and wait till he is looking at me in the eye, and then I say "Put this Loop around THAT bollard" or "Cleat this line to that cleat". Then I look for understandinig and chuck the line.
It only takes a few seconds away from the wheel but its worth it :)

:)

Oh, and I don't pass a line early so someone can 'walk' with the boat... they pull on the line. stuffed my pushipt once :rolleyes:
 

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We sail a 42' yacht and are moored in a basin that is very tight and so requires deft handling. Initially, my wife refused to take the wheel at all until we were well clear of the marina. She got over it, finally, when I asked her to take the wheel for a moment while I freed the boat hook as we approached our slip on one occasion. Having freed the boat hook, I simply refused to return to the wheel. "We'll crash!" she wailed. "No we won't" I replied, "just go slow and do what I tell you". Our discussion went on for a few minutes but she finally got that I really wasn't coming back to the cockpit and so "bit the bullet" and handled the boat.
Thanks for the strategy... I may use a similar tactic in the future. Right now, I don't have enough experience to know for sure that I'd be making the right suggestions to her; I'm still doing things kind of by feel myself rather than KNOWING exactly what to do. As you said.... we go real slow and just make sure nothing gets bent.

Just so I don't get accused of thread drift... the only screaming on our small 26 footer has been my wife freaking out and screaming in fear over me getting within 30 feet of another docked boat when backing out of our slip... ;) We're pretty calm with each other otherwise. No need for headsets at this point.

Best to all,

Barry
 

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Initially, my wife refused to take the wheel at all until we were well clear of the marina. She got over it...
Same here. There's not a woman alive who can't learn to handle any boat out there. You just have to give her a chance, and then give her some encouragement.
 

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Same here. There's not a woman alive who can't learn to handle any boat out there. You just have to give her a chance, and then give her some encouragement.
Good advice from all, thanks. I respect my wife's position not to dock... she drives the boat with authority and confidence in all other aspects of sailing from down the fairway, in the port area, to 20 degress of hard pointing. We (Captains) must know and respect our sailing partners and crews abilities and desired levels of technical involvement. Can she do it? Yes she can (she actually did one time), but chooses not to. And that's not to say she might want to try this coming weekend. :)

Dave
 
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