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1975 Newport 28
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573 Posts
I'm in a slip with fixed docks, with a finger pier on my left if you stand on the dock looking out. There are pilings on both sides about 30' out from the main dock, and I have "cheater lines" stretched between the pilings parallel to the boat.

The best aid I've found for single handing docking is a short line (3-4') tied to the end of the finger pier with a bowline at the end. When I back in, the first thing I do is slip that bowline over a winch, and that holds the boat close to the finger pier, which is lined with fenders so I don't have to worry about bumping against it. I then run forward and grab the windward bow line off of whichever outer pier it might be, and do a quick-n-dirty tie-off on the bow cleat on that side.

Now I've got the boat secured tight to the finger pier and protected by fenders, and the bow is centered in the slip by the windward line. After that, it's a simple matter to go around the boat and get the rest of the lines secured.

I'm on a creek where current is not an issue; usually it's the wind that makes the difference, and keeping the boat tight to the finger pier means only one other line needs to be dealt with ASAP.

That little line has made single handed docking a piece of cake. I routinely back her in, bring her to a dead stop a couple of feet from the main dock, cut the engine and put that line over the winch without hardly thinking of it.

I have more difficulty getting her out of the slip, as the wind usually blows the bow over before I can get back to the controls and I almost always engage the rub rail on one of the outer pilings on the way out. But that what it's there for, right?

I had an interesting variation on backing into the slip this past Wednesday: my jib downhaul leaves about three feet of the jib up at the bow, and the breeze was straight out of the slip at about 3-4. My usual maneuver is to motor up to the slip with the opening on the starboard side, stop with the stern right at the slip opening and about 20' out. Then when I put her into reverse, the prop walk takes me in a big circle to the right (looking out the stern) and I make a 270-degree loop right into the slip.

This time was different: I put her into reverse, she sat there for a moment as the prop bit into the water.. and then started turning immediately to the left! I made a 90-degree left turn from a dead stop right into the slip.

Inconceivable!

The only thing I can come up with is that the bit of jib sticking up at the bow acted as enough of a windvane to keep the prop walk from taking me around as usual, and the force on it let the rudder bite immediately so that we turned left instead of making our big circle to the right, as usual.

Funny things boats do, sometimes!
 

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美国华人, 帆船
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2,531 Posts
I always singlehand when sailing even if my wife with me on the boat. It is a tense moment until I purchased this DVD from Jack Klang. Now docking in any conditions is not problem. It only needs two things:

1. Relatively long springline
2. Reverse at idle

Sale page for Captain Jack Klang

:)
 

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Registered
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1,370 Posts
I always singlehand when sailing even if my wife with me on the boat. It is a tense moment until I purchased this DVD from Jack Klang. Now docking in any conditions is not problem. It only needs two things:

1. Relatively long springline
2. Reverse at idle

Sale page for Captain Jack Klang

:)
Ditto on the spring line... Done correctly for us (we're blow on or blow off 97% of the time and the boat is relatively light), the spring is at the shrouds (attached to a horn cleat on the rail) and long enough to run back to the cockpit/gate area. Coast in slow, step off the boat, make the spring which both stops the boat and then keeps it from drifting down into my neighbor, then make fast the stern line, forward spring, and then stern spring, and finally the bow.
 

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Sundance 23
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878 Posts
I bought Jack's DVD and will practice his methods and use them exclusively for my docking needs. Also, the later half of the video is on sail trimming, which is just what I need. The DVD was an excellent investment.

There's a variation of this method written up in Good Old Boat (two issues ago).

I installed two caribeaners on the toe rail on port and starboard sides, with blocks, so I can run my 'spring' line on either side. Also, Jack suggests rigging your fenders sideways. You'll see why if you get the DVD. I need to do that to mine.
 

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Registered
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75 Posts
Something I never understood about Jack Klang's rules, as taken from his site:

1. Dock into the wind.
2. Point your bow into the wind when docking. If the wind is from astern, you'll soon be in trouble.
3. Therefore: Change the wind or change your dock.

If you have a slip at a marina, or are charting a boat, you can't change your slip (or the wind).
 

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美国华人, 帆船
Joined
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2,531 Posts
Something I never understood about Jack Klang's rules, as taken from his site:

1. Dock into the wind.
2. Point your bow into the wind when docking. If the wind is from astern, you'll soon be in trouble.
3. Therefore: Change the wind or change your dock.

If you have a slip at a marina, or are charting a boat, you can't change your slip (or the wind).
If you pay attention to what he said, he was teasing. :)
 

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Capt Ron
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77 Posts
While I’m new to sailing, I’ve been around boating my entire life.. My dad had a marina when I was a kid, and for as long as I can recall back, I remember bring boats from the marina slip over to the fuel docks, and back to their slip.

The best advice I can give anyone single handling a boat is take is slow and easy. Remember a body in motion trends to stay in motion.. So once the boat is underway, click it back in natural and let momentum take you in.

Then bump it in and out of forward, as you need to reach your target. Angel it in to the dock, and then at the last minute hit reverse with the ruttier facing the dock in reverse; then back to natural, as the boat comes to stop just inches away from the dock.

As others have said... Have fore and aft dock lines ready, and most of the time, (depending on the wind) I run forward to hand a line over to someone on the dock, then to the back.

If there is no one to help on the dock... Then make sure you angle into the wind, and current, and then have a LONG front line, that is near your cockpit, so you can jump off on the dock with it in your hand to secure the boat to the dock.
 

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Telstar 28
Joined
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43,289 Posts
While I’m new to sailing, I’ve been around boating my entire life.. My dad had a marina when I was a kid, and for as long as I can recall back, I remember bring boats from the marina slip over to the fuel docks, and back to their slip.

The best advice I can give anyone single handling a boat is take is slow and easy. Remember a body in motion trends to stay in motion.. So once the boat is underway, click it back in natural and let momentum take you in.

Then bump it in and out of forward, as you need to reach your target. Angel it in to the dock, and then at the last minute hit reverse with the ruttier facing the dock in reverse; then back to natural, as the boat comes to stop just inches away from the dock.

As others have said... Have fore and aft dock lines ready, and most of the time, (depending on the wind) I run forward to hand a line over to someone on the dock, then to the back.

If there is no one to help on the dock... Then make sure you angle into the wind, and current, and then have a LONG front line, that is near your cockpit, so you can jump off on the dock with it in your hand to secure the boat to the dock.

An amidships line is a much better suggestion than a bow line.
With a bow line, the stern can blow off the dock and cause some serious problems. With a stern line, the bow can blow off the dock with similar results. With an amidships line, you can bring the boat into the dock—without having the bow or stern being able to blow off and control how far forward or aft the boat lies to the dock.
 

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Capt Ron
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77 Posts

An amidships line is a much better suggestion than a bow line.
With a bow line, the stern can blow off the dock and cause some serious problems. With a stern line, the bow can blow off the dock with similar results. With an amidships line, you can bring the boat into the dock—without having the bow or stern being able to blow off and control how far forward or aft the boat lies to the dock.
Great idea when the winds is blowing
 
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