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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was helping a new sailor with his Aloha 34 last Sat.

He is tied bow in port side to a generously long finger pier on a river with 1 to 2 knots current.

On sat we had an off pier wind of about 10 knots combined with a off pier current of 1 to 2 knots.

As you can imagine as soon as you release the lines the boat takes off down stream for the neighbors boat about 4 feet away.

What I would usually do on a 25 or maybe even a 30' boat if I was by myself would be to walk it out by hand to the spreaders then hop on put it in gear and be on my way.

With this boats size and weight I could hold in the bow or stern, the stern was just about at my limit to hold by hand but not both.

What I did was take the stern line back to the cockpit with just a loop on the stern cleat so he could cast it off easily from behind the wheel.

The plan was for him to hold the stern tight while I held the bow tight from the dock.
Then he was to cast off the stern line and immediately go to reverse with a little throttle.

I would walk the bow along the dock until it got to the spreaders where I would hop on and we would be off.

For some reason he decided to do some sightseeing after casting off and we lost about two seconds but we still managed to just get clear without incident.

So my question is how could this maneuver be done single handed?

I was thinking of a dock line from the forward dock cleat to the aft dock cleat as tight as possible.
Then from the bow a line could go from the forward cleat to the dock slider line and back to the boat.

All someone on the bow would have to do is release the line at the right time and pull it in.
They wouldn't have to have any strength. But they would have to exist.

Other than the helmsman locking the wheel and putting it in reverse and double timing it to forward and back, which sounds like a disaster, how could someone pull this maneuver off by themselves.

This boat is just heavy enough to be right on the edge of what one person can push around.

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4,061 Posts
David, I tie a line mid-ship to a cleat I installed on the genoa track and tie it off (very short tether) to a cleat that's mid ship right next to the cleat on the dock.

Then I can release the bow, stern and spring lines. If the wind is off the dock, and the bow blows off a little..I'll just center it again ( usually by nudging the stern out.) before I begin to slowly walk the boat out of the slip...

I can hold the boat and keep it close..using the line tied to boats mid-ship cleat. I'll walk it out slowly until I reach the aft pole and board, then walk aft and take the helm.. I just need a little shot of reverse then the wind off the dock would let the bow fall away into the fairway. Then forward. The Aloha is about 1 1/2 tons might take a little more to get it moving in the right direction...but it shouldn't be as affected by a 10 kn breeze as I am.

In your case..with the current running you'd have to see which had the greater effect...once you cleared...did the bow fall off ?

5,257 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Tempest;1935194 I can hold the boat and keep it close..using the line tied to boats mid-ship cleat. I'll walk it out slowly until I reach the aft pole and board said:
That extra 1.5 tons must make a difference or you are a lot stronger than me.
Your technique is what I do for a Catalina 30 but this boat just seemed a little too heavy for me to manage with just a center hold.

Maybe next time if their is less current.

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3,842 Posts
How about making a quick release for the bow line? You could use a large snap shackle and run the release line back to the helm.


Tie the midships dock line to the dock -- to a piling or cleat. (But you know I trust pilings more than cleats, after we saw that one fly off the dock in Port Jefferson years ago.) Run the midships dock line around the forward side of the midships cleat and then back to the stern cleat, preferrably under the stern line's figure eights. Release the stern line, then back out slowly, paying out the midships line as you go. The tension will serve to keep the boat right up against the dock.

Advantages to the second approach is that you don't need a snap shackle, and you can take your time getting away from the dock. (And maybe if the engine quit at an inopportune time, you could put that line on a winch and crank like crazy to get your boat back where it was.) Disadvantage is that you leave the line in the water while you sail.

All theoretical, but I've done the reverse process to get upwind next to a dock when solo, when the wind was too much for other options. The dock was a single dock that jut out from the shore. I ran a long line from a winch, around the forward side of the midships cleat and then outside the lifelines back to the stern. Then I backed up to the dock, stepped onto the reverse transom to get the line on to a cleat, and powered with rudder to get the boat turned right. Once parallel to the dock, I just cranked her in.

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