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Old 10-16-2012, 11:30 AM   #21
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A lot of trawlers dock bow first. See if that's possible or allowed in your marina. Maybe move to a different marina.

Practice, practice practice. Great looking boat.

Al Johnson
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Old 10-16-2012, 05:44 PM   #22
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If you single-hand and can dock bow first a handy docking aid is a permanent spring line hung on a pole at your slip. A lot of people in our marina use these as it's often windy here.

The line is fastened to a cleat near the outside end of the finger you're going to dock against. The loop end is hung on a pole about a third of the way into the slip. The length of the line is such that it will be tight from the cleat to your midship cleat (assuming you have one) when the boat is the correct distance into the slip. The height of the pole is such that the line can be easily picked up by someone standing on the fore or side deck.

In practice, what you do is enter your slip and as your foredeck comes up even with the line hanging on the pole you step out, lift the loop off the pole, walk back and put the line through the midship hawse and onto the midship cleat. You then go back to the controls and ease the boat forward until it takes up all the slack in the spring line. Leave the boat in gear and the line will pull your bow into the dock. At the same time put the rudder hard over away from the dock and the prop thrust against the rudder will move the stern over against the dock. And you will be pinned there alongside the dock at which point you can step off and secure the bow and stern breast lines.

Get back aboard and put the transmission in neutral, center the rudder, and shut down the engine. You can then adjust your lines, add more of them, etc.

We use our permanent spring even though there are two of us on the boat because this way the wind has no chance to blow us across the slip into our neighbor. We've used this technique to pin our boat against our finger in 15 and 20 knot crosswinds that were trying to blow us off.

While not real obvious on this photo, you can see our line hangar (made of PVC) just forward of the boarding gate in the starboard rail. When we're in the slip we use the permanent spring as a second aft breast line since the prevailing storm winds come from behind us. There are no other boats in this photo as we were one of the first boats to move onto this new dock which replaced our ancient old wood one. All the slips on our dock are now occupied.

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Old 10-16-2012, 08:07 PM   #23
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Marin as I was reading your explanation I was thinking that it would be great if you could make a short video clip as this YouTube clip.

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Old 10-16-2012, 08:34 PM   #24
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I can see how that might be helpful to some people as it's something of a "picture is worth 1000 words" sort of thing. But it's a very, very common technique around here and I assume most other places as well.

So I would think that most people who might be interested in doing something similar would be able to see it being done in their location.

A lot of us here (and I assume everywhere else) use a "portable" version of the same technique when arriving at a dock other than their own with an adverse wind or current. The helmsman gets the boat up against the dock long enough for another person to step to the dock with an aft-running spring line from the midship cleat. Quick like a bunny they get the end of the line around a dock cleat or the bullrail near the stern at which point the helmsman can use the line, rudder, and thrust in the same way to pin the boat against the dock. Be tough to do this single handed, however, since someone has to get off the boat and secure the spring line. In the home-slip version it's already tied off to the dock and hanging where it's easily reached from the deck.

We were taught the midships aft spring technique by the checkout skipper the first time we chartered a GB. The permanent setup in our slip we simply copied from what we saw being done all around us in the marina.

When we come into a dock the line my wife always takes ashore with her is the midships aft spring. Once that's secured the boat's staying put alongside the dock no matter what.

While most of my local friends are in the film/video business none of us do it outside of work. And if we did we'd all want to use big HD cameras and lights and jib arms and dollies and stuff. Give these guys a $100k HD camera and they can operate it in their sleep. Give them an iPhone and it'll take them a half a day to figure out how to take video with it and then they'll spend the rest of the day bitching about the color and resolution and the focus and trying to fix it.
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:14 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Marin View Post
There are no other boats in this photo as we were one of the first boats to move onto this new dock which replaced our ancient old wood one. All the slips on our dock are now occupied.
I thought there were no other boats in the picture because they were all out enjoying what looks like a beautiful day.
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Old 10-17-2012, 08:05 AM   #26
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MYMT wrote...
Back from sailing in New England. Wx was just this side of miserable, but had a good time anyway. Thanks for all the comments..some good advice there. One thing about backing into my slip is I'm single handed most times and from the flybridge...well it can get interesting to say the least. And the 65 foot Vikings on each side make the slip seem awfully small sometimes...all the time actually... :-)

MYMT, do you have to back in. Is the finger not long enough to just jog in at idle forwards, like I do..? Backing out is normally much easier than backing in, and I'm not too proud to admit it. Sorry if someone else put the same question and I did not notice.

Ok, yes, someone did, and I totally recommend Marin's suggestion - we do similarly, and it works well.
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Old 10-17-2012, 02:14 PM   #27
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I will add to my previous explanation that depending on the strength of the wind (or current) pushing you off your finger it may be necessary to add power once the slack is out of the permanent spring to move the stern over against the finger and pin it there. The bow will go in no problem, but there have been plenty of times when the wind was strong enough to push the stern off with just idle power against the hard-over rudder. The answer is more power.

A twin gives one a few more options. The inboard (next to the finger) prop can be put in forward and the outboard prop in reverse. The propwalk of both props toward the finger plus the thrust of the inboard prop against the hard-over rudder can overpower a fair degree of wind. But if he wind is strong I just add power to the inboard engine.

I'm starting to use power more and more as a tool during docking and maneuvering. Until recently I did almost everything with the engines at idle. But having had the chance to watch lobsterboats maneuvering to unload on Prince Edward Island as well as the small Fraser River tugs maneuvering stuff (and themselves) around over in the Gulf Islands it's obvious that power can be a huge asset in maneuvering, even right up at a dock or in a slip.

So I'm now using power-- on one engine or both--- along with differential thrust and the rudders to accomplish things faster and more accurately than before. While getting the feel for this is the key to making it work, the biggest challenge I've found is making sure to remember to pull an engine I've added power to back to idle before shifting to neutral. As there have been times when I've run an engine up to 1200 and even 1500 rpm, remembering to pull the power to idle and let the shaft stop before shifting is pretty important if one wants to prolong the life of the transmissions.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:38 PM   #28
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Well Thanks for all the great information in these posts. I really appreciate it. I have to back in to the slip here. But the info provided here will be a big help in other situations I'm sure. Just need to get out there and practice! Thanks again! (In the meantime, if ya see me coming, get out the fenders!)... :-)

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