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Old 11-27-2018, 10:13 AM   #41
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"Slow & Neutral"

I had a 32' foot trawler for 8 years & even though it had a bow thruster, I often practiced without it. What did I learn?

Going slow is obvious & neutral when deciding on your next move.
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:04 AM   #42
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I moor in the Fraser River some miles upstream from the salt water and while slack water is desirable it is very hard to predict using tide tables. Slack is about 1.5 hours after the chart says for the mouth of the river..but not always!...been trying to predict accurately for years but not always successful so sometimes have to put up with some slow currents. I have duals which help but I have also had some exciting landings. I don’t touch the wheel when in any port but use the throttles and gears to steer and sometimes have come in with the trannys in reverse because of the current. My docking lines and fenders are ready and the lines are looped to the rails so helpful dock jockeys can easily grab them and assist.
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Old 11-27-2018, 12:07 PM   #43
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Thereís no point in a midships line unless itís temporary or a spring line.
I almost always use spring lines.
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Old 11-27-2018, 01:29 PM   #44
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A pearl of wisdom from my dad to his tugboat deckhands, (me and my brother!). "A line anywhere is better than a line nowhere!"
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:09 PM   #45
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Spring lines can be totally unnecessary on floating docks if your midship cleat is near a dock one (some might call that a breast line) and your bow and strength lines lead away from the boat at a sufficient angle.
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Old 11-27-2018, 04:50 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codger2 View Post
I had a 32' foot trawler for 8 years & even though it had a bow thruster, I often practiced without it. What did I learn?

Going slow is obvious & neutral when deciding on your next move.
And from
I agree w codger,
But there’s a catch to always going slow and not using the throttle. And that is ...... when you get into a demanding situation you won’t be able to control your boat. You’ve heard the old saying “give it a blast of throttle”. If you have only maneuvered at an idle you will have no idea how long a blast of throttle is or what will happen.

I’d be inclined (especially w a new to you boat) to fender up good and make a classic landing at a 20 degree angle and use favorable prop-walk to straighten out. Approach at a fast walking speed or a bit more. Give it full throttle -heavy to (3/4) throttle or so and look through your window at the float and see how long it takes to stop the boat. Choose a spot where there’s no boat ahead for 2 or more boat lengths so there’s no danger except a bit of extra wear to the fenders.
Other practice can be arranged so as to get experience operating your boat frequently close to it’s limits. Do the back and fill w heavy throttle given plenty of room. Be aware that your shift and throttle cables could break at any time ... and of course that is always the case. But you can shift quickly w/o undue wear or strain on your cables. You can shift a BW as fast as your hand can move. US navy boat operators do it often and w throttle on. It’s a very bad thing to do at higher rpm because of the clutches but in an emergency you’ll probably get away w it.

Practice, practice, practice is the road to higher skills. My boat is heavy for her power and it takes a chunck of throttle and time to stop her .. (37hp for 8tons). But w/o doing it a number of times I wouldn’t know. Knowing is golden.

78-Puget Trawler writes;
“A line anywhere is better than a line nowhere”
Obvious and a good thing to realize especially in demanding situations.
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:50 PM   #47
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An advantage we have both have is substantially lighter displacement than even a 36í trawler.

Enjoy the classic,

This is an interesting comment above and very likely true.

However, if for no other reason than to attempt to slightly assuage the fears of the OP in moving to a larger and heavier boat, I offer the following experience.


Over the last six years I have added piloting experience in sequentially larger and heavier boats from a 21', 7000# planing hull jet boat to a 48', 55,000# displacement hull and then added a 56', 126000# displacement hull. All singles. Each step has resulted in less traumatic docking as counter intuitive as that may be. External forces are less of an issue as weight goes up so forces you apply yourself (rather than wind and current)are the major impact on positioning. You accept the fact that boat hooks and heaving on lines will be futile at 50+ tons so you commit more fully to putting the boat right where it needs to be, and heavy boats tend to stay where you put them. The momentum of heavy boats, when well managed, is really, really helpful. I certainly have had more consistent outcomes with the heavy beast than I have had with the jet sled though admittedly the stakes are much lower with a boat you can manhandle when you get her close.

Learn how the boat responds to your input in open water by a buoy as has been suggested. Then, when docking for real, make a well thought out plan before an attempt. Then, keeping your heart rate and blood pressure under control by being in possession of that good plan, execute the plan.

For me at least, if things get a little sketchy such that there may be a mark on somebody's boat as a result, I will do everything in my power to make sure that is my boat and not that of another. I can live with that.

Commit to reasonable preparation and you will be fine. I expect you will find it to be very satisfying. Perfection is not a necessity. The fact that you are experiencing some nervous energy about it ahead of time is a good sign.
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Old 11-27-2018, 06:07 PM   #48
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Its all good advice in some conditions.
Most people have docking in benign conditions fairly down pat, but with a strong wind and/or current with and tight quarters it's a bit more challenging when singlehanded. Sometimes the option of going very slow or stopping in a narrow marina fairway can get you in trouble fairly quickly when you are getting pushed around by wind and current.

Some (like myself) have the extra challenge of no side doors, so docking requires a timely dash to the cockpit. In my case at the home berth, the wind is is usually blowing off the finger towards another boat in the shared berth. I do the dash to the cockpit while the boat is in motion (in nuetral) coming up to the end cleat on the floating dock. If I stopped the boat the bow would immediately blow onto the neighboring boat within seconds. I don't leave the helm unless I am 100% sure I will be in position to loop the cleat with the spring line as soon as I get to the cockpit. If in doubt, I abort - reverse and try again. Once it is looped I slow the boat as the spring line tightens, then put it back in fwd to hold it secure.
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Old 11-27-2018, 06:40 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
But there’s a catch to always going slow and not using the throttle. And that is ...... when you get into a demanding situation you won’t be able to control your boat. You’ve heard the old saying “give it a blast of throttle”. If you have only maneuvered at an idle you will have no idea how long a blast of throttle is or what will happen.
This was my point earlier. I spent way too many weekends trying to 'go slow' and found the boat being pushed about too much by winds/currents. Giving it more throttle put it on a more directed and controlled path, countering the conditions.

What I had to learn/practice/know, of course, was just what you point out... just how MUCH throttle to apply and WHEN.

I'm still not quite there yet with the boat that replaced it. Our t-dock location and thrusters has made it considerably easier to dock. But in a raft-up situation this past summer I had things get a bit wonky and found myself trying to apply power the same way as the old boat. Well, a quick deep burst with gas engines is quite a bit different than spooling up C-12 diesels. Lingered a little too long with a burst of throttle and gave myself a bit of a scare. Nobody on board realized it and nothing went wrong but I was a bit stressed.

I think the word I'm looking for is 'confidence'. You have to build that. Come to know your boat, learn how to really get what you need out of it. Learn what it can and can't do and make that a part of your 'go around' planning. I still approach all docking as a 'might need to give it another go' situation. But I'm sure glad when it's right-in-and-done!
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Old 11-27-2018, 07:07 PM   #50
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One last thing from me, remember that you are steering the stern. The bow needs to be put somewhere useful then get the stern where you want it to go. Try it? Steer the boat, the rudder makes the rear end go left or right, all the rest, springs, current, winds affect the bow but the rudder does the stern. Unless you are cruising or moving faster...slow, rudder=stern.
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:45 AM   #51
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I have a 1988 GB32 New to me last year. I'm still learning the single screw 32 foot boat thing but I can tell you it's not that hard. I've had boats most of my life. Our family was raised on the water with boats. The one piece of advice my father always repeated over the years is... "If you're going to hit it, hit it going slow". This makes a lot of sense regardless of boat size. Larger boats are hard to stop while docking so keep that in mind as you approach a slip or dock. Personally, I wouldn't waste the money on thrusters. Practice is a much better investment. Be prepared with all your lines and bumpers before you get to the dock. I have a burgee (I have new Grand Banks Burgees for sale, see classifieds if you need one) on my bow to show me wind direction. Place a dock pole in a strategic location to assist you if needed. Know the tides also. Preparation and knowledge is the key with any size boat.

OK, so My father had another saying that he repeats too... "The main thing is not to get excited".
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:29 AM   #52
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My previous boat was GB32 and I LOVED that little boat. My best advice is to get a single-engine commercial boat operator to give you an hour or two of "dual." They will open your eyes to how maneuverable a single can be. "Back and fill" is an essential skill!

Its a lovely boat, remember that you are only care-taking her for the next owner so be diligent and make her just a little bit better than when you bought her!
Amen to that! Awesome boat, I have a wooden one, # 95, built Hong Kong in 1968, she is 50 this year; love that little ship! Single screw, no thrusters. And yes, we are only the custodians, this one will outlive me!!
Slow does it like everyone already stated, practice, practice and when in doubt, back out and start again! Have lots of fun, the boat will serve you well if you serve her well! Smooth sailing!
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:07 AM   #53
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What a great looking boat I would be more impressed if it was parked stern first lol. I'm done one docking on my just delivered single screw and discovered this thread. Very helpful indeed thanks to all. I must admit I am anxious about my new docking future...
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:35 PM   #54
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Ok this is my all time favorite thread. I read it a couple of times per month. Learn something new each time.
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