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Old 11-21-2018, 07:25 AM   #1
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Docking a GB 32 Single Handed

Newbie question. Is it possible to reach the steering wheel and throttle / shifter through the window so that so you can be on deck to grab a line as you come up to dock? I know for many of you the GB32 is a small boat; for me it seems huge and about 8000 pounds heavier and two feet wider than what I am used to.

I have my eyes on a nice one I would like buy but apprehensive about docking it. Any insights would be appreciated.
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:05 AM   #2
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Greetings,
Mr. SGB. With all due respect, I think you're over analyzing the situation. A few hours practice and you'll be much more confident. Personally, I would stay behind the wheel. Operating controls from a less than familiar position is a recipe for mistakes IMO.



My BIL backs his boat (44' Ocean Sport Fish) standing on the FB facing aft and operating the controls behind his back. Quite impressive but NOT doable for me. YMMV.
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Old 11-21-2018, 08:45 AM   #3
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I have a GB 32 and it's certainly possible to learn how to dock it even when solo. Rule 1....never approach a dock faster than you want to hit it. Rule 2. Plan in advance, have all docklines in place, and all fenders. Rule 3. Learn about "backing and filling," which is how to manuever a single engine boat without any thrusters. Rule 4. Goosing the throttle to do a quick turn is ok if you have practiced in advance and learned how to control it. Rule 5--the most important...NOBODY WAS BORN KNOWING HOW TO DO THIS STUFF. IF ALL THOSE OTHERS LEARNED HOW TO DO IT, SO CAN YOU!

By the way, the GB is a great boat! You will really enjoy it.

Light winds and calm seas
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:01 AM   #4
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The sudden need to grab a line suggests a habit of the boat being in significant motion as it approaches the docking position.


That works when the boat is light enough to wrangle...


Try docking your smaller boat in a way that it is comes to a stop and sits in the docking position by itself, no wrangling required.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:15 AM   #5
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Short answer: No.
Pick a day with little wind. Go out and pick a buoy. Practice approaching it to a dead stop from all angles. Figure out how to make prop walk work for you. From then on it's keeping speed down and aborting if isn't lining up.
(and price bow thrusters)
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:52 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. I understand that I need the boat to come to a complete stop. I can (and sometimes do) "wrangle" my current boat but I could not wrangle anything heavier. Will this boat, with a longer keel and more mass, sorta stay put long enough to get from the helm to the windward dock line or do I need to rest the boat on the leeward pilings. On my current boat I do not have much time between when she stops and when the wind has its way with her.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:58 AM   #7
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Caprain's Door

Just curious...has anyone installed a door at the GB 32 helm?
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Old 11-21-2018, 10:06 AM   #8
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Blasphemy. even worse than bow thrusters
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:12 AM   #9
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You will have more control if you back down (where possible) with a single screw. I can back my single screw GB 36 into about any place pretty confidently. Hard rudder to port or starboard and then just short kick in forward. NO THROTTLE! You will learn to wiggle the stern right where you want it. Called “back and fill” Much easier then forward motion.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:25 AM   #10
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Lots of info and little I agree with, for everyone in all situations....so pick advice carefully.

Sorry I can't answer the real question about the window.... But ....having driven plenty of boats from outside, as long as you can reach the controls,vsure it can be done once you get to that level.
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Old 11-21-2018, 11:46 AM   #11
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Kind of spendy, but will help you a lot. We throw it and attach it to the bow cleats. Instant bow line. Then you can back down and swing the stern to the dock.

Ez Docker Throwable Line | Boating Accessories For Sale | AlumaFab,Inc.
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Old 11-21-2018, 06:54 PM   #12
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On our previous boat a Great Lakes 33 I had a window beside the lower helm but never felt a need to use it while docking. What I did find useful was when locking thru, I could reach in and start the engine before letting go and pushing off the lock wall when exiting.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:12 PM   #13
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Does the GB32 not have a helm door? Even if there is only a window, provided you can reach the levers, you should be able to operate them standing outside the cabin reaching in. I stand outside, facing backwards,and mess with the twin gear levers through the open door. Works most of the time.
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Old 11-21-2018, 07:14 PM   #14
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It all comes down to practice. When we first started I hired a captain to teach me docking w/o thruster, we started a on a day with no wind and slack tide then picked other days that were more challenging. We get a good tide running right past the docks so it can be a bear when it runs and we have a north wind. He was just there to guide me and never took control. It helped a bunch, I am not a pro but getting better w practice.
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Old 11-21-2018, 09:31 PM   #15
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I wouldnít ever disembark without a line securing the boat with wind or current working against you.
The best way depends on your dock design.

Whenever the wind is blowing the boat off the dock I rely heavily on a spring line. You just need to practice enough to get the cockpit close enough to the end dock cleat to loop the spring line. Then put boat back in fwd gear at idle and take up the tension with the helm wheel turned hard away from the dock.

With tension on the spring line, the boat will suck up tp the dock allowing you to casually disembark and tie off the other lines while idling in gear. If the wind is really blowing hard you may need to apply slightly more revs to force the boat right to the dock. Btw - the spring line has to be the right length to stop you in the right spot. Preparation is the key.
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Old 11-22-2018, 09:16 AM   #16
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As usual, I agree with PSN. Lots of anecdotal, experience based advice, but little that will apply to your specific boat.

Practice, practice, success.

Oh, a friend's GB 36 with only one door, was by the wheel.
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Old 11-22-2018, 12:02 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AusCan View Post
I wouldn’t ever disembark without a line securing the boat with wind or current working against you.
The best way depends on your dock design.

Whenever the wind is blowing the boat off the dock I rely heavily on a spring line. You just need to practice enough to get the cockpit close enough to the end dock cleat to loop the spring line. Then put boat back in fwd gear at idle and take up the tension with the helm wheel turned hard away from the dock.

With tension on the spring line, the boat will suck up tp the dock allowing you to casually disembark and tie off the other lines while idling in gear. If the wind is really blowing hard you may need to apply slightly more revs to force the boat right to the dock. Btw - the spring line has to be the right length to stop you in the right spot. Preparation is the key.
Great advise. If you can get a line from your bow quarter aft to a cleat on the dock, it will spring you in, along side the dock with a little forward power. I use this method a lot in my home slip.
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Old 11-23-2018, 06:36 AM   #18
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Personally, I would not reach through a window to control throttles. Too many chances for things to go wrong. One slip and things go from bad to exponentially worse. Like bumping the wrong throttle due to confusion over left/right orientation, or over-correcting, or sudden movement causing you to lose footing... and then there's a boat under power without anyone at the controls.

There are options out there to add wireless controls. Though if you're wandering into that price territory I'd think adding thruster(s) would likewise be a good choice. Might be overkill for a 32 though.

Depends on the docking scenario, but when there's enough room I've used a line off the bow with a bowline loop. Drop that line over a cleat as you're coming in and then use that to gently power the stern over.

The trick is having a plan already in your head if you miss that cleat. Which is true for any docking situation. For me the most valuable learning experience was coming to understand when the boat was going to get into situations I couldn't easily get out of. As in, too far over to allow enough room for a turning. Knowing that helps determine when you're better off stopping the effort and trying again.

That and getting a feel for just how much power is really necessary to maintain good control. Slow doesn't help you if the winds or currents start pushing you around. Our old boat was like that, it would wander too much if I tried having it just 'in gear'. I had to give it a bit more throttle. Then it'd find a more stable course (powerboat, with little keel). I likewise had to learn just how much distance and amount of reverse I'd have to use to pull it to a stop. Once I figured that out docking was a LOT less stressful.
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:14 AM   #19
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Learn about "backing and filling," which is how to manuever a single engine boat without any thrusters....NOBODY WAS BORN KNOWING HOW TO DO THIS STUFF. IF ALL THOSE OTHERS LEARNED HOW TO DO IT, SO CAN YOU!
Although this is not a GB32,it is a single engine 32! Though it does have a bow thruster, I've put it in the slip many times by just putting the helm hard over (port or starboard) and "backing & filling."
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Old 11-23-2018, 10:58 AM   #20
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This is an interesting video on docking:
https://youtu.be/PoGMAEjiHmU

Not exactly the most 'lively' of presentations, but it's pretty informative.
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