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Old 05-17-2015, 01:45 AM   #1
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Bad docking day

We took our 42' Californian out today fro dania beach to the marine stadium in Miami. The trip was wonderful. Boat full of folks and everyone had a great time. Boat ran great too.

Had a hell of a time getting out of the slip to leave and had to use hand ropes from the dock to get docked when we got back.

In the mud leaving at low tide. Strong head wind coming back. I am jammed in a slip and have to clear two other boats that stick way out in the slip way. Both events caught me totally off guard. Damn near hit boats in my slip way. My boys had to fend me off.

Feeling so frustrated cause last time we went out it was text book and no issues.

Someone tell me it's ok! Pretty freaked out right now. Only had the boat a month and only driven her 4 times. My ego sure took a hit today cause the last time went so well. Ugh!!!
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:24 AM   #2
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Frg, which way are you docking, bow in, or stern in, and which side of the boat is the berth side..? I'm sure we can make a few hopefully helpful suggestions once we have a clear idea of what the situation is. You might hear that term used on here quite often as it is a useful concept - 'situational awareness'. In this context it is planing the 'landing' as it were, so you have any likely eventuality covered. Also, am I correct that your boat is 42 feet, twin engined and no bow thruster. I have no bow thruster, and felt after our first few ins and outs that we needed one, but we got through that, and I have to admit now, I can't remember a time in years when I would have had a use for one that we could not deal with another way. But it's all part of the (steep) learning curve. Right Marin..?

Oh, yes, Frg, do you have a pic of your berth at all..? If so, putting that up would also help.
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:38 AM   #3
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In flying, they say every landing you walk away from is a good one. In boating I think it's the same way.

Every boater, regardless of experience, faces unexpected or challenging situations when maneuvering a boat. Sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's the current, sometimes it's the crew or lack thereof, sometimes it's other boats or the dock layout and sometimes it's the boater's own frame of mind at the time.

You deal with the situation as best you can, and if you are successful in achieving the objective without breaking anything or anyone you've added another solution or technique to the bag of tricks we're all building in our minds our whole lives.

In other words, don't sweat it. Just keep boating and learning. There's a good reason "practice makes perfect" is a cliché we're all sick of hearing: it's because it's true.
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:54 AM   #4
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Thanks! Yes I will take a pic of my berth tomorrow. Tuesday I am going to ask to be moved to an end dock. Once you see where I am you'll understand.

Most boats in this marina never move - just floating apartments. We don't want to end up like that.

I have twins and no bow thruster. The slip is 14' And my beam is 13' 8" so, it's a tight fit. I pull in bow first. We like to have some privacy on the aft deck.

Pics tomorrow for interested members. Thanks again!
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:25 AM   #5
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That is way too tight if it is as you say. Are your boats literally only 4" apart - hard to believe, but yes, it possible get a move to a better spot.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:54 AM   #6
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"The slip is 14' And my beam is 13' 8" so, it's a tight fit."

So - Are you are in a single berth with fingers on either side, with 2" clearance. I can see how that is challenging. Not much room for error, and you get wedged in if you're not lined up perfectly.
There is a 30ft catamaran with a single outboard just down from me in a similar fit. He can't even use regular fenders, just the flat mats. He doesn't leave the dock unless it is dead calm. A bit of a problem considering its a sailboat.

A shared berth gives a bit more room for manoeuvring, although your next-door neighbours boat is not as forgiving as the dock.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:12 AM   #7
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Frgeorgeh: This may relate. I'm an over the road trucker with over a million miles behind me...I've backed into thousands of docks....yet...every now and then, especially when I don't pay close enough attention to the "set up" cuz I've done it so many times, I just can't get into the slot...this mainly happens when LOTS of other truckers are watching, lol. Yep, it's a humbling experience and it just reminds me to go back to basics, do it slow and do it right. Your mishaps yesterday are OK! It happens!....You'll do better next time, HONEST!
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:40 AM   #8
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Just last weekend ( Mothers Day ) we decided to go up river to a small marina with restaurant and have a Mothers Day cruise/ lunch . It's kinda tight getting in there and this was the first time we tried with William . Everything went ok and we got tied up at the dock with no problems . While we were waiting for lunch I took a stroll with the grandkids . The marina is mostly old houseboats that never leave. I noticed a women taking pictures of our boat , I mean a bunch of pictures .She went on about how everybody at the dock just loved our boat and wanted to know all about it . I was feeling pretty pumped , so I knew that the exit needed to go smooth .
During lunch the wind piped up of course and was pushing the boat hard against the dock . Everybody got on and we we got the bow pushed off and started to leave the dock ,my son n law was pushing off the stern with a boat hook and it got caught in between two dock boards . The boat wasn't making much headway and the stern was hard against the dock . The dinghy rode up on the dock and the boat hook was caught hard and bending . My daughter went back to help . He couldn't hold on anymore and turned loose of the book hook it rica shade and popped my daughter in the eye and she wound up with a blackeye on Mothers Day. My son n law felt horrible . Everybody is ok the boat took a little lick on the quarter . My ego was taken down a notch .
It happens man just keep on boating
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Old 05-17-2015, 08:15 AM   #9
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Next time Marty, when in that situation, have a nice fat fender you can hang just a bit back from the bow for the bow to press against. Have a line from the forward cleat down round a dock bollard and coming back aboard and lightly cleated so it can quickly be reached, freed, and pulled quickly back aboard.

Then, in idle forward, with rudder hard towards the dock, wait until the stern has swung out about 50º, (bow restrained against dock, quite gently actually, buffered by that fender), let loose the line round the dock bollard , haul it aboard, (or have someone you trust doing that), while you put her in reverse (wheel midships) and back away until well clear, then hard over away from said dock, forward gear, and you're away, with landlubbers gaping with open mouth at your skill.

Fgeorge take note also…if wind blowing you onto the dock, never try to leave by pushing off the bow, and never try to fend a heavy boat by hand in those circumstances either, as it's a recipe for what Marty just described. Thank goodness the lady didn't suffer serious eye injury.
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:33 AM   #10
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"It's OK" and I really do understand that you need to hear that. Years ago, when I had my first boat, a 23' Olympic in Sitka I was all over the place coming into the harbor, had to go around kickers sticking out and single handing her was new to me. I recall after about a month I came back in from fishing and there were loads of commercial guys on the dock and I could not believe it! I so wanted it to go well in front of them and it did! Perhaps the best approach and secure I had ever done. I guess I was so concerned with the audience I didn't note that I went into the wrong stall! The next move did not go as well as you might expect. I know that I also felt better back then when I helped another skipper tie up his new 26' fishing boat and he thanked me and after, he related to me that he sometimes did not go out because he hated to come back in and go through the docking so much. His comments made me realize that is is OK. I won't give other advice in the company of these more seasoned skippers but will say that it does get better.

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Old 05-17-2015, 11:30 AM   #11
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Dear Friar George

First you dock so you can walk away... Then you give thanks! You know that trick!

Honestly... Every boater has made maneuvering mistakes... keep on learning by keeping on doing!

Point in fact!

2014 Crisfield Maryland Boat Docking Competition

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Old 05-17-2015, 01:02 PM   #12
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Wifey B: One other thing. Know when to say "NO." 13'8" into 14' slip is probably a time to say it, especially if around boats well in the way. We cruise a lot of places and we try to get a good look at the dock layout before arriving and find out in advance where they intend us going. On more than one occasion we've asked for another spot. Could we have gotten in and out? Perhaps, but no reason to go through such. All but one time it's been handled really nicely by the marina as we're very polite in expressing the problem. That one time, we called the marina on the phone and explained they could cancel our reservation and better not try to charge our card. Now understand we were like 500 yards from their dock at the time and we were turning around to leave as we called. Suddenly all sorts of change of attitude and apology and reassignment. And the insane part was "I didn't realize your boat was so big." Like duh, for real. We gave you the length, the beam, the draft, even the air draft. We could have made it where they wanted to put us. But come low tide and a shift in wind, trouble. We'd read warnings from another boater.

Don't let marinas put you in troublesome situations. We knew someone who had a 55' boat and the marina put him in a 50' slip. He expressed his concern that it was a narrow way between the docks and he stuck out more than any others. They had 60' slips and he was willing to pay, but they had like mucho excess of 50' ones. Famous last words, "No problem. Plenty of room. You don't need to worry." A week later he returned to see his entire bow pulpit destroyed.

There's like plenty of slips in the area you're in and no reason to deal every time you go out with a challenging bad situation.

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Old 05-17-2015, 01:38 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the kind and supportive comments. It means a lot to me.

Here are the pics of my boat in the slip and the slip lane I have to negotiate. Note there are NO cleats in middle out there for me to even tie a spring line to.

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Old 05-17-2015, 01:57 PM   #14
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Certainly looks too cramped for your permanent birth. Like you stated, I would be requesting a change in slip assignment. I can see where there are issues as you described. A change has got to help. Good Luck to you.

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Old 05-17-2015, 02:19 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by RNL View Post
Certainly looks too cramped for your permanent birth. Like you stated, I would be requesting a change in slip assignment. I can see where there are issues as you described. A change has got to help. Good Luck to you.

Glen

Thanks Glen!
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:26 PM   #16
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When docking single-handed at the Richmond boatyard two weeks ago I experienced difficulty. There was a strong wind pushing the boat away from the dock, and on the first attempt, the wind pushed the boat toward another boat docked about 15 feet away before I could secure a dock line. Thus, backed out of the fortunately-wide slip to try again. On the second attempt was able to throw the mid-ship spring line over a dock cleat and pulled the boat to the dock. Good thing the boat's windage isn't huge or I wouldn't have had the strength to pull in the boat.
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:42 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by frgeorgeh View Post
I have twins and no bow thruster. The slip is 14' And my beam is 13' 8" so, it's a tight fit.
I've only had my 42' OA about two months and have experienced a similar event. The boat's beam at the water is 14'4". The first slip I was assigned to had a 15' beam which I turned down because I don't like my Fenders rubbing against the hull. I was then directed to a 16' beam slip which I continue to use today. I still wish that I had more beam in the slip but that's the best the marina can do unless I take a 50' slip. (Big jump in monthly fee.) I still get nervous when I'm heading back to the slip but the nerves are getting better with each landing. I'm not saying the docking gets better...just the nerves!

Stay at it.....everyone has experienced what you are going through and if they don't admit it....well, maybe they have a bad memory or....
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:00 PM   #18
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...I don't like my Fenders rubbing against the hull. I was then directed to a 16' beam slip which I continue to use today. I still wish that I had more beam in the slip but that's the best the marina can do unless I take a 50' slip ...
Me too (single engine and bow-thruster)! Moved to an extra-large/wide slip:



Mahalo Moi expertly fit in this tight guest-dock situation using twin engines sans thruster:

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Old 05-17-2015, 03:07 PM   #19
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Nobody got hurt, no damage done. No harm, no foul.
I would just tie off to the floating dock with 4 lines. The lines around the pilings are not doing anything.
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Old 05-17-2015, 04:28 PM   #20
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as long as you have good rub rails and the slip isn't affected by strong currents or horrific winds....a few inches to spare to me is a GREAT slip.


My liveaboard slip in Annapolis was about an inch wider on each side. I couldn't even go all the way back to the bulkhead as the flare at the bow prevented me going further in.


The beauty of that slip was I could pull in and didn't even have to tie up for hours.


Don't let people talk you out of a narrow slip...it might be trcky getting in sometimes...but may be worth it in the long run.


Not there so I really cant say what is good or not or your ability to handle the boat...but narrow slips aren't necessarily bad.
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