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Old 08-11-2017, 07:02 PM   #1
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Can you dock your boat with a single engine of a twin engine boat?

I've done this three times in different boats. Successfully, but not a pretty job. Twice into finger slips, once onto a side tie. Once we had no dockside help and that one probably went the best. Do you suppose it was because there was no spectators? At docking speed the turning leverarm of one offset engine won't allow the boat to make any straight forward movement, or any straight back movement either, and poor if any rudder response at idle. I don't have a twin available to practice on anymore. Was I just lucky or is there a recognized technique? I recall a lot of back and fill.

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Old 08-12-2017, 01:08 AM   #2
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I've had to do that twice within the past two years because of mechanical issues. The first time we were running on the port engine and we were able to back into the slip without any issues. It required a second attempt to align the boat up with the slip, but that's never an issue with me.

The second time we were coming home on the port engine with about a 20mph wind blowing across the face of the slip. I couldn't back it in on 3 tries so I aborted that attempt to back in and opted for a side tie on the side of the dock across from my slip. The wind was blowing from the SW and that made the side tie a piece of cake.

Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
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Old 08-12-2017, 05:59 AM   #3
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Some are pretty easy to dock, others almost impossible.

Often working for Marine Max I would be asked to meet a vessel at the outer fuel dock and drive the twin on one engine back to its slip.

Some days with wind and boat type, I would ask for help from another yard guy in s small boat to come help swing the bow through tight turns against the wind.

Something not brought up often when discussing tough docking, regular or under distress.... in big marinas, often there are so many helpers, you have to fend them off. If there is a very capable one or two with RHIBS at their disposal, many docking dituations are easier if they will help with a push as a small tug.
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Old 08-12-2017, 07:07 AM   #4
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I can do it sometimes. Depends on the dock, which engine is working, and wind/tide/current conditions. And then also sometimes depends on whether I have crew.

An open face dock, maybe not so hard. Backing into a 4-way slip on my port side with starboard engine running, one crew, probably. No crew, maybe. Ditto same kind of slip on my starboard side with port engine running...

But I can generally anchor and call the tow boat.

South River, Chesapeake Bay
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:46 AM   #5
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Assuming the boat has no thrusters, it is a very challenging exercise very much depending on local circumstances at the time: current, strength and direction, wind, strength and direction, and dock or slip configuration.
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Old 08-12-2017, 09:42 AM   #6
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I have had some practice, a few years ago, as I had a mechanical issue that required my entire summer cruise to be done on the starboard engine.
Making the propwalk my friend saved the day, again and again.
In twins, your starboard engine always pulls to port when in reverse. Know that, so when approaching the dock for a side tie always approach for a port side tie. If the initial approach puts the dock on the starboard side, turn around. Go past to a wide spot and back and fill till you are approaching the friendly port side docking. Otherwise when that is not possible, go elsewhere or get some help, as the fight is on.

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