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Old 11-26-2018, 09:02 PM   #1
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Docking a 44' twin screw

Yesterday I had a relatively simple docking situation go south, once again shaking my hard earned confidence.

In this situation, I was coming in to a dock that was parallel to the river.
There was plenty of room on the dock.
Current was pretty swift and light wind was blowing off the dock.

I came in against the current at a 45 degree angle and came alongside the dock without any problem.

I can go into what I did and what wrong but instead, could others tell me what they find to be the best 1st line to secure the boat to the dock in this situation.
My goal has been to single hand the boat with my wife on standby.

I have a 44 Tollycraft so like a lot of boats the bow is high off the dock and a long reach, midship is closer, and stern is level with the dock.

So what would others consider to be the best 1st line to secure the boat to the dock: stern line, aft spring line and use the engines to swing the boat into the dock, forward spring line and let the current swing the boat into the dock, or bowline.

Thanks
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:06 PM   #2
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Generally a stern spring line and then leave the outside engine in gear to lay her alongside. But there are many variables - including the skill of the marina dock hands.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:10 PM   #3
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first line attached for us is the breast line. hard for the boat to far out of position with the wind pushing you off the dock. But everyone has their own preference..
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:15 PM   #4
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first line attached for us is the breast line. hard for the boat to far out of position with the wind pushing you off the dock. But everyone has their own preference..
Not sure I understand.

Define a "breast line", and a boat "to far out of position?"
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:23 PM   #5
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Spring line.

My lovely wife stands at the stern with a spring line (SHORTER than the distance to the wheel!) and I have to place her next to the dock. If I do, (NO JUMPING!!) she steps off in a dignified manner and walks amidships and attaches the spring.

That's it. Except she occasionally forgets her knots...

Then if there is a wind or current, I put the lump in gear at idle and she (the boat, not my wife) snuggles up to the dock and then she (my wife, again) ties a stern line. Then the lump (definitely not my wife!) is put in neutral and I walk in a dignified and unhurried way to the bow, waving at the assembled masses like Tiger Woods...) where I hand SWMBO the bow line.

That's REALLY it.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:31 PM   #6
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So you came in against the current (good) at an angle towards the dock (good).

In this case, a bow line in the swift current would have allowed your boat to lay alongside the dock in the current. You can then bump the stern in as needed to secure that.

OR the second cleat from the bow (near your windshield) on the dock side would have created the same situation, but it might be a little easier to get the line to the dock unassisted.

I have the occasional fire-drill docking episode. Just go slow, don't hurt anyone, and try again. It is a dynamic event, like landing a plane, and it can't go perfectly all of the time.

Good Luck
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Spring line.

My lovely wife stands at the stern with a spring line (SHORTER than the distance to the wheel!) and I have to place her next to the dock. If I do, (NO JUMPING!!) she steps off in a dignified manner and walks amidships and attaches the spring.

That's it. Except she occasionally forgets her knots...

Then if there is a wind or current, I put the lump in gear at idle and she (the boat, not my wife) snuggles up to the dock and then she (my wife, again) ties a stern line. Then the lump (definitely not my wife!) is put in neutral and I walk in a dignified and unhurried way to the bow, waving at the assembled masses like Tiger Woods...) where I hand SWMBO the bow line.

That's REALLY it.
When you say that your wife is at the stern with a spring line, is this line already attached at midship cleat on the boat and she ties to a dock cleat at the stern? And you then put "lump" in fwd gear?
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:47 PM   #8
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Not sure I understand.

Define a "breast line", and a boat "to far out of position?"

breast line is midship... you may call it a spring



with that line attached to the dock somewhere close to midship the boat is less likely to be pulled off the dock by the wind and out of position
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:07 PM   #9
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A breast line goes from the boat directly to the dock perpendicular. A spring line goes fore or aft.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:12 PM   #10
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A breast line goes from the boat directly to the dock perpendicular. A spring line goes fore or aft.
Yes, but when the boat is put in forward doesn't that become an aft spring?
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:14 PM   #11
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Breast lines are usually not long enough to go fore and aft. They are usually a very short line used to hold the boat up close to a dock. If it does run fore or aft it by definition becomes a spring line.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:37 PM   #12
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There isn't a one size fits all answer. I have to step off from the stern, midships would be a jump, not going to do that. First goal is to stop momentum. If current, wind, or way is pushing me back then stern line or aft spring to nearest mid dock cleat. If there isn't a dock cleat midships then I'll use fwd spring or bow line to the closest fwd dock cleat.

If current is pushing me fwd then stern line to nearest aft dock cleat. When I step off (smartly) I also have the bow line in hand. I either hold it or step on it while securing stern line.

Having lines longer than the boat makes it easy.

If it's calm and we're coming into home slip my wife steps off with stern or spring line. Usually she gets a line on the right cleat. Once (or if) momentum stops I step off with bow line while she reties her line 5 times trying to get it right. Once the engines are off I will adjust all 4 lines. If the wind kicks up all bets are off.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:39 PM   #13
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We left coasters must be different from youse guys who live on da udder side. First of all, when I'm standing off the dock a bit sizing up the dock cleat situation, we have our fenders and lines all set.

If we're coming in under the circumstances the OP described, I'd come in at an angle smaller than a 45* (30*??) and when the bow gets up real close to the dock I use the shifters to stop my forward movement and swing the stern into the dock.


My wife will be standing on the swim platform with a line in hand that is attached to the stern cleat. Once she can step off (no jumping) she tells me she's getting off then she makes it fast to a nearby dock cleat and let's me know when it is secure.


I put the boat in forward gear using just the engine that's away from the dock and ease forward. If the current is strong enough that I've had to leave an engine in gear to hold position I give it a bit of throttle to move slowly forward. If necessary, the helm is turned to keep the bow along the dock.


While this is happening my wife goes forward and gets a line that is attached to my bow cleat but is lying on the deck at about the midship area of the boat. She takes this and makes it fast to a cleat far forward of the bow.

So now we're fastened fore and aft and we can take our time adjusting lines, adding more lines, adjusting the height and placement of fenders, etc. Then it's Miller time as we pat each other on the back for a job well done.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menzies View Post
Generally a stern spring line and then leave the outside engine in gear to lay her alongside. But there are many variables - including the skill of the marina dock hands.
Yup, stern spring line with gear(s) forward a bit. Docked many times in Mississippi R against the current.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORIF View Post
Yesterday I had a relatively simple docking situation go south, once again shaking my hard earned confidence.

In this situation, I was coming in to a dock that was parallel to the river.
There was plenty of room on the dock.
Current was pretty swift and light wind was blowing off the dock.

I came in against the current at a 45 degree angle and came alongside the dock without any problem.

I can go into what I did and what wrong but instead, could others tell me what they find to be the best 1st line to secure the boat to the dock in this situation.
My goal has been to single hand the boat with my wife on standby.

I have a 44 Tollycraft so like a lot of boats the bow is high off the dock and a long reach, midship is closer, and stern is level with the dock.

So what would others consider to be the best 1st line to secure the boat to the dock: stern line, aft spring line and use the engines to swing the boat into the dock, forward spring line and let the current swing the boat into the dock, or bowline.

Thanks
For your home space and most transient docks, and assuming you have a cleat both on the dock and the vessel somewhere amidships, make up a line with a loop that when thrown over the dock cleat brings the bow the desired distance from the main dock. First line deployed is then this breast line, and with minimal forward way on the boat, it will suck the vessel up against the dock. Then a stern spring line to keep her from bouncing back, then a bow tie, then the stern then the forward spring. I am frequently out by myself, and this arrangement makes docking pretty easy. With twins, if you need to kick the stern for some reason, the breast line will keep you from getting too close to the dock forward.
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Old 11-27-2018, 07:28 AM   #16
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Bow thruster?
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Old 11-27-2018, 11:11 PM   #17
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Great discussion.


My goal is to progress from the docking procedure of "Hold my beer and watch this" to something reasonably competent. That's why I love this thread, learning from a lot of knowledgeable perspectives.


The personal observation I can offer to those boaters reading this thread is that not all boats react in the same manner. A year ago we moved to a different boat which handles very different.


The boat we are on now, handles current very well. Big motors, big wheels, learning that current is not as much of an issue as former boat. Wind - this is the big thing for me. Tall, long Fly Bridge that is enclosed - lots of wind impact.


My point to readers of this thread, strategies and approaches are boat dependent. What works well for one boat - may not be universal.


Just my contribution...
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:58 AM   #18
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I dock an 83'x17', twin screw on a dock parallel to the current, usually solo, all the time. It's my preference to dock anywhere with the bow into the current. It makes it easy. I match my speed to neutralize the current and creep to the dock, sometimes on one engine. Come in with as little angle as possible and as slow as possible. If I have to park between two boats with little more than my boat length for space, I pull up parallel and 20' off the dock. Once I have the current neutralized, I use the wheel to slightly point the boat towards the dock. Usually on one engine and usually going in and out of gear to keep position between the two boats. I often never use reverse if there's a current. Sometimes I have to use a boat hook to place the spring line eye on the cleat.

I always have a spring line ready and put the bow overhang right over the cleat I want to tie, step away from the wheel, drop an eye over the cleat. Spring runs from the bow aft with the length determined before docking. I engage the other engine with the rudder hard over to the side opposite the dock. Dock on the st'bd side, full left rudder. I move ahead slowly, gradually taking the strain on the spring line. Usually with dockside engine in fwd at idle. In light current, moving the engine in and out of gear if idle is too fast. Pushing against the spring, the boat moves parallel to the dock. Leaving the dockside engine in gear, the rudder and idling engine hold the boat in position. I run the bow and stern lines and a 2nd spring from aft forward. More lines if I'm going to stay awhile.

I make up the spring line (length by seaman's eye) about 100 yards from the dock and usually I'm tied up in 5-10 minutes. It's been years since I did that type of docking at anything above idle.
A spring line makes docking easy in most cases. Too much throttle is how most people get in trouble. I only use a breast line when breasts are involved.
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Old 11-28-2018, 06:05 AM   #19
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Great discussion.


My goal is to progress from the docking procedure of "Hold my beer and watch this" to something reasonably competent. That's why I love this thread, learning from a lot of knowledgeable perspectives.


The personal observation I can offer to those boaters reading this thread is that not all boats react in the same manner. A year ago we moved to a different boat which handles very different.


The boat we are on now, handles current very well. Big motors, big wheels, learning that current is not as much of an issue as former boat. Wind - this is the big thing for me. Tall, long Fly Bridge that is enclosed - lots of wind impact.


My point to readers of this thread, strategies and approaches are boat dependent. What works well for one boat - may not be universal.


Just my contribution...


Amen to that. Also, even with the same boat, not every docking has the same wind and current mix. Gets easier after about 500 docking experiences.
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:49 AM   #20
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Good thread. On a previous (smaller boat with less keel), when docking into the current the first line to go on was the stern line. Then the engine was left in forward propulsion and the boat would be pulled into the dock by the action against the stern line. On our current boat, there's NO WAY this works (Have tried and badly failed). The bowstem on our current boat goes down very steeply until almost 4' below the water. This acts like a kind of rudder. When docking into a current - once the bow falls off to one side or another it pulls hard that way. So the first line to go on when docking into the current has to be the bow line for us. Sometimes the forward spring line.


Ken
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