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Old 12-31-2012, 03:52 PM   #1
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Docking

Hello,

Seeking tips for my less than ideal docking situation.

- The boat is a single screw with a full keel
- The boat propwalks hard to port
- My finger is a Starboard tie and I own it so will not be changing
- The wind generally blows onto the starboard bow pushing me off my finger
- No thrusters and would prefer not to get any

As you can see i have everything working against me both in coming in and out of my slip. My prop walk and the wind both work to push be against my slip mate on my port side. I have considered tying up stern to but if there was much wind I could see it being a bit of a gong show in a big hurry. I have also considered using a bow spring when entering the slip but of course that doesn't help me when departing. I have been pulling the boat out by hand and kicking my stern to starboard by using bumpers and lines with some leverage then hopping onboard once i get the boat going the right way of course this maneuver can only be done when calm and it isn't all that "cool" looking and i would prefer to back out under power. When i come into the slip i generally come in pretty "hot" so my momentum will carry me into the dock against the wind, but even then I need to reverse hard to kill my forward momentum and the prop walk then pushes my stern to port and into my slip mate. There have been no big accidents yet but I would like to avoid any in the upcoming season.

Thanks for replies

Jarod
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:54 PM   #2
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Pic of boat in slip

Boat in slip
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
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I had a friend in a similar situation. He mounted a J-hook on the piling at the end of the finger. He then had a 50' line tied to the dock cleat at his mid-point.

The line had a loop in the free end and when they would leave, they'd drop that line on the j-hook. On the return, he would pull up close enough for the wife to get that line and then make his approach. All she needed to do was secure that line to a starboard mid cleat and keep it snugged as he pulled in.

It kept them off their neighbor and made returns less stressful.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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IMO

You sound rushed. Place some fenders down the port side and takes your time.

Entering the slip hot leaves you little wingle room when stuff goes sideways.

Try slow and working the boat in the conditions present , Just remember that will change almost every time you come and go.

Being full keel the vessel will react to the water ( current ) more than wind. I am not saying wind is not a factor but much less than ones usual perception with a full keel. Try a slow aproach so you do not need alot of stopping power and use a center spring when docking.

When leaving, just motivate the vessel astern then use forward thrust for directional control if needed. Dont fight the original direction the vessel stern wants to go too hard. Wait till you clear your neighbors stern to make the turn or just back down the slip way. Pivit point will be closer to center for your vessel.

All I am realy trying to say is dont fight the boat or conditions. Find the sweet spot the boat likes and work that to your favor.

If your neighbor heads out at some point see when and use that moment to practice the art. You may find a slow crab into your spot could work very well.

My 2 cents. YMMV
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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Those are good suggestions.

I'd place four or five well-spaced fenders on each/both sides. Go slow, shifting between forward and neutral at idle-RPM to maintain control at minimal speed. Approach at a slight up-wind angle. Gently touch finger just ahead of mid-ship (must have fender located there). Use last of momentum (or a short forward engine burst if needed) with rudder to swing the stern to starboard/finger. First secure mid-ship boat cleat to mid-finger cleat before other dock lines.

When departing and assuming one can board midship, walk along the finger, moving the boat about halfway out the slip, keeping the boat along the finger. Board the boat and put the boat in idle-RPM/reverse.

When your neighbor's boat isn't in its slip. Practice backing in. The Chapman book has instructions/drawing/photos showing this (although in my version the photos don't correspond to the captions).
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:14 PM   #6
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My bow does tend to blow off quite quickly if standing for anytime at all in any sort of wind. I usually have my two young girls (2 and 3 yrs old) screaming for mom behind me in the pilothouse as I come in and on occasion I will just tell mom to deal with the kids and I will single hand the boat in. There is also a fair amount of current in our marina which complicates the matter further. I vary my approach with the slow and easy taking the tranny in and out of gear at idle. The times I come in "hot" so to speak are to deal with a strong wind off the starboard bow or a strong current. I always prefer the slow and easy approach if its possible.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:44 PM   #7
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Using a spring line will probably help you solve this problem.
do a search for "docking with springlines" you will find many videos, discussions, and articles on the subject, explaining it better than I can. It is simple and works!
Good luck,
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:13 PM   #8
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Train the kids to stay in a "docking spot" so your wife will be available to help. We had to do that with all three of our kids, who started helping us with a 30' long keel sailboat when they were babies. Once trained to stay out of the way, the kids knew what "stay in your docking spot" meant and were proud to show they could help.
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Old 12-31-2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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We have used a permanent spring in our slip for years. The line is cleated near the outside end of the finger and the loop end hung on a pole about a quarter of the way into the slip.

Entering the slip my wife on the foredeck lifts the loop off the pole, takes it aft, passes it through the midships hawse and onto the midships cleat. I ease the boat into the slip until the slack is out of the spring. The line is cleated to the finger so that with the slack removed the boat is where we want it in the slip.

With the boat in gear against the line the line pulls the front of the boat in against the finger. I put the rudders hard over away from the finger and the starboard prop thrust against its rudder moves the stern in against the finger and holds it there. (I put the port transmission in neutral at this point.)

The spring line and the prop thrust against the rudder will pin the boat to the finger even if the wnd is trying to blow us off of it. The harder the wind the more power I use.

With the boat pinned to the finger my wife can take her time stepping off and getting the bow and stern breast lines attached. At that point I bring the power to idle, transmission to neutral, and center the wheel.

This system works with a singe or twin, port or starboard tie, power or sailboat, left or right hand prop. A lot of boaters with upwind ties use this setup in our marina because of the often strong winds that blow at an angle across the slips.

The photo, taken the day we moved back to our newly replaced dock, shows the PVC pole the permanent spring is hung on. The line must be strong enough to hold the boat in gear. Our regular dock lines are 5/8." The permanent spring is 3/4."

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Old 12-31-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
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Spring line on the J hook would solve that problem. Once you catch it and put it on your amidships cleat, just put the rudder hard to port and idle into place. Might have to have a bow line rigged the same way if the current / wind still swings the bow out too much.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:20 PM   #11
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Lightbulb

Docking a single engine is a bitch, especially when the prop wak is working against you. I would imvest in dock rub rail protection and permenant fender that is left on tbe dock. So you can come up against and rub against the dock. Permenat mid cleat spring line has already been mentioned.


The other is get to know the surrounding boat, especially the live a boards to call and ask for docking assistance. Some marinas will offer docking assistant if you ask. I always ask for docking assistance. Just knowing the dock is protected, spring lines set, and dock assistance has taken care of most of the pucker factor. Its commom for larger boats to ask and lend assistance even if to cleat the lines or stand there. There have been times the whole dock was waiting to assist as we have all been there, so ASK.

Lastly know the weather and/or current patterns and timing. If you know the wind is up at a time of day then time arrival/departure before or after. I know the thermal wind are up between 10:00 am to 6:00 pm so I try not to dock during that time. So time you arrival and departures accordingly

Lastly know the weather and current and.ti
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:44 PM   #12
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I also learned how to dock by taking the boat out just to practice in the open under various conditions. I like the advice given on a spring line.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:37 PM   #13
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Give this a shot...butt dumb simple: (1) Fender your port side. (2) Pull alongside that piling at the end of your finger pier, port side to until the piling is roughly amidships. (3) With your port side spring line, take a loop around the piling. (4) Take a turn around your port midships cleat with the running end of the line. (5) Have your lovely wife, standing dutifully at the help fending off screaming young-uns, put the boat slow astern, helm amidships. (6) As the prevailing breeze (blowing you off the pier) swings your bow to starboard, ease your line so as to pivot the vessel's stern to port. You must maintain just enough back tension on the running end of your spring line to keep the vessel from drifting downwind away from the pier. When you're alongside, port to, make the running end of the spring line fast, have a cocktail, then secure the remaining dock lines. (7) Repeat the above procedure at least a dozen times. Buy lots of cocktails to facilitate matters.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarod View Post
My bow does tend to blow off quite quickly if standing for anytime at all in any sort of wind. I usually have my two young girls (2 and 3 yrs old) screaming for mom behind me in the pilothouse as I come in and on occasion I will just tell mom to deal with the kids and I will single hand the boat in. There is also a fair amount of current in our marina which complicates the matter further. I vary my approach with the slow and easy taking the tranny in and out of gear at idle. The times I come in "hot" so to speak are to deal with a strong wind off the starboard bow or a strong current. I always prefer the slow and easy approach if its possible.
Jarod, Marin's suggestion sounds simplest and easiest to perform, and I can endorse it because it is similar to what I/we do also. Although I tend to get blown away from my berth, (also starboard berth), at least my propwalk is to starboard as well, but the system Marin describes would definitely work for you.
Somesailor's idea is basically a variation on the same theme, and would also work well. Just he's suggesting you use that pile at the end of your finger to attach/hook your midships spring to rather than the free-standing pole idea Marin uses.
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Old 01-01-2013, 04:17 AM   #15
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The reason we use the starboard prop in gear against the hard-over rudder is that it being a four-bladed, right hand prop it generates a degree of propwalk to starboard to add to the rudder's pushing the stern to starboard.

However the force of the propwash against the rudder is far higher than the propwalk influence so even if we used the left-hand prop on the port side, or a left-hand prop in a single engine boat, the spring line/hard over rudder technique would still pin the starboard side of the boat to the finger just fine.

We use this same technique at a dock or a slip other than our home slip where we don't have a convenient spring-line-on-a-stick setup. The only difference is that one of us takes the midship aft spring to the dock the moment we get up against it and immediately cleats it off or gets it around the bullrail so whoever's driving can do the same thing: go forward against the spring to pull the bow in with prop thrust against te hard-over rudder to get the stern in.

When we first started using this technique we hung the loop end of the spring on a pole at the outer end of the finger. We can't mount the line on the end piling itself because of the tidal range up here. (And our new dock has concrete piles instead of the old dock's wooden ones.) But we put the pole right next to the piling.

But since we take the boat into the slip on a curve and not straight in it meant the person grabbing the loop had to use a boathook because the bow was too far away to reach the loop by hand if it was hung at the end of the finger. And this upped the potential of dropping the line.

After dropping it a couple of times we changed to the setup used most commonly in our marina which is to mount the pole about a quarter of the way into the slip. This enables the person on the bow to simply lift the loop off the hanger by hand as the bow curves past the pole just a couple of feet away. We've never dropped it since, and the person handling the line doesn't have to rush to get the loop back and through the midship hawse and onto the cleat because they can pick up the line earlier.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:50 AM   #16
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After bow spring line on a hook on the piling as you enter the slip...one line and forward gear docks the boat by themselves a fender or two will be nice.

if the wind is howling...the foredeck person snubs it short as you power in.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:36 PM   #17
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Getting next to the dock in our 35' trawler was a most terrifying experience.


My wife is handicapped so she can only help in a static position, but we developed a system that worked for us at our home port.

I made up a line that went from a cleat at the bow back to the stern. It was longer than the direct run; we let it hang inside the rail until we were ready to dock. I'd nudge a piling on the approach and my wife near the bow would throw/place this line over the piling. This was her only job. Once this task was accomplished all I needed to do was ease her in, sometimes leaving her in gear until I got off the boat and attached the dock lines.



Pics aren't to scale, but you can get the idea...the boat can't go forward and the tension on the line keeps both the bow and stern against the dock. If my wife couldn't get the line over the piling, we were usually still far enough away that we could back off and try again without problems.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:43 PM   #18
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Great idea but on the west coast you'd need to get the line AROUND the piling as as even at high tides the piling would be too high.

There's enough clever people here though to think of several ways to do just that.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:38 PM   #19
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Docking in your home based marina is where you'll be able to develop the best docking system for your dock, the one you use the most. Travel any and you have to be flexible and adapt on the fly (or should that be on the water?) as each marina is laid out differently.

You might could get a noose end of a line over a cleat and get the same affect of holding the boat to the dock for the few minutes it'd take to secure more lines.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:58 PM   #20
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OFB has the right idea. Use forward with the wheel hard over.
You know how quick she turns with a little power in forward.

As you back up and she walks to port.

Put it into forward with the wheel hard over to port and a little goose should turn the bow to port.
Then reverse a little and once again as she starts to walk to port do the same thing.

You may need to do this several times.

This should let you back in a straight line.

Shift and throttle can be your friend.

Just go slow. Or only as fast as you want to hit something.
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