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Old 10-09-2019, 05:55 AM   #1
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Docking stern to

Im transitioning from a 42 sailboat to a Nordhavn 40. after 15 years with this sailboat I am a novice with the Nordhavn. There is no visibility to the stern from the pilot house so how do you dock stern to not being able to see? Also the bow is so much higher than my sailboat so how do you pick up a morning ball? There are no side decks on the trawler. Any one know of a good teacher in the Ft Meyers Fl area? Thanks
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:04 AM   #2
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Im transitioning from a 42 sailboat to a Nordhavn 40. after 15 years with this sailboat I am a novice with the Nordhavn. There is no visibility to the stern from the pilot house so how do you dock stern to not being able to see? Also the bow is so much higher than my sailboat so how do you pick up a morning ball? There are no side decks on the trawler. Any one know of a good teacher in the Ft Meyers Fl area? Thanks
I would add an aft docking station in the cockpit. See Teds (slowhand) set up. Perfect for stern too docking or locks on a shorthanded/solo crewed vsl.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:06 AM   #3
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Seasense up in Sarasota is excellent, my wife and a friend took some on-board classes with them. They will come down to you.

Trawler Training – Sea Sense… The Sailing & Power Boating School

Our Hatteras 56MY had high freeboard in front and we used a long extendable boat hook to pick up moorings. We had walk around decks as well, so in some instances pit was easier to pick the mooring pennant up from the side and walk it up to the bow. Moorings come in a variety of designs though.

What drove you to buy that particular boat?
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:09 AM   #4
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Go bow in unless the marina prohibits or the finger pier does not reach the gate. I see lots of Nordhavns docked bow in.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:17 AM   #5
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Back up cameras are inexpensive and easy to install.
If you post a picture of your boat maybe I can help answer the mooring question other than suggesting a boat hook. We have side decks and grab moorings from about mid ship then walk the line forward.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:18 AM   #6
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We had similar problems with our Selene 47. The mooring ball solution is to pick up mid ships with a long line, then carry it forward to your tie off position. We never, by choice, backed into a slip - much easier to back out. This assumes, of course, you are able to get off the boat at the slip. Once, when total novices on a charter trawler in the Chesapeake, we even climbed off the bow onto the dock!!!!!
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:48 AM   #7
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I'll also recommend picking up a mooring from a lower spot on the side deck and then walking up to the bow with it. Given any kind of wind, it helps to have someone at the controls while doing this so you aren't dragging the boat around or needing to use a 100 ft line to avoid fighting it.

For docking, do you have a flybridge? If so, given someone to handle lines while you're up top, it might be easier to back in from up top. Otherwise, consider adding a camera. You don't have to be able to see everything and you might want someone on the aft deck to spot you the first time you do it. But once you've done it a few times, you start to get used to knowing where things are in your blind spots and being able to not hit the things you can't see.
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Old 10-09-2019, 07:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Im transitioning from a 42 sailboat to a Nordhavn 40. after 15 years with this sailboat I am a novice with the Nordhavn. There is no visibility to the stern from the pilot house so how do you dock stern to not being able to see? Also the bow is so much higher than my sailboat so how do you pick up a morning ball? There are no side decks on the trawler. Any one know of a good teacher in the Ft Meyers Fl area? Thanks

Single handing? Back-up cameras, maybe.

Or with crew? If the latter, crew can call distances as you approach stern-to. (Headsets or some other comms system may help, depending.)

Often, in a 4-way tie-up, once one forward or aft spring line is attached (depending on wind or tide/current direction), you're docked. Everything else is just tidying up.

We pick up mooring balls from our cockpit, then walk the line to the bow.

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Old 10-09-2019, 08:31 AM   #9
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I’m transitioning from a 42’ sailboat to a Nordhavn 40. after 15 years with this sailboat I am a novice with the Nordhavn. There is no visibility to the stern from the pilot house so how do you dock stern to not being able to see?
Congratulations on a nice boat. Back in the late 90's through the mid 2000's, I delivered many Nordhavns, and I liked the N40 a lot.

First, I second the suggestion to contact SeaSense in St Pete FL. I haven't talked to the two women who run it for years, but they are pros and have a ton of experience. If you call them, tell them Peter from "SeaSkills" said hello (we met at a couple TrawlerFests).

Second, there are many boats like the N40 that have limited sight-lines aft. As a suggestion, you first want to get a feel for how quickly the boat develops its own momentum, which you will discover is pretty damn slow, meaning the boat is pretty 'sticky' on the water and does not quickly respond to wind forces (current is another matter, but less of an issue in FL than PNW). The reason this is important is it will eventually give you confidence that you have time to put the boat in neutral and walk side-to-side out the PH doors, lean over, and look. Somewhere I have a video of a single-handed professional captain backing-down a 60-foot trawler at a Trawler Fest into slips made for 45-footers. He moved slow and took his time, must have walked side-to-side a half dozen times.

You obviously have a bow thruster, but you need to get comfortable with kicking the stern by first positioning the rudder, then giving a shot of forward engine, then back to neutral. You also need to get comfortable with how your boat responds to prop-walk (she has a left-hand prop, so walks to starboard in reverse). I know many people talk about tossing a weighted milk jug in open water and doing drills around it, but I always felt it better to have closer proximity to actual hard stuff. Going down a fairway, turning around, and exiting gets you good practice in back-n-fill. After you're comfortable, back-out of a fairway (please, calm weather). Landing on side-ties/bulk-heads, leaving a side-tie berth by backing away. These all get you much more comfortable with how your boat moves in reverse, and how to build muscle memory.

The N40 backs-down pretty well (my Willard 36, though better than most sailboats, does not back-down very well). Most N40's I drove had an Edson knob on the wheel so you could spin the rudder side to side pretty quickly so you can kick the stern when needed. It takes some practice to get a feel of choreographing the wheel/rudder with shots of engine thrust, but if you take it slow, it gives you time to think and to recover. If there is a larger slip available to practice (one for a 50-60 footer), its a great way to learn. Chose a calm day when you can do 3-hours of docking drills. Plenty of fenders and a mild-manner crew are your best friends.

Good luck - the captains at SeaSense Boating are the best - you are lucky to be nearby.

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Old 10-09-2019, 08:37 AM   #10
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There is no visibility to the stern from the pilot house so how do you dock stern to not being able to see?
Poke your head out the pilothouse doors, with some experience you'll learn where the boat ends. Don't chicken out and always take the easy way out, LEARN how to handle the boat so when you need those skills to get into a tight spot you have the ability to manage it.

As others noted, get a pair of "marriage savers" and have your crew relay your position. Get in the habit of having crew relay POSITION, NOT instructions. There's one helmsperson. You need information, not conflicting opinions on how the boat should be handled.

That said, there are boat handlers who "have it", and some who simply don't have the situational awareness to translate intent to proper action. Your mate may "have it", don't short change your crew. Cross-training is a plus!
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:41 AM   #11
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As others noted, get a pair of "marriage savers" and have your crew relay your position. Get in the habit of having crew relay POSITION, NOT instructions. There's one helmsperson. You need information, not conflicting opinions on how the boat should be handled.

That said, there are boat handlers who "have it", and some who simply don't have the situational awareness to translate intent to proper action. Your mate may "have it", don't short change your crew. Cross-training is a plus!
Agreed. 1 person is in charge for docking or anchoring. Of course, in some situations it makes sense to have the person in charge not be the one at the helm. So things work one of 2 ways:

Option 1: Person at helm is in charge, others provide info but not instructions

Option 2: Someone else is in charge, person at helm receives instructions and is basically a robot to move the controls around

Personally, I usually operate with option 1 for docking, option 2 for anchoring.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:42 AM   #12
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With our dinghy on the cabin trunk aft of the pilothouse we can't see anything behind us. A $40 backup camera from Amazon solved the problem.

.... and yes I had a reason for mounting the camera upside down
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #13
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I would add an aft docking station in the cockpit. See Teds (slowhand) set up. Perfect for stern too docking or locks on a shorthanded/solo crewed vsl.
This post has a couple of pics of my docking station.

Trawler Forum - View Single Post - Transom throttle control

My single lever controls the transmission and throttle. Behind it is the bow thruster control. On the side is a jog lever which allows me to control the rudder position through the autopilot. With cable driven engine controls, routing the cables can be a little challenging. With electronic engine controls, it's pretty simple as all 3 controls would be small electric cables.

The most frequent comment when people watch me dock side or stern in SOLO, is "That's just not fair".

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Old 10-09-2019, 09:12 AM   #14
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My single lever controls the transmission and throttle. Behind it is the bow thruster control. On the side is a jog lever which allows me to control the rudder position through the autopilot. With cable driven engine controls, routing the cables can be a little challenging. With electronic engine controls, it's pretty simple as all 3 controls would be small electric cables.
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I've driven a number of trawlers with multiple stations (larger Nordhavns routinely come with wing stations in either side of the Portuguese Bridge plus the stern station). The last few years I've seen a number of boats with Yacht Controller wireless stations, though those are a bit glitchy for my tastes. The stern control station is great if you have the room and money. Aft deck on a N40 is pretty tight, but I'm sure there are more than a few N40's with them given how many Nordhavn owners tend to 'tick most boxes' for options.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:29 AM   #15
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Im transitioning from a 42 sailboat to a Nordhavn 40. after 15 years with this sailboat I am a novice with the Nordhavn. There is no visibility to the stern from the pilot house so how do you dock stern to not being able to see? Also the bow is so much higher than my sailboat so how do you pick up a morning ball? There are no side decks on the trawler. Any one know of a good teacher in the Ft Meyers Fl area? Thanks



Join the Nordhavn owners group and pick their brains.. they are a helpful bunch.


Find a empty 60' slip and practice there.. the extra fairway and width will allow for some error room and you can get a feel for the boat safely.


Don't be afraid to try what may be seemingly unconventional maneuvers.. you should find what really works for you.


As previously mentioned .. really learn how the boat's stern kicks using big rudder and short throttle blips, the stern will really move sideways pretty well.


Enjoy your N40!
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:11 AM   #16
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This is also our first boat with side decks.

Stern in - from the flybridge is much easier as noted by others. I have also found its easier to turn around and face aft, rather than look over my shoulder and use my opposite hand on the the shifter/throttle. Takes some practice to get used to it, then it becomes second nature.

Moorings - We pick up a lot of mooring cans (8 on our last trip). They have a bow and stern hawser that is connected by a sand line. We have gotten pretty good at it, and no issues not having side decks. Pick up forward loop, attach to boat, walk aft as far as possible with the sand line, hand it to the person in the aft cockpit who can use a boat hook if necessary, attach aft hawser.

A friend with a Nordhavn 35 who single hands a lot made the attached device. When he grabs the bow hawser, he attaches the loop. It is made fast to the aft cleat prior to doing this. He then goes aft, and uses the line previously attached to the cleat to pull/shake the loop along the sand line back to him in order to retrieve the aft hawser. The yellow weight is there to move it past the little weights that are on the sand line. Not sure how yours are configured and whether this would help, but it's a neat idea. I am going to make one for myself this Winter.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:23 AM   #17
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If you can..... use the tops of the pilings at guides. If you can see the tops of the pilings, you can see the perimeter of the slip.

For picking up a mooring pendant, You can use a long collapsible boat pole. Davis makes a 12 foot collapsible boat pole:

https://www.defender.com/product3.js...6123&id=130794
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:23 AM   #18
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Use the rub rail. Put the cheek of the boat against a pole and from that point you know where you are.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:25 AM   #19
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Boats with large rudder will steer in reverse if you get some speed. Try it away from the dock. Get the boat moving then see if you can gain control once it is moving well.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:09 AM   #20
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I don't know if it would work in practice but you might consider large, rear-view mirrors on each side of the helm.
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