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Old 06-11-2019, 08:48 AM   #1
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Interesting way to use dock wheel in tricky docking situation

In our slip, when the tide is going out, we have to deal with current that pushes our boat away from our finger dock and into our slip neighbor's boat. There is nothing but a gap between the two boats, no piling to bounce off. When the tide is coming in, we have the opposite problem and installed dock wheel on the end corner of our dock to prevent damage as the boat gets pushed into the corner while I back it in. I came up with what I think is a slick solution for when the tide is going out, using the dock wheel as a pulley. Thought others might benefit from my idea. It may not be new, but I've never seen it done, so it's new to me. It was also new to all my marina neighbors.



We start with a long line (blue in the terrible sketch below) tied to the starboard bow cleat and run all the way aft, outside the railings. My wife stands in the cockpit and drops the line over the dock wheel (orange in the terrible sketch below) as we start to enter the slip. She then puts a couple of turns on the starboard stern cleat so it is secure, but she can adjust slack as needed. As the boat is backed in, the line rotates the dock wheel at the base and tension on the line keeps the boat close to the dock. As the bow cleat gets even with dock wheel, tension on the line increases and draws the boat up tight to the dock while it halts rearward progress. My wife then secures a short dock line to the starboard stern cleat and the boat is secure enough to shut the engines down and tie it to the dock correctly.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:00 AM   #2
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Neat idea!
Nice drawing, explains the concept well.
How about a few photos?
Thanks
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:46 AM   #3
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I like it a lot! Sketch is good enuff for govment work...!

This would work well for me with a stiff North wind, as I back into my slip as well. I don't currently have a dock wheel, but could be tempted to add one. Do you have a pic of the dock wheel?

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:58 AM   #4
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Would that be putting a lot of extra torque on the wheel hub, and if the wheel breaks off would the base be gouging the side of your boat?
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:02 AM   #5
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I have the exact same setup (i.e. starboard finger pier, perpendicular to the current of a tidal river).

We do almost the exact same thing. I have a lower helm with a side door, and a flush step onto my side deck. I have a midship cleat right there at the door. I can stand half in/half of the side deck while I'm docking, which helps.

We leave a line tied to the end of the dock. I pull up perpendicular to the slip, grab the line and give turn on the midship cleat. Then turn the wheel hard to port. I start to 'bump and fill' (with the help of a bow thruster) springing the boat into the slip.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:04 AM   #6
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Go slow and gentle.... not much chance of breaking anything.


Now pulling it out if not well secured could be a problem.


When single handling, I have done the same thing with just a cleat and it has worked well... similar to this idea.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w8n4sun View Post
Would that be putting a lot of extra torque on the wheel hub, and if the wheel breaks off would the base be gouging the side of your boat?

As someone who has tested a dock wheel to failure, Iím not terribly confident in their strength. More specifically, Iím not confident in the strength of the mounting in a typical wooden dock.

I like the idea however and it seems to be working well for you.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:11 AM   #8
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I like it a lot! Sketch is good enuff for govment work...!

This would work well for me with a stiff North wind, as I back into my slip as well. I don't currently have a dock wheel, but could be tempted to add one. Do you have a pic of the dock wheel?

Thanks for sharing.



This is a photo from Taylor Made. The long spring/dock line drops under the wheel and the wheel prevents the line from being lifted up while it also acts like a pulley. The wheel is soft and made of standard fender vinyl so hitting it with the boat is harmless. The base plate/axle that lags to the dock is very robust, so there's no danger of it popping off the dock (assuming it is mounted well). The wheel is locked onto the axle with big washers and 1/2"-13 nylock nut, so the wheel won't lift up.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:31 AM   #9
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Clever idea!
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:43 AM   #10
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Question:


I've tried similar backing in to a dock with current pushing me toward the neighboring boat. First I find it tricky to get the boat to pivot (single engine), but it will some what.



Once a bit more than half way in, what do you do to prevent the stern from being pushed away from the dock?


Once close to parallel with the dock I try to get a stern line attached as far back as I can, tighten it, and put wheel away from the dock in forward idle and will bring the stern in.... but awkward and need to work it a bit to back the boat in.


Thoughts?
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:45 AM   #11
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Would that be putting a lot of extra torque on the wheel hub, and if the wheel breaks off would the base be gouging the side of your boat?

It does put stress on the wheel and hub, but not a huge amount the way I do it. I'm still in control of the boat and only rely on it to keep the bow from swinging to port in the current. I use small amounts of brief thrust to keep the stern close to the dock and to back up. I also assist the line with a little forward thrust to slow the boat to a crawl at the end. Also,
it is not a strong current, but it's enough to make docking a challenge without a bow thruster. One of my dock mates ties up bow in and just spent several boat bucks on a (really cool water jet) stern thruster as a solution for the same current.



While I understand the concern and in theory it is quite reasonable, in practice, everything is happening slowly and methodically and I'd bet the line tension is well under 200 lbs, at worst.
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:48 AM   #12
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Question:





Once a bit more than half way in, what do you do to prevent the stern from being pushed away from the dock?


The line helps, but I also use just my port engine in reverse to keep the stern close to the dock. The stern is fairly easy to control, it's the bow swinging to port that's the problem for me.
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:04 AM   #13
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Nice trick. I have a friend who uses a piling in a somewhat similar way. In his case he uses a line around the corner piling and then to his midships cleat to help him make the turn OUT into a very narrow fairway.



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Old 06-11-2019, 11:17 AM   #14
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. The stern is fairly easy to control, it's the bow swinging to port that's the problem for me.
Neat solution! But what do you do when docking at another heavy current area? I always take my solution with me, where ever I go.

Bow thruster!
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:56 AM   #15
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Neat solution! But what do you do when docking at another heavy current area? I always take my solution with me, where ever I go.

Bow thruster!

one thing at a time...
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Old 06-11-2019, 12:11 PM   #16
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I like it!
Why doesn’t the line slip off the wheel and jam between the wheel and dock. Is it because the wheel is soft enough for the line to pull into it?
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:45 PM   #17
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I just installed an Exturn external bow thruster for this same issue. Current isn't as much of a problem as wind. But add the current and wind together, then there is a problem. And my home marina has very tight slips with very narrow channels so going in and out is a problem sometimes at the best of times.
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:21 PM   #18
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I like it!
Why doesnít the line slip off the wheel and jam between the wheel and dock. Is it because the wheel is soft enough for the line to pull into it?
HopC... I think the line is used below the wheel near the axle... apparently it slides through without jamming...
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Old 06-11-2019, 02:36 PM   #19
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HopC... I think the line is used below the wheel near the axle... apparently it slides through without jamming...

That is correct.
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Old 06-11-2019, 03:23 PM   #20
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Hmmmmm, let's see:


Buy an extra dock line, $20. Oh, wait, we have plenty. Scratch that $20.
vs.
Install a bow thruster, $10,000.


Easy decision on this one, the dock line wins!
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