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Old 01-23-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
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Taming of the Single Screw

I've been invited back for the 7th year in a row to present this topic at the Seattle Boat Show. I'll be there at 2:15 this coming Friday. Almost every year, somebody from a Power Squadron, a yacht club or other organization sees the presentation at the show and invites me to do it for their group as well. Last fall, I was invited to the Marine Trawler Owner's Association cruise in at Port Orchard. I thought that was going to be a really tough audience, but the presentation was very well received and several people individually thanked me afterward and claimed they picked up a couple of docking tips.

I sure as heck don't "know it all". I handle a boat with competence, but fall short of perfection. When I do get in trouble, it's always because I made a mistake- and knew better. After 30 years of plowing into docks, piers, pilings, and anything else it is possible to hit going forward, astern, or slammed broad abeam I discovered a few things that seem to work better than others. Sometimes, just knowing why you're screwed up halfway through a landing is really useful. If things are going badly, and you realize, why, it's easier to plan a second approach.

The seminar is very useful for new boaters, people "evolving" from twin screws to single (just kidding!), or even experienced boaters who may be faced with helping somebody else learn to run a single engine inboard powerboat. It's a useful course outline, even if a boater already knows everything the seminar covers.

Anybody on the list that's around the show on Friday, stop by (even if you don't stay for the seminar) and say "Hi".

The Boat Show also asked me to present for the 5th consecutive year "Man Overboard" (Jan 27, 5:00 PM) and a topic that is new this year, "Choosing and Using a Yacht Broker" (Jan 29 at 3:15 and Feb 1 at 1:15)
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:11 AM   #2
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Good luck with your presentations.

Maybe you should video them and put them on YouTube for others to learn from?
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:27 AM   #3
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Good luck with your presentations.

Maybe you should video them and put them on YouTube for others to learn from?
Thanks for the good wishes. Odd that you should mention the videos, a local videographer who is doing some work for Washington State Parks and I have been discussing that very topic. Docking videos with several simultaneous camera angles, etc.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:33 AM   #4
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The nice thing about video is you can take 4 to 6 hours of docking manuvers and edit it down to a single 3 minute "how to" video.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #5
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Has anyone had any experience with a good docking simulator.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:41 AM   #6
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Things I've learned about maneuvering in tight spaces and docking:

Docking is a spectator sport, graded by style points. It is all about "looking good". So if you are approaching the dock and you don't think you are "looking good", it's time to stop, back up, and try it again.

When maneuvering in tight places, never go any faster than a speed at which you are willing to hit something.

When you arrive at the dock, be going no faster than the dock is.

Also.......not a docking rule but a rule of life......"never engage a bagpiper in an argument, you won't win."
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:03 AM   #7
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Also.......not a docking rule but a rule of life......"never engage a bagpiper in an argument, you won't win."
Hello, Peter

That's because we pipers have a lot of lung capacity and are known to be quite loud.

You know the difference between a bagpipe and on onion? Nobody ever cries when you cut up a bagpipe. :-)
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:09 AM   #8
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Heres folks that can handle single a screw.

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Old 01-23-2013, 11:10 AM   #9
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"Taming of the single screw" is a catchy title that I'm sure generates much interest in your presentation. My observation, and I think you know this, is that it is more taming the boat handler. The single screw boat has certain characteristics that cannot be altered. The boat will do what it is going to do. Learn those characteristics, and figure ways to use them to advantage. If that does not work. figure how to mitigate the effects. Learning that is one of the more interesting aspects of boating.

I will be interesting to see your video when available.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:21 AM   #10
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I agree with the original post.It is definitely better to be "screwed once than twice" Lol
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:36 AM   #11
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Heres folks that can handle single a screw.
I've seen this before but always enjoy it. (Especially the last scene where the crewman is securing the port bow line. )
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:43 AM   #12
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Thanks for the good wishes. Odd that you should mention the videos, a local videographer who is doing some work for Washington State Parks and I have been discussing that very topic. Docking videos with several simultaneous camera angles, etc.
I would watch them since I'm still a rookie.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:44 AM   #13
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Heres folks that can handle single a screw.
I'm green with envy! But hey, but even these guys bang into the pilings.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:56 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by fryedaze View Post
Heres folks that can handle single a screw.


Obviously there's some time element involved in the rodeo scoring. According to the flag, they have the wind generally on the bow when backing. Even without competing for time, you wouldn't want to dawdle around excessively and risk the bow being blown well off when backing. If you're throwing a wake when you pull into a slip it's tough to say that you don't have more speed up than you need- and maybe more than you will be able to control.

Maybe they should change the rodeo scoring from "who's fastest" to "who's most accurate"?


Paraphrasing Peter from up thread, "Never approach the dock faster than you are willing to hit it." (sometimes you will)
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:39 PM   #15
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Chuck.....hope you've bring your topic to the Ft. Lauderdale Trawler Fest this month. It's always helpful to review what one knows and get tips on what one doesn't.

Of course, if you stay around for the Miami Boat Show in Feb, you might have to change your topic from "Taming the single screw" to "The art of throwing wakes".
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:08 PM   #16
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Heres folks that can handle single a screw.
These guys too...they often dock 2 boats with a single screw...
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:51 PM   #17
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NOTE: The EYE of the line is placed on the piling and NOT on the boat.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #18
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NOTE: The EYE of the line is placed on the piling and NOT on the boat.
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That's one way of doing it....
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:00 PM   #19
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Thats called "tying the boat to the dock,as opposed to tying the dock to the boat" I'll stop there.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:54 PM   #20
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Has anyone had any experience with a good docking simulator.
Yes. We got ours before the internet had really taken off and before iPads and such, so it's a bit clunky as an electronics platform but does a better job of conveying the concept and techniques of docking than any of the newer simulators we've checked out.

It is so effective, in fact, that my wife and I continue to dust it off on a regular basis and practice with it as we've found that it's really enhanced our ability to dock the boat. I can't speak for the newer simulators, however, as this one is so good we've had no reason to really explore in detail what's on the market today.
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