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Old 06-06-2012, 03:18 PM   #1
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Docking in Tight Slip

I'm exploring purchase of a 34-foot trawler. I've noticed that here in Marina del Rey (Los Angeles) there seem to be few or no trawlers in our rather tight floating dock slips. Most trawlers--including a 30-footer--are at dock ends. Some large trawler yachts are in slips, but those slips have ample sea room for the approach/departure. (In most slips some form of a 90-degree turn is required in a narrow and crowded lagoon).

With a fin-keel 40-foot sailboat, there are no issues using these typical slips. With a single-screw trawler, how would my experience differe?

Thanks. Good forum.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:24 PM   #2
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I would say it depends on how good you are at running a single screw.
As long as the slip is wide enough to accomidate the boat I can't see a problem.
Prop wash, prop walk, shift and throttle.

Welcome aboard by the way.

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Old 06-06-2012, 03:30 PM   #3
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A bow thruster is very handy. You can spin around with one.



The berth itself should be wide enough for boat, fenders, and a bit of space.



(I'm fortunate enough to have an extra-large berth.)
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:52 PM   #4
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I would say it depends on how good you are at running a single screw.
As long as the slip is wide enough to accomidate the boat I can't see a problem.
Prop wash, prop walk, shift and throttle.
These work well in still water and no wind. Some marinas/slips are easy. some are close to impossible.

There are videos on the Internet of watermen's docking contests on the Chesapeake Bay where they put single screw boats into a slip in seconds, but these guys have done it every day for thirty years. For most of us, it's not nearly as easy.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:54 PM   #5
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With practice you can make a single screw trawler do anything a sailboat or twin can do. A good friend keeps his Grand Banks 32 at Villa Del Mar Marina off Marquesas Way in Marina Del Rey. I remember his concern when the boat was new to him also. After practice he now enters the slip forward or reverse in his sleep. I would recommend hiring a competent captain to give you a few lessons when you purchase your boat. Money well spent, IMO.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by oceano View Post
With a fin-keel 40-foot sailboat, there are no issues using these typical slips. With a single-screw trawler, how would my experience differ?
The biggest difference is that a fin-keel sailboat (with a large rudder hung well aft) will make much sharper turns than a single-screw powerboat. OTOH, the trawler is more likely to be able to use prop wash to direct the stern when reversing without way on.

As markpierce mentioned, a thruster on the trawler would provide a significant (albeit expensive) advantage in directing the bow.

Other than that, most handling aspects would be similar except the trawler might be more sensitive to wind and it will likely have slower steering (taking longer to shift the rudder). It will also feature significantly more flare to the bow, making it difficult to fender that part of the boat from a floating pier.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:18 PM   #7
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Thanks for the thoughtful and knowlegeable replies. And I'm glad not to find some unanticipated major handling issue with these single-engine boats. It may take me less time to learn to handle it than my (current and first) 22-foot center console, which is very nimble and fast but of course has no rudder and hardly even a skeg and had me ice-skating sideways until I finally got the hang of it.

Giggi, I Googled-earthed your friend's GB, and if it is the boat I think it is the slip looks quite comfortable, with plenty of maneuvering room.

All very encouraging.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:31 PM   #8
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His boat is facing west on the second north-south finger from the soutwest corner of the basin. His is the darker looking boat between two sailboats. A large east-facing powerboat is on the end tie. Nice marina with a great staff.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:07 PM   #9
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If you're comfortable docking a sailboat you'll be fine with a single engine cruiser once you get used to its handling characteristics. A bow thruster can certainlyl make things easier under some situations.

You can also do what has been discussed and described in other threads and rig a permanent spring line in your slip that can be picked up and looped over a center cleat on the boat as you enter the slip. This line will allow you to pin your boat against the dock with power and rudder no matter what the wind and current are doing (within reason, but we have pinned our boat against our finger with power and rudder and the line in crosswinds up to 20 knots or so). A number of owners, power and sail, use a permanent spring in their slips in our marina as the prevailing winds tend to cross the marina docks at an angle.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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my boat has a single engine and a bow thruster.. my last boat had twin outdrives. i can put the new boat in much tighter spots with the thruster
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:23 PM   #11
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:31 PM   #12
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I thought bow-thrusters were illegal
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:25 AM   #13
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You can also do what has been discussed and described in other threads and rig a permanent spring line in your slip that can be picked up and looped over a center cleat on the boat as you enter the slip. ........................................A number of owners, power and sail, use a permanent spring in their slips .............
Yes, I have "permanent" dock lines in my slip. Not for docking (it wouldn't work), but so that when I dock, it's easy to tie the boat up in the right place. I even put wire ties on them so they couldn't be messed with.

Many marina leases allow the marina to use "your" slip if you will be away for an extended period. Mine does. I went on a month long cruise and returned to find the wire ties cut and the lines piled on the dock. A friend found them and put them next to my dock box or they would have been gone for good.

I suppose someone who rented the slip while I was away cut the ties so they could use their own lines. Unfortunately, I have no way of finding out who.
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Old 06-07-2012, 07:47 AM   #14
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When I had my old 34 Mainship I had 4 inches total clearance in my slip. I used to back in all the time, cross wind but no current. No thruster. It took a few years to get really good, and there were times that I aborted the approach because of misjudging or shifting wind, but practice makes perfect.
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