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Old 05-11-2016, 05:27 PM   #18
Senior Member
City: Seattle
Country: United States
Vessel Name: Poach
Vessel Model: Sabreline Trawler
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 227
I moor on Portage Bay which for those not from Seattle, is just around University Bridge from Lake Union. I have been transiting the Ballard Locks for a very long time, in wood and in plastic, singles and twins, thruster and non-thruster. It's always interesting, but not intimidating anymore. It is a must see for your out of town guests especially on a busy day. When approaching, I have my short 35' lines for the small lock on the cleat, and my 60' lines required for the large lock flaked on deck until I know which lock they are going to put me in. On a busy holiday weekend, there is little question--it will be the large lock. If I am single handing, which I do a lot, I will only go in the large lock if there is a larger boat for me to raft onto, and if not, I will wait for the small lock which can make for a very long wait. I make mistakes sometimes, or get unexpectedly pushed by wind or my wonderful wife is having a day and just can't get the stern line down and have had lock attendants get impatient when it is taking more time than they think it should. All of us who lock-through have undoubtedly encountered the yelling lock attendant. Mostly they are good folks who just sometimes snap. There have been a few over the years who are just that way most of the time--but they don't seem to last. You have to be patient, go at your own pace and remember you run your boat not that someone who is yelling at you.
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