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Old 11-23-2018, 01:54 PM   #21
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City: Between Oregon and Alaska
Vessel Name: Charlie Harper
Vessel Model: Wheeler Shipyard 83'
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,854
I mostly solo an 83' boat (because I'm such a people person). And my first boat was 65'. As others point out, find a captain to oversee your docking while learning, practice in a safe place, be prepared with lines out - fenders over, approach slowly-dead slow, understand you can't achieve much with human power on the lines. Learn how spring lines work.

Be smart about the wind and current. Don't be in a hurry. In a tidal environment you may need to wait for slack water. If I need slack water, I alter my cruising speed to arrive at the right time or anchor to wait.

Recognize sometimes it is just not safe to dock.
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Old 11-23-2018, 04:56 PM   #22
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City: Miami
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I broke a hand last winter on an uninhabited Island in the Bahamas and had to wait for a weather window to return home to deal with it. We went to the Bahamas instead of Florida in November because our dock was wiped out by a hurricane in Sept. Supposedly it was to be ready feb 1. When we arrived feb 8, it wasnít ( itís a Miami thing over promise and under deliver) but we needed to dock anyway. A little bit stressful, but it was all done for real with only one hand. Yes my wife was aboard, but she knows better than to assist unless we both communicate to do so, in this case I didnít ask her to do anything other than stand by. You really should have no problem docking most boats by yourself if you can pre plan and prepare the boat in advance for docking. All you really need to start is one single line ashore. If you use the tides and winds itís like having an extra set of hands. If you donít, your gonna want some help.
Via iOS.
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Old 11-23-2018, 05:28 PM   #23
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City: California Delta
Vessel Name: FlyWright
Vessel Model: 1977 Marshall Californian 34 LRC
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You could always buy a 32-34 ft boat with a helm door.
My boat is my ark. It's my mobile treehouse and my floating fishing cabin. It's my retreat and my respite. Everyday I thank God I have a boat! -Al FJB

@DeltaBridges - 25 Delta Bridges in 25 Days
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Old 11-23-2018, 06:08 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
You could always buy a 32-34 ft boat with a helm door.
With twins.
2005 Integrity 386 "Sojourn"
Sydney Australia
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Old 11-23-2018, 07:39 PM   #25
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Vessel Model: penultimate Seahorse Marine Coot hull #6
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Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
You could always buy a 32-34 ft boat with a helm door.
I've a 35-footer with pilothouse doors at deck level both port and starboard. Yet to fail docking single-handed being equipped with mid-hull (close to pilothouse doors) docking lines.
Kar-KEEN-ez Koot
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Old 11-24-2018, 12:30 AM   #26
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City: Adelaide
Vessel Name: Kokanee
Vessel Model: Cuddles 30 Pilot House Motor Sailer
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Wow. Iíve failed many times and have had to abort the attempt. When a 20 or 30 knot wind is blowing the boat off the dock into a neighboring boat the approach has to be perfect. Sometimes I get it on the 3rd try. Sometimes I donít even try. I anchor and wait for better conditions.
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Old 11-24-2018, 08:56 AM   #27
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City: Manasquan NJ
Vessel Name: Mayrose
Vessel Model: Mainship 34 pilot
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Posts: 150
I was new to a single engine, this video really helped.
I have a bow thruster but try not to use--nice when the wind or current is fighting you.

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Old 11-26-2018, 01:45 PM   #28
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oldsalt had the best advice. I just returned from single handing the loop in my GB32.

I never left the helm. Practice until you can put the boat anywhere you want at stop. Then leave the helm to grab the pre-rigged lines. I've done hundreds of docks and locks in the GB with no thrusters. just go slow.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:31 PM   #29
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City: St Augustine,Fl
Join Date: Sep 2009
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Why not add a simple aft set of controls? Throttle and gear shift cables can usually be piggy backed on engine/gear without issue. An additional helm station can be added with Manual Hydraulic pump or Jog lever off auto pilot. I'm amazed that this isn't done on more boats. Slow Hand (Teds boat) has this setup,as do most downeast tuna boats. Simple, useful and will remove much drama for single handing and Lock work for a couple. A spring line is your best friend...
Jack ...Chicken of the sea! Been offshore 3 miles once
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:33 PM   #30
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City: Docktown
Vessel Name: All American Diver
Vessel Model: CHB 34
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
Docking Singlehand

Hereís a couple good videos of a guy like you and me practicing singlehand docking.
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:47 PM   #31
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City: Concrete Washington State
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 18,603
I usually drape my lines over the life line or cap rail carefuly not to rig so they could easily could fall in the water and also keeping the prop in mind.
Also I usually tie the midships line first if itís close to the dock or float. That way the ends of the boat canít swing out and cause problems especially if current is a factor.

North Western Washington State USA
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:52 PM   #32
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City: Saint George Island, FL
Vessel Name: TRIBE OF G
Vessel Model: ACADIA 32
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Posts: 55
Smile Solo Docking

I dock my Acadia 32 alone all the time.

The advice given above is correct, but let me itemize it:

1. Know in advance which side you will be tying to
2. Rig bow line, midships line and stern lines before getting to dock
3. Rig fenders before getting to dock.
4. It is easier to use a port side tie with a single screw, since most of them will back down to port.
5. Approach the dock at about a 30 to 45 degree angle, when the bow is close, put it in reverse with the rudder hard to port. This will stop the boat from hitting the dock and begin to move the stern into the dock.
6. When the boat starts moving astern, take it out of gear, crank to hard right rudder, pop into forward gear. Boat will head for dock while stern continues to get closer to the dock.
7. Repeat as needed.
8. When you get snuggled up to the dock get off and tie the mid ship line as short as you can. In other words, line the port side cleat up with a dock cleat.
9. Once you have the short port side mid ship line attached, get the stern line attached, finally the bow line.
10. Then adjust the mid ship line as needed. in many cases it will act as a spring line so you may need to run it to a different dock cleat.
12. Same steps work on a starboard side tie, but I find it easier to do the port-side if possible. Your mileage may vary.

I made a docking loop courtesy of one of the Greal Loopers.

Get 4 feet of reinforced flexible plastic tubing that is has an ID somewhat larger than your dock lines. Feed a line through the tubing. Tie a bowline at the end coming though. Feed the other end though that bowline loop and pull it up tight. The tubing forms a nice loop that makes it easy to toss over a cleat while docking. A piece of dock line maybe 15 feet long works the best. You can use this to catch a cleat for your mid ship line without getting off the boat, just be sure you have it running under the rail if there is one near your mid ship cleat.

Practice and do it slowly, the fear factor will ease...but everyone bumps a dock from time to time, it they say they dont, they are lying or they just have a dock queen.
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Old 11-26-2018, 03:09 PM   #33
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City: Prescott, Arizona, USA
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After 50 years of owning and cruising sailboats, I chartered a single engine trawler up in BC. I hired an experienced captain to coach me into single engine power boating. While he was a cross between a Marine Corps drill instructor and a Jesuit priest, I learned,,,,fast and well. I recommend that you get someone of similar ilk and have him/her show you the ropes. Then practice, practice, practice.
Biggest difference that I found was the increase windage on the trawler compared with my previous 42 foot ketch.
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Old 11-26-2018, 03:12 PM   #34
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Another benefit of an aft /cockpit steering station is MOB recovery for a couples boat. If a person is going to be recovered,its going to happen back there. Much more precise boat placement if operator can see the person..
Jack ...Chicken of the sea! Been offshore 3 miles once
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Old 11-26-2018, 07:05 PM   #35
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City: Fleming Island, Fl
Vessel Name: Sakura Perdido
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 36 Classic
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Posts: 629
I have a GB 36 with one screw. No question about it. It's difficult to back. Always come along side into the dock very slowly as close as you can. Always have the nose of the boat into the wind. Turn the boat up and let the wind turn the bow. Start backing immediately and then use "back and fill" to turn the bow and get the boat straight. Then back slowly and use forward to keep the boat straight. It will take you a few times to get it right but you can do it. Slow is the key.
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:39 PM   #36
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Vessel Name: Altair
Vessel Model: Island Gypsy
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I have a 32 IG single,,,trust me I was intimidated. After just a couple of times in and out I found it to handle so diferant but better than the Outboard, IO and Twin Screw I had in the past.

You don't need long arms just patience. Enjoy
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:41 PM   #37
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City: Pender Harbour, BC
Vessel Name: Gwaii Haanas
Vessel Model: Custom Aluminum 52
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Posts: 3,791
My previous boat was GB32 and I LOVED that little boat. My best advice is to get a single-engine commercial boat operator to give you an hour or two of "dual." They will open your eyes to how maneuverable a single can be. "Back and fill" is an essential skill!

Its a lovely boat, remember that you are only care-taking her for the next owner so be diligent and make her just a little bit better than when you bought her!
Don't believe everything that you think.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:24 PM   #38
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City: LaConner
Vessel Model: 34' CHB
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 1,250
Lepke and Bryant have it exactly right. Slow. My late uncle, a tugboat man used to say, "slow is smooth, smooth is fast". Approach anything slowly, lines ready, fenders out, have your boathook in your hands when you hit the dock, in case she starts going away from you or you need to reach your lines.
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Old 11-26-2018, 10:29 PM   #39
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City: Kitimat, North Coast BC
Vessel Name: Badger
Vessel Model: 30' Sundowner Tug
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 5,946
We have a double berth, on the port side as we come down the fairway, and tie bow in on the starboard side.

Our marina is subject to back eddies, and/or back eddies to the back eddy. There's no way to plan ahead, other than having fenders down, boat hook at the ready, plus bow, stern, and midship lines ready to go. I lead all three lines back to the pilothouse door. Wind is either on the bow or the stern.

Because the current is a mystery until I get there, I come in at idle speed then put it into neutral about three slips away from our berth and coast in. I find it easier to judge currents while not under power.

Our boats arse end swings to starboard at idle speed during turns to port, so I approach our slip by bumping the boat briefly into forward gear several times. Currents are dealt with by positioning the rudder before bumping into gear, and by how much power is applied to the bump.

This is our first boat, so there were a few aborted attempts in the first couple years. No worries though, as everybody starts out at the bottom of the learning curve.

Now I get a sense of satisfaction when people run up to give a hand, and it's an easy, undramatic step off to the dock

Recently someone was tied up in our slip and the above technique also worked after a stop + back & fill to get aligned for a port side tie up, which I'd never done before.

Should add that it pays to wait for slack tide when coming into a new marina. I got spanked pretty bad in Prince Rupert the first summer we had our boat. Made it on the second attempt, but it sure wasn't pretty!
"The most interesting path between two points is not a straight line" MurrayM
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Old 11-27-2018, 10:53 AM   #40
City: Rockland Maine
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 23
Never leave the helm underway

Our 34í single engine marine trader has a door at the helm, in 8 yrs Iíve never steered from the deck. (So donít add a door) , neutral and out is convienient, however.

Every thing old salt said and 2 bits that saved me in year 2 after lots of embarrassing landings. Go as slowly as possible given wind and current, and ignore (completely) any instruction delivered from anyone not at the helm, they arenít seeing what you are and you are the only decider.

An advantage we have both have is substantially lighter displacement than even a 36í trawler.

Enjoy the classic,
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