Originally Posted by psneeld
The real trick in docking is good line handling. Many boats are seen to have docking issues and many boaters I know are poor line handlers. The two could be a bad combo.
If a Manatee is desired, learning better line handling is in order....well maybe auto positioning electronically could substitute.
If all conspires to not allow better line handling, I can see one not feeling a Manatee as a good choice.
I solved many a boater's docking problems by just loaning them a longer boathook..... yep.... many boaters just never get enough experience to be really good at most boating skills. There's 2 ways to get them.... use a boat a lot and challenge oneself or get a job as a pro mariner.
....or get bow and stern thrusters.
I definitely agree with your overall sentiment - I called it adaptation.
I scrolled through pictures of about a dozen Manatees. Only two had midships cleats at the caprail level (vs upper deck level). Having a midships cleat allows a breast line (short line between the boats cleat directly to a dock cleat - normally only used temporarily while boat is tied-up). Midship breast line would more or less keep either end of the boat from drifting too far. For this boat, a common option would be to lay the stern line first and come forward on it.....assuming you can get the stern to the dock.
I think location matters in this discussion. The West Coast is exclusively floating docks. East Coast, where most of the Manatees reside, are primarily pilings except for fuel and guest docks. With exception of normal challenge of backing a single screw boat, Manatee would be okay for pilings.
Don't get me wrong, having more living space is great. If I were to buy a new boat in the 40-ish foot class, would have full width saloon such as a Nordic Tug. Doesn't bother me a bit to go through the saloon to dock.
Having owned and occasionally lived aboard a relatively small 36-footer, I covet the space on a Manatee. I would not be averse to owning one. But the interior space comes at a price. That's all I'm saying.