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Old 08-07-2017, 05:34 PM   #41
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Steve, It sounds like you have the right attitude towards docking. Just more practice is required. Especially when dealing with wind and current. Whenever their is a change in conditions, you need to change your technique. Over time you will develop more stategies to deal with more situations.

Before attempting to dock, study the wind and current. Get the fenders and dock lines ready. Make a plan and a back up plan.
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Old 08-07-2017, 05:49 PM   #42
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My wife gets the lines and bumpers ready. Usually I ask ahead of time if we neee starbord or port and that really helps us get ready. As we get close, I sit neutral for a few to see how the current and wind effect the boat. Learned that from YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, that's always my goal, to not end up on YouTube.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:02 PM   #43
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I would add don't get embarrassed if you miss the initial approach and have to try again a few times.

I moved my boat to a new slip recently, and on my initial docking attempt it took me FOUR times to get it right. There was a current that I wasn't aware of, and while it was frustrating needing four attempts, I had to just laugh. My son was with me and he was a little embarrassed for me. I didn't hit anything so I still considered it a success.
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Old 08-07-2017, 06:21 PM   #44
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Nope. Too long to get from the upper helm to the transom where the lines are.
Same here, but we only pull into a dock once every 12 weeks for fuel and water and we are currently trying to make that once every 12 mths.

When we do come in we wait for a less than 5 knot day, so usually come in around 5am or earlier and back out by 9am.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:01 PM   #45
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My wife gets the lines and bumpers ready. Usually I ask ahead of time if we need starboard or port and that really helps us get ready. As we get close, I sit neutral for a few to see how the current and wind effect the boat.....
You`ve put admirable thought and planning into your approaches,and it sounds like you do pretty well in often adverse conditions.
I suggest getting a local docking/boat handling expert on board to observe and advise. You might well be doing all that can be done, or you might benefit from another mind applied to the situation and some fresh ideas. It won`t cost much, it may help, it has to be worth a try.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:51 PM   #46
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Boats without accessible lower helms really are at a disadvantage. If I owned one, I'd definitely consider adding helm stations on the side and aft or wireless like Yacht Controller.
B, we have upper and lower helms, but the visibility is so much better from the upper helm that's where I always drive from.

While I can't see the stern of the boat from there due to the bimini over the cockpit, I can see both sides of the boat and can see the end of the slip when I'm backing.
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Old 08-07-2017, 07:59 PM   #47
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B, we have upper and lower helms, but the visibility is so much better from the upper helm that's where I always drive from.
Me too. Most of my operation is singlehanded, so I've gotten quite adept at getting on and off the flybridge. I really appreciate the bird's eye view and the unrestricted 360 degree visibility. And to others points, if you have to abort or change plans that perspective is valuable.
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:46 PM   #48
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B, we have upper and lower helms, but the visibility is so much better from the upper helm that's where I always drive from.

While I can't see the stern of the boat from there due to the bimini over the cockpit, I can see both sides of the boat and can see the end of the slip when I'm backing.
Well, while upper is better for cruising, wireless or more mounted helm stations would probably be useful for docking. I'd get a camera to make up for the inability to see the stern. They are not expensive now and tremendous help.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:08 PM   #49
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Yes, when I was younger. From the lower station, I would have everything setup outside the breakwater, fenders down, etc. Come into my slip with slight bow in angle to the dock, Starboard into neutral and Port reverse to a stop, would put the boat against the dock. Then slip over the handrail and drop to the dock. Spring line two wraps on cleat and walk the stern line back to it's cleat, Voila! Sadly, not something I would do routinely anymore.
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B, we have upper and lower helms, but the visibility is so much better from the upper helm that's where I always drive from.

While I can't see the stern of the boat from there due to the bimini over the cockpit, I can see both sides of the boat and can see the end of the slip when I'm backing.

You guys desperately need smaller boats!
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:19 PM   #50
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That was hurtful Al.

And you're beginning to sound like my son, who wants me to sell mine and go partners with him (thats short for I pay, he uses), on a 28' twin Offshore Sportfisher.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:44 PM   #51
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Fenders.... lots and lots of fenders....
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:49 PM   #52
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That was hurtful Al.

And you're beginning to sound like my son, who wants me to sell mine and go partners with him (thats short for I pay, he uses), on a 28' twin Offshore Sportfisher.
That's one smart son you've got there!

But I would encourage him to upgrade his desires for something in the 34 ft range so you get diesels and a decent head. Besides, it's your money he's spending.....go bigger. A 34 LRC with 200s or more will get up and go!

I've had the pleasure to experience CHC's 34LRC on plane with Detroit 250s at 23K. If I find the pic of his wake, I'll post it.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:41 PM   #53
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That's one smart son you've got there!

A 34 LRC with 200s or more will get up and go!
I'm sure it will, but it's the wrong shape. This is what he has in mind. 290 Grady-White. I think they list for around $180 boat dollars
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:00 PM   #54
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Teach him the errors of his ways. Dad's gotta be comfortable!

He'll thank you later!
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:03 PM   #55
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He's 35, so I'm afraid it's too late for that.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:22 PM   #56
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Steve- I have a similar issue, perhaps not as severe as you describe yet very recognizable. I too use the fly bridge when docking. The vision 360 is worth the effort in leaving the bridge to stepping on the float to secure. Here is what I do (Have described this a couple of times in the past so faithful readers bare with me for Steve's sake.

When I enter a dock provided harbor, I motor in easy and then stop some distance from the dock or float. Once I have the drift current indicated then I can choose which side to land. My boat backs to the Port so I prefer a Port side landing. When I have the length of the float space zeroed in I begin the mental calculations to judge the speed to approach. Sometimes with wind more than current I will make a more power driven approach with the intent of backing down hard again, to the Port. Now in either choice power, or creeping in, our common issue comes into play. How to secure the boat without loosing position . Here Steve is my solution and it works like a charm. (Note: In Alaska most floats have what is called "Bull Rails". usually 4x4 up to 8x8 railings that line the float circumference. We tie our lines to and under these bull rails. Lacking these then the application I am going to make will be to the other side of the float, given space and no boats in the way.

I purchased the following item off eBay:

https://www.amazon.com/Fury-Martial-...SIN=B0009PGVG8

It has a 35 foot nylon cord as you can see. I have a 2.5 or 3 gallon plastic pail with holes cut in the bottom to allow rain water escapement. The grapple is coiled in this bucket which I can move about the bridge for comfort in the throwing act.
When I have completed my backing down action and the boat is settled in one spot, I sling the grapple to the bull rail and hood it under this rail. I can now walk back and forth on the bridge positioning the boat.
I secure the line somewhere convenient on the bridge, hand rail, seat, where ever. This allows me time to exit the bridge and secure the lines.

There will be those who picture this act causing untold damage to other boats, death of onlookers, and such. Well Steve, the "dogs bark and the caravan rolls on"! I have been employing this process for some 7 years of single handling my current fly bridge boat without any issues other than shock from stateside visitors unaccustom to seeing such employment. Alway worth the quite smile I have seeing the look.


forgot to add: I have secured the hooks in a permanent open position using plastic ties.

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Old 08-07-2017, 11:28 PM   #57
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So I've noticed a strange behavior with the boat when backing. Right now we enter the marina nose in, stop, rotate 180 degrees, then back in. Usually the current is against us, and strong enough that idle reverse isn't enough. I need about 1000 RPM to make an progress. So I've got it lined up, light wind, current parellel to the slip. Then all of a sudden the bow takes off to the left of right with enough speed that I neutral on one engine isn't enough. I need forward, which stops my progress. Once I get the bow back in position, both engines back to reverse, then bump the throttles up again. Start making process then it happens again, sometimes to the same side, sometimes to the other side.
Backing against the current is difficult for most boats with a square transom and smallish rudder(s). Keep at it and maybe experiment a bit.
I find that in some high wind/current conditions it works better to come in at an angle when backing up into the slip, rather than backing straight in. Perhaps come at it with the boat at 45 degrees to the slip and slowly crab-walk it into place. It may avoid the bow swinging out. (actually in any case, I would expect that the stern would move first, with the bow swinging the opposite way)

Don't be fixated on docking the same way every time. Different conditions may require a different method.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:53 PM   #58
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Steve- I have a similar issue, perhaps not as severe as you describe yet very recognizable

There will be those who picture this act causing untold damage to other boats, death of onlookers, and such. Well Steve, the "dogs bark and the caravan rolls on"! I have been employing this process for some 7 years of single handling my current fly bridge boat without any issues other than shock from stateside visitors unaccustom to seeing such employment. Always worth the quite smile I have seeing the look.

Al-Ketchikan
I can only imagine. I'll bet you don't get too many volunteers to catch the line when the hook comes out.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:21 AM   #59
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I can only imagine. I'll bet you don't get too many volunteers to catch the line when the hook comes out.
That too. The last time was three visiting boaters from America who had "Gut Shot" the float in the sense that each boat left some 20 feet between them shutting out at least 30-35 feet of usable space at one end or the other in addition to the remaining space I chose. The three urged me to not attempt to tie in the remaining 25 feet of end space, rather go to the inside of the float. I know the float and I know the depth. With a planned departure time, I would be faced with a tide issue from that side.
I chose continuing coming in. Seeing that they were graciously going to assist with lines, prior to employ my grapple asking that they stand back and clear. It worked as it does and the three were properly impressed. Not so much when I thanked them for 'Gut shooting' the float and suggested in the future allowing for those coming behind them in terms of space allocation.

Fine for 'First come, first served' yet a bit gosh one could say.

Thank you for a correct observation
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:49 AM   #60
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Not all docking situations are the same. I could dock singlehanded sometimes but most of the time I could not or it would be ugly.

Normal docking and emergency docking are different situations.
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