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Old 08-08-2017, 07:04 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I meant to add we addressed some of this issue during our shopping phase. IOW, we selected the boat with better attributes for potential single handing in mind...
Good point.

For us these attributes were as important as other criteria such as number of cabins, berth size, galley up/down, single/twin, etc, etc..
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:09 AM   #62
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Yes..... and all kinds of boats and also as a tow captain with a tow sometimes.

There are no secrets, only tips, techniques and practice. Though hand/eye coordination and a quick judge of movement is something that come people never seem to improve and why their dockings skills don't either.

There are so many different combinations of wind, current and boat handling.....all I can say is read whatever people post here and other sites and books.....and understand that those techniques work for them, but arent gospel. There are always other ways to do it. Wathching youtube and other sites with videos can be valuable, but again, none of them are the only ways, but they might be easier to apply to your situation as you can see others based on certain conditions, not just stick diagrams.

The first rule is, if you dont think you can do it, DON'T! Tie up somewhere else or anchor up till the wind and current combo becomes favorable. Getting a boat tied up in unfavorable conditions single handed is impressive, but so is crashing and doing a bunch of damage. Just depends if you care which.

A lot of people swear by a midship line that goes over first. It works for them and their boat.

I can show them that sometimes there are better ways, but no convincing them.....so fine.....its a good technique to start with, but for some people, boats, docks and conditions, there are easier ways.....depends on your situation.

Almost always, hands on with a good boat handler, even a paid one is the best teacher.
psneeld,

Tell us about some techniques that are better than a midship spring line? I'm sure there are plenty but always like another technique in my quiver.

I routinely take the boat out and dock single handed, but only when things are in my favor. Bow in with the wind lightly pushing me toward the dock is dirt simple. Much more than 5 or 6 knots pushing me away is a challenge unless current is my friend. Backing in is a bit harder, but doable with wind/current help. I always dock to starboard with the helm door so I can slide out quick, tie a line and go back in, if necessary to "spring" the boat to the dock.
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Old 08-08-2017, 08:34 AM   #63
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Wifey B: I'm going to say this loud and clear but not going to yell it just hope everyone reads it carefully.

If your ability to dock and undock, the location, the boat, any of the above, all the above....if any of that is making you hesitant to use your boat or making you use it less, then change things. Do not allow fear of docking and undocking to steal 20% of 50% of your boat use away.

Get training, or get wireless controls, or get cameras and mirrors, or get a new slip, or get a new marina or do whatever it takes. If it costs, then spend it because it's costing you far more today. I see people with $200k boats, with $15k a year on marina and insurance and maybe even interest and yet 40% of that a total waste because they're scared or unable to come and go as they wish. If you can only do it in less than 5 knot winds or less than 2 knots of current, fix that.

Don't remain prisoner to whatever is holding you back. Get hours of training if needed. Change slips. Change marinas. Make changes to boat. Change boats. Change helms person. I don't know what is causing each of you a problem but fix it.

I saw someone at a nearby marina who had the worst slip there, the impossible if not perfect weather slip. They never used the boat. Maybe 10% so it wasn't then a $600 slip, it was $600 for 10% of a slip and in my non-math mind that sounds like $6000 per month equivalent.

If it takes $1000 of lessons, better than letting your $100,000 boat sit unused. Please, I beg of you. Don't be held prisoner.
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Old 08-08-2017, 09:26 AM   #64
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I'm shocked at how many people don't move their boats.

We use ours all the time. When we are at the marina for the weekend, usually a day doesn't go by that we don't take it somewhere.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:04 AM   #65
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I plan ahead. While having a single engine, the boat is low-profile, has a wide 360-degree deck, helmsman position at deck level, deck level not far from floating-dock height, a bow thruster, two mid-ship cleats per side, a large rudder, as well as a wide berth oriented facing the prevailing wind and without noticeable current.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:40 AM   #66
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Single handed , or with a crew of 99 , there are times when docking is not prudent.

When rational to dock, a smart , experienced hand is useful, but not a necessity.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:52 AM   #67
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psneeld,

Tell us about some techniques that are better than a midship spring line? I'm sure there are plenty but always like another technique in my quiver.

I routinely take the boat out and dock single handed, but only when things are in my favor. Bow in with the wind lightly pushing me toward the dock is dirt simple. Much more than 5 or 6 knots pushing me away is a challenge unless current is my friend. Backing in is a bit harder, but doable with wind/current help. I always dock to starboard with the helm door so I can slide out quick, tie a line and go back in, if necessary to "spring" the boat to the dock.
There are so many variables, it is a books worth.

Sometimes easier to get the bow to the dock when wind and tide are screaming pushing you off, drop and use a long after bow spring.

Sometimes easier to kick the stern over and drrop a very short stern line and then leave it in dead ahead idle....puts the boat right where I want it in relation to a stern cleat.

Sure some will disagree, great.... they have their ways and I have mine. And thats my point, when they say the midship line is best, I just shake my head. Sure, it can be, but isnt all the time.

Just too many situations to begin to describe. The more you use springs though, the more you will understand all the variations possible.

So many times others try to put 3 and 4 lines on my towboat and tow when I pull in and I have to ask please dont....one line will hold both boats if it is the right line to the right set of cleats which 90% of the time I already have on. More lines are just redundant and that I will be leaving shortly or have to quickly manuever, more lines are just in the way. Plus sometimes the second line is defeating my spring.

Docking and line use is really just about knowing which line or lines are necessary to hold the boat where you want it, or where they will let the boat go if left to mother nature or if under power.
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Old 08-08-2017, 11:59 AM   #68
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The are so many variables, it is a books worth.

Sometimes easier to get the bow to the dock when wind and tidevare screaming oushing you off, drop and use a long after boa spring.

Sometimes easier to kick the stern over and drrop a very short stern line and then leave it in dead ahead idle....puts the boat right where I want it in relation to a stern cleat.

Sure some will disagree, great.... they have their ways and I have mine.
psneeld,

Always good to hear your comments and you have a great deal of experience we can learn from.

Nice to learn a new or different technique along the way.
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Old 08-08-2017, 12:09 PM   #69
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Sorry, I should have specified, my comments were mainly directed at singles without thrusters.
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Old 08-08-2017, 01:22 PM   #70
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The key to docking solo is planning and being smart enough not to dock when conditions are against you. I always use a spring line from a chock about 20' from the bow (83' boat). Most of my dockings are at a private dock or fuel docks. Always timed with tide and wind. I estimate in advance the length needed for the tied off spring and position the hull over the needed cleat. I drop the eye over the cleat, put the rudders over and one engine in gear and the rest is history. The spring holds the boat against the dock while the other lines are made fast.
I've never had a docking accident in 60+ years. Because I don't stay in yacht marinas, I rarely use a slip unless at a commercial port where there is room for big boat maneuvering.
Planning and having the needed lines and fenders ready is the key.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:02 PM   #71
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Having things ready is correct, but only at the last minute for us smaller guys. Cant tell you how many time the assigned slip is in a backdraw of wind from buildings or trees or a back eddy of current from the mainstream. Rig early, rig twice some days.

So as long as you see those anomolies and can switch fine.

However, I see too many boaters that commit before they even see the marina, then feel bad about switching lines and fenders and then make a horrid approach snd crash.

While not hard, we all know docking can get the best of us if complacent.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:22 PM   #72
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You should always have both sides of the boat ready for docking, with lines and fenders. Just like locking. You can never be sure and you may need both for a slip.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:54 PM   #73
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You should always have both sides of the boat ready for docking, with lines and fenders. Just like locking. You can never be sure and you may need both for a slip.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:09 PM   #74
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I will call the dockmaster on the VHF on arrival and find out where the electric is to determine whether to back in or go bow first, then I find out what side will be to the dock. It's easy to set up early with the knowledge.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:31 PM   #75
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I wait, if I can drift for 1 minute or so, I can get bow and stern lines on and 2 fenders which is my standard.

If not, I circle back to open water to do it...which is almost never.

Its rare I feel the need to put out on 2 sides way out from the marina....then again, up me to a 50 plus footer and you bet, be ready as mooring stuff weighs a lot more and can be harder to rig...not so much on smaller boats at least for me.

The real point is don't committ to a side just because you rigged based on a dockmaster assignment and suggestion.
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Old 08-08-2017, 04:47 PM   #76
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Wifey B: I'm going to say this loud and clear but not going to yell it just hope everyone reads it carefully.

If your ability to dock and undock, the location, the boat, any of the above, all the above....if any of that is making you hesitant to use your boat or making you use it less, then change things. Do not allow fear of docking and undocking to steal 20% of 50% of your boat use away.

Get training, or get wireless controls, or get cameras and mirrors, or get a new slip, or get a new marina or do whatever it takes. If it costs, then spend it because it's costing you far more today. I see people with $200k boats, with $15k a year on marina and insurance and maybe even interest and yet 40% of that a total waste because they're scared or unable to come and go as they wish. If you can only do it in less than 5 knot winds or less than 2 knots of current, fix that.
.
Our solution was to actually use the boat for its intended purpose.
Stay out - live aboard and come into a dock every 12 weeks for water.
Will be going in tomorrow on a near zero knot morning.
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Old 08-08-2017, 06:15 PM   #77
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Currently doing the Loop single handed, so it's not an option. Boats are different and you need to figure out what works best for you and yours. I'm single screw with a bow thruster. Have a docking station in the stern, so almost always dock stern in. For me, backing in is easier with a BIG foil rudder, back & fill, and a bow thruster when necessary. Always get setup (fenders and lines) before coming in. Never afraid to pass, go around again, and give it another try. I ignore dock experts (line handlers? and do it my way. Anything worth doing takes practice to be good at it. Have single hand docked my charter well ovet a thousand times (not an exaggeration). While that makes me very good with the mechanics of the process, it doesn't mean that much when I graduated to my trawler, boats are different. Took several afternoons of practice to get descent with it. You won't be good if you don't practice, practice, and practice some more.

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Old 08-08-2017, 06:22 PM   #78
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I deploy five fenders on each side, and approach slowly at both home and foreign docks.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:07 PM   #79
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Our solution was to actually use the boat for its intended purpose.
Stay out - live aboard and come into a dock every 12 weeks for water.
Will be going in tomorrow on a near zero knot morning.
Wifey B: A lot of people don't have that luxury. There's also nothing saying anchoring was ever the intended purpose of boats. Nothing in my Bible saying that. I think if you'd look, you'd find boating, like the chicken, came first.

We generally do stay at marinas. When cruising though, they're actually easy as most are side tie. It's the home marina that often drives people bananas.
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Old 08-08-2017, 07:13 PM   #80
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... position the hull over the needed cleat. I drop the eye over the cleat, put the rudders over and one engine in gear and the rest is history.
Right on. Unless, as pointed out earlier in the thread, you're in Canada or Alaska or somewhere else where docks have bullrails instead of cleats. Then without a grappling hook or a pikepole, singlehanding you've got to get off the boat to tie off the spring, which can be interesting. I remember particularly coming in to Squitty Bay one Christmas day and jumping off onto the dock slick with ice.

But a recent unscientific survey suggests that more Canadian docks are going with cleats instead of, or in addition to, bullrails. This is a good thing.
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