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Old 12-04-2018, 11:09 AM   #41
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Great thread. I'm most often solo. My 34-footer has a single screw and no thruster. I agree with the thirty-degree approach after sitting off the dock in neutral for a few moments to get the feel for wind and current.

Approaching into the current, hopefully starboard side to the dock which will allow my reversing prop to pull the stern into the dock, I secure a spring line from a mid-ship cleat to the dock near the stern. Then engage the transmission in forward at idle speed and adjust the rudder so that the boat aligns itself with the dock.

With the engine remaining in idle and the boat lying close alongside the dock, attaching breast lines and a forward spring is easily accomplished.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:07 PM   #42
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My rule is...imagine the worst thing that can happen, decide which line you need to prevent THAT from happening, and make that one the first priority.


In this case (heading into a swift current) the worst thing that can happen is the current catches your bow and you wind up perpendicular (stern-to) the dock, floating downstream. Did I guess right?



Therefore, my first line would be the bow line. Once the bow line is fast to the dock, it's easy to use the dock-side engine and/or a little bit of rudder to manuver the stern in close enough to get the forward spring on. Lastly, the stern line.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:52 PM   #43
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Great thread. I'm most often solo. My 34-footer has a single screw and no thruster. I agree with the thirty-degree approach after sitting off the dock in neutral for a few moments to get the feel for wind and current.

Approaching into the current, hopefully starboard side to the dock which will allow my reversing prop to pull the stern into the dock, I secure a spring line from a mid-ship cleat to the dock near the stern. Then engage the transmission in forward at idle speed and adjust the rudder so that the boat aligns itself with the dock.

With the engine remaining in idle and the boat lying close alongside the dock, attaching breast lines and a forward spring is easily accomplished.
Yes - seighlor you've got it.
I find this to be the most reliable method in most conditions. The only time I use other methods are if it is dead calm with no wind or current (when almost any method works), or if there is a howling wind (>25 knots) blowing off the dock.
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Old 12-04-2018, 03:25 PM   #44
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Like said pends on the angle of the current/wind. My worst docking time comes with no wind and a flood tide as it pulls me away from the dock sideways. With any NW wind (most common where I'm at) it will help counter the incoming tide. In most cases no matter what Midship cleat right down to the middle dock cleat. Deck hand is told after that's buttoned down go to stern cleat.


For some reason I find an uninformed deckhand will go right to the stern, and that is no good at all when the boats getting pulled by wind or tide flow away from the dock. If I have someone new going with me and its just the two of us, as they board I point to the cleat next to the stairs and say remember that's where the first rope goes when we get back. I find that one first thing for them to remember when they board helps a whole lot going forward.
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Old 12-04-2018, 07:52 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Nepidae View Post
ALWAYS, yes ALWAYS the mid-cleat goes on first.



Think about it, if you tie the bow, the stern can swing out, same with the stern.



Once the mid is tied the boat can't swing either bow or stern, regardless of the wind or current.



I'd also ask why your wife is standing by? I'm sure she is capable of dropping a line, eye hooked to the mid-cleat on the boat, then around a cleat on the dock and then securing it back to the boat mid-cleat. This has been our practice since my wife and I bought our boat and as long as we adhere to mid-cleat and don't hand a line to anyone on the dock, everything goes well.



I would also offer, NEVER but that could also be never, hand a line to someone on the dock, even dockhands, expecting them to know what they are doing. IF for some reason that is necessary, my wife gives specific instructions, 'take this line go around that cleat and hand it back to me'. Even a boat with a high mid-cleat, someone can stand on the boat and drop a line on a dock cleat.



Also, once the mid is cleated, usually my wife will step ashore and I will start tossing her the other lines. After the bow & stern are attached the mid-cleat line can become 1 of the spring lines, but that will depend on the cleats available on the dock.



This is what works for us.


I also strongly vote for midship line first. And never pass a line to someone that may think their job is to snub it up as short as possible.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:59 PM   #46
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Second that,

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Originally Posted by GFC View Post
We left coasters must be different from youse guys who live on da udder side. First of all, when I'm standing off the dock a bit sizing up the dock cleat situation, we have our fenders and lines all set.

If we're coming in under the circumstances the OP described, I'd come in at an angle smaller than a 45* (30*??) and when the bow gets up real close to the dock I use the shifters to stop my forward movement and swing the stern into the dock.


My wife will be standing on the swim platform with a line in hand that is attached to the stern cleat. Once she can step off (no jumping) she tells me she's getting off then she makes it fast to a nearby dock cleat and let's me know when it is secure.


I put the boat in forward gear using just the engine that's away from the dock and ease forward. If the current is strong enough that I've had to leave an engine in gear to hold position I give it a bit of throttle to move slowly forward. If necessary, the helm is turned to keep the bow along the dock.


While this is happening my wife goes forward and gets a line that is attached to my bow cleat but is lying on the deck at about the midship area of the boat. She takes this and makes it fast to a cleat far forward of the bow.

So now we're fastened fore and aft and we can take our time adjusting lines, adding more lines, adjusting the height and placement of fenders, etc. Then it's Miller time as we pat each other on the back for a job well done.

That's how I do it too.

But I prefer a mixed beverage...
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:32 AM   #47
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I came in against the current at a 45 degree angle and came alongside the dock without any problem.

So what would others consider to be the best 1st line to secure the boat to the dock: stern line, aft spring line and use the engines to swing the boat into the dock, forward spring line and let the current swing the boat into the dock, or bowline.

For us, against the current... it'd most likely be a forward spring line... i.e., a line running from a pile or cleat someplace up near the bow to our forward midship's cleat on the boat.

The combination of current against the boat and the spring affect should snug the boat up against the dock, so placing all other lines would likely be leisurely...

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Old 12-06-2018, 09:38 PM   #48
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Amen to not assuming that the person on the dock knows what they’re doing.
That was one of several learning experiences from this mishap that I left out.

This approach and overall situation should have been easy. I came in as described, brother in law was going to step off the stern and attach a stern line, then move forward to catch the bowline from my wife.

At this point a gentleman came down the dock to lend assistance.

Had I noticed he was stoned I would have declined.

Brother in law passed him the stern line and he stood there staring at the end of the line, then proceeded try to tie a bowline at the end (it was a 35 ft line).

As the wind slowly pushed me off the dock, I “explained” I needed him to cleat it off short and grab the bow line. By this time he had managed to put some type of a loop at the end of the line, which he then put over a cleat and walked off. WALKED OFF. Bless his heart.

Now the bow had blown off the dock and got caught by the current. My port stern bit is tied to the dock. Tried to idle stb forward and then added port reverse and rudder but the wind and the current were winning. Bow is now pointed toward the channel and engines could only hold that position.

Next an adept boater came down and pointed out that the stern line wasn’t going to work as a spring in this situation and that I wasn’t going to win going at it this way. He was thinking a lot more clearly than me (and the 1st guy) at this point and talked me into the right move which was to reverse engine to put slack in the line. He then took it off the cleat allowing me to circle around and come in for a safe landing.

I learned several things from this experience and the replies on this forum:

1. Spring lines allow simple physics to translate forward or reverse motion into sideways motion which may be more reliable than the average dockhand.
2. Stay calm when things go south and circle back around for a do-over. Seems that where wind and current are involved, bad can get worse fast
3. Assume everyone on the dock is stoned

Thanks for everyone’s input.

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Old 12-06-2018, 10:32 PM   #49
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Dockside "assistants" are often a hindrance to a good docking. They tend to distract.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:50 AM   #50
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Sorry..misposted.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:52 AM   #51
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I like #1, #2 and (especially) #3.

Having just completed the requirements for my Captain's license, I decided to refer to my Sea School classroom training manual. Lo and behold, on page 152 -- a good candidate for #4???



"...never tie down the stern of a vessel while manuvering since it restricts manuverability."
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:11 AM   #52
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ALWAYS, yes ALWAYS the mid-cleat goes on first.



This is what works for us.

The only time I put the mid cleat line on first is when it is dead calm or the wind is holding me in position. (rarely). Someone has to disembark to do this or the boat has to be in position alongside the dock for a period of time.

Try this singlehanded with a wind and current without dockhands to assist. Itís not going to happen. But maybe you have more favourable winds than I do.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:24 AM   #53
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I like #1, #2 and (especially) #3.

Having just completed the requirements for my Captain's license, I decided to refer to my Sea School classroom training manual. Lo and behold, on page 152 -- a good candidate for #4???



"...never tie down the stern of a vessel while manuvering since it restricts manuverability."
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Used to teach captains licensing, glad we never had that in the books I used.

There are certainly times that the stern line first can be a good, maybe best option.

Captains should dock using one of their many techniques, relying on one technique and forcing that to work all the time is a recipe for stressful docking....or worse.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:30 AM   #54
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The only time I put the mid cleat line on first is when it is dead calm or the wind is holding me in position. (rarely). Someone has to disembark to do this or the boat has to be in position alongside the dock for a period of time.

Try this singlehanded with a wind and current without dockhands to assist. Itís not going to happen. But maybe you have more favourable winds than I do.
Yep...I see it as the most basic technique . Like the first one taught to new boaters because it fits a standard, vanilla approach and landing.

With many boats with twins and thrusters, heck , sure it works most of the time.

But drive a single in tougher conditions, especially single handed and see how quickly you learn better ways.
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Old 12-07-2018, 07:21 AM   #55
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Here we have two very experienced captains that have different approaches. I could argue the either would work, however I would lean strongly with Nepidae on this one and secure the mid spring first. With the mid secure, nothing bad will happen and only a matter of time to get the boat up close and secure the other lines.

A mid cleat, aft stern line will get the job done for most any operation most of the time and will work here.

The issue here is doing in single handed would be a challenge, as the OP mentioned in his first post.

+++++
A few rules FIRST.

NEVER, EVER have someone jump, walk or swim off your boat until it's securely tied to the dock. A rule you should never break. IF they fall off your boat, you won't have them to help you and you now have the liability of getting them safe without chopping them up in the props. Absolute no no.

ALWAYS have the most competent dock line handler to handle the lines, at that's most often the guy. If you can't get a line on, you ain't going to dock.

and NEVER rely on a dock had for expertise and to tie you lines. The only function they should have is to drop the line around the cleat with you controlling the bitter end. Sure, when you have three lines on, they might be able to handle the forth.
+++++++

The current is not the issue, it's the wind. In a no wind situation this docking could be easy peasy and a cave man could do it. But with the wind that could possibly push the bow out and into the current, it could get ugly, and that's exactly what happened.

So, the challenge would be for the skipper to be both captain and mate. And in this case, I could argue for him to bow in at perhaps a 30d angle and put a bow line on first by throwing around a cleat or piling and securing it to the boat. Once secured he could operate the outside engine in reverse and bring the boat to the dock. However, that would depend on the wind.
----- or --------
My preference would be to have the center line cleated and at the bow of the boat so it would be dirt simple to secure it over a piling or cleat, and bring it back to the mid cleat and tie off. Now the captain can go back to the helm, and run the boat forward to have the spring line pull the boat up beside the dock. Love the engine in forward idle and secure the other lines.

With a first mate (which would be me), my captain would bring the boat in at the same 30d and I'd secure the mid spring around a cleat/piling, but she could swing the bow out a tad so it doesn't hit the dock, move forward as I took up slack in the mid line until I could get no more. I'd secure the line and she would forward idle to the dock, keeping in gear until I could secure the other lines.

And, as a note, have a big fender at the bow.

(the above will work with single or twin)

==========
Quote:
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ALWAYS, yes ALWAYS the mid-cleat goes on first.

Think about it, if you tie the bow, the stern can swing out, same with the stern.

Once the mid is tied the boat can't swing either bow or stern, regardless of the wind or current.

I'd also ask why your wife is standing by? I'm sure she is capable of dropping a line, eye hooked to the mid-cleat on the boat, then around a cleat on the dock and then securing it back to the boat mid-cleat. This has been our practice since my wife and I bought our boat and as long as we adhere to mid-cleat and don't hand a line to anyone on the dock, everything goes well.

I would also offer, NEVER but that could also be never, hand a line to someone on the dock, even dockhands, expecting them to know what they are doing. IF for some reason that is necessary, my wife gives specific instructions, 'take this line go around that cleat and hand it back to me'. Even a boat with a high mid-cleat, someone can stand on the boat and drop a line on a dock cleat.

Also, once the mid is cleated, usually my wife will step ashore and I will start tossing her the other lines. After the bow & stern are attached the mid-cleat line can become 1 of the spring lines, but that will depend on the cleats available on the dock.

This is what works for us.

=======


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I almost never use a midship line because in really tough conditions, it is usually the hardest to get on, and if missed may require a whole new approach.

I know a lot that swear by it, but I usually use the best line for the job which can vary greatly between boats and conditions.
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Old 12-07-2018, 08:51 AM   #56
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If your teaching manual was approved by the Coast Guard...then it would have to be in there, because that language comes directly from the USCG manual:

"
D.22. Tying down
Except for using the forward quarter spring, #3, never tie down the stern of a boat while maneuvering beside a dock, this restricts maneuverability.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:12 AM   #57
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The only time I put the mid cleat line on first is when it is dead calm or the wind is holding me in position. (rarely). Someone has to disembark to do this or the boat has to be in position alongside the dock for a period of time.

Try this singlehanded with a wind and current without dockhands to assist. Itís not going to happen. But maybe you have more favorable winds than I do.
Singlehanded or otherwise, I pre-lead a spring line from the mid-cleat aft to the cockpit. My boat is brought alongside the dock with the cockpit near enough to the dock that I am able to secure that spring to a cleat on the dock; then return to the helm and ease forward, allowing the spring to bring the boat easily alongside the dock.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:53 AM   #58
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Be in Command

With some 30 months, 5,000 miles and 200+ dockings under our belt, we still live by the advice of a seasoned captain who spent time with us when we bought Shangri-La. He made it crystal clear "you are in command of your vessel, not the dock hand." He further advised that many dock hands are part time, seasonal and or poorly trained. He was right.

His advice? Midship line on first. But it's more complex than just which line. We scope out the dock/slip and spot piling or cleats to determine which one is appropriate for that midship line based on wind and current. I'll get the boat in position and my most capable mate either instructs the dock hand to THAT hard point, or makes the snag herself. Lines and fenders are already in place and she can stroll the deck to catch additional cleats, or toss lines as needed. As noted above, we never leave the boat until it's secure.

Part of the challenge is the dock hand insisting on 'throw me a bow line' or some other instruction. We've witnessed a number of horrible dockings as a result of the crew changing their plan to accommodate the dock hand's instructions. You know your boat - as captains we are in charge and it is up to us to make the call.

Have we had mishaps? You bet. Always when I read the wind or current incorrectly. It's never the boat's fault. One thing we insisted on when boat shopping was a one level unobstructed weather deck. In our 60's, we wanted the best chance to be near the dock to make approaching and tying in as easy as possible. Glad we did. For us it truly is Pleasure Boating.

In defense of dock hands - although many are unskilled, we've also had some amazing folks assist. We just never know until the engines are shut down which it will be.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:13 AM   #59
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I don't see docking as submitting to rules with ALWAYS or NEVER in the wording. Every situation can be different, calling for a tailored approach.

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Old 12-07-2018, 10:42 AM   #60
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First, my manual and I were approved by the USCG, plus they NEVR dock single handed and rately have single engine/ rudder boats.

I think I am in charge of docking my boat, in fact I know I am....but some dockmasters don't know that and one I argued with would not let me stay for my overnight reservation despite the guy in the Flemming in front of me who agreed the dockmasters method endangered his boat.

And usung a midship line.... I still feel it is only occasionally the best or OK line. Single handed in a single screw boat iit is almost or is impossible in some situations to get parallel to the dock close enough without linehandlers... So if that is your go to without being good at using other lines, you are screwed.

Oh, and some places the current is definitely a bigger issue than wind as it happens every day, twice a day in varying amounts and switches to reverse the difficulty sometimes.
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