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Old 01-04-2022, 11:12 AM   #1
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Getting off Face dock with wind

Have a question for you captains about getting off a face dock with the wind blowing the boat against the dock.


If the boat is bow in, it's simple... tie off the bow to a midship dock cleat, rudder toward dock, and forward throttle will swing the stern out so one can easily back out. But, that's not the issue.


The boat is stern in, side tie to starboard. Typically I can shove it off (at least the bow) and put the starboard engine in idle forward, and the port in idle reverse and it will twist the boat just enough to head straight out.


However, the other day, the winds were a bit strong and the above didn't work. No way to push the boat off a bit. Doing the above just didn't get the boat out far enough to get out. So, I'd do that and inch forward a few feet when the boat came back to the dock. Repeat again, for a few more feet.



When the boat was about half way out, it became hard to keep the bow from swinging past the dock, which would have been really awkward, so I turned the wheel toward the dock, using forward on the port and reverse on the starboard, kept the boat barely off the dock and pushed it out in the fairway, but as it turned 90d. But at that point it was easy to just motor away without being blown back into the dock.


Looking for more graceful ways of handling this.


I was single handling.
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:21 AM   #2
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i'm interested to hear what the responses to this question are. i have limited time with twins so it's interesting conversation. single handing adds another layer to it.
the amount of room available comes into play as well. if there's adequate room you could use the stern out method and rotate 180 of the dock and back out to more open space. maybe?
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:22 AM   #3
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Not sure I fully grasp the situation, but could you use a spring line off an aft or midship starboard cleat and a fender on the stern starboard quarter, then reverse to swing the bow out? Watch that swim step!

That's how I used to do it on my sailboat.
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:31 AM   #4
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Generally if I'm on a face dock with wind pinning me, I'll pivot the bow out as far as I can against the wind first. Then shove the stern off as hard as possible and back off quickly. This requires a good bit of clear space behind me. It's rare that I could get the bow out far enough to depart forward in a strong wind, as my boat blows downwind bow first and the bow will try to swing back into the dock quickly. My boat also pivots pretty far forward, so it's hard to move the bow upwind without covering a significant distance or backing first, then pivoting.


I've had times where there were boats close in front and behind me where we waited a day to leave. Travel conditions were good enough, but the wind was such that I was not convinced that it was possible to get out of the spot we were in at all without a bow thruster.
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by socalrider View Post
Not sure I fully grasp the situation, but could you use a spring line off an aft or midship starboard cleat and a fender on the stern starboard quarter, then reverse to swing the bow out? Watch that swim step!

That's how I used to do it on my sailboat.
could you do it single handed from the bridge or inside station in the wind?
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:37 AM   #6
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I use a spring line on the bow. Turn the bow into the dock , engine in forward gear, and the stern swings out. When you have enough of an angle to back out release the spring line.
Of course you need to fender against the dock.
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:49 AM   #7
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could you do it single handed from the bridge or inside station in the wind?
My trawler is on a mooring so haven't tried. With my 40' sailboat I could do it singlehanded in a pinch - the trick was to loop the dock line around the dock cleat and tie it back to the ship's cleat so it could be released from the cockpit or deck - make sure the line can run freely & doesn't foul the prop. Normally my stern dock lines would be short enough to prevent fouling, but running the line back to the ship's cleat requires using longer lines (or it did on our sailboat)

Not my favorite thing to do as things can go pear shaped quickly, particularly with a single engine, no thrusters...
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:58 AM   #8
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My trawler is on a mooring so haven't tried. With my 40' sailboat I could do it singlehanded in a pinch - the trick was to loop the dock line around the dock cleat and tie it back to the ship's cleat so it could be released from the cockpit or deck - make sure the line can run freely & doesn't foul the prop. Normally my stern dock lines would be short enough to prevent fouling, but running the line back to the ship's cleat requires using longer lines (or it did on our sailboat)

Not my favorite thing to do as things can go pear shaped quickly, particularly with a single engine, no thrusters...
fair enough. i can see this working from the cockpit of a sailboat, but i think a trawler presents more of a challenge. (maybe just a longer line from the bridge) the long line is a real wild card. like you say, it'll get pear shaped pretty quickly. big fenders required.
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Old 01-04-2022, 11:58 AM   #9
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Seevee...not sure what you mean by inching forward but then worried about going past the dock.


Any chance of a rudimentary sketch or google map pic with the slip noted and will guess a near beam pinning wind?
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Old 01-04-2022, 12:44 PM   #10
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Seevee...not sure what you mean by inching forward but then worried about going past the dock.


Any chance of a rudimentary sketch or google map pic with the slip noted and will guess a near beam pinning wind?
What I think he is describing is being in a slip where you are stern in and only can side tie to the floating finger pier that runs the full length of the slip.

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Old 01-04-2022, 12:54 PM   #11
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What I think he is describing is being in a slip where you are stern in and only can side tie to the floating finger pier that runs the full length of the slip.

Ted

Thanks Ted



There are a coupe possibilities...knowing what is around gives options too....


Would have to see the big picture to prioritize the possibilities.
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Old 01-04-2022, 12:56 PM   #12
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Thrusters.
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Old 01-04-2022, 12:59 PM   #13
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Thrusters.
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Old 01-04-2022, 01:01 PM   #14
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My normal operation involves skidding along the dock until:

I obtain enough velocity to clear the dock.

The last of my fenders pops out from between the boat and the dock, at which point I stop to reposition them and start over.

I careen off another boat at the dock, changing my direction just enough to get me away from the dock.
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Old 01-04-2022, 01:13 PM   #15
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Not sure I understand the situation either, but for the most part, unless you have a bow-thruster, always back-away from a side-tie if you can. Going forward risks swinging the stern into something. Springlines are difficult when you're single-handed and not without risks of putting a line in the water. They look cool when used by skilled crew. Windy conditions and single-handed is not the time to practice.

The following is good practice for getting off a side-tie or some sort of bulk-head, but not bulletproof. There is a point where the wind is too much and you'll have to wait.

Step 1 - dip-the-bow. Outboard gear (furthest from the dock) in forward with a slight burp of RPMs. If you're comfortable, put the helm over towards the dock to accentuate the 'dip.' This starts the turn with a wee bit of forward momentum. Put the gear in neutral.

Step 2 - Promptly after putting outboard gear in neutral, put inboard gear in reverse - depending on your engines, may want to raise the RPMs up a small amount. This gives two turning forces: Shopping-cart-effect of pulling the inboard side of the boat; and prop-walk will grab and pull the stern away from the dock. NOTE - you will need fenders along the boat and whatever obstruction. If there is a electrical-box or something, you're kinda screwed.

Step 3 - back away and keep turning. You may need to split-the-gears to keep the boat turning. Make sure you rotate a lot - nothing wrong with going perpendicular to the dock. You want as much margin for safety as you can get.

Not everything is possible. I'll repeat - nothing wrong with taking a nap and waiting for conditions to improve. I once had a customer with a 65-foot Cheoy Lee trawler that he somehow got wedged into a fairway made for 30-foot boats. Lots of wind and he tried to spin the boat and ended up backing-down and impaling his transom on a finger-pier putting a 4-foot gash at waterline. Harbormaster got dewatering pumps aboard which was good, but boat needed to be moved, so the owner called me. By this point, winds are howling which is normal for this part of SF Bay (somewhere down by Oyster Point). No way was I moving the boat, so we waited until around midnight when it was dead calm.

I reserve the right to change my mind if a diagram or pictures are produced

Peter
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Old 01-04-2022, 01:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seevee View Post
Have a question for you captains about getting off a face dock with the wind blowing the boat against the dock.

If the boat is bow in, it's simple... tie off the bow to a midship dock cleat, rudder toward dock, and forward throttle will swing the stern out so one can easily back out. But, that's not the issue.

The boat is stern in, side tie to starboard. Typically I can shove it off (at least the bow) and put the starboard engine in idle forward, and the port in idle reverse and it will twist the boat just enough to head straight out.

Can you clarify what is "stern in" on a face dock?

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Old 01-04-2022, 01:46 PM   #17
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Not sure I understand either.

Is it something like this?

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Old 01-04-2022, 02:01 PM   #18
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For those saying stern out I would agree but I thought the limiter was his stern was already against something.


Sometimes the height of the dock makes a stern spring pretty tricky as that's where lots of people damage something.


For me, I never like guessing or giving advice where I don't have a pretty good mental picture and situational awareness.


Funny how that comes up while driving all the time but for so many other things people just jump in without the big picture and start offering solutions that may be the worst one to start with.
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Old 01-04-2022, 02:04 PM   #19
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I generally don't bother with a spring on my own boat with twins when departing a face dock. Even with big fenders, I typically can't pivot further than I can manage with engines alone against a fender before swim platform clearance is an issue (when swinging the bow out). And on a boat that pivots fairly far forward and has a good bit of prop walk there's usually enough ability to move the stern sideways that you don't need to spring the bow in when backing out.
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Old 01-04-2022, 02:09 PM   #20
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Any chance there is another finger pier to port? If so attach an aft leading spring to the midship cleat to spring over to and tie up over there before leaving in an orderly fashion from the now downwind side.

If you are not in a slip with a convenient finger pier upwind but had a wall or pier aft of you in the situation described where you were bow out and wind-pressed to the pier, you could try this idea but only with a capable line handler: run a spring line aft from your upwind midship cleat aft to and around a piling or pier cleat well upwind on that wall or pier aft of you. Take the line to the cleat/piling and around it back to your midship cleat with just a turn on the cleat and the line handler just keeping light tension on it by taking in or easing out until told to "hold" the line. Now using engines and rudder(s), twist the stern off the pier. Yes, the spring line will be possibly crossing the corner of the transom if the pier cleat or piling was not initially far enough upwind, but the line handler has it out of the water. Once the stern is well off the pier, have the line handler who has kept only light tension on the spring secure it to the cleat with a full figure eight and stand clear while you shift the upwind engine to neutral and the down wind engine to ahead to allow the increased tension on the spring to twist the bow back upwind while holding the boat out away from the pier. At the critical moment, you stop the ahead engine long enough to allow the tension on the line to ease to the point where it can be allowed to run free through the cleat and chock and thence over the side without fear of the propeller sucking it down as you then push the downwind engine back into ahead gear and throttle up to escape using rudder to help keep the line in the water away from the side and the line handler is retrieving the line that has now slipped free of the pier. I would not try this unless full confidence in the crew and I was established in benign conditions.

When bow-in in such a situation I took a page from an old copy of Naval Shiphandling by Crenshaw where he described how to back a WWII destroyer off a pier. With nobody behind you, simple put the rudder amidships and honk back on the inboard engine as hard as you are comfortable with. The wash coming up off the bottom of the prop is thrown at the pier or quay wall, assuming the pier has a dense piling structure, where a cushion immediately forms pushing the vessel bodily sideways. Yup, I did it in a destroyer but not the modern Arleigh Burkes we now have whose props for some reason are inward turning at the tops. In my GB42 it was like a miracle drug.

Given the description of what you ended up doing, if alone, I am not sure there is any better way, and it sounds as if you did very well, but as mentioned, waiting is always an option. I actually passed my US Navy command at sea board by saying I would wait when theoretically placed in a similar situation by the board members with a missile frigate under me.
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