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Old 02-04-2017, 10:30   #1
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Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Hoping someone will be in a position to lend me a hand this Wednesday, Apr 5. My new-to-me boat is launching and going into a slip at the marina. Problem is that my docking experience is limited to outboard-powered J24s onto very roomy finger piers, bow first. For that reason, I'm feeling very intimidated by the prospect of trying to dock stern-in between pilings with a boat I've never driven.

If anyone would be available to help this Wednesday in the early afternoon, I would be forever grateful! Perhaps someone from Annapolis? I'm driving down from New York, arriving Annapolis about noon. Just need to get splashed and into the slip, so it shouldn't take up too much of anyone's time.

Once I'm settled and have a chance to get to know the boat, I'm sure it will all be fine. But, right now, my anxiety level is getting up there! I'll have crew coming down the following week to do some shake-down day sailing to get the boat ready to go north in mid-May.

Meanwhile, sweating bullets! Please PM me for additional details.

Tom
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Old 02-04-2017, 10:52   #2
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Dock her bow-to. May not be pretty, but scratches are worse.
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:48   #3
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Whether you get help or not, allow time to do some practicing on the way to the slip. While motoring ahead, shift to neutral and see how well she carries her way. Go into reverse and learn the effects of prop walk, so you can learn to work with it, not fight it. Try steering in reverse; some boats do it much better than others. Some need more speed for the rudder to have any effect when backing. Learn to kick the stern to one side or the other using short bursts of forward gear and rudder angle. When backing, try to stop by shifting into forward, and observe how she moves. Practice! Look at a few dozen YouTube videos.
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Old 02-04-2017, 11:55   #4
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

I may be able to help; can't tell about schedule yet, but PM me and I'll send contact info.

In the meantime, what marina? What boat?

And also... most marinas around here will tow a boat they just launched from their travelift well to an on-site slip. That could be your easiest solution if you're launching at the same marina where you'll be berthed.

Anyway, don't fret! It'll all work out fine!

-Chris
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Old 02-04-2017, 12:37   #5
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Many marinas have dockhands who will help you dock your boat. Talk to them or call on the phone and explain your situation. Give them a tip.
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Old 02-04-2017, 13:08   #6
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Kudos to you for asking for help. About a year ago I was on a new to the owner 42 foot Hunter and he was going to back into the slip. He had never done it before. I offered to help him practice in the open Waters so he could understand prop walk and other characteristics of how the boat would work. He declined saying it can't be that tough. So I helplessly stood at the bow of the boat as he drove it through the broadside of the boat docked next door causing around $10,000 worth of damage.
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Old 02-04-2017, 13:10   #7
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

And to make matters worse there were probably 20 people watching him from the doc k party hang out
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Old 02-04-2017, 13:22   #8
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Re: assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Tom,

Port Annapolis has a tender that they move boats around (cool little thing, old Whaler with a hole cut in the middle and 360-degree rotating outboard, and a bracket on front that they can grab the bows of boats with). They will gladly move the boat from the haulout to a slip for you. Or ask one of the Crusader guys to come with you.

Some of the slips at PA are difficult to get into, so you're hesitation is prudent.

If you do end up doing it yourself, definitely take a few turns up and down Back Creek and get the hang of maneuvering. In short, when backing, your boat is going to pull to port and won't go to starboard at all until you have some way on. If I'm backing in and the slip is say at 180, I'll point the boat at 315-340 or so before throwing it in reverse. Prop walk pulls your stern to port and by the time you're moving and can throttle down, you're headed straight and have enough way for the rudder to bite. Every boat is different but with full keel or skeg hung that's the general behavior.

With that in mind, you can use that to your advantage to spin the boat in little more than it's own length, clockwise, by alternating forward and reverse in short spurts. She'll just spin around, current and wind permitting.
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Old 02-04-2017, 17:09   #9
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Thanks, everyone, for the advice. Feeling better already!

Bow-to would probably be easier for me, but given the setup, would rather be stern-to.

Taking a spin around the area and getting a feel for the throttle, transmission and rudder was certainly in mind. I've also watched a bunch of docking videos (Maryland School of Sailing has a good one), which are helpful.

I was planning to call the marina tomorrow anyway, and will ask them about having someone available or else just launching and pushing her into the slip. Then, I can take her out over the next couple of days and practice without being afflicted by first-day jitters.

In making the transition from small boat sailing to a cruising boat, I am trying to move up the learning curve. But, I've learned from engaging in other pursuits that it's always best to acknowledge one's limitations and not hesitate to ask for help. (Sometimes this was done the hard way!) In this case, the consequences of screwing up could result in damage to my boat and/or other boats, which is no fun for anyone.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-04-2017, 17:24   #10
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

I can help
Send me a pm with your number
Glad to offer a docking lesson
I'll be in Eastport that day
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Old 02-04-2017, 17:32   #11
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Hang in there. My experience with boats was a Catalina 22 and a Tanzer 22 before we bought an Alberg 35. Going out and returning to the dock were tense, difficult moments for me the first year or so. Our marina has a culture of sailboats bow in (finger docks); I shudder about the idea of backing in.

The good news is that I feel pretty confident about the whole thing now. I'm NOT an expert, and I still go very slowly coming into the dock. I use a spring line to get out. I've learned a lot about prop walk. I've learned most of all that while I could fudge things with my outboard and 22 footer, the Alberg 35 goes where it goes and I have to think ahead of time how to make that where I want it to go.

You'll get there. Kudos to you for asking for help! So many refuse to do that. It's funny too, how things work. Last summer I was coming single handed, exhausted. I was concerned about a cross wind so I radioed my marina (Anchorage, Baltimore), and asked for someone to stand by to take my lines. In the event, they sent two guys down, I ghosted in and made the most perfect landing of the summer... I want to be quick to say I had many others that were NOT perfect. The dock hands looked at each other and me and shrugged, tied off the boat and walked off. I've always thought the karma of ASKING for help is what bought me that docking

You'll get there. See you on the water!
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Old 02-04-2017, 17:59   #12
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

The problem with anyone offering advice is that no one knows what the winds and tides will be when you are trying to dock. It is almost always a different experience, even if you take your boat out every day.

As others have said, good for you for asking for help.

The captain here is quite good at docking stern-in. However, sometimes we must dock bow-first because of winds and/or tides.

Patience is key. If it takes you 10 approaches and you abandon each one, that is fine. Yes, get help. With help, you'll do it and you'll be fine and one of those times will be the right one and the boat will be docked. Then have a cocktail!
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Old 02-04-2017, 18:26   #13
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptsWife View Post
....If it takes you 10 approaches and you abandon each one, that is fine.
This is so true. Sometimes, the most important part of docking is to recognize that things are just about to go unrecoverably bad, and recover before that point is reached. As they teach pilots, if you don't like something about the approach, abandon it, come back around, and try again. Wisdom is the better part of valor.

My record for aborted docking attempts is only two (I got in the third time), but I was not bashful about calling out to the foredeck crew and the two marina employees (impatiently) waiting on the seawall "I'm going around and trying again".

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptsWife View Post
....With help, you'll do it...
I agree that you are to be commended for asking for help, and I hope the community up there embraces you, both now and moving forward. Kudos to Scott Berg for his offer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptsWife View Post
...Then have a cocktail!
There are also some times where this is the most important part of docking. Those times are often when it has taken more than two tries to successfully execute the procedure.
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Old 02-04-2017, 20:28   #14
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Really appreciate all of the advice and words of encouragement from everyone!

I've mostly been a reader on CF, gathering knowledge and info over the past several years. Now that I'm moving aboard semi-permanently, this resource will become all the more important to me. It is very comforting to know that there's a great community with so much to offer a newcomer to the cruising life.
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Old 02-04-2017, 20:38   #15
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Re: Assistance needed in Annapolis this Wed

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Berg View Post
I can help
Send me a pm with your number
Glad to offer a docking lesson
I'll be in Eastport that day
+1
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