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Old 15-04-2011, 23:21   #1
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Challenge: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

How would you go about bringing a 35'-50' sailboat in to a slip if your engine quit?

(and no you can't use a dink with a 100hp outboard )
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Old 16-04-2011, 00:05   #2
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

call for a tow?
place rope in teeth and dive in?
wait for the hand of god to pluck you up and drop you in the slip?
paddle?

Seriously though, how did they do it in the old days? I would think row boats as tugs.
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Old 16-04-2011, 00:15   #3
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

Honestly? Just drop the sails and let the carry-on bring you in... Zigzag if you need to bleed off speed. Do it all the time just to piss off the stink boaters!
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Old 16-04-2011, 00:55   #4
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In the old days boats weren't packed together in marinas and there were aids like warping buoys to run a line to, haul up to, one after the other, until you were home. Unless the wind and current were just right I wouldn't try to bring a large boat into a marina. I would drop anchor and stat put until I could arrange a tow or fix my engine or wait for ideal conditions.
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Old 16-04-2011, 00:57   #5
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

I hate to say it, but I've pulled my 18000 pound full keel cutter into the slip years ago by rowing the dinghy. Couldn't do it against much current but it works with the mate on the helm. New engine became a high priority real fast. I've also sailed her in, but only with a headwind in the slip, never had the confidence to try it at other times.
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Old 16-04-2011, 01:12   #6
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

I actually did do the dive in method in a small sailboat one time. ONLY one time. bout drown myself I was so tired.
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Old 16-04-2011, 02:54   #7
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

Many years back we had a 30 foot JOG racer with a 'hard to put on' outboard. Over the years we raced hger we got very proficient at sailing her both in and out of harbour berth - using a backed mainsail to 'put her in reverse' as required.
FYI, the more you did it, the easier it got.
However, trying to do the same with a 50 footer would be stupid.
We once lost a gearbox on a 46 footer only 15 foot from our pen and with no reverse to engage, and big shiny and more expensive other boats on either side of our spot, I could only point her at the pontoon end - and get everyone to hang on for the impact.
Taking the contact on the bow (strongest hull point) minimised our own damage, but the momentum of a 9 tonne boat hitting was substantial - can only guess as what a 50 footer would have done!
So IMHO sail the 35 footer in but anchor up and wait for help with the 50 footer.......
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Old 16-04-2011, 04:31   #8
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

Carefully.
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Old 16-04-2011, 05:07   #9
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

As a towboat guy who tows boats into slips a lot...all you need is a few horsepower (as little as 5 hp would do...even a 2.5hp may work on in nearly windless/currentless conditions) lashed alongside if the main steering is good.

A dink pushing, pulling or as an alongside tow is all you need...you even just get close (50 feet or so) then heave lines or transfe linesr by dink to able hands on the dock (if you have able hands on the dock).

Without all the above..wait till you can make it happen.

Have a BIG drogue overboard to minimize carry...fore and aft anchors can be handy too.
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Old 16-04-2011, 06:45   #10
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

Hate to admit it, but I did it singlehanding a 52' after I blew an elbow in the main engine exhaust........

I used only the furling staysail and the light breeze to get into a tight marina, rolled in the sail as the bow entered the slip and did some fine tuning with the bowthruster.... (cheating, huh??)

Never had so many offers for dates... must have been impressive.....

Truth is that the direction and speed of the wind relative to the marina entry and slip will make you or break you... sometimes being lucky is better than being good!!!!

Fair winds,
Dr. Michele
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Old 16-04-2011, 06:45   #11
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pirate Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

Well I had to pop a 37ft Wauqueiz into a slot with boats parked fore and aft... (was a bit like parking a car without reverse gear)... while under sail 2 weeks ago... current on the nose, wind astern...
Had one man standing midships with a forespring and one aft with the stern rope... dropped the main 10metres from gap then edged in using the opposing current to slow/sidle the boat in.... soon as she kissed the pontoon the boys were on the pontoon and cleating the lines for a controlled stop...
Not a manouvere for the faint hearted or a 'Noob'... and a well prepped crew who know what they're doing is a big advantage... have also on occasion had to do it solo... a lot bludi harder on the nerves.....
Can be done with a 50ftr or bigger if the conditions are right...
else do as previously suggested and anchor and request a tow...
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Old 16-04-2011, 07:04   #12
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

We've docked our boat (61 ft/65,000 #'s) with the dinghy, you don't need much Hp to move the boat along. Smaller boats (under 40 foot) are easy to sail in if they are modern fin keel boats.
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Old 16-04-2011, 07:23   #13
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

With all due respect, if you can't sail your boat into a slip, then perhaps your sailing skills don't match our buying skills. I used to sail my heavy, full keel CT41 ketch into her slip all the time, up wind, downwind, cross wind. I'm not bragging, I'm saying that a good sailor wouldn't be overly challenged by the task. Surely, there are some circumstances that would make it tricky, but the average slip in a marina really shouldn't be a big deal. Ragging cross currents make it tough.

I have a good friend who purchased a 43' Swan in the USVIs with a blown engine. He single handed the boat all over the Caribbean and back to the USA twice for two years until he could afford to replace the engine. He regularly sailed into marinas, customs docks, fuel docks (for water, not fuel), moorings and anchors without incident.

How do you do it? You have to know your boat and how fast she will turn, how far she will glide, how slow can you go and still maintain steerage. Lean to sail with minimal sails. Learn to sail with jib or reefed main only. If it's a downwind condition, you'll need to be able to quickly drop sails before you get to the slip. There is much to learn.
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Old 16-04-2011, 07:31   #14
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

All good advice here. You need to know what your boat does when you steer, raise and lower sail, and you also need to know how she responds to wind and current. Always keep a little way on...better to bump gently than to get hung up short of your slip and stopped.
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Old 16-04-2011, 08:00   #15
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Re: Bringing a Larger Boat Into a Slip Without An Engine

Why do you ask? Planning to buy a boat with no engine?
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