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Old 06-02-2013, 22:14   #1
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Docking

What are your best tips for pulling in and out of the slip with a full keel, boat that does not like to back up? How do you prepare your crew and what are their duties? Or if you are single handing, how do you deal?

Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2013, 22:45   #2
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Re: Docking

Thanks for asking this question. I happen to have the same question and will be watching this post for some answers. I have had great luck with answers from those out there that have much more experience than I.

So all you guys out there with the experience - how about sharing your wisdom and tips.

Thanks Randy
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Old 06-02-2013, 23:00   #3
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Re: Docking

You and your Crew need to learn to use your boats lines to control your boat when you leave or come to the dock ! different currents and winds will make things a little more difficult, but still doable if ya learn to use those lines ya tie up with!! with just the spring lines you can control almost all things ya need to to leave and return to your dock and to get into or along side of most any dock ! Im old but I like to make my docks under power ! LOL
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Old 06-02-2013, 23:33   #4
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Re: Docking

Practise with those lines and your vessel as Bob said.

Should be some videos on web somewhere. Google.

Some boathandling texts cover the issue.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:00   #5
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Re: Docking

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Originally Posted by Dstejps37 View Post
What are your best tips for pulling in and out of the slip with a full keel, boat that does not like to back up?
Thanks!
I just about always single hand my 31' Corvette. I park it next to a pier that sticks out from my back yard. Generally the wind is blowing toward the dock and I store the boat backwards (backing does not go well). Instead of backing toward the dock, I pull in sidways with two ropes ready (one fore and one aft). I slowly drift toward the pier and get sideways while ready to go into reverse. I only go as fast as I want to crash into the dock so it's pretty slow.

Next I ease up sideways perpindicular to the peir and kiss it with the side of the boat (bumpers permantly insalled on the pier). I attach the front rope at the end of the pier and that is where it stays. I then grab the aft rope and pull it so that the boat (now in neutral or engine off) turns aft end toward the dock and keep pulling until it reaches it's final resting place. It contacts the front of the peir so it has some sturdy bumpers on the corner of the piling. I may have a video of the process that I will try to find.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:15   #6
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Re: Docking

If its a pier and I'm pulling in between boats like parallel parking I have my linehandler get about 2/3 forward and approach the pier at an angle with the pier on the starboard side. When the bow is close and handler steps down I reverse with throttle and the prop brings the boat parallel to the pier. If its calm and no current I can stop the boat and hop off solo. When pulling in slips I wait for the right conditions. I've seen too many horrible accidents from people not respecting what the tide can do. At folly the current cut across the slips at a 45deg angle. Sometimes up to 4kts. You could sit on the bar and make videos of people crashing weekends at peak tide if that was your thing.I remember at bohicket watching this beautiful boat crash sideways into then scrape across the end of a concrete dock. Could hear this bad crashing tearing sound as the interior came apart. What I learned is wait for slack tide.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:25   #7
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Re: Docking

It a big question. In no current and light wind it goes like this:
*Release all lines. put in reverse at idle for just a few seconds (helm neutral), the boat will start to move.
*Now put it in gear again at high idle for a few seconds, it will move faster. Many boats backup straight at least somewhat if you get them moving slowly with a neutral helm. Once moving, some steerage is available or at least the boat goes straight out of the slip.
*As you are exiting the slip, turn the helm (wheel) the direction you want the stern to go. Give the engine a little boost in rev gear , then out.
*as the bow clears the slip, if you need to turn sharp, put the engine in Forward , steer the direction you want to go, and give the engine a big quick goose. This will spin the boat some for you. Your stern will swing also so watch out.
*you can then steer the other direction by repeating "steer the direction you want to go, and give the engine a big quick goose."

It's complicated, but that's the general theory. In wind and current, you may need dockline help, and that's all more complication...
Never have crew try to jump to the dock. Their only role should be to make sure the lines are aboard and not dragging, and tending fenders.... if you end up drifting against an adjacent boat they could stick a fender in there.

Oh... and right as you exit the slip... this is when you usually remember that you forgot to open the engine seacock!!
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:34   #8
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Re: Docking

Thanks !! to all for the great information.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:12   #9
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Re: Docking

Continuing from my previous post above - I found a video where my GoPro was still attached to the top of the sail when I came in to dock by myself. Sorry the camera was on the wrong side of the sail for the first part but I think you get the idea there at the end.

DockingCorvette_zps385457f5.mp4 Video by cookwithgas | Photobucket
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:41   #10
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Re: Docking

Our next door neighbor has a Mason 33, full keel. It backs like a brick. He and his crew use a midship spring line around the port aft cleat.

Google midship springline, lots of information out there.

********************

HOPPING OFF THE BOAT IS UNNECESSARY

In the April issue, Mark Johnston asked about dealing with aging knees and boat docking in “Senior Sailors and High Freeboard.” He expressed his concern about docking (his Catalina 34!!!) with a potential future bigger boat, noting “…it’s not so easy…for my wife and me to jump down to the dock with lines in our hands.” We’ve had our Catalina 34 for the past 10 years, with a C22 for two and a C25 for twelve before that, sailing all over the Bay, the Delta and up & down the coast. We employ what we believe is the most useful and safe technique for docking that still seems to be a mystery to most sailors. It’s called the midships spring line. Our older Catalina 34s did not come with a midships cleat, so we added one on each side at the forward end of the jib fairlead track. Many newer boats come with them. There really is no reason to ever have to jump off a boat to dock it properly. I recommend that Mark Google “midships springline” – there is a wealth of information available, one of which is: http://www.cruising.sailingcourse.com/docking.htm.

The maneuver is simple: attach the springline to the midships cleat, run it fair outside the lifelines, as you approach the dock loop the springline over the aft dock cleat and bring it back to the winch. Snug it up and keep the boat in low throttle forward and the boat will sidle right up to the dock, no jumping is EVER required. A friend developed an enhanced springline arrangement with a prefixed length of line with a hose holding a lower loop of line open to assure that it catches the cleat on the dock, so that no line needs to be returned to the winch. ***

I do a lot of single-handed sailing and have found this invaluable in docking in all conditions. I’m sure that once this “trick” is learned and mastered it can be used in a wide variety of docking situations with all manner of wind and currents.

It’s not only safer, it’s a sure knee and back saver. The only drawback is when docks don’t have cleats, but have those nutty rings or the wooden raised runners so prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. I think that’s one reason they invented grapnel hooks!


*** Nautiduck, Randy Kolb's, "Dock A Matic" is described in the C25 Forum here: http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/fo...TOPIC_ID=15645 I am sure it could be applied to our boats as well if you tried; I've thought about it, but am still using our 40 foot long 1/2 inch dockline for that purpose without the nifty "loop in hose" idea. Whatever works for you.
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Old 07-02-2013, 13:08   #11
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Re: Docking

Agree ref spring lines. Chapman's describes, but essentially backing down on a line running from a pile forward of a cleat roughly amidships on the boat causes the boat to draw in toward the finger pier.

If the midships leat is at a neutral pivot point on the boat, the boat will remain parallel to the finger pier. If the cleat is slightly aft of that neutral point, additional force aftwards will cause the stern to swing inward toward the finger pier and the bow will tend to move away. If the cleat is forward of the neutral point, the bow will perhaps pull inward and the stern will kick slightly outward given additional reverse thrust. Some quick trial will confirm where your cleats are in relation to that neutral area.

If you have no useful cleats, install them.

You can use similar geometry to warp 90 around a pile, too, as when wind and/or current isn't cooperating. In this case the line would run from pile to AFT cleat; engine horsepower does the work. Once going in the target direction, take the line off the aft cleat and move it to that mid-ships cleat.

Depending on horsepower and throttle, you can hold the boat stationary against a dock or pier the same way. And you can also reverse all I said to enter a slip bow-to. Ditto approaching a parallel pier, as for fuel: approach into the wind or current, run a forward spring line (from forward of the boat cleat) to a mid-ship cleat, let the wind or current swing you in to the dock. And so forth.

Spring lines can be your very best friend -- so much so, that we tend to use a spring line even when not strictly necessary... just for crew practice.

AND now...

Just because the boat doesn't like to backup, you can learn to do it anyway. See Capt Force's note in your other thread about propwalk and see also the comments about sufficient flow over the rudder. Once you know the direction it works on your boat, make propwalk work in your favor by planning your approach to take advantage of it. If you have to briefly move slightly faster for the rudder to begin taking affect, so be it (within reason). FWIW, boats will big honkin' rudders will almost always reverse more controllably that some of the powerboats with postage stamp rudders. Practice in open water reversing toward a notional target a quarter-mile aft. Then 100 yards aft. Then 20 yards aft. And so forth. Then practice somewhere around a (safe) buoy or something. Then practice around empty docks. Then practice in your own slip. Most of the folks I meet who aren't comfortable docking... never practice. They leave the home slip, sometimes scare themselves silly entering a distant slip, with no plan suitable for that particular/specific situation... then repeat. That's not practice...

-Chris
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Old 07-02-2013, 13:20   #12
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When backing my 35' full keel sloop, the stern walks to port - exactly the wrong direction for my intended course to exit the marina. It's a new boat to me and I've learned that slow is good. I have 15 feet between rows of slips to work with. Some days backing out I looked like a genius, other days, I looked like an idiot, jockeying from reverse to forward attempting to swing the bow to port. A few times I ended up backing all the way down the fairway at varying angles while my neighbors looked on with concerns of me bouncing off their boats... So far, no collisions. I read in CF that if you embarrass easily, you shouldn't own a sailboat. Ha!

I finally rigged a spring line, cleated on port side stern, run under the dock cleat and back to the cockpit. As I back out, I let the line run through my hand. When the bow clears my neighbor, I hold tight, the stern swings to starboard. At that point I give it a little forward thrust to stop the boat. The next part is important. I put the boat in NEUTRAL, to eliminate any chance of fowling the prop while I throw the running end of line over and pull it back on board from the aft cleat.

Again, slow is good... Just enough to maintain steerage in given conditions.

Have fun!

Neil
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Old 07-02-2013, 13:27   #13
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When backing my 35' full keel sloop, the stern walks to port - exactly the wrong direction for my intended course to exit the marina. It's a new boat to me and I've learned that slow is good. I have 15 feet between rows of slips to work with. Some days backing out I looked like a genius, other days, I looked like an idiot, jockeying from reverse to forward attempting to swing the bow to port. A few times I ended up backing all the way down the fairway at varying angles while my neighbors looked on with concerns of me bouncing off their boats... So far, no collisions. I read in CF that if you embarrass easily, you shouldn't own a sailboat. Ha!

I finally rigged a spring line, cleated on starboard side stern, run under the dock cleat and back to the cockpit. As I back out, I let the line run through my hand. When the bow clears my neighbor, I hold tight, the stern swings to starboard. At that point I give it a little forward thrust to stop the boat. The next part is important. I put the boat in NEUTRAL, to eliminate any chance of fowling the prop while I throw the running end of line over and pull it back on board from the aft cleat.

Again, slow is good... Just enough to maintain steerage in given conditions.

Have fun!

Neil
Correction: Spring line is cleated to the starboard side... DoH'
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:05   #14
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Re: Docking

I would think that the easiest plan for maneuvering a full keel vessel in and out of a slip would be to keep her bow in and depart with a spring line and warp on a piling to head out in the direction you please.

With a full keel boat, or any boat for that matter, it's probably best to have an arsenal of tools that you can apply in different conditions than to rely on one plan for one specific slip. Most of us will be docking in a variety of places under many different conditions. Using spring lines to turn a boat has been mentioned above and it's a wonderful tool, but not always available if neighboring vessels are sticking out beyond the outter pilings. If you have a full keel that doesn't turn easily you might be able to turn a full circle in about 1.2 x the boat length by putting the helm hard to starboard and leaving it there while you alternate short thrusts with the throtle in forward and reverse. The forward thrust will start your turn to starboard and the reverse thrust will prop walk your stern a little port with a righthand prop. Continuing this will turn you 360 degrees about to starboard while keeping the helm hard to starboard. Most vessels won't behave turning to port in this manner (except a left handed prop) so you might find it necesary to turn the long way around to arrive at your desired position. This will not work with windage on the bow comming from the starboard side as most boats will turn in the wind so that the bow points downwind. This can be another tool. Placing your vessel at a heading off the wind that moves your bow to a favored position gives you a natural bow thruster. If you are fortunate enough to recognize that the wind will facilitate your turn, it's wise to sit at idle and let the wind do your job. Unlike the wind, the current is more likely to move your whole vessel in the diection of the current set without turning the boat, but this varies with the underwater design. Often it's a wise choice to position yourself and stop just outside the docks that you wish to enter so that you can take account of what effect the current will have, although there will likely be less current among the docks than standing off. Ferrying is another tool for your maneuvering arsenal. This is the ability to move your vessel sideways, port or starboard, while facing into a current or wind ('works best with current). If you position your vessel facing directly into a current and slow to where you are maintaining your position; then, a slight turning port or starboard will cause you to move laterally. Heading back into the wind will slow your lateral movement. With practice, you can develop the skill to ferry in reverse and while slowly backing into a current, move laterally. Reverse is much more difficult because it's far harder to bring yourself back to a direct heading into the current once you've oversteered. All these tools of using the wind and current to your advantage are best practiced out in open water. Using a float from a crab or lobster pot to approach at different headings and in different conditions is great training.

Another tool for couples is to put the lady at the helm. My wife takes our boat in and out at most docks leaving me as the brawn on deck to handle the lines and fend off as needed. She has all the skills at the helm and I'm more agile on the deck. A good "vocabulary" of hand signals does well too. No yelling is always best! Some mentioned above that there is never a reason to jump from the deck to the dock while docking, but there are plenty of reasonable times to step off or on. I find it very useful to remain on the dock during many departures and board at the bow with a final shove to influence a turn. At these times my bow pulpit forms a great hand grasp and the fluke of my Bruce anchor makes the perfect step. This is common for us at a face dock (T-head) when we are using the current to pull the stern away from the dock and I've remained on the dock with a spring line.

Plans have to vary with the crew, the boat and the conditions. It's best to have a big set of tools that can be applied at different times.
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Old 08-02-2013, 18:22   #15
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Re: Docking

There is no boat that cannot be maneuvered. It is simply a matter of finding the way that best accomplishes the immediate objective, and the most common methods are well explained, in the preceding posts. But I will redundantly stress again, PRACTICE.

The following methods are in no way exhaustive. I just want to point out that you can think your boat in and out of a slip a lot more effectively than worrying it in and out. Think outside the box. In fact, stomp that sucker flat and throw it in the dumpster.

For backing out of a narrow slip you can also run lines port and starboard from your bow to a cleat or piling just aft of your stern. Works best with a crew. Let go all lines except these two lines, and haul away on them briskly and evenly while the helm is manned and you simply slingshot right out without putting engine in gear. Let go and retrieve one line and if needed, hold the other for further maneuvering, maybe bringing it aft to a midship cleat or even one on the quarter. For ease of retrieval you might pass a bight around the dock cleat or a piling so you have both the standing part and the bitter end on the boat. Let go the bitter end and pull it around and back onto the boat. Easier shown than told.

To quickly turn a boat in a confined space immediately after backing out of a slip, leave a stern line on the finger pier but slack it as you back out. Get some sternway on. As the bow clears the slip, hold that stern line while you back with the engine and regardless of prop rotation you will find your bow swinging while the stern line holds your stern. When you have got all you can get from the line, Put your engine in neutral, cast off, put your engine ahead and complete your turn. This works nicely when singlehanded in an aft cockpit boat. Again, pass a bight rather than an eye around the dock cleat or piling for easy retrieval without needing someone on the dock to cast off for you.

If you are REALLY having a hard time, consider an electric trolling motor in a homebuilt bow mount, used as a bow thruster. It ain't pretty but it can work amazingly well, especially for smaller boats without much freeboard. You want the bow mount type trolling motor because they have loooooong shafts. I wish I had a picture of a lashup I saw recently... a plywood V shaped bracket down near the waterline and another one up higher, fit onto the stem, and a line from each leg of the lower V leads aft and up to a stanchion on that side, holding the plywood V snugly on the transom. A pipe connected the two plywood V brackets, and a plywood rectangle slides up and down the pipe between them, on U bolts that can be tightened, so the height is adjustable. The plywood rectangle has a section of 2x4 at the top and bottom for mounting the motor. A similar arrangement is at the lower end to stabilize the lower shaft. The motor is not steered but is turned athwartship and left there, and forward/reverse thrust the bow port or starboard. Not elegant but reasonably effective.

For a boat under 40' a sweep oar can be rigged at the stern for additional steering control. You can even stick one out the anchor roller and have someone on the bow sort of rowing sideways. Let them laugh. You won't hit anything.

Don't forget your anchor can be a valuable maneuvering tool. I will leave it to your imagination because you are pretty much only limited by your imagination in its uses.

Backing out of a slip into a narrow channel can also be facilitated by a line ACROSS the channel to a fixed object clear on the other side. A good reason to have a nice heaving line made up. Try to find some tarred 1/4" double braid nylon such as longliners use for their mainline. Makes a great heaving line. I like to make a loose monkeyfist around a tennis ball. Less likely to break something if your throw is less than satisfactory, and it floats, FWIW. Of course you need someone on the dock to catch it and handle your line. But if you for instance have that line across to the other side made up to your port quarter and a stern line to your finger pier on the starboard quarter, you can pull yourself out with the port quarter line, kicking the engine ahead with the rudder hard astarboard as needed, the rest of the time using your rudder to direct your stern, and as you clear the slip, hold that starboard quarter line, transfer the port quarter line forward, and use both lines to spin you around within your own boat length. Another inelegant but highly effective technique.

There are about a bamajamazillion ways to do just about any maneuver, and any way that works is the correct way, even if it looks outlandish. Don't worry about style. Just don't hit my boat, please, and you will get a thumbs up from me.
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