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Old 14-03-2010, 09:27   #1
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Docking and Leaving the Dock on a Catamaran

I don't have much experience with docking and also leaving a dock with a cat. In the past what I did when docking is back on stern in so someone could step off to the dock and tie it off, then I'd run the opposite motor forward to bring the bow in. When leaving I'd engage the outer engine in reverse until the bow came off the dock then put the other engine in forward to push me forward and away from the dock. I always have the rudder centered.

I was with a guy who said the Mooring had instructed him to use the rudder to force the stern either towards or away from the dock. What do you guys do?
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Old 14-03-2010, 09:36   #2
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I have no hard and set rules, it depends on the tide/current/ wind- mostly I back out with one engine in forward and one in reverse, a fender on the bow- it does not get any easyer than in a cat
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Old 14-03-2010, 10:11   #3
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I use the engines. Rudder stays amidships and is not touched. I also find a springline on the upwind side can be very useful in controlling the boat's position. Putting pressure on the spring allows me to control the position while holding the hull parallel to the dock rather than pivoting on the CG. The more pressure, the closer you get to the dock. Reduce pressure and the wind moves you away. Wether you use a forward spring or a aft spring depends on which direction is critcal.
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Old 14-03-2010, 11:37   #4
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I'm with Captain Bill. The spring is your friend around a dock but I almost always use a spring running aft. I added an extra cleat 8ft forward of the stern (e.g. about 3/4's of the way aft). When coming into a dock a line on this cleat is the only line I worry about. I come in either forward or reverse until I can get this line ashore. The line has a mark at about 8ft. The person ashore cleats it at this mark. Once tied, I use the inboard engine (with a few "pops" of the outboard engine) to go against this line and it just pulls the boat in against the dock. (If there's a strong wind or current off the dock, I'll leave the outboard engine in gear) With the engine in gear, the boat will sit all day like it's glued to the dock. I then tie up the rest of the lines at my leisure with the engine still in gear.

Leaving, I use the same strategy but make the line about 20ft long and loop it around the dock cleat and lead it back to the 3/4 aft spring cleat (so the dock cleat is about 2ft behind the stern). I put an engine in forward to hold the boat to the dock, get everyone aboard and all other lines in. I then back on the outboard engine and go forward on the inboard engine keeping the line taught as I hinge away from the dock. Once the bow is well out, I let go one end of the line and pull it aboard.

Slips require a different strategy.

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Old 14-03-2010, 13:08   #5
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Having been several times both mono and cat, docking with cat is a piece of cake. You can easily identify someone coming form mono culture whgen docking with a cat; he would try monouevre with the rudder... With the cat you should forget the rudder and put yr hands on two throttles. Second thing, unlike the mono where you need a certain speed to control the boat, in the cat you have to keep the speed minimum and act slowly..

The problem withthe cat is when the wind is blowing 20-25 knots..Due to high windage, the manoeuvre is very badly affected under strong wind. If on top, the engines are not strong enough, then you are in trouble..
I therefore strongly suggest that when buying a cat, you should definately upgrade the factory engines. Most of them are clearly underrated for monoeuvring in strong winds.

Cheers

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Old 14-03-2010, 13:35   #6
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On some cats (e.g. the Lagoon 380), the rudders are ineffective without headway because the propellers are abaft the rudders. In this case, it isn't possible to walk the stern using the rudders but a spring does the job.

Alain
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Old 14-03-2010, 20:39   #7
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Well, I've got this whole next weekend to practice so hopefully there won't be any major mishaps.

The combination of rudder position and whether a motor was engaged in forward or reverse at the time sounded interesting as, according to him, you could walk the boat basically sideways into the wind.
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Old 16-03-2010, 05:12   #8
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I never use rudders, they stay amidships and the boat is controlled by throttles alone. It's so easy that I don't even think about it. The only challenge is on windy days as cats do have windage.
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Old 16-03-2010, 05:28   #9
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I concur - keep the rudders in the middle and use your throttles. I ALWAYS reverse into a pen & often the dock. Thay way you are positioned much closer to the hard bits that you don't want your boat to meet. On a longer cat the bow is miles away fr4om the steering position.
As far as windage goes, it is helpful to have your dagger boards (if you have them) half way down if there is a lot of wind. This increases your turning circle a little but cuts down much more on how much you slide sideways.

it is helpful to go to an empty bit of sea and learn how your boat reacts to different engine revs & gears. Go play around a vacant mooring buoy at reversing onto it and giving it a kiss with your stern. However avoid romance with navigation buoys.

Remember - don't hesitate to pin the pull on a manoeuvre and try again.
PS you can guarantee that your best docking will occur when there are no spectators. Unfortunately the corollary also applies.
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Old 16-03-2010, 07:04   #10
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Coming into a slip I first stop the boat. Rudders centered, and the motors in neutral. When the boat starts to react to wind, and current. Then I make the decision on approach. Imagine has keels, and if I want to spin her to port. I turn the wheel hard over with the port engine in reverse, and strbrd in forward. By equaling the rpms she will spin on her axis. By making adjustments in her rpms she will do some crabbing. I also back into just about every situation. That gives me the best view......i2f
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Old 17-03-2010, 16:09   #11
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Catamaran maneuvering game

NauticEd has a great catamaran maneuvering game online called Cat NED:

Learn to sail with NauticEds Online Sailing Games

You maneuver your cat through a crowded marina, backing into various stations to get fuel, ice, etc. It is designed to help understand the "two throttle, no rudder" technique for cats. I think it's a great tool for learning. The fun race for faster times in this game does not, however, promote following the best advice I've received from my instructor:

"SLOW IS PRO"
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Old 17-03-2010, 17:53   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank&Karen View Post
NauticEd has a great catamaran maneuvering game online called Cat NED:

Learn to sail with NauticEds Online Sailing Games

You maneuver your cat through a crowded marina, backing into various stations to get fuel, ice, etc. It is designed to help understand the "two throttle, no rudder" technique for cats. I think it's a great tool for learning. The fun race for faster times in this game does not, however, promote following the best advice I've received from my instructor:

"SLOW IS PRO"
What a great game! Boat motion is very realistic. The only thing missing is people shouting instructions from the dock.

Mike
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Old 17-03-2010, 19:32   #13
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Palarran,
Charles Kanter, in one of his Cruising Catamarans books, gave a pretty good description of several different scenarios, along with diagrams. When our club chartered several cats in the BVIs last year, I copied the pages and gave them to crews who had never sailed a catamaran before. They all felt the article helped considerably. I think it is pretty good, too.

The article, Maneuvering Twin-Screw Catamarans, appears on the Catamaran Company web site, Maneuvering Twin-Screw Catamarans and includes the diagrams. I can't find it online, but if you can get a copy of Cruising World, July 2006 p.78, Todd Scantlebury wrote a pretty good article, "How to Herd a Cat."

There also was a similar thread last year on the Multihulls Forum: boat handling - Multihulls4us Forums

Marshall
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Old 17-03-2010, 20:08   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank&Karen View Post
NauticEd has a great catamaran maneuvering game online called Cat NED:

Learn to sail with NauticEds Online Sailing Games

You maneuver your cat through a crowded marina, backing into various stations to get fuel, ice, etc. It is designed to help understand the "two throttle, no rudder" technique for cats. I think it's a great tool for learning. The fun race for faster times in this game does not, however, promote following the best advice I've received from my instructor:

"SLOW IS PRO"
That is awesome!

Mike
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Old 17-03-2010, 21:50   #15
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I too am in agreeance with the two throttle no rudder but also advocate the springer. Working on cat ferries the springer is our only line used for passengers embarking and disembarking. Also the control is there. In difficult weather I throw on the springer and then the master brings the vessel along side. Very effective.K
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