Great Post! Several years ago, my wife and I bought a 55,000 pound, 46 foot hunk of a motorsailer
. We had never sailed and had never owned a boat before. We had to take sailing classes
to get insurance
. But before we had completed the sailing course (and before we had insurance), we decided through much deliberation and hand wringing to take the boat out for a short cruise. Just us, a calm, well protected lagoon
, and our Jack Russell Terrier, named Bentley. The cruise went fine but the reality of having to dock the boat on our return was never far from our thoughts.
Just as we had never sailed before, we had never docked a boat before. Although we had seen a lot of people do it, read a lot of articles about doing it, been passengers on boats that had done it, and had seen a lot of boats already docked, as we returned to the marina, our fear of actually doing it rose as each fender
was kicked over and each dock line was coiled and recoiled in preparation of the deed.
Lucky for us there was no wind
, no current
, nobody around, and a long, 55 foot floating dock (our slip) waiting there to receive us with open arms or open pilings (however a dock does it). Even though we were terrified, my wife and I had done a pretty good job of convincing each other that everything was going to be all right. Unfortunately, neither one of us convinced Bentley. As we approached the dock, he started running around the deck
whining and barking in a full panic. Needless to say this did little to help the moral of the rest of the crew because in reality he was the only crew member
on that boat that was being completely honest about the situation. At the last minute, my wife grabbed him up and locked him down below, and then ran forward to assume her docking (or crash) position.
As we cruised towards the dock, my wife kept saying in an ever louder and louder voice: reverse. Reverse. REVERSE! YOU ARE COMING IN TOO FAST! Unfortunately, I had put the boat in reverse long before her first utterances and was pulling back furiously on the controls to no avail. Just then I heard a low pitched howl from down below and through an open hatch
I saw that Bentley had pooped all over the inside steering
As the boat hit the dock, I had many questions:
1. How far will the boat ride up on the dock?
2. Will the keel
3. Are we going to hit the boat on the other side?
4. Can dog poop jam a transmission
The answers to these questions were: 1. Quite a ways really. 2. Thank God for a full keel
. 3. Barely, and 4. No, dog poop will not jam a transmission
but a mechanic
who had just overhauled it and put the parts
in backwards certainly can.
Anyway, to make a long story short, we survived our first disaster with little damage (except to the transmission), completed our sailing class where we finally learned how to dock, and soon after, cruised and lived aboard in the Bahamas
and Carribean for several years. Currently we sail a 46 foot catamaran
with 4 Whippets aboard.
Now, whenever I approach that little sprig of a dock with the wind
howling, the currents swirling, and the crew pooping, I always say to myself: Thank God I'm not trying to land a plane.
The best of luck in your docking adventures!