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Old 16-04-2014, 09:58   #31
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
3. I'm sure that you've looked, but I find it almost impossible to believe that in the great PNW, the sailing capital of northwest sailing, that you can't find someone. Perhaps someone here can help out.
You're absolutely right Stu. Bob Meng has a course out of Seattle that is fantastic!

On-Water Training

His basic course is two full days covering all kinds of close-in boat handling, all critical systems, navigation, and even how to use the VTS to our advantage. Of course the cost is high, but considering he teaches everyone on the boat, including all family members, I think it's great value.

I'm just waiting 'til I have all my systems functioning properly and my insurance restriction lifted to sign up for his course.
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:02   #32
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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Originally Posted by Abrain View Post
Stu Jackson

Your right I did not provide much information about my situation, but this video did fill me in on the bulk of what was missing. I am also amazed its free and cant wait to get out and practice more. Next time Ill try to provide more information for people to digest and give proper feedback. Thanks

Red Sky - lol I wondered, no big deal, nothing but love.

Thanks, maybe I was distracted by your avatar? Took a look at your site, livin' the dream, great boat, great smile on Kelvin. All the best.
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:04   #33
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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I believe you will find most if not every marina will gladly let you park ANYWHERE you need to in a situation to avoid damage to other boats. I have found them very helpful. One marina i moored at for a few months, the manager kept a handheld next to his bed on the marina channel. Told me i could call at 2 in the morning if i ever needed help mooring on a windy night. Very fine man.

Sent from my SCH-I415 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
Sorry if I implied anything else. Yes the marina staff are your friend. My point wasn't to malign staff but to point out you need to exercise judgement to do the safe maneuver and sometimes that is a drive-by. I never intended to malign marina personnel.
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:04   #34
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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All true, but careful if you have a cross wind when backing down the fairway. Frequently the speed required for steerage is higher than you want in close quarters. Also it is important to have a line of retreat if things don't work as planned. A plan that has only one chance of success does not meet the Captains requirement of "never in doubt".
I'm definitely not a fan of backing down a slipway. I've done it a couple of times on a 30ft Catalina - my instructor taught me to stand on the back side of the wheel and steer it like a car when backing in a slipway. But it sure didn't feel comfortable and with my boat, as you say, I'd have to be going a good clip to get good steering control in reverse. I think I would have more control by spinning in the slipway as long as it was wide enough or if there was a right-side slip available to help with the spin.
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:13   #35
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

Add dock protect so you can come up against with out fear of damage. We have installed vinyl dock edging along the dock, and a bumper we leave on the dock. As for the piling install post bumpers. There is nothing wrong coming up against or hitting a dock as long as there is slow with no damage. Intention come up against or hitting the dock is part of my normal docking.

Know the local weather and tide patters and use them to you advantage. Usually early morning and late evening the wind is calmer. Especially in the summer because of the thermal on shore flow. I like docking/leaving early in the morning before the thermals come up and late in the evening when the thermals die down

When picking slip make sure its protect and an easy in/out. The reverse prop walk is an important factor of weather you have a port or starboard tie. The Eagle walks to port so I prefer a port tie. Also with a port reverse prop walk turning to starbord is easier than turning to port. So lear the thrust in forward and fill/walk in reverse. I can turn the Eagle 360 degrees by thrusting and filling with in the boats length.

If conditions are poor wait it out or temporally dock some place else. For some reason leaving the dock for me is not as much of a pucker factor as docking, so I time my leaving the dock so a arrive at the dock at a preferred time. Nothing wrong with docking at an easier/temporary spot until conditions improve,

Ask for dock assistance and help as most of use if not all have a concern/fear of dockings. So we all been there. Many marinas will give assistance if you ask and call a head. I alwasy ask for docking assistance, even if I have to beg/though a tizzy fit. Not pretty!

Know how the boat reacts under what conditions. Full displacement boat react slowly, and don’t get push around. So there is time to evaluate and react.

Don’t make docking a due or die, nothing wrong with turning around and starting over again. Better to be humble than macho.

Remember if no one gets hurt and no major damage its just another day of boating.
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Old 16-04-2014, 10:40   #36
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

As with anything its practice, practice, practice. Me about 8 slips away I want to be doing 2.5 knots and slip into neutral, then coast the rest of the way in. I do the arc turn in, but am adjusting the arc all the time to where the boat ends up 6" away from the dock. Then while the boat still has a 1/4 knot way on and the boat is 3/4 into the slip, I step off and girl handle the boat the rest of the way in. Generally the dock is windward. Downwind docks are easy. Pilings like Florida has would be interesting.

Done right, I've used no reverse and the boat is inches away from the dock. Sometimes the boat will touch the dock lightly, but at slow speed its not a problem. Sometimes I need a bit o reverse to pull the stern straight while maintaining forward way. 99.999% of my dockings have been singlehanded and docklines are always on the boat and located, long enough to reach mid ships. Least wise the bow lines.

I don't have fenders out anymore prior to docking. That allows me to get a little closer to the dock first. Of course I have a low freeboard so its just a step down to the dock. If you wait till the boat is completely stopped the wind has time to push the bow over to the adjacent boat, before you can step to the dock. Why I keep a small amount of way on, foot a second ish, as the flow over the keel keeps the boat straight and only a tad fall off.

Backing a full keep boat, generally takes full helm port or starboard and speed to get water across the rudder. I tell people I teach, that you control the stern, but the wind controls the bow. Plus the boat turns/ pivits about the center of motion and not like a car at all. OH, I also steer from in front of the wheel as its easier to work the jib when sailing and saves a second or two when moving smartly to the dock. I've not stood behind the wheel in many years.

The first 5 times I docked the old tayana 37 was more like the Keystone cops. Everyone came out to watch that. So not pretty. Though I did not hit anything. Glad those days are behind me. My islander 34 is 1/2 the weight of the tayana and only a short bow sprint, and low freeboard so much easier to single hand docking.
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Old 16-04-2014, 11:06   #37
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
As with anything its practice, practice, practice. Me about 8 slips away I want to be doing 2.5 knots and slip into neutral, then coast the rest of the way in. I do the arc turn in, but am adjusting the arc all the time to where the boat ends up 6" away from the dock. Then while the boat still has a 1/4 knot way on and the boat is 3/4 into the slip, I step off and girl handle the boat the rest of the way in. Generally the dock is windward. Downwind docks are easy. Pilings like Florida has would be interesting.

Done right, I've used no reverse and the boat is inches away from the dock. Sometimes the boat will touch the dock lightly, but at slow speed its not a problem. Sometimes I need a bit o reverse to pull the stern straight while maintaining forward way. 99.999% of my dockings have been singlehanded and docklines are always on the boat and located, long enough to reach mid ships. Least wise the bow lines.

I don't have fenders out anymore prior to docking. That allows me to get a little closer to the dock first. Of course I have a low freeboard so its just a step down to the dock. If you wait till the boat is completely stopped the wind has time to push the bow over to the adjacent boat, before you can step to the dock. Why I keep a small amount of way on, foot a second ish, as the flow over the keel keeps the boat straight and only a tad fall off.

Backing a full keep boat, generally takes full helm port or starboard and speed to get water across the rudder. I tell people I teach, that you control the stern, but the wind controls the bow. Plus the boat turns/ pivits about the center of motion and not like a car at all. OH, I also steer from in front of the wheel as its easier to work the jib when sailing and saves a second or two when moving smartly to the dock. I've not stood behind the wheel in many years.

The first 5 times I docked the old tayana 37 was more like the Keystone cops. Everyone came out to watch that. So not pretty. Though I did not hit anything. Glad those days are behind me. My islander 34 is 1/2 the weight of the tayana and only a short bow sprint, and low freeboard so much easier to single hand docking.
I was hoping you'd log back on. these guys need your help
Is that a dude captaining that boat!? Helllooo!!

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Old 16-04-2014, 11:09   #38
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
As with anything its practice, practice, practice. Me about 8 slips away I want to be doing 2.5 knots and slip into neutral, then coast the rest of the way in. I do the arc turn in, but am adjusting the arc all the time to where the boat ends up 6" away from the dock. Then while the boat still has a 1/4 knot way on and the boat is 3/4 into the slip, I step off and girl handle the boat the rest of the way in. Generally the dock is windward. Downwind docks are easy. Pilings like Florida has would be interesting.

Done right, I've used no reverse and the boat is inches away from the dock. Sometimes the boat will touch the dock lightly, but at slow speed its not a problem. Sometimes I need a bit o reverse to pull the stern straight while maintaining forward way. 99.999% of my dockings have been singlehanded and docklines are always on the boat and located, long enough to reach mid ships. Least wise the bow lines.

I don't have fenders out anymore prior to docking. That allows me to get a little closer to the dock first. Of course I have a low freeboard so its just a step down to the dock. If you wait till the boat is completely stopped the wind has time to push the bow over to the adjacent boat, before you can step to the dock. Why I keep a small amount of way on, foot a second ish, as the flow over the keel keeps the boat straight and only a tad fall off.

Backing a full keep boat, generally takes full helm port or starboard and speed to get water across the rudder. I tell people I teach, that you control the stern, but the wind controls the bow. Plus the boat turns/ pivits about the center of motion and not like a car at all. OH, I also steer from in front of the wheel as its easier to work the jib when sailing and saves a second or two when moving smartly to the dock. I've not stood behind the wheel in many years.

The first 5 times I docked the old tayana 37 was more like the Keystone cops. Everyone came out to watch that. So not pretty. Though I did not hit anything. Glad those days are behind me. My islander 34 is 1/2 the weight of the tayana and only a short bow sprint, and low freeboard so much easier to single hand docking.
Valuable words of wisdom from sailorchic34... When teaching newbies to dock and moor either power or sail, I try and impress upon them that 'the wind is your friend'. How many times have you seen, or perhaps done this yourself, coming into a dock in a cross wind, sweaty palms, voice about two octaves higher than normal and twice the volume, jerky movements, etc. If you find yourself in that situation, do a go around, calm yourself and sit for a moment or two and gather your thoughts. Use current, wind and other factors to help you into your slip. Be confident and don't over react... rather think of using the elements affecting your vessel to help you, don't fight them. Watch the quiet, confident skipper who plans ahead, uses the wind and current to help them and does everything in slow motion. Try and emulate not only his/her actions but their attitude... try it! it works wonders... cheers, Phil
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Old 16-04-2014, 11:59   #39
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
The first 5 times I docked the old tayana 37 was more like the Keystone cops. Everyone came out to watch that. So not pretty. Though I did not hit anything. Glad those days are behind me.
The first time I had to dock at my current slip was scary and embarrassing. I had a captain on board, but I was at the helm and we did not discuss my "plan" before I executed it. Mistake #1.

Firstly, the boat was new to me and I was unaware that the idle was set too low. On our way toward my slipway at idle, the engine died. No problem I thought, just restart it. But it wouldn't restart. Here we are drifting in Foss waterway with boats and a bridge and no control. So the captain says to get on the VHF and call for Vessel Assist. I do so and while I'm waiting for a response, I happen to look back at the helm and notice that the gear was still engaged. So I asked the capt. to shift to neutral and try to start it - which of course worked. The only other boat I'd practiced on, the 30ft Catalina, would have started in gear, so I wasn't used to ensuring the gear was in neutral. After that, you can imagine how nervous I was about docking.

Anyway, my plan was to back into my slip from the slipway. Not having seen this video yet, all I knew about backing up was that I had to get some sternway before the boat would would turn. So my 3-part plan was 1. to steer to the end of the slipway which would give me time enough in reverse to get up enough speed, 2. shift into reverse, stop and go backwards gaining just enough speed to make the turn into my slip, and 3. make the turn and shift to forward to slow down and dock. What could go wrong?

Probably needless to say, the speed in reverse wasn't fast enough to make the turn, (any faster wouldn't have felt safe at all), and I nearly ended up on the end-post. Lots of panic ensues and with the help of one of the marina employees, we were able to manhandle the 40,000 lb beast into her berth. No comment on the capt. I'm just going to assume that he thought I knew more than I did and was just waiting for me to do it. Or something.

I've learned sooo much since then and I have soooooo much more to learn. :eek"
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Old 16-04-2014, 12:37   #40
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

There's much good information above. I won't repeat anything, but I will add a couple of things that have been important for Nancie and I when docking our long keel boat.

1. A great addition to the docking "toolbox" is the ability to turn your boat 360* in a tight space. A full keel boat with a right hand prop can be continuously turned to starboard in little more than it's length with the helm kept hard to starboard and the engine given alternate short thrusts in forward and reverse. Try this away from the dock. The reverse moment will prop walk the stern to port and the forward moment will complement the turn to starboard. Increased time in reverse or forward can negate the effects of wind or current that might otherwise move you out of your tight turn.

2. Secondly, most cruisers are couples, often male and female. Nancie and I have found that, over our forty-three years of docking, we can do best with her at the helm as I am more capable of fending off and handling lines for warping on pilings. Maybe it's not always the male, but if one of a couple makes a better "deck ape", the the other should learn to make the boat dance from the helm.
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Old 16-04-2014, 13:11   #41
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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There's much good information above. I won't repeat anything, but I will add a couple of things that have been important for Nancie and I when docking our long keel boat.

1. A great addition to the docking "toolbox" is the ability to turn your boat 360* in a tight space. A full keel boat with a right hand prop can be continuously turned to starboard in little more than it's length with the helm kept hard to starboard and the engine given alternate short thrusts in forward and reverse. Try this away from the dock. The reverse moment will prop walk the stern to port and the forward moment will complement the turn to starboard. Increased time in reverse or forward can negate the effects of wind or current that might otherwise move you out of your tight turn.

2. Secondly, most cruisers are couples, often male and female. Nancie and I have found that, over our forty-three years of docking, we can do best with her at the helm as I am more capable of fending off and handling lines for warping on pilings. Maybe it's not always the male, but if one of a couple makes a better "deck ape", the the other should learn to make the boat dance from the helm.
Both good suggestions, Capt,+1! Phil
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Old 16-04-2014, 16:09   #42
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

The first few times I tried to dock our big boat was an unmitigated disaster.

I'm surprised they didn't throw me out of the marina.

40,000lbs, full keel, 44' with 5' sprit and delicate wind vane.

I got heart palpitations for a year, once broke my toe and didn't notice it, I was so intently focused on the docking namanuver (read scared far out of my mind.)

But seriously, take a look at your prop and make sure it is appropriate for your boat. We found we had a power boat prop, which was about useless in reverse. We got a proper sailboat prop and it made a big difference. Right diameter and pitch, wrong shape, fine in forward. Got looking around the yard at props and found a few that were either power props or grossly undersized. Simply amazing something so simple and obvious could be so wrong.
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Old 17-04-2014, 20:40   #43
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

G'day, Mate. Despite having a bowthruster on our Mason 53, we often do as you ask "If wind and current are nasty I wonder if my marina would frown on me using the guest dock till it calmed down and often just anchor out until it calms down as was suggested. All the best,cheers.
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Old 19-04-2014, 13:35   #44
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

Abrain, I know your pain, but in an "opposite" sort of way. Mine's a 40-ton riveted iron flat bottom 64-foot sailing barge with leeboards that's more sensitive to wind than current (read: she reacts more like an upside-down Frisbee than a keel boat), but the results are comparable.

I'd never as much as rowed a dinghy when my two almost-as-clueless buddies and I left Fort Lauderdale for Saint Augustine last April, but we had a seasoned Captain aboard for the first two legs of the trip, so we figured we'd have ample time to learn the rodes on the way. Unfortunately, said captain jumped ship due to a personal emergency even before we actually hit the ICW, and we had to figure the rest out for ourselves for the following 5 days, 300+ miles and 37 drawbridges we had to "hold" for.

This included:

1) How to drop the turn-of-the-century manual clutch anchor
2) How to stop the engine
3) How to start the engine
4) How to turn in a circle in a cross-wind and current while holding, without sliding into the plastic mega yatchs docked on either side of the channel
5) How to approach a fueling dock (the only ones the marinas we stayed at would even let us get close to).

All in all, we were very, very lucky, and if I had to do it all over again, I would, but I'd bring extra underwear.

I learned two major lessons from this trip:

1) Don't panic, take your time, assess the situation, and smoke a joint or down a couple of single malts at least 1/2 hour before docking.

2) Install both bow AND stern thrusters as soon as you can afford to. The boat will park itself, and you'll limit the risk of dying from stress related heart failure.
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Old 19-04-2014, 13:40   #45
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

PS - There's a really nifty little gadget on the market that attaches to your wheel hub and tells you where your rudder is, just in case you've been flipping the wheel back and forth to the point of loosing track of it.
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