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Old 02-02-2015, 23:43   #106
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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I am looking at buying a Bristol 32 for use on Lake Superior. After reading all of this about docking, I am almost afraid to buy it. Am I being too timid? It is in my price range and it is a lovely boat.
Docking is heavy cross winds is difficult for almost any boat, but notably so for a full keeler. As a fellow I know who has one says - "backing is like pushing a string - you never really know which side it is going to go to"

Having said that - there are techniques that can be learned that make docking easier and more reliable. However, you must practice these a lot before you get good at it.

So go ahead and buy if you like the boat - then get someone to show you how do dock it (and back it) and practice, practice , practice.
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Old 03-02-2015, 05:38   #107
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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Hello
So whats the best way to dock a heavy displacement full keel boat?
I definitely feel your pain. Last summer I didn't so much buy as was adopted by an Alberg 35: Cutaway full keel, heavy, big. My biggest boat previously had been a Tanzer 22: smallish, fin keel, spade rudder, outboard which could be twisted a bit to help. So docking the Alberg (diesel, with balky separate forward-reverse and throttle) wasn't just a challenge, it was scary. On top of that, I'm in Baltimore, there are tidal currents and wind.

Then I discovered the video referenced earlier in the thread. First off, I'd never heard of prop walk. Figuring that out was like a revelation. Second, I sat down to plan warps. Third, I admitted I cannot move the boat by simple push/pull the way I could with smaller boats.

So what I want to say first is... don't be so hard on yourself. You'll get there. Everyone of those dock people laughing has screwed up too. I once had four guys across the slipway all standing and laughing at me and pointing. A week later, one of them had to be fended off when he messed up.

Second.. what helped me was figuring out the business of the center my boat actually turns on. On the Alberg 35, its' about where the mast is.

Third, in my particular case, I could arrange a spring line at the end of the dock to be caught as the cockpit went by and then made fast to a cleat on the stern quarter. That gets me stopped, brought alongside, then I step off and get the forward line on.

Fourth, I spent some time on prop walk and learning to spin the boat. Mine will spin in about its own length by going back and forth with short bursts of power.

So now when I come in, I don't "drive" into the slip, I basically get near it, spin the boat to the right, then power in, grab the pre made spring line, a little reverse to stop, get off, tie off the forward line and I'm there.

At least that's the theory. Still working it out an honestly? sometimes it doesn't work. I have several times ended up boat stopped and floundering halfway in the slip with dock guys laughing. It happens. I try to think: hey, at least I'm ON the boat and not at the office
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:58   #108
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

It also pays to think ahead about where the wind is coming from, how fast is it, and how it's going to affect the boat.
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Old 03-02-2015, 17:58   #109
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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I am looking at buying a Bristol 32 for use on Lake Superior. After reading all of this about docking, I am almost afraid to buy it. Am I being too timid? It is in my price range and it is a lovely boat.
If you love the boat, don't let the docking put you off.

Our 18 ton long(ish) keel boat scared the bajeebies out of me at first. Now I don't even think twice about coming and going from the dock, and I mostly sail solo. Actually, with people on board, I mostly reassure them that they have nothing to do, it's not some dumb macho thing, I just know the boat and what to expect, and I am prepared. It is hard to explain to people what to do and not to do.

I think most of us work out a system eventually, and hopefully don't do too much damage to our boats or others figuring it out. I now do a kind of hot approach helm to port then firm reverse to let the prop walk pull the stern it. Works a treat. Took a while to build up the confidence to do it, and to honest, I probably figured it out by mistake anyway, but it works. Every boat will have a system that works for the docking arrangement it must adhere to.

Far better to have a boat you love and which sails well, than something that is easy to dock but either you don't love, or sails like a pig while bits fall off in the wake behind you.

Matt
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Old 03-02-2015, 18:14   #110
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

Tie a big bumper on the dock. It will be useful on occasion. Full keel boats don't slide that bad. In wind come in a little faster, learn how much you boat walks in reverse. Always get the midship cleat on ASAP. Everyone has questionable landings. Get the boat you want...


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Old 03-02-2015, 18:16   #111
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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Tie a big bumper on the dock. It will be useful on occasion. Full keel boats don't slide that bad. In wind come in a little faster, learn how much you boat walks in reverse. Always get the midship cleat on ASAP. Everyone has questionable landings. Get the boat you want...
+1 And he said it better. Good point about the midship cleat too, once it is on everything gets very relaxed. (mostly.)

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Old 03-02-2015, 18:21   #112
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

Buy the Bristol butterchurn. It's a great boat. You'll learn how to dock, but boats like your Bristol are meant to be out there sailing or swinging from their own hook. The fact that it is harder to dock will encourage you to go where the boat wants to go ... in other words, I can't dock either .

Don't worry. You'll learn. Prop walk, spring lines, fenders, and strategic planning will all become your friend. Don't let this deter you from getting a good boat.
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Old 03-02-2015, 18:37   #113
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

I fully endorse all the remarks above. I would add that there will be a learning curve on most if not all sailboats, even those equipped with bow thrusters. More modern fin keel boats with spade rudders but high freeboards might back up easier & straighter, but also may be more skittish in a cross wind. A heavier boat with more keel & rudder under the waterline may be more stable in a wind but might get pushed around more if there is current. The trick is getting to know what your particular boat's handling characteristics are and then make them work for you.

My boat has pronounced prop walk to port in reverse regardless of where I position the rudder, but I can often use that to my advantage by lining the boat up port-to & perpendicular to the slip in front of mine, and then use the prop walk to reverse into my own slip. As a previous poster remarked, it's often easier to dock/undock solo since I have to be so much more diligent thinking through the process, and it's not always so easy advising crew on what to expect.

The bottom line is that since every sailboat will have its own unique challenges to overcome when it comes to docking, I would definitely not base my decision on which boat to buy based on this factor alone.
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Old 03-02-2015, 18:39   #114
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

Prop walk, fenders and spring lines are your friends.

Practice back and fill, crash stops and backing up. I prefer to dock alone or with my wife. We just use a midship aft spring only when docking. A little forward idle and some rudder will hold her in place.

You do need to think ahead when the wind pipes up. I go for a walk and practice in my head. This helps once you know how your boat responds.

At the end of the day you learn to handle 'what you got'.

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Old 03-02-2015, 18:43   #115
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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Originally Posted by butterchurn View Post
I am looking at buying a Bristol 32 for use on Lake Superior. After reading all of this about docking, I am almost afraid to buy it. Am I being too timid? It is in my price range and it is a lovely boat.
If you like it buy it. Really not that tough to learn to control it. You just get used to what to do. Fin and spade are not that controllable either until the boat is moving.... I used to it and very rarely have ever needed a spring line.. then in 20 knots of wind...and a crowd.
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Old 03-02-2015, 19:23   #116
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

The American Sailing Association publishes a wonderful reference book Bareboat Cruising Made Easy and reviews docking. Also you ay want to purchase Coastal Cruising Made Easy again for references about helpful tips

Hope this helps

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Old 04-02-2015, 21:54   #117
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

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Originally Posted by butterchurn View Post
I am looking at buying a Bristol 32 for use on Lake Superior. After reading all of this about docking, I am almost afraid to buy it. Am I being too timid? It is in my price range and it is a lovely boat.
I may already have replied this long thread. Ours is 58 feet LOA X 16 beam & 36 tons with full keel. No thruster. Skeg mounted rudder with only +/- 15 degrees rudder. You get use to it. Remember, most of the time you will enjoying the fine ride. Docking is only a few minutes of any trip. The boat you are looking at is light enough to fend off and narrow. It will take practice with any boat.
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Old 05-02-2015, 00:23   #118
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

One of the basics is your pivot point is about 1/3 back from your bow, the faster you are moving the further astern your pivot point is. Practice off shore where there is no stress about the close proximity of other vessels, watch what your boat does going astern and ahead with all different rudder settings. Trying going astern until you get some speed up, then disengage the engine and use the rudder and see how she responds. It just takes time, paying attention, and planning before you get to the dock.
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Old 29-04-2015, 16:14   #119
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

I want to thank everyone for your advice concerning purchasing the Bristol 32. We are purchasing her. We have the survey on May 4th and the sea trial on the 5th. If all checks out, we will close on the 16th.

I have a slip reserved, unfortunately, it requires a turn to port to get into it. I guess I will have to learn to spin her around and go in.

Her name is 'Freedom" and she has an interesting history. Her original owners were in a Soviet prison camp and finally, somehow got out. They immigrated to the U.S. and bought the boat and named it "Freedom."

She is in nice shape for a 1976 boat.

Butterchurn!

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Old 29-04-2015, 16:58   #120
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Re: Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

Congrats Butterchurn. That's a great boat with a neat history. Good luck with her. I know you'll figure out the docking thing.
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