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Old 16-04-2014, 07:23   #1
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Docking a Full Keel Heavy Displacement Sailboat

Hello

First off I admit that I am terrible at docking my home. On more than 3 occasions I have hit the dock or ran into something. I also have had a few close calls with my neighbors boat where my bowsprit wants to kiss his stern.

So whats the best way to dock a heavy displacement full keel boat?

I am under the impression speed is needed to steer the boat, so I try approaching the slip with speeds over a knot. Then I swing wide and make the turn in a effort to head into the slip but it never works that way. I then slam the motor into reverse and give it some RPMs to slow this weight down. By this time the boat is crossed up and people begin filming for youtube while others come running asking for a line.

I would love to take a docking class but nothing is in my area. Whats your advice? I know I need practice but where can I get some so that I dont tear the new expensive cheaply made boats apart.
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Old 16-04-2014, 07:39   #2
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

I would very highly recommend watching this Youtube video:



I was able to dock my own 20ton battleship stern-first, into my slip next to another large displacement boat with no problem whatsoever after watching and understanding this video.
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Old 16-04-2014, 07:51   #3
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

I've only docked my IP38 twice so far, second time in a 18 kt crosswind. I have come to two conclusions in that short time, OK maybe three
1. In reverse we are going to back to port, until it gets enough speed up to make me think I'm going too fast, then the rudder begins to become effective, unless
2. there is a good sailing wind, then we are backing into the wind as the bow is being blown downwind, rapidly.
3. I wanna bow thruster, will never have one though, way too much money.
To compound things, the pilings where my slip is are concrete so my normal single screw power boat way of docking in a cross wind of getting a third of the boat into the slip and pinning the downwind bow against the piling and rotating around that fixed point isn't very attractive pinning my SS rub rail on a concrete piling.
I'm thinking about going to Home Depot and buying a couple of good outdoor welcome mats to wrap the pilings with, is there anything better? The thought of my SS rub rail against concrete isn't appealing.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:15   #4
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

MyCroft

Thank you for that video its fantastic. I am learning tons from it. Seems next time ill be more confident for sure.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:18   #5
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

Figure out which way the bow moves in forward and reverse in current and in winds. Do the same for the stern. Then plan your approach based on the expected movement and ease of approach.

Use lines to tether the boat to gain more control if needed.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:26   #6
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

The old adage; 'approach the dock at the speed you want to strike the dock' comes to play. Use your prop walk to your advantage; short bursts in reverse to back up, longer to swing your ass end around. You can scull a westsail with your tiller.

I spent a lot of time docking on logs floating in the Georgia Strait, away from iphone cameras and youtube postings.

Or just ram the hell out of those puny girlie boats.

Best of luck,

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Old 16-04-2014, 08:34   #7
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

On a heavy boat like yours, the way the stern kicks when in reverse, is important to know and use. Blue kicks heavily to the left (big 3 bladed with 2:1 reduction gear), but will walk her stern away from the dock at an idle when starboard side to the dock. Long straight keel boats don't like to change direction easily. Paralleling the dock, and stepping ashore with your lines gets a lot of respect from the pros who understand the dynamics.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:35   #8
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by goat View Post
The old adage; 'approach the dock at the speed you want to strike the dock' comes to play. Use your prop walk to your advantage; short bursts in reverse to back up, longer to swing your ass end around. You can scull a westsail with your tiller.

I spent a lot of time docking on logs floating in the Georgia Strait, away from iphone cameras and youtube postings.

Or just ram the hell out of those puny girlie boats.

Best of luck,

Goat
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:37   #9
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

You are not alone in your difficulty. Your Westsail 32 is the younger cousin to my Ingrid 38. First you must realize that you cannot force her to do what she will not do. Wind and current frequently have the dominant influence. Not once, but every time I have tried a curved approach to a slip, its a failure. You can approach at an angle but wind, current and prop must be in your favor. These truths are not recognised by folks who have fin keel boats with spade rudders, or worse yet twin screws and bow thrusters. It is incumbent on those of us who enjoy the benefits of an old fashioned full keel boat to make special provisions to avoid smashing the neighbors. I have found that warping her in is frequently advised. These actions are not understood by many and are viewed with suspicion and derision. You cannot change the views of folks who don't get it. I have learned the hard (and expensive) way not to shortcut the process. You must respect conditions. Anchor out and wait, or tie up outside and put her in the slip when things are conducive to controlling her. She will not spin to port without stopping and nudging her, all with the wind and current to help. Don't try it with wind or current astern.
You have my sympathy and admiration. I am learning as well.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:40   #10
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

a64pilot, don't even think about using the rudder in reverse to direct where you want the boat to go. As you said, by the time you have enough water going over the rudder to have an effect on where the stern is going to go, the boat's going too fast AND you've used up too much distance.

The best way to dock is to approach it so that all you want to do is spin the boat to the right. Spinning a boat, with a right-hand prop, to the left is virtually impossible. Watch that video and you may get some aha moments!
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:47   #11
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

Our boat isn't large (32') but full keel and heavy for her size.
I use a combination of speed and authoritative use of the engine and full rudder in bursts. I also dock using prop walk to my advantage.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:54   #12
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

I can say that reverse is useless on our Westsail when it comes to docking. That video does a fantastic job explaining why and now it makes since.

If wind and current are nasty I wonder if my marina would frown on me using the guest dock till it calmed down. Otherwise I could anchor out till it is calm, good advice IdoraKeeper.

I am about half done with the video and want a copy of it so that I can review it while on the hook, lol. I will take many screen shots to keep as a reminder.
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Old 16-04-2014, 08:57   #13
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

Forgot to ask.

In the video he mentions using dock lines that have no loops. Ill go out and get new dock lines but I wonder what type of line would be best (double braid)?

Also I want to make a mooring pendant and figure this line would be similar in material perhaps stronger?
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Old 16-04-2014, 09:08   #14
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

That video is lame. Little wind, fin keel/spade rudder and a bow thruster, it'll almost park itself. Then walking back and forth trying to grab a dock line, how about having one ready so you can step off the stern with it?
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Old 16-04-2014, 09:12   #15
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Re: Docking a full keel heavy displacement sailboat

This video is lame for you but priceless for me. Thanks for the negativity though I have not had any this morning and needed it.
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