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Old 27-10-2011, 12:32   #1
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Docking Questions . . .

Hi from the new guy....

I currently have a 30' sailboat on a lake. My slip has two full fingers on either side, and I park stern-to. I take great pride in the fact that, even single-handed, I rarely even touch the sides of my slip, although I do have fenders, just in case.

I am considering moving to Florida, and moving up to a 40ish-size boat.... Most of the marinas I've seen have a short (half-boat-length,) finger on one side, and 3 pilings on the other side.... How do you park with pilings? I'm not looking for where to put lines- I've read those threads. I guess what I'm wondering is- is it OK to let the boat rub a little on the wood pilings until the lines are secure? I can't imagine having fenders in just the right spot as the boat enters the slip. Is fiberglass on wood not that big of a deal? Can I put some kind of cushion on the piling?

Thanks everyone!

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Old 27-10-2011, 12:47   #2
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Re: Docking questions....

You drop two fenders with a board tied horizontally over them.
The dia. of the fenders dictates to some degree how long the board is...my fenders are about 12inch in dia. and a couple feet long...the board can be about 8ft long...like a 2x6.
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Old 27-10-2011, 12:51   #3
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Re: Docking questions....

Or find a marina with decent slips that don't force you to risk damaging your boat when you have to dock it by yourself.
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Old 27-10-2011, 12:53   #4
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Re: Docking questions....

It is a good idea to get a boat with "Rub Rails". Most boats have them. Then use them if needed. Many folks make the mistake of putting out fenders before docking in a slip. The fenders can get caught and make the boat swing wildly ito the next boat. Entertaining .... but avoidable.

I think it best to get in the slip then drop fenders for the long term. Boats are bigger in the beam these days and the slips are barely wide enough. Learn how to spring in and out of a dock. Practice this technique. You never know where you might be. There are many mooring products for pilings. Check Taylor or West M. websites.
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Old 27-10-2011, 13:08   #5
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Re: Docking questions....

First, if you back a C30 between two full length finger piers on each side without touching, you should have no problem docking in the type of slip you describe. Regarding rubbing pilings, they will scuff and scrape up the topsides unless you have a rubrail or good crew or great luck.I have found that fenders snag on the pilings when docking and that wind, current and lack of skill on my part add to the excitement. My boat has thick aluminum combination toe & rub rails that protect the topsides, so rubbing them on a piling is no problem. I have seen some production boats with the thick rubber rub rails peel off dragging them on pilings. Not pretty. Some in my marina put carpet on the pilings and/or rubber strips on the docks to protect their topsides when docking. I'm sure you'll get many replies with other ideas to choose from. Come on over to Florida, we need your tax dollars!
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Old 27-10-2011, 13:12   #6
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Re: Docking questions....

Here in South Florida, the wind is usually pushing you in one direction or the other. I've found it helpful to tie up to the windward side first, then you can take your time tying up to the leeward side without the threat of banging around. I also have what James S describes in his post, which is quite helpful (and cheap).
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Old 27-10-2011, 13:15   #7
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Re: Docking questions....

My slip is similar to what you describe. Add in cross tidal current and cross winds and it can be a real chore at times. The most difficult time is getting out of the slip, rudder control is almost nil and there is probably less than a foot of horizontal clearance. Coming in is a bit better because I have rudder but it requires careful planning. While approaching the marina I carefully watch the daymarkers to see which way the tide is running and how strong. Ideally it is going out which allows me to maintain a slower speed over ground while retaining control. As I approach my slip I look at the dock lines of everyone else to see which are taught and which are slack. I know I'll have to put some "kentucky windage" into my approach and approach a bit towards the windward side.

Finally, I rig walking lines on either side of my slip. They are convenient for flipping dock lines over so as to keep them out of the water and give me something to grab onto to help guide the boat. My last boat had such severe prop walk that my normal procedure was to walk the boat about halfway out of the slip before engaging the engine in reverse.

A dockmate that almost always single handed his 30 ft Hunter rigged a harness in his slip that kept his boat centered as he powered in. Sort of like an aircraft carrier landing.

Finally, there are somedays when the cross wind is simply too much and I'm stuck in the slip.

Rich
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Old 27-10-2011, 13:24   #8
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Re: Docking questions....

Oooh, I hate those kinds of slips. You find them all over in Florida, Bahamas, and the Chesapeake. The best I've ever managed was a sort of controlled crash landing while I bit my tongue and tried to smile through my embarrassment. Always a thrill, and much entertainment for others on the dock. Beer seems to help.

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Old 27-10-2011, 13:30   #9
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Re: Docking questions....

Thanks for all the tips everyone... keep 'em coming!!
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Old 27-10-2011, 17:12   #10
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Re: Docking Questions . . .

In this part of the country (PNW) pilings seem to be mostly creosote impregnated. I would imagine this stuff would be a right pain in the butt to get off the boat sides or rub rail. I have no personal experience as I am boatless
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Old 27-10-2011, 17:44   #11
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Re: Docking questions....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tia Bu View Post
Oooh, I hate those kinds of slips. You find them all over in Florida, Bahamas, and the Chesapeake. The best I've ever managed was a sort of controlled crash landing while I bit my tongue and tried to smile through my embarrassment. Always a thrill, and much entertainment for others on the dock. Beer seems to help.


What kind of sailor are you? The preferred anesthetic is, of course, RUM! It also helps if your dockmates see you coming and grab the bow as you come in. In fact, they will sometimes help by holding the bow as long as they can as you depart.

Rich
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Old 27-10-2011, 18:00   #12
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Re: Docking questions....

First- Rum = Sailboat Fuel as far as I'm concerned: It just won't go without it!! Sailor Jerry's and the Kraken are my favorites....

And, I'm all for a little help- especially with the nearby dock-neighbors! I just like to have the plan for when they're not around.... I'm thinking that with the really short finger, I'm gonna continue backing in- I actually prefer it for a few reasons- it's easier than looking 30-40 ft in front- deciding when to stop; the prop seems to "grab" better in FWD gear- for stopping; and with the short slip, I'm not sure where people would board- the gate in the lifelines is pretty far aft....

Hmmm- lots to think about!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by cabo_sailor View Post
What kind of sailor are you? The preferred anesthetic is, of course, RUM! It also helps if your dockmates see you coming and grab the bow as you come in. In fact, they will sometimes help by holding the bow as long as they can as you depart.

Rich
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Old 27-10-2011, 18:32   #13
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Re: Docking Questions . . .

See how it works for you, but I've found that trying to back a sailboat into anywhere is very tricky. You essentially have no rudder. Try this experiment. Place your hand vertically in front of your mouth, like a rudder. First blow on it, you'll feel the air (like water). Next try it the same way and inhale as strong as you can. I'll bet you don't feel a thing. That's your rudder in when in reverse. If it can't feel the movement, it just don't work.

In flying, we call that a stall when airflow stops over the wings.

I know some people do back their sailboats into slips but check out the dock and see how many. Experience is surviving bad moments and learning. It may be that the boat you choose is a real lady in reverse. There are some. My current boat is better than the last one and I wouldn't attempt to back into anything unless it was dead calm in sheltered water without currents.
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Old 27-10-2011, 18:41   #14
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Re: Docking Questions . . .

practice the helpless woman look--or have one there on board withye and ye will always get someone on the dock to help.....never fails
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Old 27-10-2011, 18:58   #15
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Re: Docking Questions . . .

LOL- I'm a pilot, too.... FIFI won't let me stall, though.... I back my current boat in the slip.... I put a lot of thought into wind direction, prop-walk, etc....




Quote:
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See how it works for you, but I've found that trying to back a sailboat into anywhere is very tricky. You essentially have no rudder. Try this experiment. Place your hand vertically in front of your mouth, like a rudder. First blow on it, you'll feel the air (like water). Next try it the same way and inhale as strong as you can. I'll bet you don't feel a thing. That's your rudder in when in reverse. If it can't feel the movement, it just don't work.

In flying, we call that a stall when airflow stops over the wings.

I know some people do back their sailboats into slips but check out the dock and see how many. Experience is surviving bad moments and learning. It may be that the boat you choose is a real lady in reverse. There are some. My current boat is better than the last one and I wouldn't attempt to back into anything unless it was dead calm in sheltered water without currents.
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