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Old 17-04-2010, 04:56   #16
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I think BASH has it down pat. This is the method that works best for me at my marina. I single a Hunter 375 most times. If the current and wind is awful, I VHF the dockmaster for an assist, which is gladly given.
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Old 17-04-2010, 05:01   #17
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A few light-hearted comments about docking that I have heard:

Approach the dock at the speed at which you would want to hit it.

A friend says (about his old IOR mk 3 boat with really pinched ends) max beam is at the dock, while the transom is still a week away.

Sailboats just don't like to come home.

Sailboats are designed to run away from driving forces, what makes you think they will co-operate with a prop.

About a J-125-- no wild animal goes easily into a cage (slip)

Like prom night for a male skipper--never know if your gonna get scratches.

Happy sailing :
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Old 17-04-2010, 11:48   #18
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Agree on the midships sring, even used that method on a 4000 dwt tug when docking on one prop and no thrusters.
A voice that carries well over the marina if you need a hand, pet hate is struggling to get alongside a berth with the wind blowing the boat off, and an audiance standing like lemons watching and not offering to help.
Came in one time with a stiff breeze blowing straight off the dock, ended up backing into the dock until the swim platform was on the pontoon, stepped off with short stern line and a long bow line, quickly made the stern fast, pulled bow around as much as I could against the wind, made fast, then went to find assistance to get the rest of the boat alongside.
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Old 17-04-2010, 13:33   #19
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Most important is to be able to control your boat (mine was a 33 ft Sigma) at the lowest speed possible.
I had fixed lines on the two poles in my own birth. Depending on the wind I would concentrate on just one (windward line aft). Length was short enough to not worry about hitting the dock with the bow. As soon as it was around a cleat I made sure the engine was idling ahead and the rudder so that the boat stays in its birth. Walk forward and make fast the leeward line. Then second fore line, stop engine and use boat hook to catch last (aft line). I did not use fenders; if they snag one of the poles it will make the boat turn 90 degrees. I did rig lines from the poles to the shore.
When leaving make sure the aft lines are around the poles to catch them with ease when returning.
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Old 17-04-2010, 22:57   #20
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(Assuming a RH prop--in which case this maneuver best performed on the port side)

Prior to docking, set up a spring line on the port midship cleat with the eye on the bitter end. Cleat this off so that the loop can't quite reach your prop, should you drop it. All fenders on the port side. Now, when coming into the slip, slightly hot, pulse the engine in reverse a couple times to swing the stern to port via prop walk. When you come alongside the outer dock cleat, slip the spring's loop onto the cleat. Now gently shift into forward, putting the wheel over hard right. HARD right. The spring will suck the boat to the dock, port side to, and the prop will keep it snugged to the dock. lock the wheel and leave the boat in gear while you leisurely put the other dock lines in place.
I've done the same method as you except docking on the starboard side, where I can't take advantage of prop walk like you can. I can do this pretty good if I can come up into the wind, letting the wind help me slow down more as I creep into the slip.
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Old 17-04-2010, 23:10   #21
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If you need some practice try this Docking Game | MadMariner.com
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Old 18-04-2010, 18:01   #22
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If this is your home slip, set up lines in form of a V, when returning, slowly go in
bow first into the V, now just concentrate on getting windward stern line, while
the V holds your bow.
Tom
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Old 18-04-2010, 18:56   #23
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I was once thinking of a welded steel docking guide. Couple of curved vees out of 2 inch square tube with a flat wood surface on the inside so the load is spread. Bolted to the dock head on the centerline plus a foot for the fenders. Slow ahead into the guide and then hop over the side to get the lines on the dock. Leave her in gear until you get the lines on then shut down. it would be a godsend in windy conditions.

However, I am happy to say that while in my early days I used to leave nice grooves on the dock where the stem rode up, I havent done that once now that I am in a bigger heavier steel boat.
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Old 19-04-2010, 13:43   #24
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Single handed docking

There's a pocket-sized book called "Dockmanship" that was recommended by a captain friend....and practice.
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Old 19-04-2010, 18:48   #25
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If you need some practice try this Docking Game | MadMariner.com

I did

I sank
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Old 20-04-2010, 10:12   #26
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Just a few refinement suggestions to what has already been mentioned . . .

First, on most boats I have been on the single mid-ship cleat is not very well placed. If you are coming into the dock bow-in using a spring line from the mid-ship cleat the stern will usually swing out as the spring takes up. You can counter that some with some opposite helm and prop walk, but I find it better to lead the spring off the boat from a bit further aft . . . thru a snatch block on the toerail. That keeps the stern closer to the dock.

Second, when the wind is blowing out of the slip (or its calm), I find it better to go stern in than bow in. This for three reasons . . . (a) the furled jib creates quite a bit of windage. If you go bow in and are going slowly this windage will cause the bow to blow off. But if you are going stern in this windage will help keep you lined up. (b) for boats with spade rudders there is more/quicker rudder response (you can turn sharper) in reverse than in forward. (c) if you mess it up you can get out easier and with less fuss with the bow pointed out. With the stern pointed out you have to deal with the prop walk. Prop walk can be helpful when planned but can be difficult when you mess up and have an unplanned maneuver.

Third, getting the spring cleat ashore onto a cleat or piling single handed can sometimes be difficult. If there is someone on the dock you can give them the line but make sure you are very clear you want them to put it on the cleat and secure it, not just hold it, because you may/are going to pull hard on it. If there is usually no-one on the dock and it is your 'home' slip, I prefer to leave the spring line on the dock, secured to the dock cleat, with the free end on a piling hook or stand where I can pick it with a boat hook. I find that easier than lassoing the cleat from the boat.

Fourth, I like lots of big fenders on both sides. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you end up sideways in the slip and lots of big fenders take the crunch out of that. If you then just quickly and smoothly get your lines ashore and winch the boat straight you almost look like you planned it. Related to this . . . unpainted aluminum topsides are marvelous . . . no stress or worry about scratched paint. All you have to look-out for/avoid is cutting the boat next to you in half
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Old 20-04-2010, 11:34   #27
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The only advice I would add is to practice. Any time I get a new boat, I do "touch and goes" until I really feel comfortable docking.
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Old 20-04-2010, 22:26   #28
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Just a few refinement suggestions to what has already been mentioned . . .

First, on most boats I have been on the single mid-ship cleat is not very well placed. If you are coming into the dock bow-in using a spring line from the mid-ship cleat the stern will usually swing out as the spring takes up. You can counter that some with some opposite helm and prop walk, but I find it better to lead the spring off the boat from a bit further aft . . . thru a snatch block on the toerail. That keeps the stern closer to the dock.

Second, when the wind is blowing out of the slip (or its calm), I find it better to go stern in than bow in. This for three reasons . . . (a) the furled jib creates quite a bit of windage. If you go bow in and are going slowly this windage will cause the bow to blow off. But if you are going stern in this windage will help keep you lined up. (b) for boats with spade rudders there is more/quicker rudder response (you can turn sharper) in reverse than in forward. (c) if you mess it up you can get out easier and with less fuss with the bow pointed out. With the stern pointed out you have to deal with the prop walk. Prop walk can be helpful when planned but can be difficult when you mess up and have an unplanned maneuver.

Third, getting the spring cleat ashore onto a cleat or piling single handed can sometimes be difficult. If there is someone on the dock you can give them the line but make sure you are very clear you want them to put it on the cleat and secure it, not just hold it, because you may/are going to pull hard on it. If there is usually no-one on the dock and it is your 'home' slip, I prefer to leave the spring line on the dock, secured to the dock cleat, with the free end on a piling hook or stand where I can pick it with a boat hook. I find that easier than lassoing the cleat from the boat.

Fourth, I like lots of big fenders on both sides. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you end up sideways in the slip and lots of big fenders take the crunch out of that. If you then just quickly and smoothly get your lines ashore and winch the boat straight you almost look like you planned it. Related to this . . . unpainted aluminum topsides are marvelous . . . no stress or worry about scratched paint. All you have to look-out for/avoid is cutting the boat next to you in half
I've never had to lasso the dock with my method. I made up a spring line to fit while the boat was docked. In the loop of the line that goes over the dock cleat I placed a lenght of wire on the inside of the loop, and wrapped the wire and the loop with duck tape. The wire keeps the loop round, and I place the loop over the dock cleat with a pole. Turn the rudder, apply a little power, and the boat is up against the dock.
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Old 23-04-2010, 01:29   #29
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Microship: If you're reading this, I'd love to hear about your "Redneck Bow Thruster".
Hi - it's a bit early to go into much detail as it isn't actually done yet... but basically I was put off by the $13K quote from Cap Sante to install a tunnel thruster and did some digging. I don't want to hijack this excellent thread with a bunch of detail on this controversial topic, but in a nutshell it's a deployable arm with a VEE that engages the stem, locked in place with a loop of line and a snatchblock to the windlass.

At the bottom of that is a platform, and initially I'll just play with a pair of Minn-Kota trolling motors (because I have them). The moment arm from CLR is longer than a normal thruster, so I suspect they will work (over 100 pounds of static thrust, which is right up there with a good tug on a bow line). If that behaves as expected, I'll experiment with hydraulic jets on the same substrate (it works for willdo.nl, so there's at least an existence proof).

More later in a separate thread, once there is real progress to report!

Steve (who is focused at the moment on completing a mobile lab to park at the marina so projects such as the one above don't drag on for months and years...)
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Old 23-04-2010, 01:43   #30
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Very cool idea

How about a thread ASAP?
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