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Old 14-06-2018, 01:08   #1
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Docking stern-to in crosswind

Hi all,

I have come across an interesting docking question. Please share your ideas on the following:

*** Question:
How would you approach pontoon in the situation on the sketch below? You need to park stern to pontoon in a narrow slot between other boats in 20Kn crosswind. Boat propeller is right-handed, propwalk in reverse is to port. Will you approach upwind or downwind? Closer to the boats or closer to the wall? When will you start turning?

~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~Wind 20Kn~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~\|/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
boats~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
—————\~~~~~~~|wall
—————/~~~~~~~|
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
dock here with stern to pontoon
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
===== wall =======
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Old 14-06-2018, 02:27   #2
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

Quote:
Originally Posted by dokondr View Post
Hi all,

I have come across an interesting docking question. Please share your ideas on the following:

*** Question:
How would you approach pontoon in the situation on the sketch below? You need to park stern to pontoon in a narrow slot between other boats in 20Kn crosswind. Boat propeller is right-handed, propwalk in reverse is to port. Will you approach upwind or downwind? Closer to the boats or closer to the wall? When will you start turning?

~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~Wind 20Kn~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~\|/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
boats~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
—————\~~~~~~~|wall
—————/~~~~~~~|
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
dock here with stern to pontoon
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
—————\~~~~~~~|
—————/~~~~~~~|
===== wall =======

This is what I would do-assuming I understand your drawing as follows:


1. Wind is coming from top of pic & blowing right into your dock.
2. You want to end up parked with your stbd side tied to that line of short vertical dashes that go up from the bottom right to the upper word "Wall"-your bow pointing toward top of pic.
3. You are singlehanding.



a. Set 2 fenders on stbd (dock) side -one fwd & one aft of widest hull point & spaced about 3 ft apart


b. Set 2-3 fenders along your port side-one about a ft. behind bow,one midships & one a ft. ahead of stern-in case things go bad & you drift into your port neighbors.



c. Rig your "midship" dockline to the cleat just ahead of the cockpit where you can reach it without going on deck & bring the tail to cockpit.
Bring your bowline outside rails & back to cockpit area,just in case you need it during docking (Always a good idea-saves running up to the bow).



d. Come from the left side of pic & park against the upper word "wall",which I am assuming is across the end of your finger pontoon.


e. Loop your midship line around whatever there is to tie to on "wall", bring the end back aboard & loop it loosely around a winch head or whatever,still hanging on to tail or keeping it handy.


f. Back up til your midship cleat is a couple of ft. to the left of word "wall".


g.Fetch up on the midship line & your stern will start to swing into dock-pivoting on midship line. Urge it to turn more with reverse throttle bursts. Rudder direction doesn't matter-you are not moving far or fast enough. Prop walk will not come into it either-if you use short bursts of 1/2 throttle & then neutral.



h. When you have finished making the turn & are lying where you want,release your midship line from the winch,flip it over a dock cleat,bring the end back aboard & cleat it. You are docked.


Len
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Old 14-06-2018, 02:50   #3
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
This is what I would do-assuming I understand your drawing as follows:
....

Len
Hi Len,
Many thanks for your advice, very useful. Yet I had in mind a different docking place, sorry for my bad drawing that caused confusion.
Strong wind is coming from the top of the pic (N), correct. The boat needs to be parked in a narrow slot between other boats that are parked to pontoon Mediterranean way, side by side facing fairway on the left of the drawing.
The updated drawing below should clarify this. Boat needs to be parked stern to pontoon where the arrow points. With a crew and singlehanded.



~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~Wind 20Kn~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~\|/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#|boats~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#|—————\~~~~~~~|wall
P|—————/~~~~~~~|
O|—————\~~~~~~~|
N|—————/~~~~~~~|
T|<<=== dock here with stern to pontoon
O|—————\~~~~~~~|
O|—————/~~~~~~~|
N|—————\~~~~~~~|
#|—————/~~~~~~~|
#|—————\~~~~~~~|
#|—————/~~~~~~~|
===== wall =======
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Old 14-06-2018, 03:31   #4
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

I'll take a guess at it...

Prop walk to port suggests it'd be easier to pass the slip if you have room, turn around, and approach from the direction of the lower wall in your pic. Otherwise back down toward your slip, if your boat will do that.

Then use a spring line if necessary -- from the north side of the outer end of your slot, if there's anything out there to attach it to -- to either a stern cleat or midships cleat.

-Chris
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Old 14-06-2018, 03:33   #5
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

I really screwed up on that one
Ah well-it was a fun challenge.


I've never had to Med. dock,so no personal experience.
I have watched a few Youtube vids of Med. docking. One thing I noticed is that the boats are sometimes so tightly packed that,it appears,bumping your neighbor is accepted practice as long as you are gentle & use lots of fenders.


That would give many a heart attack over here


I will offer some self learned tips from my regular experience singlehand docking with Bay of Fundy tidal currents,15-20kt winds & commercial fishing home port-no marina.


1. Midship line attached just fwd. of cockpit is indispensible.
2. Never idle in reverse-prop walk takes over. Use short bursts of 1/2 throttle & back to Neutral. After you reach a bit of speed, coasting between bursts,your rudder will start to work.
3. You can't "steer" the bow with the rudder -you must kick the stern port or stbd,which will point the bow in the desired direction.Then proceed.
4.Don't panic-if things go wrong it may be better to drift gently into something rather than have way on.
5 Practice maneuvering the boat in open water away from distractions & "dockside" experts.
6.Humble pie is a common dessert.


Len
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Old 14-06-2018, 03:39   #6
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

Quote:
Originally Posted by dokondr View Post
Hi Len,
Many thanks for your advice, very useful. Yet I had in mind a different docking place, sorry for my bad drawing that caused confusion.
Strong wind is coming from the top of the pic (N), correct. The boat needs to be parked in a narrow slot between other boats that are parked to pontoon Mediterranean way, side by side facing fairway on the left of the drawing.
The updated drawing below should clarify this. Boat needs to be parked stern to pontoon where the arrow points. With a crew and singlehanded.



~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~Wind 20Kn~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~|||~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~\|/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#|boats~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
#|—————\~~~~~~~|wall
P|—————/~~~~~~~|
O|—————\~~~~~~~|
N|—————/~~~~~~~|
T|<<=== dock here with stern to pontoon
O|—————\~~~~~~~|
O|—————/~~~~~~~|
N|—————\~~~~~~~|
#|—————/~~~~~~~|
#|—————\~~~~~~~|
#|—————/~~~~~~~|
===== wall =======
Depending how badly your boat manoeuvres in reverse I would reverse well in advance and back into the channel.
Make sure you got your mooring lines ready to throw. and have enough fenders on your leeward (SB) side. including one fairly forward
Make your turn just above the windward boat and aim at the windward boat's bow. at the last moment adjust steering to keep clear of windward boat.
when you reach the pontoon, throw your windward mooring line and belay, then your leeward line.
Put your engine in fwd, steer toward the wind and lock steering wheel.
pick up the lazy line and belay the bow.

If you need to anchor then drop anchor 2 boat lengths away and steer towards windward boat.
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Old 14-06-2018, 05:26   #7
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

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Originally Posted by De.windhoos View Post
Depending how badly your boat manoeuvres in reverse I would reverse well in advance and back into the channel.
Make sure you got your mooring lines ready to throw. and have enough fenders on your leeward (SB) side. including one fairly forward
Make your turn just above the windward boat and aim at the windward boat's bow. at the last moment adjust steering to keep clear of windward boat.
when you reach the pontoon, throw your windward mooring line and belay, then your leeward line.
Put your engine in fwd, steer toward the wind and lock steering wheel.
pick up the lazy line and belay the bow.

If you need to anchor then drop anchor 2 boat lengths away and steer towards windward boat.
Good advice, thanks! There are a few things that bother me with going downwind with your stern, that as I understand, you suggest. Assume we have no tide, then:


1) Going downwind will increase your speed, so in strong wind you need to kick forward a few times no to go too fast. Also be aware not to loose your bow to the wind. But this is not a main problem.
2) Main problem: when you turn your stern to the pontoon the bow will catch the wind. As a result a boat may angle to the pontoon with the bow more downwind then stern and hit a boat downwind.


On the other hand, going upwind with your stern, also have problems:
1) When you turn your stern to the pontoon, it may be hard to bring the bow across the wind.
2) Not being able to bring the bow across the wind, the boat will be blown to a downwind boat as well.


So what in general is better to choose when approaching pontoon with a stern downwind up upwind approach? (we are talking about average modern production chatter boat, not long keel)
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Old 14-06-2018, 05:50   #8
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

This is largely a function of how your individual boat handles and how well you handle it.

You have two choices.

1) Back all the way in, with enough way on to give you steerage over your prop walk. Start turning, letting the wind bring your bow around, and back into the slip. This is about timing and balancing wind vs. steerage vs. power.

2) Go past the slip and turn around, clockwise (taking advantage of prop walk), head back up, just half a boat length past the slip turning a bit and back in, letting prop walk pull your stern into the slot.

I'm a fan of healthy "Captain Ron" use of throttle and prop walk in situations like this. The less time you give the wind to work on your boat the better for the most part. I get accused of "coming in too hot" sometimes when docking but I feel it gives me more control and so long as I'm confident in my ability to check the boat's momentum and bail out I prefer it, particularly in windy conditions.

The key is really the turning of the boat into the slip, gauging the wind effect on the boat, and being ready to bail and try again.

This should in fact be easier if the other boats port and starboard of you are there and moored. Some protection from the wind as you pull in.

And yeah, I would put fenders all over the place.
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Old 14-06-2018, 06:01   #9
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
This is largely a function of how your individual boat handles and how well you handle it.

You have two choices.

1) Back all the way in, with enough way on to give you steerage over your prop walk. Start turning, letting the wind bring your bow around, and back into the slip. This is about timing and balancing wind vs. steerage vs. power.

2) Go past the slip and turn around, clockwise (taking advantage of prop walk), head back up, just half a boat length past the slip turning a bit and back in, letting prop walk pull your stern into the slot.
...
So in both cases 1) and 2) you reverse downwind, correct? Why do you think that going first down the channel past the parking place and then reverse with you stern into the wind and then turn into the slip will not work?
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Old 14-06-2018, 06:37   #10
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

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Originally Posted by dokondr View Post
So in both cases 1) and 2) you reverse downwind, correct? Why do you think that going first down the channel past the parking place and then reverse with you stern into the wind and then turn into the slip will not work?
according to your drawing the channel is very narrow and there is a wall on the end. assuming your boat doesn't have a bow thruster you might have problems turning your boat 180 degrees. when this happens you don't have any manoeuvring space left.

going downwind in reverse and commencing your turn early should not be a problem. You have enough speed to get enough water over your rudder to manoeuvre.
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Old 14-06-2018, 06:56   #11
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

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Originally Posted by De.windhoos View Post
according to your drawing the channel is very narrow and there is a wall on the end. assuming your boat doesn't have a bow thruster you might have problems turning your boat 180 degrees. when this happens you don't have any manoeuvring space left.

going downwind in reverse and commencing your turn early should not be a problem. You have enough speed to get enough water over your rudder to manoeuvre.

Please let me explain, what other option I am talking about. No need to turn the boat 180 degrees. Ok, step by step:
1) Boat enters the channel from N (top of the drawing) going forward.
2) Goes down, one boat length past the slip on her starboard.
3) Reverse back, no 180 degree turn, just reverse with stern into wind, going back north (to the top of the drawing).
4) Keeping in revers turns into the slip, stern to pontoon


Why this approach may not work?
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Old 14-06-2018, 07:03   #12
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

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Originally Posted by dokondr View Post
So in both cases 1) and 2) you reverse downwind, correct? Why do you think that going first down the channel past the parking place and then reverse with you stern into the wind and then turn into the slip will not work?
From your original post: "Boat propeller is right-handed, propwalk in reverse is to port."

So your boat won't back to starboard until it has way on and the rudder bites, so trying to pass the slip and back into it on starboard will not work. Going further and trying to coast in under rudder only after way is on will be tricky/impossible in 20 knots. If you need to apply power during the turn it's going turn you the wrong way. It's possible I suppose, but in my experience it's always preferable to have prop walk working for you and what you want to do rather than against you.
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Old 14-06-2018, 07:18   #13
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

I am far from experienced, so take everything I say with a large grain of salt, but my ~100 Med moorings have made me interested and determined to get better at it.

The drawing makes it look like there's barely a boat length between the bows and the wall in front. Under those circumstances I personally would not be anywhere near there in 20kn winds, but I might attempt it in a flat calm. I'll assume at least two boat lengths of space in front, and lazy lines instead of anchoring, otherwise it would be chaos.

I would fender up and get my stern rope ready to go while I'm still far out. Canopy down, to give me max visibility. Boathook on hand.

I would nose in past the intended mooring, come to a complete stop, and begin reversing upwind back toward my spot. My intention is to leave the turn slightly too late, and to have the bow temporarily a little upwind, only to be pushed back into alignment as I'm entering the berth. Obviously, if I had a bow thruster it would be deployed and ready to work if necessary, which it very probably would be.

Windward stern line first, engine forward and somewhat into the wind immediately. Run up to the bow to secure the lazy line, and only then worry about the leeward stern line.

Adjust lines and fenders to best cope with the wind, and finally unclench.
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Old 14-06-2018, 08:31   #14
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

Just returned from two weeks in Croatia, chartering a Moorings 4600 cat. I know this isn't exactly the same, but we watched dozens of well-meaning monohulls try to dock in crosswind conditions. Here's what I'd say:

1. Go downwind of the intended slip/location.
2. Back into the wind, with enough speed to make your rudder steer reasonably well. Depends on the boat, obviously.
3. Turn into the "slot" with lots of fenders on both sides.
4. Delay putting the boat in forward until you are very close to the wall.
5. Big push in forward to stop your sternway.
6. Toss lines to those on dock.
7. Put engine in forward, slowly, to tension stern lines.

Not sure if you're using "lazy lines" or an anchor, though.

Chuck
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Old 14-06-2018, 08:53   #15
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Re: Docking stern-to in crosswind

EASY: Test it with a buoy, stern downwards. How long does it take until the bow comes around? No idea of our boat but from 12-14 m I assume 7-10 seconds.
Stay closer to the wall but not too close. 2 boats before your slip begin your turn in.
The important thing in this situation is speed. I think about 3 knots.

First grab your windward stern line and lean to your neighbour... now your safe to go forward to stabilize your boat. Ignore the bloody mooring until your windward stern line is safe.

good luck.

p.s. if it won't work on the first attempt wait until the bow comes around to lee and go out backwards - then try again.

willi - adriatic skipper and charter skipper
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