Originally Posted by rabend
I will be single handing a 44' sailboat and frequently tying up to a windward finger. I was wondering what methods/tools might be recommended to quickly get the lines on the cleats
before drifting off.
You didn't mention whether center cockpit
or aft... nor anything about docking
bow-to or stern-to the main pier. Assuming aft cockpit
We usually do this maneuver into a slip with 4-way tie-up by approaching stern-to. Especially useful for us, given most finger piers around here are not full length, and getting off the boat from our cockpit
is doable, whereas it's not really possible from the bow.
With one crew, we set a forward spring line (i.e., leading from a midships cleat forward to the dock) on either a pile or cleat at the outer end of the finger... then gradually adjust tension at the midships cleat while reversing into the slip with the engine
. When the stern is satisfactorily near the main pier, we set the other windward lines at our leisure.
(We routinely do this at fuel
docks, too, since I can put the pulpit right over the dock for a minute, crew can pick up fuel
dock lines or get our own lines on a pile or dock cleat... jockey with bits of reverse and forward until the boat comes along side...)
When single-handing, I still prefer docking
stern-to in a 4-way tie-up -- aside from that always getting off the boat from the cockpit thing -- because that lets me approach the outer end of the slip and attach a pre-adjusted
forward spring, outside the lifelines
, etc. The rest of the manuever is the same. Once in, leaving the engine in reverse gear
against that spring line will hold the boat well enough while I do the other lines. The pre-adjustment is a WAG based on how long the slip is; any length that keeps me from ramming the main pier but also gets me inside the slip "close enough" suits me fine... and I can always adjust aftterwards.
Docking bow-to would be similar in concept
. With crew, a forward spring line from midships to pier, then reverse on that... or an aft spring line from midships to pier and go ahead on that. But single-handing would mean leaving the cockpit to set the lines.
It's also possible bow-to using an aft spring line (from midships cleat leading aft to finger), and using the engine in forward gear to pull the boat along side the finger. That would be more difficult for me single-handing because the boat would be almost all the way into the slip before I could reach a pile or cleat from the cockpit, less time and distance to regain control...
Don't think I've said anything new here about spring lines, though...