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Old 20-09-2018, 06:52   #1
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docking w/ inexperienced crew?

I'd love some tips for docking with inexperienced crew.

With 1 experienced crew, I might (depending on the conditions, of course) handle the helm and have the crew hop onto the dock with an aft-bow sprint line (or have them drive while I do that).

With less experienced crew, I'm cautious of asking them to go onto the dock before the boat is completely stable.

Any advice?

I'm currently thinking that (depending on conditions) I should either try to get the boat pretty stable without any lines on the dock (probably easy if the wind is onto the dock), or get everything set up and go onto the dock with a line myself when it's time. Then I can give the crew simple instructions like "shift into forward & turn the wheel left" (e.g. to help swing the stern toward the dock).

To complicate matters, I'm usually docking up against another boat rather than the dock itself. That's part of why I'm wary of asking the crew to go across.
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Old 20-09-2018, 09:14   #2
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

Don't think its safe to ask inexperienced crew to take the helm.

FWIW, we rarely allow anyone to get off the boat at all during docking. There are exceptions, but our preference is to do everything from the boat. Helps if there's a dockhand, but often not insurmountable if there's not. Helps if there are piles instead of just cleats on a dock, but often not insurmountable if there's not.

I haven't been able to interpret your "aft bow spring line," but we do often set a forward spring line first; at that point we're usually essentially docked, with just a few minor details to finish.

-Chris
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Old 20-09-2018, 09:18   #3
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

You don't need crew. When you get the boat's 'midships against the dock, immediately secure a center spring and the boat will be under control. Then you can take your time securing the other lines.
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Old 20-09-2018, 09:26   #4
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

I solo most of the time. Probably 90% of my dockings are by myself. That requires organization. Lines out on deck, thru the chock, and ready to go. It's the same with inexperienced line handlers. While you have time you get the lines out, explain their purpose and use. Sometime before docking, I sit down with them and draw out how spring lines, etc., work and how the engines are used in docking.

Otherwise you might as well have a group that doesn't speak your language.
MY foc'sle is about 6' above any floating dock. I don't want the liability of someone jumping down to take lines. I position the boat so the spring line eye can be dropped on the cleat I want. Move ahead a little, tie the spring, put an engine in fwd at idle, opposite rudder, and the boat docks itself. With the engine still in gear the swim platform is close enough to step across and set the other lines. I do it this way alone and with handlers. No big deal. In a slip, I pull in and gently put the bow against the dock and let an engine hold it there until the lines are over. Then winch the spring line to get the position I want.
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Old 20-09-2018, 09:31   #5
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

First thing I tell inexperienced crew when
docking is To Never get any body parts
between the boat and anything else, dock
or another boat.
A recent episode of a popular youtube sailing
channel just sent a crew member to the
hospital with two mangled fingers ignoring this.

Center Spring Line goes on first
then you can control the boat.
Have them practice throwing a line around s cleat.
One end cleated to the boat the other end held in hand
Tip I learned, don’t aim for the cleat
but aim a few feet past it
Better a bit long than missing short
Cheers
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Old 20-09-2018, 09:40   #6
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docking w/ inexperienced crew?

Not knowing what you are docking it is hard to comment. Likewise not knowing your skill level is tough.

So assuming an inboard sailboat and no bow thruster.

NO ONE takes the helm but the most competent person. Panic at the helm will result in disaster.

Unlike docking, when coming alongside another vessel, set your fenders before coming in.

Unless the other boat has a flat side- I do not use a spring line. There are too many ways for it to go wrong and boats to get damaged.

Now make a shallow approach at dead slow ahead ideally so that if you put the engine astern it will bring the stern towards the other vessel. Be sure to have the windward or into the tide end of the boat ready to tie up first.

The big difference is that unlike docking- if no one is on the other boat to take a line, someone will need to go from your boat to the other one. This should be done at the shrouds! Your shroud and gunwale to theirs.

This will require excellent helmsmanship as ideally the boats should be 2-3 feet apart. The first line secured is the windward or into the tide end of your boat. Naturally, if the wind is blowing you into the parked boat- DO
NOT TIE UP! It will be almost impossible to bring the boats together gently.

Finally, I like to run the stern line from my primary winch as it is easier to bring the boats close using a winch.
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Old 20-09-2018, 10:08   #7
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

If they’re inexperienced with docking then can you trust them not to drive the boat the wrong way? If not then they need very explicit directions that can’t fail
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Old 20-09-2018, 10:16   #8
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

Single Handing 101.2 HOPPING OFF THE BOAT IS UNNECESSARY
Single handing & Bull Rails
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Old 20-09-2018, 10:40   #9
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

For pulling up to a gas dock or similar when solo, I set up a line in a big loop from an aft cleat to a cockpit winch, then lay the loop up and over the lifelines (outboard, so when the loop is tossed to the dock it leads fair). Head into dock slowly at about a 20deg angle, aiming just behind where you want the stern to end up. Now this looks a bit scary, but wait until the bow is about a foot from the dock and turn, drop into reverse and stop the boat (with a few practice tries) you should be right along side of the dock and stopped. Throw your looped aft line over a dock cleat, sheet it in on the winch (by hand), motor back in forward at idle, turn helm towards the dock to bring the bow in.

Tada! the boat is secure.

You may need to adjust the line a bit to get her square with the dock, but the panic is over and you're at your leisure to do so. Tie on the bow and spring lines as needed, then shut down the motor.

Dock hands usually look on with bewilderment at how easy this goes. No, don't let them help!?!, they know not what to do with the loop!
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Old 20-09-2018, 10:45   #10
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

Don't think I'd let someone inexperienced take over the helm. I single hand 99% of the time and I use a mid ship line that's tied to my toe rail. Bow and stern lines are cleated off and lead to mid-ship too- the widest part of the boat. I step off with the mid-ship line first, take a couple quick wraps around the cleat, and my boat is secured. Then it's easy to grab the bow and stern lines at mid-ship and tighten it up. If you're coming in slow, it's not a problem. BTW the only time I've hit a dock(so far...) was when someone was "helping" me dock, and they weren't paying attention. I kindly refuse any help now...
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Old 20-09-2018, 11:01   #11
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

No matter if the crew is experienced or not, having someone take a jump onto the dock is a bad idea.

Each of my dock lines has a loop in the end, with a 4 inch loop of small stuff threaded thru the weave. Make dropping the loop over a piling or cleat a piece of cake.

As has been said many times, once the spring line is on, all drama should be over.
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Old 20-09-2018, 11:52   #12
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete17C View Post
...Head into dock slowly at about a 20deg angle, aiming just behind where you want the stern to end up...wait until the bow is about a foot from the dock and turn, drop into reverse and stop the boat...Throw your looped aft line over a dock cleat, sheet it in on the winch (by hand), motor back in forward at idle, turn helm towards the dock to bring the bow in...
This is just crazy.

All you need is a center spring.
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Old 20-09-2018, 12:15   #13
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

I tell inexperienced crew to remain seated and keep their arms inside the boat.


I get lines organized and make a plan well before arriving.



I have a loop of nylon rope spliced to itself, and I use it as the first spring line. Using a loop makes it easier to get over a cleat without a boathook. I have a boathook but getting out creates clutter and requires an extra hand. I stay at the helm, get the spring line on, and use the engine to pull the boat alongside. Then I get the other lines on.


If I absolutely have to get a bow line on in order to warp in, because of the wind, there are various tricks. Usually I set up a line with an eye to go through a bow chock and then lead both ends back to the cockpit. I approach the desired cleat while at the cockpit and get the eye over it, reverse engine, then pull the bitter end of the line in to control the bow.



With inexperienced crew it is important to show calm confidence and avoid any fast moves since otherwise they will usually want to "help."


If you're trying to teach them stuff then that's another matter
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Old 20-09-2018, 12:27   #14
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
This is just crazy.

All you need is a center spring.
I get to stay right in the cockpit, at the helm. If shiat goes south, I'm where I need to be.
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Old 20-09-2018, 12:31   #15
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Re: docking w/ inexperienced crew?

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Originally Posted by Pete17C View Post
I get to stay right in the cockpit, at the helm. If shiat goes south, I'm where I need to be.
and after I've got the cleat looped, motor idling forward, helm to the dock, the boat will stay right there. I can get off and set bow and spring lines casually.
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