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Old 17-07-2014, 20:03   #1
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Docking with Everything Against You!

I have just moved to a Yacht Club where the boat is docked sort of Mediterranean style. (We moved from one city to another). That is, the two bow lines are led to a dock edge, one to each side, and the two stern lines are both led, one from each side, to a central (sort of !!) buoy behind the boat.


Most Skippers also run a "messenger" line from the stern buoy to the dock. The messenger line has a loop in it about 18" shorter than the stern lines from the buoy. It can run either run on the Port or Starboard side, although most Skippers have it on the Starboard side.


Boats are lined up one against the other, with only their fenders in between them.



Let's consider you are docked and want to go sailing. The prevailing wind is on your Starboard side, and the current is also pushing you to Port. Let's also assume your boat goes easily to Port in reverse. In sum, you have the wind, the current, and your prop walk ALL pushing you to port (where an adjacent boat may be or may be absent) when you want to leave.



Let's assume you have two people on the boat: First Mate at the Bow and the Skipper at the wheel at the stern.



The accepted practice when leaving is for the First Mate to undo the bow lines, but hold on to them, and tie the ends together in front of the forestay. The Skipper uses a boat hook to retrieve the messenger line from the water, and places it temporarily over the winch. He undoes the slack line, almost always the Starboard line, holds on to it, or ties it into the messenger loop, and then retrieves the port line, and moves it to the Starboard side to tie it into the loop. As soon as he has released the Port stern line, the boat moves to Port because of the wind and current. If he doesn't hurry, he will be almost riding on top of his neighbour's messenger line (and ropes if his neighbour is absent). He has to quickly put the boat into reverse, throw off the lines from the winch, shout to his first mate to throw the lines on the dock, turn the rudder full to starboard to counteract the prop walk, and if it's a calm day, he might be lucky not to get his neighbour's ropes around his props. So far, it's happened to me twice !


Returning is almost the same madness. Most Skippers drift down with the wind and current and turn when they are just beyond their buoy. The First Mate, at the bow with a boathook, retrieves the bow lines (hence the reason for them being tied together). The Skipper is controlling the boat speed, and angle of approach so as not to whack into the dock edge which is usually only about a foot from the bow. He is also busily retrieving the messenger line and the stern lines from the water with a boathook, all the time the wind and current blowing him away from them. One time I misjudged the speed of the boat, and we didn't get the bow to the dock in time, or get close enough to the messenger line to pick it up. Our neighbour was absent, so in no time, we were over his messenger line, and laying against the boat usually two away from us. Fortunately, I was able to rescue us and get back to our proper place.



I like to occasionally single hand. So far I've been too scared of the undocking/docking procedure to do it ! Anyone with any suggestions as to how to cope with the undocking and docking procedures ? I'd like to move to another marina across the river, where they have docks, but they have a lengthy waiting list ! I wonder why !!
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Old 17-07-2014, 23:30   #2
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Re: Docking with everything against you !

Maybe this will help.
How to Med Moor, Mediterranean Mooring Techniques €” Sailing in the Mediterranean

It may be best to double up your bow lines (or at least the up wind/current line) so they can be tensioned until you are well clear of the other boats. Then the crew member at the bow can slip the line and pull it on board while you continue to back out into the river.
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Old 18-07-2014, 01:11   #3
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Re: Docking with everything against you !

Is the offset of the stern buoy to the port or starboard of the centerline of your spot?
How far aft of the stern does it lie?
Are you allowed to use the upwind neighbors ball at all?

If you fall downwind of the stern ball is there still "theoretical" clearance for your boat to get by if it is straight?

I guess I am thinking, can I warp upwind stern and mid cleats to the stern ball and or my neighbors upwind stern ball.

There may be no practical way to do this single handed.

If the prevailing conditions are as you describe is it allowable to dock stern to? It would make getting away easier and prop walk would be on your side when berthing.

The issue here is the bow blowing down when beam on and backing in.

Do a you tube search for Mediterranean Mooring - Lots of stuff there to cogitate on.

This is tough but you should be able to work it out for a 31 foot boat.
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Old 18-07-2014, 01:26   #4
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Re: Docking with everything against you !

Quote:
Originally Posted by macbeth View Post

He undoes the slack line, almost always the Starboard line, holds on to it, or ties it into the messenger loop, and then retrieves the port line, and moves it to the Starboard side to tie it into the loop. As soon as he has released the Port stern line, the boat moves to Port because of the wind and current.
Sorry for the double post but I was rereading this over and over to work out the geometry. What if

1. Haul the port side line up tight, winching if necessary. Pay out the bow if practical.
2. Take out the slack from the starboard line and belay it on a starboard winch
3. Secure the messenger and port line to the starboard side
4. The stern will fall down the length of the starboard line but if you back against it leaving the ball to starboard you will effectively warp the stern off the ball.
6. the starboard bow is belayed as well, paid out as the boat backs down.
7. The moment of truth is when the stern is past the buoy - then it's cast off - depending on how far you've backed the rudder may be effective at this point and keep the bow clear is the issue.

(edit - In step 3 and 4 you could actually pay out the port line and manually "drift" the stern into position on the starboard side. Then you could pay out the starboard warp under control while backing.)

If you have room on the port side of the buoy, warping off the buoy on the Starboard side ensure your stern can't hit the downwind boat.
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Old 19-07-2014, 13:00   #5
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Re: Docking with Everything Against You!

If I understand you correctly, what you are suggesting is to forget about the port stern line and just get the starboard stern line to as close to the boat as possible, alongside if I can? The trouble with this is that in the time it would take me to put the starboard stern line into the loop of the messenger line, and tie it off, the stern of my boat has drifted, due to wind & current, to port, across my neighbour's messenger line. It's not so bad if he is there, although he is shorter than me, but bad news if he's not there.

I'm seriously considering forgetting about the messenger line for at least one of the lines, and just throw the remaining port or starboard stern line out of the way as I back out. If I put a weight on it half way down, it would sink quickly enough to get the line out of the way of the prop. I'd still be able, via the messenger line, to pull the buoy close enough to the boat on return to pick up the "thrown line" with a boat hook.

I think your idea of getting the starboard line to do the holding until the last minute is a good idea. The boat would have drifted away from the buoy, but not enough to foul my neighbour's lines, leaving me clear passage to back away.

For single handling, for the bow, I'd do as I did in my previous marina. That is have a short thin high strength line from the dock to the cleat on the deck, putting it through the centre hole in the cleat. The line would have a long loop in it, so the knot of the loop could not get jammed in the cleat. On the boat side of the cleat, I'd have a piece of dowel, with a hole drilled in it. A rope would be attached to the dowel, leading back to the cockpit. I'd put the dowel into the loop. This will hold the boat at the bow, and stop it it going to port ! Then, when I'm ready to go, I just pull on the rope attached to the piece of dowel. This idea worked very well at my previous marina.

Also to avoid problems coming back in, I'm thinking of just going right past me slip, then doing a 360 degree turn, and approach the slip from leeward, i.e. going INTO the wind and current.

What do you think ? Thanks for your responses by the way ! Obviously a complex situation for many !
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Old 19-07-2014, 13:05   #6
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Re: Docking with everything against you !

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Maybe this will help.
How to Med Moor, Mediterranean Mooring Techniques — Sailing in the Mediterranean

It may be best to double up your bow lines (or at least the up wind/current line) so they can be tensioned until you are well clear of the other boats. Then the crew member at the bow can slip the line and pull it on board while you continue to back out into the river.
Good idea for the up wind/current line when the First Mate is aboard ! Thanks.
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Old 19-07-2014, 16:38   #7
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Re: Docking with everything against you !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Is the offset of the stern buoy to the port or starboard of the centerline of your spot? TO PORT BY ABOUT 2 FEET IN CALM WEATHER, BUT ALSO DEPENDS ON CURRENT/WIND STRENGTH.
How far aft of the stern does it lie? 2 FEET WHEN DOCKED - TOO CLOSE, BUT IT TAKES AGES FOR THE MARINA STAFF TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS.
Are you allowed to use the upwind neighbors ball at all? THE UPWIND NEIGHBOUR NICELY SUGGESTED USING HIS BOAT WHEN UNDOCKING. I DID THIS BY PUTTING A DOUBLED UP LINE AROUND HIS MID-STANCHION WHEN UNDOCKING AND IT WORKED WELL. BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN HE'S OUT SAILING !!

If you fall downwind of the stern ball is there still "theoretical" clearance for your boat to get by if it is straight? BARELY !! LET'S SAY MY BUOY IS ALONGSIDE MT STARBOARD SIDE. MY STERN IS SAY 6 FEET WIDE. THEN THE PORT NEIGHBOUR'S BUOY IS ABOUT 3 FEET AWAY TO PORT, AND SIX FEET ASTERN. HE HAS LONG STERN LINES, ALSO HIS BOAT IS ABOUT 3 FEET SHORTER THAN MINE. GIVING THE WIND AND CURRENT, THIS IS LOTS OF TIME FOR ME TO DRIFT OVER HIS LINES ONCE I START GOING ASTERN. THE PREVIOUS OCCUPANTS, WHO I TALKED TO, SAID THAT ONCE THEY HAD SLIPPED THEIR LINES, THEY WENT LIKE HELL OUT OF THE SLIP. THAT'S NOT MY STYLE !

If the prevailing conditions are as you describe is it allowable to dock stern to? It would make getting away easier and prop walk would be on your side when berthing. YES, I COULD DO THAT, BUT IF SINGLE HANDLING, I MIGHT GET THE STERN IN THE RIGHT PLACE, BUT THE BOW WOULD HAVE BEEN BLOWN/CARRIED AWAY TO PORT AND ME AT THE STERN NOT ABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. THE BOW WOULD BE SURE TO GO OVER MY NEIGHBOUR'S MESSENGER LINE.

The issue here is the bow blowing down when beam on and backing in. AGREED

Do a you tube search for Mediterranean Mooring - Lots of stuff there to cogitate on. YES, BUT THEY TALK ABOUT REAL MEDITERRANEAN MOORING, NOT MY SCREWED UP VERSION OF DOING IT !


PLEASE SEE MY REPLIES ABOVE IN BOLD AND RED

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Old 22-07-2014, 18:30   #8
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Re: Docking with Everything Against You!

Went out today with two crew. Untied the stern-port line. Used a half hitch to tie it into the messenger loop. As I suspected, the boat moved smartly to port. Tied a weight into the starboard line. Held onto it and pulled on it until the buoy usually at the stern of the boat was on the starboard side of the boat. Had the person at the bow throw the slack line onto the dock, and ease the tight line at the bow until we were about 6 feet from the dock. At this point the stern was about parallel with the buoy belonging to the boat on my port side. Engaged engine in reverse, ordered the bow person to release the bow line, threw the messenger line and the line with a weight on it to starboard, and we reversed nicely out of the slip.

Returning was fairly easy, even with a heavy wind blowing. Did have to start the turn earlier than I normally would without any windward wind or current. The bow person picked up the windward line, and I picked up the messenger line. Retrieved both the line in the loop and the line with the weight in it. Secured all around.

Hurrah ! I think we have a basic system in place that will work ! No doubt it will get refined as time gets buy.

Thanks for the ideas presented. Even if I didn't implement them totally, they gave me food for thought which resulted in success !
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:38   #9
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Re: Docking with Everything Against You!

Excellent! Glad the starboard line idea worked out. Shortening all lines to the max before casting off seems like a good idea.
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Old 27-07-2014, 11:22   #10
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Re: Docking with Everything Against You!

Tried exiting with a line from mid-point of my boat to around stern stanchion of starboard boat. Eased starboard bow line to max. Pulled my boat back to starboard neighbour's boat. Had both stern lines in messenger loop in the water. They went to starboard. Threw bow line to shore. Released slowly the stern line. Worked perfectly.

Returning, I just aimed for his boat. Caught it with a boathook, and pulled us together and tied a line to him. Then did my lines. Worked great !

He's ok with me doing this, so that will be my preferred method until the day he's not there !
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