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Old 15-07-2009, 06:20   #16
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your slip?

I think the number one question should be, is this about getting in/out of YOUR slip or a transient slip?

If yours, then it should have lines rigged to catch and hold the bow and all lines are attached at the dock, so just pull in and grab a line with your boat hook. On our boat nobody moves until we're tied up. Absolutely no one is jumping from the boat to the dock in order to catch and hold the boat. If so, then your slipo isn't rigged as well as it should/could be.

If a transient slip, there are way too many variables to even begin a discussion. Having said that, I believe a good technique is to learn how to lasso pilings.

Lots of fenders and
Practice, practice, practice....

Good luck....


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Old 15-07-2009, 06:28   #17
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if under power you may need to use the reverse gear to slow the boat down as it enters the slip .. assuming you aren't backing in. use the spring line to stop the boat but there may not be time or the crew might not be able to reach it cause there is always wind and current. go as SLOW as you can without loosing control. know about the prop walk which will turn your boat when power is applied in forward or reverse especially. if backing in you must use the prop walk to your advantage. NEVER put a part of your or your crew 's body between the dock and the boat. always approach the dock at the speed at which you wish to hit it.

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Old 15-07-2009, 06:40   #18
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I keep a no jumping rule. They should just step off. They should know where the cleat is. If they calmly step off holding the end of the line and walk to the cleat and tie the hitch it's a done deal. Running and jumping are just too dangerous. It means you have prepared the lines and fenders early and go over the plan based on the conditions. Allow time to explain things and verify crew are indeed ready.

Everyone has a role to play and you have to do your part and not expect heroic actions by crew. Injuries from docking tend to be on the ugly side and the crew usually are the victims. Smashed fingers, some really nice giant pylon splinters impregnated with arsenic and a host of other grizzly things. Should the cross winds force a faster entrance into the slip to maintain steerage make sure the crew understand they have to wait for you to slow just before they can step off. Make sure they don't reach for pylons until it's time.

Large boats going slow don't stop because you put your arm out and new people don't appreciate how much force is in a boat moving slow. It's how they get injured. They get anxious to be quick and then fail to be effective. The over confident crew member can be the most dangerous.
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Old 15-07-2009, 06:56   #19
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Spring line and drive into it. Leave it in gear and turn the transom into the dock then fix your other lines.
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Old 15-07-2009, 07:04   #20
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I use different slips all the time, but do have a permanent slip.

Permanent slip: lines, EXCEPT MIDSHIPS, are left on the dock. Before entering marina I rig my midships line outside the lifelines and to the stern. I have it marked in two places, the first for the piling I want to drop it over, the second for the cleat in case I miss the piling. I enter the slip at whatever speed I need dependent on the weather. Hopefully slow, but sometimes hot when a hard crosswind. As I pass the boats center point in my own slip I go to reverse slow to slow, not stop, the boat. I drop the line over the piling and use it to slow the boat while shifting back to neutral. As the boat slows I put the boat back into slow forward, snub the line at the proper mark, the boat pulls to the dock and the slow forward keeps her there while I step off the STOPPED boat and secure first the bow lines because my mark stops me a foot from the end of the slip and they are easy to secure. I then take the boat out of gear , pull her ( or reverse her in a stiff stern breeze) to the dock with the cleated midships line and set the stern line. After that it depends on your slip.

I do have the advantage of a port dock and port prop walk, but use the same practice in transient slips whether port or starboard tie. However,I do request port tie slips when they are available because you have more room for error when you can use the reverse port prop walk that is slowing you to also pull you closer to the dock. In the case of the starboard tie I just have to use less reverse and come in a little closer.

I never put fenders down since ripping off a lifeline with one once. Also cut the fender in that incident and ruined it. Also, I never step off a moving boat and do not allow crew or guests to do so either. I cannot think of a situation where it should be allowed. A 27 foot 5000 pound boat, or a 40 foot 20,000 pound boat are not going to stop because of a 150 or 300 pound person wants them to. However, they can crush ankles, arms, fingers, necks, etc. easily.

Two incidents I witnessed with people jumping. The first: Gentleman ( not so gentle) with his new 36' powerboat coming slowly onto a wall. He thinks that it is time for his wife to jump to the wall to control the boat ( with a bow line no less) and starts yelling to her to JUMP! She looks at him with one of those deer in a headlights looks, he keeps YELLING to her to jump. Finally, after a bit more yelling she jumps, is too far from the wall to make it, and falls into the cold spring water. She held onto the line, used it while getting her bearings and finding a ladder. She climbed out of the water, shook herself off, flipped off her husband, walked toward the parking lot, and has never been seen at the marina again. That boat did not get much use and was sold.
The second was an experienced crew that just needed to get somewhere quickly for some reason. He leaped to the dock as they were coming in, slipped on a wet spot, hit his head on a cleat, and ended in the water in the adjacent slip. They pulled him out, he had a concussion, but I don't remember anyone on that boat ever jumping again.

So, to the original poster, it really depends on how much you like this companion. If you really like them, then practice ther mid ships cleat spring line and impress them with your seamanship. If you want to dump them, yell JUMP!
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Old 15-07-2009, 08:29   #21
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I agree with Pblais... never ever condone jumping to the dock if the skipper didnt get close enough. A person can be easily crushed between the boat and the dock, as well as tripping on the toerail or etc and doing a "face plant" on the edge of the dock. It IS all about wind and current. Downwind or with the current, have the crew tie the stern first. Into the wind or against the current the bow. Adjust the plan to the conditions. The advice above to have the crew with both lines in each hand for arrival is good. make the decision at the last minute if necessary.
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Old 15-07-2009, 08:55   #22
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I just sent these instructions to my mate. Any suggested amendments?

"For pulling into a slip your duty will be to drop the fenders (which will already be attached to the lifelines), grab the boathook and go to the bow.

If we pull in bow first then make sure we don't bump into the dock. Once we've stopped then grab each line from the dock using the boathook if needed. Hold the lines. I will back up and grab each stern line from the pilings and secure them. Then you can secure the bow lines.

If there are no lines already in the slip then we'll pull up to the side of the slip. Grab a line attached to a bow cleat and step off onto the slip. Walk up the slip to the bow and hold the line. I'll secure the stern lines. Then secure both bow lines.

For pulling into a slip stern-first it will be similar. Get both bow lines from the pilings and hold them. Or loop our lines over each piling then hold them while I secure the stern."
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Old 15-07-2009, 09:37   #23
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Very funny.. I got this note back from my mate (she's been reading a book called "The Perfect First Mate"):

"I've been reading about docking and my responsibilities. Apparently, you will likely curse and scream and say unimaginable things to me during this process and I should do my best not to take it personally. I guess docking a boat is to men what transitional labor is to women."
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Old 15-07-2009, 11:28   #24
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Docking with only two

My wife and I completed ASA 118 Docking Endorsement this week. We specifically asked for the class to be taught so we could learn to dock with just the two of us. We learned using the method Ziggy describes.

We always stepped to the dock under full control. If jumping would be required, abort the docking and try again. If your only crew member falls between the dock and the boat, you'll be in a very bad situation.

The job of the crew is to secure the boat at midships. Once that is done, the helmsman usually secures the bow and stern.

Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
While I haven't seen Capt Klang's writings, I second this suggestion. You can approach the dock slowly (steerageway only) at 45 degree angle, aiming at the point where you want your beamiest point to end up. When your bow is about a foot or two from the dock, turn the rudder away from the dock (tiller towards it) to bring the boat alongside. Your crew, who was waiting with the line from the midship cleat in hand, steps onto the dock and takes a turn around a convenient dock cleat, stopping the forward motion of the boat. As the boat stops, the spring line pulls it closer to the dock, without pulling the bow in. At this point you can step onto the dock and tie off the bow and stern lines. Variants of this basic approach work in most wind and current conditions.
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Old 15-07-2009, 12:03   #25
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Originally Posted by mow2000 View Post
Very funny.. I got this note back from my mate (she's been reading a book called "The Perfect First Mate"):

"I've been reading about docking and my responsibilities. Apparently, you will likely curse and scream and say unimaginable things to me during this process and I should do my best not to take it personally. I guess docking a boat is to men what transitional labor is to women."
This is funny, its usually the other way around for us, I am yelling at him.
SLOW DOWN! Put it in Neutral! Get Closer!

We are still Noobs...

Its was a learning experience for us and we get better every time. Now we have returning to our slip down to an art.

While docking at a transient dock I am in the cockpit, I have the bowline, the sternline and a boat hook ...I can grab the cleat on the dock with the hook and pull us in close enough to step off and tie the lines.

Practice Practice Practice.

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Old 15-07-2009, 12:17   #26
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"Very funny.. I got this note back from my mate ..." Yep she's got it down already!

Ziggy's description is very nice. One caveat, up here in the Northwest and other places as well, you might have a 5 knot current running through the marina. If it's running away from the dockside you are on, A spring line will allow the boat to immediately move away from the dock the length of the line. In this situation you almost have to get a bow and stern on very quickly or you will have a boat tied to a dock perpendicular and immoveable against the current!
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Old 25-07-2009, 11:23   #27
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Docking and general crew safety.

Good for you on trying to establish docking guidelines for the First Mate. As we dock in different places under various conditions, I try to teach principles (eg; use of a spring line) rather than specific procedures. I then talk through the specifics as we make our 'drive by' prior to the final approach, be it dock or mooring or anchorage. I once had to find a clinic in the BVI's to stitch up a finger that the First Mate allowed to be caught between mooring line and cleat. She could have lost that finger. That experience led me to become more conscientious in crew briefings. While our boat was in charter and we often brought inexperienced guests aboard, I developed a humorous little briefing book that I emailed to them in advance of their coming aboard. Here is an excerpt from the chapter on safety (not as humorous as the rest of the book):

Safe Sailing

OK, that's a bit about how we do things aboard ship, but before we cast off, we need to talk about a few important safety items. While this will be a fun ship, there are a few things aboard that can really hurt. Let's take notice so that the skipper doesn't have to stitch anybody up.

Life Preservers don't have to be worn unless you feel like it or if the skipper issues that order due to sea conditions. But you must know where they are and keep them easy to grab. On JAMU they are under the salon table seat nearest the door to the cockpit. Life preservers should always be worn or brought along when going exploring in the dingy or kayak.

Hatches and Ports (those windows in the deck and on the side of the hull) should be closed before getting underway. An open hatch or port is an invitation for spray to soak your bed, or it can snag sheets while tacking, and Crew can step through an open hatch while moving about on deck.

The Boom (that long arm at the bottom of the mainsail) can knock your head off if it swings across in a tack or jibe. No joke, it can kill you. Always control the boom by sheeting in the main before jibing, and watch that no crew is standing where the boom could strike them.

Sheets are actually the ropes that control the sails, not those damp things on your bed. Halyards are the ropes that raise the sails. These ropes can be under a big load, and can whip or pinch. Make sure that these are clear to run and watch your fingers when using the winches to ‘haul in the sheet’.

Mooring Lines tie the boat to the dock or to a mooring ball. JAMU displaces over 19,000 lbs, (before you all came aboard) and can be pretty hard to stop when she is moving. Any fingers caught between a mooring line and the boat are likely to be severed. Any body part caught between the boat and the dock can be crushed. Always get a wrap on a cleat to control the mooring line and always keep your fingers clear.

The Galley Stove burns propane, which comes from a tank in the transom seat locker. The solenoid shut-off valve is opened by a switch on the electrical panel above the chart table. This must be turned off whenever not using the stove. A propane leak could turn this boat into a bomb.

Fire Extinguishers are located in the galley, the staterooms and under the navigation desk. All Crew should be familiar with how to use them. This is one time that you don't have to ask the skipper, just shout FIRE and use the extinguisher immediately if you notice a fire. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire and hose it thoroughly.

Snorkeling requires just a few precautions to be a safe activity. Always use the diver flag so that you are more visible to any boats entering the area. Always snorkel or dive with a buddy and keep sight of each other.

Man Overboard is obvious; someone fell off of the yacht while underway! (see section on guys 'pumping bilge') This is a critical situation, as even in moderate seas it is easy to lose sight of the person in the water. If someone falls overboard while the boat is under way, shout out to the helmsman, “MAN OVERBOARD” and assign one adult to keep his/her eyes focused on and arm pointing at the MOB at all times. Throw the ring buoy, a life jacket, or seat cushions immediately toward the MOB. The helmsman should stop the boat as quickly as safely possible, turn the yacht 180 degrees (always know your compass course) to return to the MOB.

Picking up the MOB can be very difficult if the person is unable to help himself. Maneuver the boat such that the MOB is alongside, not at the stern, and rig a sling to lift him over the side. Use the main or spinnaker halyard and winch to hoist the MOB up.

Propellers can be fouled by sailing or motoring over a crab trap, a mooring line or more commonly, the dingy painter. If this happens, put the engine into neutral and shut it down immediately. If possible, secure the boat on a mooring or at anchor before trying to clear the prop. Never allow the boat to be held against wind or current by a line on a prop, as this could pull the shaft out of the boat and lead to sinking. Diving on the prop to clear a line can be very dangerous in anything but calm water, and should be done only by a good swimmer with a constant lookout standing by on deck or in the dingy.

Grounding is always a possibility, and anything but the softest touch on sand can cause damage to the boat. The best prevention against grounding is careful attention to the depth sounder and chartplotter, a sharp eye scanning the water and a crew with polarized sunglasses posted on the bow whenever approaching a reef. Do not use the autopilot inshore of the reef, it can mindlessly drive the boat right ashore unless constantly attended. Never approach a reef within two hours of sunset, as the sun is too low for good visibility. Good anchoring practices, discussed in Chapter 3, will hopefully prevent a bump in the night.

The VHF Radio

The VHF is our link to other boats, and help if we need it. It should be turned on and monitored on Channel 16 or whichever channel the local authorities monitor. In Belize, this is channel ____. All Crew should know how to transmit and respond. To call a station (the base or another boat), press the transmit button and speak the name of the station or boat you are calling up to three times, followed by the name of your boat, for example; “Moorings Base, Moorings Base, this is JAMU” Next, release the button and listen. If there is no answer, you can repeat the call in two minutes.

Channel 16 or the local calling channel is not to be used for extended conversation. After making contact with the desired party, ask them to switch to another channel to continue the conversation. "Base, this is Jamu, please switch to 72". When the conversation is over, clear the channel and switch back to channel 16. "Jamu clear, switching to channel 16"

Sometimes the voice isn’t very clear over a radio, so if you want to ensure that the other party understands a bit of critical information, you can spell it out using the phonetic alphabet.

The Phonetic Alphabet

A – Alpha F - Fox-trot K – Kilo P – Papa U - Uniform
B – Bravo G - Golf L – Lima Q – Quebec V - Victor
C – Charlie H – Hotel M – Mike R – Romeo W - Whiskey
D – Delta I – India N - November S – Sierra X - X-ray
E – Echo J – Juliet O – Oscar T – Tango Y - Yankee
Z – Zulu

1 – wun 3 – tree 5 - fife 7 - seven 9 - nin er
2 – too 4 - fow er 6 - six 8 - ait 0 - zero

Emergency Radio Calls are internationally recognized as follows:

MAYDAY repeated three times indicates immediate peril and risk to human life.

PAN-PAN is for conditions of emergency falling below the threshold of immediate risk to human life.

SECURITE is the third, and lowest, level of emergency call and is used to announce the presence of a navigational risk.

A MAYDAY call should be made as follows:

THIS IS JAMU (repeat 3 times)
OUR POSITION IS: Latitude Longitude
or nm (N,S,E,W) of .
Safe Sailing,
JamuJoe - Durango, CO
S/V JAMU - Western Caribbean
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Old 25-07-2009, 16:02   #28
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What do most of the singlehanders do?

With an extra crew, I like the idea of leaving a fixed spring line on the dock, and picking it up with a boathook.
However, this requires a crew at / near midships, and would therefore be hard when singlehanding.

I am not that experienced, but have been using the spring line method this year, but instead of leaving the fixed spring line on the dock, to pick up with a boathook.. we leave the fixed (measured length ) spring line on the boat (tied midships) and lead back to the cockpit. We then use a boathook to drop the spring line (with a loop in the end) over the 1st cleat that we pass on the dock ( at the end).

This has worked well to halt forward travel, and with the engine in fwd, and wheel cut away from the dock, it will hold the boat to the dock, until we get the other lines on.

The only time we have trouble with it is if we miss the cleat (which requires a quick , hard reverse, to stop the boat, or if the wind and current is extremely strong away from the dock. In this case, the boat still is hard to keep close to the dock, in order to get the other lines on.

Lately, I have been tying another (makeshift) stern line to the spring line loop (that goes on the cleat), so that when we drop the one loop on, we get both a spring line, and a stern line, which I can quickly pull in with the closest cockpit winch (just ine wrap, by hand, not using a winch handle or anything).

This has worked well so far, to stop the boat, and keep the stern in. I / We then leave it in fwd, with the wheel cut away, to keep pressure on the spring line, so we can step off and secure the bow, and other spring line. I then cleat off the makeshift stern line properly, as well.

Like most of us, I appreciate any feedback / advice more experienced sailors have to offer!!
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Old 25-07-2009, 17:53   #29
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Nice Briefing...

Nice briefing JamuJoe.

I do hope you are not claiming copyright on it.
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Old 27-07-2009, 15:53   #30
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Not at all - there is nothing new here. I hope someone finds it useful.

Safe Sailing,
JamuJoe - Durango, CO
S/V JAMU - Western Caribbean
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