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Old 14-07-2009, 19:48   #1
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Docking with Two People

Novice question. When pulling into a slip with only two people (27' sailboat) what is the (your) recommended way to tie up? In my sailing class we had three people and the sailing books i have barely cover this subject. One says to put two crewman at the bow when pulling into a slip... How about exiting? Thanks.

Edit: Why don't we assume no wind or current to keep it simple.
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Old 14-07-2009, 19:52   #2
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There are too many variables to answer with one question that will cover all the scenarios.

I generally put everyone onboard except for one person who lets the last line or two off and then steps onboard.
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Old 14-07-2009, 20:02   #3
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Hi Mow
Is this for pulling into a dock or a slip?
If a dock - have a line from the bow back to you at the stern fed through the lifelines at appropriate height and another bow line and a stern line ready Hook that first line over the bollard as you slowly come along side and that will limit your forward movement. The bow person with bow line ready should be at about the stays with line in hand to fend off if need be and to jump ashore to secure bow line. If you leave it in slow forward you can actually steer it alongsite while it is restrained by the line from the bow that you put onto the bollard initially. Is particularly useful if it is blowing a bit to help maintain control. In slow forward it will actually stay alongside without bow or stern lines - if you are picking up passengers for example.
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Old 14-07-2009, 20:05   #4
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Assuming you're docking bow first, I would have the crewman handle the bow. If you've got the tiller, you're already at the stern, so it's easy enough for you to take care of that.
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Old 14-07-2009, 20:14   #5
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I think of two as one more than I normally have. It is all about the midships spring line. Nobody has to jump, nobody pulls a line incorrenctly and slams the boat. Do a search of Capt. Jack Klang. He has written some great stuff for Quantum Sails and also done lots of training of dock hands in marinas around the country. Great advise, books, and DVD's if you want more.
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Old 14-07-2009, 20:28   #6
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Here's the way we do it. No dead or injured yet

I pilot the boat in while the Admiral stands in the cockpit with both bow and stern lines in her hands. If there is someone on the dock to assist, she hands the bow line off and steps off with the stern line which she then loops around a cleat to act as a brake should her sometimes errant Pilot need a bit of help. If there is no one to help, I attempt to have the boat at rest position with almost no headway so that she can walk off with the bow line and I, with the boat in neutral, walk off with the stern line. (Note: ensure the boat is in neutral before walking off. Trust me on this.)

To exit, we first remove the spring and off-dock bow lines. The rest depends on the wind. If the wind is pushing us off of the dock, and there is no help, we (she at the bow and me at the stern) simultaneously slip lines and I back her out of the slip. If the wind is pushing us onto the dock, she slips the bow while I am on the dock. I then slip the stern line and push off while coming aboard and giving a mighty(ish) push. She's armed with a boat pole to fend off if necessary while I back out.

Good luck. Nobody hurt and nothing broken, then it's a good landing.
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Old 14-07-2009, 20:38   #7
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Quote:
Why don't we assume no wind or current to keep it simple.
Because if it was like that you don't need two people. Any fool can dock a boat with no wind solo. The trick is it can be anything and suddenly it is different. You need to maintain way because at too slow a speed you can not control the bow of the boat. Sometimes in a crosswind you have to come in fast or miss the slip. You steer the boat based on the mind point of the boat not like a car where you make the front of the car go where you want.

If you are coming in fast I want a mid spring line first. That will slow the boat and make sure we don't go sailing through the dock leaving a path of destruction plus it pulls you toward the dock. At that point where you have a mid spring you have a window to secure the rest of the lines. A windward bow or stern line might be nice next.

The idea is you have a plan and you can do a little bit of anticipation. After 100 dockages you either have it or you won't ever get it. Anticipation is as much what the boat is going to do as it is what the other person will do. In many boats, the wife does the engine and the man does the lines. Others go the opposite. It's not an either or idea. You do what works and are ready to accept it might not be like you thought it would be then you take yes for an answer.

What if they fumble the spring line and you are going too fast? What if the wind shifts 100 degrees? It's the standard docking maneuver. You can't know everything before it is required for you to know it. There is no one way just the goal for completing the whole exercise and no one needs a doctor.
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Old 14-07-2009, 20:54   #8
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I take a 41 ft in and out of the slip all the time by my self, wind direction dictates how i take her in and out -
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Old 14-07-2009, 21:14   #9
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In and out of a slip - a well positioned springline, with the loop on the pier so you can grab it with the boathook - makes for a perfect landing every time.
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Old 14-07-2009, 21:35   #10
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Midship spring line

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdidit View Post
I think of two as one more than I normally have. It is all about the midships spring line. Nobody has to jump, nobody pulls a line incorrenctly and slams the boat. Do a search of Capt. Jack Klang. He has written some great stuff for Quantum Sails and also done lots of training of dock hands in marinas around the country. Great advise, books, and DVD's if you want more.
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 14-07-2009, 22:11   #11
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I think it's too situational to give any concrete suggestions. The wind direction, length of slip, turning ability, prop walk, crew competence, etc. all come into play.

A 27 -foot boat is fairly easy to man handle once you get it in. I think the first priority of the person not at the helm should be to make sure you don't hit anything - at least not too hard. With a short slip - that might be the main pier. A common mistake is for the first person to jump off and go forward toward the cleat, which leaves them in a poor position to stop the boat from moving forward if that's a concern. In some situations, fending off other boats, including having fenders out, may be a priority. Get into the slip without hitting anything and everything else will work itself out.
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Old 14-07-2009, 22:22   #12
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As Tomdidit said "two people is one more than I have" It is a matter of practice. This 44 foot motorsailer is a lot easier to dock than the 34 foot double ender I previously had. Twin screws and a bow thruster help, but I am also 20 years older. I used to find it an interesting challenge to back down a 300 ft dock to raft up to another boat close to the ramp. That was when I commercial fished. Now I have to come into an angled slip, do a 90 plus turn in a very tight space and back in. Fun. but no problem. It is all about practice, As the pretty young teacher said to the sailor "It gets easier with practice". LOL
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Old 15-07-2009, 06:25   #13
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Maybe i'll try one more time... I will be sailing with a relatively inexperienced crew person. Guess I'll have her put the fenders down and stand at the bow with a boat hook. If we back in i'll have her first get the bow lines then give me slack so i can get the stern lines tied off. If we pull in bow first we'll do it the same way. How does this sound? I'd like to keep it simple initially. Don't think I want her jumping off with a spring line.
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Old 15-07-2009, 06:47   #14
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mow2000 - There really shouldn't be any cause for jumping to the dock. Especially with a midships pick up. It's the beamiest part of the boat and should be nearest the dock when you are ready to step ashore.

Stepping off a 27 footer from midships should be no drama. You describe your mate as little experience. Let's go a step further and call her zero experience.

When solo I run the bow line to the cockpit and I step off with both lines - the boat is stopped and in neutral. I usually secure the stern with a quick hitch and then worry about the bow. We don't have a midships cleat.

The key in all docking IMHO is boat control. Tying the lines of is the easy part. To get your license here you have to dock a 16 foot runabout without touching the dock, the boat stopped within 1 arms length of the dock.

If conditions are such that you can't do it alone then you have to find somewhere else to dock. I know there are super sailors out there but there are some situations that are not workable.
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Old 15-07-2009, 06:50   #15
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As others have said,the midships spring is the most important line when coming alongside especially in poor conditions. Just snub it up tight and the boat wont go anywhere. You can worry about the bow and stern later.
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