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Old 07-07-2016, 10:53   #61
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

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Originally Posted by brianc View Post
I'll add that while I've used this technique very successfully on several boats, on my boat I absolutely can not get it to work, so the OP may be in this situation, but maybe not, depends on the boat. I've tried attaching the spring every foot or so along the rail from the widest point to near the stern but unless the "spring" is basically a stern line the bow will always dive in toward the dock before the prop wash reaches the rudder to control the stern (saildrive, so it takes a few seconds for the prop wash to reach the rudder with enough force to have an effect) and at that point I'm basically attached so close to the stern that it's no longer a spring and the rest of the boat is free to run with the wind. I've confirmed this behavior at the dock with no initial momentum (spring at widest point to aft dock cleat, drop the bow and stern lines, idle forward, bow swings in before any prop wash reaches the rudder.)

Not my thread I know but I'd be open to any suggestions!

I've used a modified version with a midship spring with a loop in the middle to drop on the cleat and the tail end of the line running back to a stern cleat or winch so I can control the stern but I prefer the short midship breast line now because once it's attached I have control. It works because with the wind/current pushing the bow down, the stern is wide enough that it rests against the dock and the bow stops blowing off.

Anyway, my two cents if the OP ends up trying this technique and has the same problem.
You don't use the spring to actually stop the boat. Stop the boat with reverse just as the spring line is almost tight. Then gently use port helm and idle forward to snug the line and the prop wash on the rudder will move the stern in.

I like LOTS of big fenders but if you intentionally use my boat to bounce off on a regular basis I would get a little put out. This can usually be done without touching your neighbors boat.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:01   #62
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

I used a spring line from the stern to the next dock over where the stern does not want to go. That way, backing out, your line will keep the stern from going where you do not want it to go. ONce you are out of the slip, just drop your end of the line. Pick it up when you return.
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Old 07-07-2016, 11:23   #63
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First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

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Originally Posted by darylat8750 View Post
You don't use the spring to actually stop the boat. Stop the boat with reverse just as the spring line is almost tight. Then gently use port helm and idle forward to snug the line and the prop wash on the rudder will move the stern in.

Correct. The issue for me is the few seconds between the time that we're stopped with the spring barely taut and the time the prop wash hits the rudder with enough force to bring the stern in. During those few seconds the bow swings in and the stern out at least a few feet which may be too many (not for me now but has been with other neighbors...and like you said I don't want to rely on fenders and the neighbors boat to dock unscathed, we've been hit three times by neighbors docking, one resulting in a $5k repair.) This is the only saildrive boat I've docked and there is a definite difference in response time from the initial forward thrust to when the rudder 'grabs.'


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Old 07-07-2016, 12:26   #64
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

for docking, i use a cleat amidships and one on the dock just about where the amidships point will be when tied up. Just loop a line around the dock cleat, wrap around boat cleat, and you done. Tied that way, neither the bow nor stern can wander far.

Usually you can attach a simple screw down cleat to the dock. Does not have to be that secure(through bolted) to work.
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Old 07-07-2016, 14:28   #65
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

I'm assuming the main channel is on the right (starboard) in the drawing. With the wind coming from the same direction, why not back down the dock channel? The wind will help you out with this. Then with wind on the nose, turning into your slip becomes almost automatic. The wind will push your nose for you. You pretty much just control the speed (slow).

I am lucky in that I have a LOT of room to take a wide turn head first into my slip. Even if the wind was strong from the channel direction, I think I could almost circle back to head into the wind. I have also seen a few mid-sized sailboats with remote controlled trolling motors for close quarters work. Almost like using a bow thruster as it can be turned to extreme angles (in circles if need be).
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Old 07-07-2016, 14:40   #66
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

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Fenders up on your port side, let the wind blow you gently on to your neighbour. Walk over to your slip with a couple of lines, heave them to your boat, walk back, put lines onto a winch and a cleat, haul your boat across to your slip. No damage, no rush, sometimes the elements can't be beaten.


^^^what he said. I'd have a tough time leaving the helm, in tight quarters, while still moving.


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Old 07-07-2016, 15:19   #67
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

People keep making excuses for the OP claiming the mooring is somehow a difficult situation. Balogne. It's actually a easy spot according to the drawing. The OP just needs some thoughtful practice along with thinking the entire operation through in advance instead of plowing ahead.

Bouncing of his neighbor's boat as some have suggested is simply a boneheaded idea. Totally thoughtless and idiotic IMHO. How would you like some inconsiderate jerk doing that to your boat every weekend?

The OP did the right thing by steering clear and keeping it HIS problem and not involving his neighbor.
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Old 07-07-2016, 15:47   #68
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

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One more quick point. There's no shame in abandoning a docking attempt, I do it all the time. If something doesn't feel just perfect, I abandon the attempt head back out then try again. When I say back out of the situation, I mean head back into the main channel and start over.

I don't "damn the torpedos, full speed ahead," and crash into the dock. You should always have a fall back or bail out plan in place ahead of time.
I'm a rookie sailor but as a long time pilot, this great advice is always in the back of my mind. Pilots are taught the exact same thing about a bad landing approach.

I just have to remember forward from reverse. During my BCC class on our first 'x-country', I approached the dock in neutral a little too fast and tried to slow down by a quick blast in forward gear. Luckily, I found the right gear in the nick of time...
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Old 07-07-2016, 15:52   #69
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianc View Post
Correct. The issue for me is the few seconds between the time that we're stopped with the spring barely taut and the time the prop wash hits the rudder with enough force to bring the stern in. During those few seconds the bow swings in and the stern out at least a few feet which may be too many (not for me now but has been with other neighbors...and like you said I don't want to rely on fenders and the neighbors boat to dock unscathed, we've been hit three times by neighbors docking, one resulting in a $5k repair.) This is the only saildrive boat I've docked and there is a definite difference in response time from the initial forward thrust to when the rudder 'grabs.'


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Then you have not completely stopped the boat because it is the forward motion of the boat pulling on the spring line that is causing the bow to be pulled toward the dock. If the wind is trying to blow you forward an extra second or two of full throttle reverse (while swinging the wheel port so it is already full port when you are ready to shift to forward) should take care of it. This is where practice to find how much of what it takes to place the boat where you want it is priceless.
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Old 07-07-2016, 16:24   #70
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

Thanks for the advice and the kind (and not so kind) words everyone, too many people to reply to individually.

I've docked here dozens and dozens of times both solo and with another person with no incidents, I turn into the finger, hit reverse and then hop off and hand-bomb the boat into position. This was really the first time I've come in in super gusty weather pushing me off the dock while solo.

HOWEVER

I think this whole incident is a good wakeup call to improve and change my technique to make it more bullet proof - with an aim to getting the boat stabilised without having to hop off the boat.

so I am going to do the following:

- Install midship cleats somehow (maybe on toerail, as my toerail is really good, through-bolted aluminium)
- Put fenders on BOTH sides of the boat
- Get a spring line pre-cut to the correct length that I can attach to my midship cleat and then drop over either the midship dock cleat or the end dock cleat, depending on position.
- Use this spring line to stabilise the boat while I'm still at the helm
- Go to the customs dock that faces the same way as my finger and practice coming in when the wind is heavy off the dock with my new spring line.

As to always having an escape - I usually do (I am also a pilot), and I had been monitoring the wind as I came in. At the time the gust hit, I was already committed and wouldn't have been able to reverse direction without bouncing off the boat next to me or the fishing boats on the other side (especially with my prop walk pulling me towards the boat next to me.) That day there was a raft tied alongside the fishing boat behind me, leaving me only a gap of around 20 foot, so I was also terrified of getting stuck in a sideways position. Figured hitting the dock was the best out of all the bad options.
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Old 07-07-2016, 16:42   #71
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

I think you have the right idea. "Fly all the way to the end of the crash."

I would be very leary of jumping off the boat to secure it.
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Old 07-07-2016, 16:44   #72
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

You'll get it although, with your berth, it will always be challenging. I have the almost same position that you have except the cleats and separator are on port side and less space on port side too. With wind in my back, it's always complicated to make the turn without sliding/hitting against the separator (which is only 3 inches wide and flexible). It's nerve wrecking under that condition.

Good luck.

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Old 07-07-2016, 16:51   #73
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdx View Post
I'm a rookie sailor but as a long time pilot, this great advice is always in the back of my mind. Pilots are taught the exact same thing about a bad landing approach.

I just have to remember forward from reverse. During my BCC class on our first 'x-country', I approached the dock in neutral a little too fast and tried to slow down by a quick blast in forward gear. Luckily, I found the right gear in the nick of time...
I bet you know where reverse is now!
Nothing like learning on the job.
One thing you were doing correctly IMHO was COASTING in with gear in NEUTRAL & PREPARED to slow or stop with Rev. power.
Safer than powering in hot in most cases.
You learn to control the boat with rudder only as you approach.
You are concentrating solely on applying a shot or two of rev. to position the boat where you want.
After stopping,you may have to use fwd &/or rev to adjust this position a bit,but you will be using fwd/rev from a stopped position.
Much more forgiving reactions to throttle when a boat is stopped.IMHO
/ Len
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Old 07-07-2016, 18:27   #74
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alctel View Post
Thanks for the advice and the kind (and not so kind) words everyone, too many people to reply to individually.

I've docked here dozens and dozens of times both solo and with another person with no incidents, I turn into the finger, hit reverse and then hop off and hand-bomb the boat into position. This was really the first time I've come in in super gusty weather pushing me off the dock while solo.

HOWEVER

I think this whole incident is a good wakeup call to improve and change my technique to make it more bullet proof - with an aim to getting the boat stabilised without having to hop off the boat.

so I am going to do the following:

- Install midship cleats somehow (maybe on toerail, as my toerail is really good, through-bolted aluminium)
- Put fenders on BOTH sides of the boat
- Get a spring line pre-cut to the correct length that I can attach to my midship cleat and then drop over either the midship dock cleat or the end dock cleat, depending on position.
- Use this spring line to stabilise the boat while I'm still at the helm
- Go to the customs dock that faces the same way as my finger and practice coming in when the wind is heavy off the dock with my new spring line.

As to always having an escape - I usually do (I am also a pilot), and I had been monitoring the wind as I came in. At the time the gust hit, I was already committed and wouldn't have been able to reverse direction without bouncing off the boat next to me or the fishing boats on the other side (especially with my prop walk pulling me towards the boat next to me.) That day there was a raft tied alongside the fishing boat behind me, leaving me only a gap of around 20 foot, so I was also terrified of getting stuck in a sideways position. Figured hitting the dock was the best out of all the bad options.
Until you know precisely where your amidships cleat should be, simply use a good snatch block attached to the toerail, with the amidships spring line led back to a winch. Did this for years on a Hunter 33, the same vintage as yours, with the same problem. For the other end, it may make things easier to tie in a large loop that can be easily dropped over the cleat, by hand or with a boat hook. Good luck.
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Old 07-07-2016, 19:06   #75
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Re: First Collision... how could I have avoided this?

We did a ship cruise a few years ago and at several of the Greek islands the shore boats were provided by locals. All were single engine heavy displacement hulls. They would line up by the ship and often would back to the boarding platform when their turn came up. I noticed that none of those guys ever used idle in reverse. Big shot of power in reverse to get it moving. Shot of power to stop it. A couple of stops were in pretty challenging conditions for the small boats but it was fun (and a good learning experience ) to watch how they handled their boats. They got LOTS of practice!
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