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Old 23-02-2018, 10:45   #1
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How to get off of a windward dock

2 days ago I broke a cardinal rule of docking. I approached a dock based on an easy landing instead of making my approach based on how to get off the dock. I was only going to be there for 2 hours.

Come time to leave, I'm single-handing my Nauticat 40, which has a lot of windage, and the wind is 12-15 knots from the port beam and I'm tied Starboard to the dock.

I've got lots going for me with this endeavor, including a powerful engine, a large prop, and a powerful bow thruster. The problem I encounter whenever I try and get off a dock like this is that if I try to turn to port, with the wheel or thruster, the Starboard quarter contacts the dock and pushes my bow back to Starboard and back into the dock.

I'm sure the answer is obvious, but for some reason I'm not seeing it. How do you get off a dock in this same situation (while single-handing)?

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Old 23-02-2018, 11:06   #2
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

You BACK out. The bow is skinnier than the transom. And if your boat has port prop walk in reverse, that's even more helpful. Use a midship spring line to maneuver the boat so the port stern starts sticking out.
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Old 23-02-2018, 11:11   #3
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

I should have mentioned that my boat prop walks in reverse to starboard. With the spring line, would you run it to a cleat on the dock, then back to the boat so it could be released?
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Old 23-02-2018, 11:13   #4
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
You BACK out. The bow is skinnier than the transom. And if your boat has port prop walk in reverse, that's even more helpful. Use a midship spring line to maneuver the boat so the port stern starts sticking out.


This is exactly right. Lots to learn and lots of practice will help. Don’t be afraid while you are learning. And use lots of fenders.
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Old 23-02-2018, 11:22   #5
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

Quote:
Originally Posted by Korvessa View Post
I should have mentioned that my boat prop walks in reverse to starboard. With the spring line, would you run it to a cleat on the dock, then back to the boat so it could be released?
You've never used a spring line?

Yes, like that. Bow aft to the dock and back again. Your biggest fender at the bow where it will contact the dock. Throw off all the lines except the spring; power forward with helm hard to stb. Which will swing the stern out against the wind. Then without wasting even a fraction of a second, put the helm all the over to port, and reverse without being shy with the power. Crew deals with the spring line, releasing it and getting it back on board in time. Bob's now officially your uncle.

You must reverse out in this situation, because you boat will reverse into the wind without blowing off. That won't work trying to go forward into the wind.

12 to 15 knots is nothing. Try this in 20 to 30!

I always go into a windward berth starboard to, because my prop kicks to port. It makes a BIG difference. Never go into a berth without understanding how you will get back out.
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Old 23-02-2018, 11:40   #6
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

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You've never used a spring line?

Yes, like that. Bow aft to the dock and back again. Your biggest fender at the bow where it will contact the dock. Throw off all the lines except the spring; power forward with helm hard to stb. Which will swing the stern out against the wind. Then without wasting even a fraction of a second, put the helm all the over to port, and reverse without being shy with the power. Crew deals with the spring line, releasing it and getting it back on board in time. Bob's now officially your uncle.

You must reverse out in this situation, because you boat will reverse into the wind without blowing off. That won't work trying to go forward into the wind.

12 to 15 knots is nothing. Try this in 20 to 30!

I always go into a windward berth starboard to, because my prop kicks to port. It makes a BIG difference. Never go into a berth without understanding how you will get back out.

I definitely made the mistake of not adequately planning my exit. It was a good lesson to re-learn.

I see the wisdom of backing out, fender on the bow, but I'm not sure it is possible while single-handing, and with prop walk against me. I'll certainly try it if I get myself stuck like that again, but do you think the above advice still holds for a single-hander?
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Old 23-02-2018, 12:11   #7
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

Can do single handed.

Run the spring line from the bow to the dock cleat attach to the dock cleat by making a bow line and leave a loop big enough to hook loosely over the aft horn of the dock cleat. Once the bow line is in place tie off the rest of the line with a fair amount of slack within reach at the helm. Idle the engines in gear to hold the boat tight on the line and against the dock. Remove all other lines.

As you reverse the bow line will slide off by itself or for some reason it hangs up you can shake it loose.

The line won't get tangled in your prop so you can just forget about it until you are free and clear.
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Old 23-02-2018, 12:13   #8
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

I see you are in Anacortes. All over the Salish Sea you are more likely to have "bull-rails" on the dock than cleats or pad eyes. Therefore, to add to what others have said, if you are single-handing, you can belay your spring to your cleat or samson post on the foredeck, run it out through the chock on your rail and thence under the bull-rail BEHIND one of it's stand-offs about opposite your helming position, then back to the bow chock (which effectively doubles the springline), thence along the deck back to the cockpit, where you make it fast temporarily.

When you are ready in all respects, you proceed as Dockhead describes, until you are at an angle of 45º or so to the dock. At the same moment you lay the helm over and pour the coal on in reverse, you slip the line at the cockpit. As the boat backs away, she'll pull the line through the chock and the bull-rail so it drops into the water and you are free of the dock.

You see the dangers in doing this!

1) You MUST be sure that the line will run clear. The eye-splices in boughten dock lines should IMO be removed. They are dangerous and unnecessary. In any event, for this particular maneuvre you will find that you need a line longer than the boughten ones usually are. So make one up and call it a "warping line". It needs to be a little longer than three times your length on deck. Even an end-splice (in 3-strand) can make this maneuvre impossible due to the risk of "hanging up". Mine has it's ends carefully whipped for that reason.

2) You MUST be certain that you have enuff room to back away long enuff to keep the line streaming out AHEAD of you so it doesn't get in the prop. Or anything else :-)! Do NOT make headway till the line is aboard! Once you are clear of the dock and you have enuff sea-room to drift on the wind (and allowing for the set of the tide) you can stop you screw and go forward to clear away the line.

When you are single-handing it is ABSOLUTELY essential that you KNOW with precision how long it takes to perform a given task, or complete a certain evolution. Only experience in the given boat will tell you that :-)

These kind of exotic evolutions are best practiced by a mooring can, rather than by a dock :-)!

TP
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Old 23-02-2018, 16:47   #9
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

This is the technique that I try to use IE

- Spring line from bow running aft to a cleat on the dock.
- Engine in forward with helm turned to point the bow into the dock.
- Once the stern springs out, reverse away from the dock until well clear then depart as appropriate.

However, I have a few problems in the implementation that I need to figure out.

1. My last two boats both had sharp, flared bows so as the stern swung out and the point of contact between boat and dock moved forward the rubrail would no longer be effective so I'm pivoting on fiberglass or the bow pulpit.

OR

2. Most of the docks and marinas in my part of the world have pilings so I may start pivoting on a piling but as the boat swings it puts the stem against the dock, more glass gouging. If I try to go farther forward on the piling I end up again with problem #1.

3. Relating to 1 and 2. If I place fenders in appropriate locations as I apply power the spring stretches and the fender is no longer protecting the boat.

With these issues I can accomplish the maneuver but the degree I can angle out the stern is very limited so the strength of the wind I can deal with similarly limited.

With the current boat the process is further complicated because the prop is very far forward so almost no prop wash hits the rudder so it's a little less effective swinging the stern out against the spring.

So any helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 23-02-2018, 16:58   #10
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

Have I been getting it wrong all these years? I always thought that if the wind was blowing from the port side and the dock was on the starboard side it was a leeward dock.
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Old 23-02-2018, 17:27   #11
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

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Have I been getting it wrong all these years? I always thought that if the wind was blowing from the port side and the dock was on the starboard side it was a leeward dock.
Well, you would be on the windward side of the dock but the dock would would be to leeward. If you were referring to a land it would be a lee shore.
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Old 23-02-2018, 20:03   #12
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

Given that you are single handed and you should assume like Murphy, that the wind will gust up just as you are committed, I would do it differently so that everything is within hand reach from the helm.

I would heavily fender my starboard aft quarter and stern.

Then run the bight of line around the dock cleat or rail near the aft 1/3rd of the boat.

Both ends run thru the aft fairlead and handy to the helm/throttle, so you can release when ready.

Remove all other lines and take easy strain astern so your bow wants to Warp out to Windward. Use thruster to assist a very slow and controlled swing out.

Small increments in Astern Propulsion if necessary while monitoring the fenders (keep a loose one handy)

When head to wind, idle ahead for space and carefully retrieve slip warping line.

Doesn't work with flimsy swim platforms or scoop, perfect with a canoe or rounded transom
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Old 23-02-2018, 20:32   #13
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

All the comments about using a spring line from the bow are right on the money.

I taught sailing professionally for a long time. One of the major challenges was students who seemed to think that using lines to maneuver the boat was "cheating" and somehow "not cool".

Quite the opposite. A really good seaman knows all the tricks on using lines to make a boat dance at the dock. Spring lines are a sailor's best friends in so many situations. If you don't know this, you really have a lot to learn.

My current boat has a powerful and effective bow thruster, that I love dearly. BUT I always set up my approach and departure from the dock with the assumption that it will NOT work.
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Old 23-02-2018, 20:40   #14
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

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Originally Posted by Korvessa View Post
2 days ago I broke a cardinal rule of docking. I approached a dock based on an easy landing instead of making my approach based on how to get off the dock. I was only going to be there for 2 hours.

Come time to leave, I'm single-handing my Nauticat 40, which has a lot of windage, and the wind is 12-15 knots from the port beam and I'm tied Starboard to the dock.

I've got lots going for me with this endeavor, including a powerful engine, a large prop, and a powerful bow thruster. The problem I encounter whenever I try and get off a dock like this is that if I try to turn to port, with the wheel or thruster, the Starboard quarter contacts the dock and pushes my bow back to Starboard and back into the dock.

I'm sure the answer is obvious, but for some reason I'm not seeing it. How do you get off a dock in this same situation (while single-handing)?

Korvessa
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Old 23-02-2018, 22:53   #15
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Re: How to get off of a windward dock

A while back I got this on my Kindle for fun.... it's a great refresher on all things sailing while singlehanded, including a bunch of stuff on docking alone with wind.

https://www.amazon.com/Stress-free-S.../dp/1472907434
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