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Old 03-11-2008, 01:12   #16
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If you don't have a rub rail/strake, look into making yourself a fender board (s).
Thomas that is an excellent idea. Thanks. I never thought of that. I found this link.

Making Your Own Fender Boards in 2 Easy Steps

Scotty thank you for the center line idea.

Paul
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:24   #17
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I once had a commercial boat that couldn't be controlled in reverse. In the beginning I would look for easy targets while docking. Once I realised that I should forget trying to control the boat while backing but just use reverse to get momentum and forward gear to swing the ass end life became easier. My method was to get momentum and use short burst of forward with the corresponding rudder control to swing the aft where I wanted it. After some practice I enjoyed the challenge of chosing the slip furthest down the dock and thread the vessel through the maze of boats while backing down. All you need is practice.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:32   #18
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I unfortunately do not have enough experience as my sailing boat reverses correctly. However my suggestion would be to practise reversing in an open space. Get comfortable and then try reversing single-handed.

As other people said, having crew is the best solution, and use a lot of fenders.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:02   #19
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My slip is exactly as in your diagram, except the neighboring boats extend beyond the poles so I cannot use them to pivot. On each side, I have a stern line connected to cleats on the dock, and midship lines connected to the pilings. These two are connected together by a light polypropylene line. In addition, I have bow lines connected to the pilings. I back down the entire fairway since I find the boat steers well once it gets moving. Hard reverse while nothing is around allows you to idle or even be in neutral while in the fairway, and the rudder steers the boat as if in forward. Still keeping the momentum up, I steer into the slip with fenders set to leeward and favor the windward side. If the wind catches you on your approach it's no problem to hit forward and start over again. I grab the poly-line floating alongside with a boat hook and just drape the lines over the windward cleats. Final tie-up can wait, this is just to keep me off the leeward boat. I've done it single-handed, but it can get a little hectic. With one crewmember the whole thing is pretty relaxed. Oh yeah, don't forget a hard shot of forward once you're all the way in to stop your reversing. I started out by backing around the empty mooring field, using the balls to simulate pilings.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:48   #20
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Hi Paul,
If the marina has no objections to you running wires from both piles to the floating dock - you can set up a simple system to use.
We have used this set up in past marinas and it works exceptionally well not just when shorthanded, but also in any form of blow.
Rig those two wire lines tightly between pile and dock using rigging toggles.
Running between the two wires have a crossing line parallel with the dock - but with blocks each end attaching that crossing line to the two wires.
Have two stoppers on each side wire, so this crossing line will prevent your boat to reverse all the way in and ram the dock.
At the right distance on the crossing line - decided by the placement of one of your most easily reached stern cleats - have a loop built into the line.
Have regular mooring lines to both piles and the dock.
When you depart the dock cast off all regular mooring lines but tow this crossing line out to the pile end of the berth. amd leave it there running across the berth.
When you come back in, simply reverse in and picking up this loop, drop it over the cleat, and continue reversing as you go forward to pick up your bow lines off the pile with a boat hook.
The cross wire will keep your stern correctly located from side to side, and the stopping fixtures will prevent you ramming the jetty.
This set up works even better if you go in forward - drop the cross line over the bow cleat and then pick up the stern lines from the piles at the boat comes to a halt.
Hope this is clear enough for you to understand how it can work. Good luck.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:50   #21
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Only just read PJ's suggestion which seems has beat my own for posting! Apologies for any duplication.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:28   #22
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There is a common theme here and something I have noticed.

Many people steering a boat under power think that it is "required" to have the boat in gear.

When reversing - in our out - I use the engine to get the boat moving, and then go to neutral.

I thnk someone else said that the right speed is when you are bored. I've been using that line lately.

Tide & wind conditions can change what you need to do but if the back end walks significantly, learn how much to angle off, give a healthy dose of astern to get the boat moving at about walking pace or less and then drift in. A simple "in gear-out of gear" action can maintain the momentum if you think you will run out.
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Old 04-11-2008, 03:37   #23
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As Dan said, the best speed to approach a dock is the very slowest speed which still allows you to maneuver the boat. When in doubt, err towards the slower side.

On many boats, even dead slow idle may produce more speed than is required under moderate conditions of wind & current.
For the most part, you won't need to touch the throttles; as you control your speed by moving the shifter in and out of gear.

Remember; boats in motion have momentum: once in motion, they tend to continue in motion, and once turning, they tend to continue to turn.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:31   #24
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Practice, practice, practice

I have worked with a number of people who have trouble backing their boats helping them to gain confidence. Most people have owned their boats for some time but never really put their time in getting the hang of it. They try it, it doesn't work and so they use alternatives and never really learn.

All I want to do is go sailing but at the start of our season I spend 20 to 30 minutes refreshing spins and backing. My advice is to take the wonderful boat handling advice about how to move astern and go give it 2-3 hours work.

For my wife we dropped our dink off in the bay outside our marina and she spent an hour or so practicing and could back in figure 8's around the dink from a dead stop. I had her stand in front of the wheel and face the stern - sometimes helpful.

My two bits. Slow is a great speed to use when docking. Prop walk will always trump the rudder until you have a good bite on the rudder. Position your stern before using reverse so that the initial propwalk helps you line up. When you go to neutral propwalk instantly vanishes. Practice your spins so you have confidence positioning your boat in tight quarters. Relax.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:05   #25
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Originally Posted by Chuck Baier View Post
Paul, The problem is that even if you do all of the reading and you have no experience docking the boat you are looking at a crap shoot. You may do well and you may not. Only trial and error on a boat will answer your questions. I strongly suggest for your neighbors sake that you find someone experienced and have them do the docking with you.
Best advice here in my opinion Chuck!

You really should find a hammerhead dock or some other place where no boats are around and practice backing and going forward and stopping. Sailboats don't stop going forward just because you reverse the prop. The bow swings right or left compounding your docking problem but you will likely still be making forward way.

I singlehand my 44 CSY all the time. I singlehanded every boat I have ever owned. A significant number. Even after many years of this I still have an occasional awesh*t.
Putting out several fenders on the other boats might be ok but when you hit a fender end on it just pushes out of the way. You'll still scrape the boat on impact.

Whatever you decide to do go very very slow. Have your lines ready at every cleat and don't get anxious and forget to shift into neutral when you really want to be stopped. More than one singlehander has left the helm with the engine still idling ahead or astern.

Good luck
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Old 13-11-2008, 03:53   #26
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Old 13-11-2008, 05:07   #27
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When back use thrusts as opposed to trying to move at low rpms. Bursts give you momentum and then you can steer. You need to have some way on to maneuver.
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