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Old 26-03-2014, 12:45   #1
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Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

We just bought an Islander 36. We have it in a marina where the boats are packed in very tight with narrow passages down the dock. I've had no problem bringing the boat into the slip at the end of the day but I've had a lot of trouble leaving the slip.

I've tried to illustrate with the picture below the problem I'm having.

The last two times I tried slowly backing the boat out of the slip and pushing the bow off so that all I have to do is kick it into forward and motor out of the marina bow first. The problem I'm having is that as soon as the boat is turned broadside to the wind I get blown back into the slip sideways. From then we have to fend off as best we can and get moving forward.

I've pondered trying to back out but the boat doesn't back up well and I'm worried about trying to back completely out of the marina with that crosswind.

The marina manager suggested using a long line tied to the stern and with us on the dock, we push the boat out completely out of the slip, spin the stern around and pull it in stern first so we'll always be parked bow out. I think I'm going to try this next. It's one extra step but it will lead to a lot less anxiety at the beginning of our sails so that we can just motor right out.

Has anyone maneuvered a boat from the dock with long lines like this? Any other suggestions or ideas/
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Old 26-03-2014, 13:54   #2
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

The picture is very useful

Not a fan of moving the boat when I'm not on it.

Assuming you're backing out almost to the other side of the fairway before beginning your turn (i.e., don't stay close to your side so you can push the bow out manually), and assuming you can make the turn (maybe 3-point, 5-point, 37-point) and get into forward expeditiously, perhaps with a little oomph to kick the stern around before the wind pushes you back toward you own slip... looks to me like a normal departure method.

I would still investigate backing all the way out the fairway. Some boats will actually do it, once you get the hang of it. Sometimes it just needs a bit of momentum before you get steerage.

All that said, have you tried to dock stern-to? Depending on the direction of your prop walk, might not be all that difficult. Also, the wind may be helping you, in that direction. And then you'd be able to motor straight out.

-Chris


Especially if the boat won't steer in reverse.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:04   #3
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

Are you trying to turn out of the marina in one movement?

Another strategy would be to back straight out all the way towards the opposing piers, and then back-and-fill until you've made the turn, compensating for the wind with a little extra oomph during the relevant phase. I've used this sometimes in tight spaces, but don't enjoy it, especially with high wind.

How strong is the wind typically? In what direction is your prop-walk?

Even better question - can you trade slips with a boat on the opposite side? That's where I'd rather be!
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:36   #4
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

The prop walk kicks the stern to the left. The wind is generally between about 5 knots or lighter which is why I was surprised by how quickly we got pushed to leeward when we were broad side to it.

Yeah, I'm considering trying backing out next time I just get worried about getting pinned against the dock again while facing the wrong way. I think the long term solution will be putting it in the slip stern first and motoring straight out. I just need to find a simple solution on how to put it in there stern first every time from now on.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:38   #5
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

I think your marina manager is right. I have done it with my Tayana 37 so I can get out single handed. My prop walk is very strong and going out bow first makes it a lot less stressful.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:45   #6
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

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Originally Posted by Bluefuss View Post
I think your marina manager is right. I have done it with my Tayana 37 so I can get out single handed. My prop walk is very strong and going out bow first makes it a lot less stressful.
Ya, she told me to bring the boat in bow first like normal than attach a long line to the stern and get off the boat onto the dock, then push the boat back out, rotate the stern around and pull it in stern first. She made it sound like it was really easy but it sounded to me like it could get complicated really quick if it doesn't go as planned.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:55   #7
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

I do it with anyone I can find to handle a rope, sometimes 2 of us and sometimes 3. I was leery of the idea as my boat is full keeled and heavy, but the first time was so easy I have done it a number of times now with no problems. Nice thing is after coming in bow first you can pick your times for turning her.
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Old 26-03-2014, 14:58   #8
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

Going that route, it might be worth rigging some boards to lay over your fenders. If things go sour, you may be able to lay against your narrow finger pier and just slide your boat in without worrying too much about trying to match up to a fender or scraping. Of course, I've never tried this but I have seen the diagrams!
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Old 26-03-2014, 15:11   #9
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

Slugmaster,

Here's what I think would work: plan to back out of the "lane" towards the right in your picture. Hit it fairly hard in reverse, straight upwind, then as you get pretty close to the boats across the way, make your turn towards freedom. The breeze will blow your bow down, you'll already have some momentum, and that's your friend.

If you try backing in, starting from out in the fairway, and moving fairly fast, you may be able to back it in.

Failing that, with the wind blowing you in to the slip, I don't see how the dockmaster's trick will work. It is possible in totally still weather to do that, and we have. First, set up the lines so that if it works right you can tie her up how you like. Bow line ready on starboard side led outside and aft as far as it will go, or with a long enough line that someone can use it to control the bow once the boat is turned. (You may have to tie two lines together to get the necessary length.)

In your case, the stern line would be on the starboard cleat, led outside everything, and it should be a long enough line to reach you clear round the stern and up the port side by the bow (but you're on the dock), where you hold it. You walk the boat down enough to get some momentum, give the bow a big shove, and let it get a fair way away, then take up on the stern line and walk her back in.

Good luck with this.

Ann
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Old 26-03-2014, 15:20   #10
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

Quote:
Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
Going that route, it might be worth rigging some boards to lay over your fenders. If things go sour, you may be able to lay against your narrow finger pier and just slide your boat in without worrying too much about trying to match up to a fender or scraping. Of course, I've never tried this but I have seen the diagrams!
That's not a bad idea. I've already scratched the paint up pretty good with our last two attempts at leaving the slip.
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Old 26-03-2014, 15:23   #11
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Slugmaster,

Here's what I think would work: plan to back out of the "lane" towards the right in your picture. Hit it fairly hard in reverse, straight upwind, then as you get pretty close to the boats across the way, make your turn towards freedom. The breeze will blow your bow down, you'll already have some momentum, and that's your friend.

If you try backing in, starting from out in the fairway, and moving fairly fast, you may be able to back it in.

Failing that, with the wind blowing you in to the slip, I don't see how the dockmaster's trick will work. It is possible in totally still weather to do that, and we have. First, set up the lines so that if it works right you can tie her up how you like. Bow line ready on starboard side led outside and aft as far as it will go, or with a long enough line that someone can use it to control the bow once the boat is turned. (You may have to tie two lines together to get the necessary length.)

In your case, the stern line would be on the starboard cleat, led outside everything, and it should be a long enough line to reach you clear round the stern and up the port side by the bow (but you're on the dock), where you hold it. You walk the boat down enough to get some momentum, give the bow a big shove, and let it get a fair way away, then take up on the stern line and walk her back in.

Good luck with this.

Ann
Thanks Ann, ya the wind was my biggest concern if trying the spin move with the stern line.
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Old 26-03-2014, 15:36   #12
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

The google map photo really helps us understand. You say your stern goes left when you back.
I think others have already said this but I'd back with your rudder centered and get as close as you can to the boats on the other dock but at the last minute start turning your stern to the left as your prop walk wants to take you. Then, when you've got your boat pointing out the small channel get your rudder turned to go starboard ease it into gear and throttle gently because if you kick it in the pants the stern will want to swing starboard and make your boat fall off to port to the edge of the narrow channel. You won't be able to correct that swing until you get steerage. So throttle up to get forward steerage on in a hurry. Its going to be a tight spot until you get forward steerageway.
If you have five friends you trust get them to line the pier ends just in cas you lose it and practice about a dozen times until you get it down.
It appears that another couple of boats are stern to as the manager suggested but you should be able to get the hang of it.
Good luck. That does look like a tight marina.
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Old 26-03-2014, 15:52   #13
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlugmasterP View Post
Ya, she told me to bring the boat in bow first like normal than attach a long line to the stern and get off the boat onto the dock, then push the boat back out, rotate the stern around and pull it in stern first. She made it sound like it was really easy but it sounded to me like it could get complicated really quick if it doesn't go as planned.

Slug,
Your dockmaster's advice is absurd for these reasons: 1.) you do not have a small daysailor that is easily muscled against the wind/tide(sunfish,snipe, even a boat 20 feet or less,) 2.)
from a liability standpoint-- in a worst case scenario, how could you defend your actions in a legal suit when you have left the helm of your boat and relied on musclepower to dock your boat while damaging boats around you in the process? 3.) how comfortable will your neighbors be when executing this Scwarzeneggerian move? 4.) How comfortable would you feel when you're not on your boat and knowing there is a circus performer on the dock doing rope tricks with his boat? I don't mean this in a mean-spirited manner but rather as a call to reason. Sometimes, a slip is to small for a vessel to safely depart and dock in all conditions. From your photo, this certainly seems to be the case for a sailboat that has much more limited maneuverability than a power vessel. It's your boat and your reputation. If it is that difficult to safely depart, find another slip. Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 26-03-2014, 16:01   #14
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

You said the prop walk is to the left. You mean the stern pulls to port?
In that case it looks easy to back into the slip.

The trick is to go out and practice in astern and reverse around a mooring or bouy. Do some figue of 8s in reverse and really get the feel of the boat.

Then get a LONG runup so the boat is going in astern for 100 meters, this stabalises the damn thing and gets you at ease, then come in slowly but not too slowly.

Getting out will then be easy as you wont have to be stopped with the wind affecting you.

Everyone says their boats are horrible in astern, but most boats can be trained! So train the boat before yoy try it
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Old 26-03-2014, 16:04   #15
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Re: Leaving a slip in tight conditions with unfavorable wind

I know the feeling! I have a full keel and going astern is always a lottery but...I now go into my slip stern to...stress level reduced greatly. Look at the YouTube clip of the Maryland Sailing School - Sailboat Docking Techniques. There they demonstrate what they call a 'Waterman Turn'. This is so simple, I have no idea why I didn't think of it myself.
It has taken all the pressure off both leaving and returning to slip..the most stressful part of sailing!
Cheers,
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