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Old 04-12-2013, 11:55   #31
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

Kinda off topic but.... When I bought my boat I was unaccustomed to a full keel. My neighbor, a pilot, recommended "touch downs". So I motored over to a sparsely occupied section of the marina... backed in, out, docked, cast off, turned around, in, out... for a couple hours. Some folk thought I was nuts, some asked if I needed help, but I sure got comfortable with docking my new boat.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:41   #32
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

"Touch Downs" are basically what we did when we upgraded last summer from a Beneteau 331 to a B393. As we back into our slip, we wanted to get a feel of the prop-walk and wind effect on the bow. We have a no wake zone buoy at the edge of the marina. We practiced for about 30 minutes backing toward it from different angles and speeds in a 10 knot wind.

We quickly learned in a crosswind if we keep her idling in reverse we have good control but the bow quickly blows down when we go to neutral and the boat begins to slow.

This practice and knowledge allowed Suz to back into the slip without a scratch from day one.
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Old 04-12-2013, 13:02   #33
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

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Originally Posted by Mark Stillwell View Post
"Touch Downs" are basically what we did when we upgraded last summer from a Beneteau 331 to a B393. As we back into our slip, we wanted to get a feel of the prop-walk and wind effect on the bow. We have a no wake zone buoy at the edge of the marina. We practiced for about 30 minutes backing toward it from different angles and speeds in a 10 knot wind....
Yep. We can get some wicked strong current on the river so over time I practiced various scenarios. People often get surprised by the current in our Marina. NOT a good way to meet your neighbors
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Old 04-12-2013, 13:39   #34
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

It may have been mentioned but the side of the boat which goes to the dock is important I could hold my boat in position port side to for a while but give me a starboard side landing and strategys changed and had to be performed a faster in cross winds!
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Old 04-12-2013, 14:14   #35
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

We don't have an issue of port vs. starboard at the fuel/pump out dock as the pump out is on the starboard side.

Yes, strategy changes at the fuel/pump out dock depending on wind blowing to or away from the dock. Blowing to the dock Suz stops a couple of ft. from the dock and I step off as she settles to the dock. Blowing away from the dock, I step off as she slows and stops within a foot of the dock.

The dock is well protected and we don't pump out if the wind is more than 10 knots.

As we back into our slip, port vs. starboard is not an issue. We prefer to land on the port side, but can just as easily land on the starboard side of the slip if the wind blows us that way.
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Old 04-12-2013, 14:40   #36
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

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Do not ever lose steerage! You have to be moving. I tell my students to maintain at least 0.5 knots on a fin keel boat; probably at least 1.0 knots on a full keel boat. I lost steerage on a Dana 24 by going too slow - not pretty.

That is what a bowthurster is for.

I have come up against the dock so many times, its no big deal. I have dock bumber strips along the dock and 7 round ball fenders. One of the nice things about having a big old ugly trawler is a little more ugly is not noticed.
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Old 13-12-2013, 17:14   #37
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Re: Line handling/docking tips for crew

I like Jackdale's list. Here are a couple more ideas:

Thoroughly brief the crew on their responsibilties. Tell them how you intend to come into the dock -- "We'll come in port-side to. Our stern kicks to port when we reverse, so I'll bring our bow in close at first. When I call for it, hand over the midships spring , and ask the line handler to secure it. That will help stop the boat, bring us in toward the dock and when I reverse the motor, the stern will come in. Don't pass any lines from the bow or stern until we're within 2 feet of the dock."

Make sure the crew members understand that they are only to take orders from the skipper, not from the marina line-handler, even if the latter owns the place. Encourage them to give you information, such as distance laterally to the dock and from the bow to the end of the slip, clearly and calmly.

If the helmsman is good, it's rarely necessary to throw a line more than a couple of feet. 90% of the time, lines can be handed to the person on the dock. As Jackdale says, better to do this late (when the boat is fully in the slip) than early (when the line handler might pull and negate the helmsman's efforts).

If you must throw a line, here's how to do it: Flake the line on the deck, tying off the bitter end. Take enough line to reach the dock and coil it in big loops over the non-throwing arm. Take 3 coils off that arm and into the throwing hand. Drop one one coil from your hand, so there's a full coil of slack between the throwing hand and the arm holding the rest of the line. With a straight-arm overhand motion (think cricket bowler, not baseball pitcher), hurl the two remaining coils in hand to a spot on the dock next to the line handler (NOT AT HIM), then point the other arm toward the dock and let coils pull off as needed. I'm old and weak but can easily throw a 1" line 30 feet or so, using this technique.

And to paraphrase others in this thread, remind your crew that this is only a boat. No matter how much she is worth, she's not worth a crushed arm, lost finger, or even sprained back. A fender dangling from a crew's hand on a short line can save both boat and crew from damage.

If a non-moving boat needs to be moved by hand pressure, simply push gently and patiently. My boat weighs 40,000 pounds and I can easily push it sideways away from a dock; it just take awhile.
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