For what it's worth, I offer the following aid and method for single
a sailboat in the 30' to 40' length range. It cost me under $10.00 to make.
This is for docking
at a continuous slip/dock with cleats
at the front, middle, and back, i.e. this is not for pilings (although I guess you could use it for placing lines over the top of pilings). The slip level should be lower or at the same approximate level as your gunnel.
The aid itself is composed of 12' of 1" diameter electrical
conduit with caps at each end (so it will float if you drop it in the water
!) At one end insert a hook that has screw threads, of size enough to hold a 3/4" line. I couldn't find a hook with a machine screw thread on it, so I purchased an eye long enough to go through the pipe with a nut at the top and bottom, and the guy in the store kindly cut the round eye where I specified so that it became a "hook".
Drill a hole right through the conduit of sufficient diameter to take the "hook". Thread a loctite nut on the thread of the "hook". I threaded it on normally, until I'd cut the plastic, then took it off and reversed it. Screw it all the way to the top of the "hook's" thread. Put the "hook" into the drilled hole, and then thread on another loctite nut until the "hook" is firmly held and pointing FORWARDS. i.e. in operation, you are going to put the docking line in/onto the "hook" and push it forwards over the top of the middle cleat in the dock
You also need a length of line attached to the centre cleat of your boat, or to an eye on the gunnel rail or a stanchion. Make a loop of about 9' and then bring it back to your boat about 4' aft of your centre cleat, threading it through a fairlead (your distances will vary depending on your boat). Run the bitter end of the line down aft to your foresail sheet winch
and bring it back to near your centre cleat. Leave the bitter end loose on the deck
. Prepare this and have the pipe conduit all hooked up to the line before you reach the dock
. Be careful the docking line doesn't get tangled up with any fenders !
Now, in actuality, you are approaching the dock: when the nose is at the end of the dock, turn the wheel
away from the dock, engine
in neutral, but still with some slight forward motion on the boat. Walk to centre point of boat, pick up the conduit and place the line behind the dock's centre cleat. Pull on the bitter end of the line and walk to the winch
to cleat it.
The loop will connect on the dock cleat and bring your boat to a dead stop. It will also tend to bring the bow towards the dock, so I place a fender
in the appropriate place. Once the boat has come to a stop, you can calmly step off the boat at the centre cleat and fix the permanent mooring
As I'm increasing in age, and not as agile as upon once a time, I'm finding this a good method, especially when the slip's surface may be wet and dangerous to jump onto !
My 2 cents ! Comments welcome. It works for me !! And I prefer it to leaving a loop on the dock that you have to catch with a boathook as you whiz by !