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Old 18-06-2012, 19:33   #61
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

I agree with Greg. Having a full keel with cut back foot, reverse is all prop walk and no steerage. I back into my slip and use forward thrust with the rudder to swing the stern then back to reverse to keep her moving. I have a spring line set on the dock that I can grab and tie to the stern. Once that is tied, I can put her in reverse at idle and she will snug the stern to the dock.
My biggest problem is cross winds, in that case always approach to the wind, then reverse with some angle on the boat knowing that the bow will blow over to the leeward side. All the same the procedure is the same, using forward to steer and reverse to keep moving. In reverse the rudder is useless unless i've got 1.5 kts or more.
I also have lazy lines tied just in case they are needed.
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Old 18-06-2012, 19:59   #62
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Re: Single-handed docking procedures

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Originally Posted by decatur1945 View Post
Decided to take some advice from this board and take my boat out and practice backing. I have a Cape Dory 27, semi full keel. Yesterday was a good day to try since there was very little wind.

So, I motor out and put it in neutral until I have no way on. Go into reverse and hold the tiller amidship. As expected it starts to back to the port, however, no matter how much I put the tiller over to port (I'm kind of dyslexic so I might have this backward, as I sit here at work recollecting) it continues to back to port. So, I stop again. Put it in reverse and put the tiller a little to port and it backs to starboard, but.... it continues to back to starboard regardless of what I do with the tiller.

After probably 5 or 7 different attempts, I cannot make the boat back in a straight line!!!!! All I did was back in circles. I'm sure other boats were wondering what the hell I might be doing, at lease no one called the Coast Guard to come and save me! Other boat traffic started to pick up as foks were returning from the bay, so I motored back in trying to figure out what I did wrong.
I also have a Cape Dory and I figure I will never back straight (although it occasionally will do so -- most often when I power up in rev and then throttle down and drift back). My best suggestion is plan for how you will use that port prop walk and think through all of the ways that plays into your boat handling (where you need a line; where you will spin the boat; where the prop walk will bring you into or away from the dock). In the short term, I'd suggest minimizing the variables - power back with the helm centered and learn how the boat behaves in that scenario. If you can find another which is predictable (I haven't) then add that to the mix.
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Old 18-06-2012, 20:11   #63
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Get a few knots worth of water flowing around your rudder and it will work fine. In Saltanese it is called "getting some way on".
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Old 26-06-2012, 10:11   #64
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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Get a few knots worth of water flowing around your rudder and it will work fine. In Saltanese it is called "getting some way on".
...as in, having way on as opposed to being underway.
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Old 27-06-2012, 11:54   #65
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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Originally Posted by NoTies View Post
OK, after many years putting power boats alongside without too much stress can anyone tell me how to dock a 30' fin keel, right hand prop sailboat, astern into a slip and tie up on the starboard side. I have not managed to find a good technique yet.
That is how I dock my boat at my home port, and here's how I do it. I come in stern-to, in neutral, with enough speed that I have decent steerage. Once I am approaching my docking position, I start giving bursts of forward until I have brought the boat to a stop. Then I use the boat hook to drop a fixed loop onto a dock cleat, from a line tied to the aftmost starboard cleat. Then I put it in idle forward. The boat snugs up to the dock (to starboard), then I put the rest of my lines on and reposition the boat.

I have found that a breast or spring, together with a pretty wide beam, allows my stern to swing alarmingly close to the next boat, that's why I don't use it. But everyone seems to agree that most of the time, it is the best way to go. The above works for me, and I single hand most of the time (even when I have someone on board...). (another) pete
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Old 28-06-2012, 05:00   #66
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Having techniques and tricks is useful, but the big "secret" is.........

.....practice, practice, practice!
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Old 28-06-2012, 06:40   #67
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Well, with the extreme heat forecast for this weekend, I'm thinking there will be very few boats out, so I plan on using this as an opportunity to get down to my boat and do some practicing, with a cooler full of iced Gatorade and water!!!!!
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Old 16-01-2013, 20:07   #68
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Good day,

I don't sail single-handed, but my wife is so busy with our young boys that she really can't help much when docking.

I have enclosed a bad sketch of our marina situation. There are NO cleats at all on the finger, just pad-eyes at the corners. There are however big piles at the ends of each finger, and I want to know if the following would work.

1. Approach dead slow with a line fastened on the mid-ship deck cleat.
2. As we pass the pile, I loop the line over the pile, and fix the bitter end to the aft deck cleat.
3. Put the engine at idle forward, with the wheel hard over into the dock (fenders everywhere)

Would this hold the boat tight to the dock and keep the bow from getting blown off by the prevailing wind? I want to leave the engine idling forward, then step off and secure a fore and aft line.

Thoughts?

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Old 17-01-2013, 04:14   #69
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Originally Posted by Island_Moose View Post
Good day,

I don't sail single-handed, but my wife is so busy with our young boys that she really can't help much when docking.

I have enclosed a bad sketch of our marina situation. There are NO cleats at all on the finger, just pad-eyes at the corners. There are however big piles at the ends of each finger, and I want to know if the following would work.

1. Approach dead slow with a line fastened on the mid-ship deck cleat.
2. As we pass the pile, I loop the line over the pile, and fix the bitter end to the aft deck cleat.
3. Put the engine at idle forward, with the wheel hard over into the dock (fenders everywhere)

Would this hold the boat tight to the dock and keep the bow from getting blown off by the prevailing wind? I want to leave the engine idling forward, then step off and secure a fore and aft line.

Thoughts?

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink
With the line secured on two different cleats the and the rudder to port the lines will want to reach equal length. That is I think the boat will end up bow in. If you turn the rudder to starboard the boat will settle somewhat bow out.

I would create a loop at the bitter end that fits over the piling. Secure the line at the mid cleat and then settle with rudder to starboard. I see ferries use that set up all the time. The trick is seting the length of the line in advance so the bow doesn't hit the dock.

If you aren't sure of the length you could use a turning block at the mid cleat and rin the line back to the cockpit where you could pay it out and cleat it or put it on a cockpit winch.
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Old 17-01-2013, 04:58   #70
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Re: Single-handed docking procedures

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Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
backing into a slip with a full keel boat with a barn door rudder can get exciting. As others have said you have to get the way on and then shift to neutral to allow the rudder to overcome propwalk. When backing in a fairway, I'll use short thrusts back neutral and forward as need be to get the angle of the boat right for the dock.

If the wind is up I'll dock bow in as its just tons easier. Like zee, I'll have my dock lines on the boat in the middle so I can easily girlhandle the boat at the dock. Fun when the winds are up 20 knots and the finger is windward.

Practice, practice. One day you'll be able to do it without fenders with 20 knots side wind
I have the same problem with my full keel boat however if I put the bow in first in bad weather then the swell entering the harbor keeps hitting the stern. Which is quite unpleasant.

My solution so far (2 persons required) I run up bow firs to the jettys across my place. Trow long line over a cleat there. This line is attached to the center lead forward and the returning end is hold in hand by the deckhand.

Then I back up towards my box slacking the line. To steer just have the deckhand pull on the line while standing on port side or starboard side.
This way I still manage to dock her in reverse in heavy winds while maintaining control and not messing around gunning the throttle.

I admit it is a strange sight to see but It works for me.

Similar method the leave the berth forward. I can never make the turn over port when leaving the box with the wind over port side. (I only have a boats length + 2 m ahead of me) So I leave a lining running trough the port side forward cleat attached to the port bow and use it to brake on when the stern is free to turn and she turns on the spot.

PS: I have a controllable pitch propeller so If I'm going forward, neutral or reverse the prop effect always pulls the stern to port only more or less. And I only have about 40% power in reverse because the pitch is limited.
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Old 17-01-2013, 05:11   #71
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island_Moose View Post
Good day,

I don't sail single-handed, but my wife is so busy with our young boys that she really can't help much when docking.

I have enclosed a bad sketch of our marina situation. There are NO cleats at all on the finger, just pad-eyes at the corners. There are however big piles at the ends of each finger, and I want to know if the following would work.

1. Approach dead slow with a line fastened on the mid-ship deck cleat.
2. As we pass the pile, I loop the line over the pile, and fix the bitter end to the aft deck cleat.
3. Put the engine at idle forward, with the wheel hard over into the dock (fenders everywhere)

Would this hold the boat tight to the dock and keep the bow from getting blown off by the prevailing wind? I want to leave the engine idling forward, then step off and secure a fore and aft line.

Thoughts?
I'm with Ex-Calif. The best thing is to have the line go from mid cleat around the piling and back to the mid cleat. An easy way to make one end fast to the mid cleat, drop the other over the pile and run it back under the cleat. Then I run it back to a winch near the helm.

Now I can totally control it. If I need a bit more, i can slack some off and if necessary, I can also just tighten up if I need less

Then rudder to starboard. The boat should just settle in and cozy up to the dock.

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Old 17-01-2013, 05:37   #72
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

The new plan should involve your wife helping to account for different wind, current, whatever. Practice is fine, but having a second set of hands available and forming a plan around not using them is a bad idea. Make her do all the steering, throttle work and you handle the lines, then when your good at that, switch jobs. I'm not a big fan of one sided crew couples. You need to figure out a plan to deal with the kids, not the dock.
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Old 17-01-2013, 05:52   #73
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pirate Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Have your dedicated line pre-measured and made up with a loop on both ends... drop both loops over the mid cleat the same time as you prep your fore and aft lines so's its all set up... as you come in just drop the bight over the post... saves time running back and forth and tying off..
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Old 17-01-2013, 07:28   #74
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

There are so MANY different situations! We have a sometimes tricky approach to our pumpout station. You almost have to breast directly in to it and there is no room to approach it at a small angle. Luckily we have mostly easterly winds and I can back into the wind and bumping in and out of gear, I can walk it right in there port-side-to. It works really slick. I actually had one of the kibbitzing vultures that hangs out hoping to see a bad docking ask me if I had twin screws LOL! But it comes from practice, not just knowing stuff.

A line to stop your forward or aft progress is essential, and you really should plan on being able to get the line on a piling or cleat from the cockpit. Don't go scrambling around from foredeck to cockpit while trying to maneuver under power (or even under sail) and tie up the boat at the same time! Watched a guy manage to damage his boat, another boat, AND fall overboard in the same maneuver one time, trying to do about 4 jobs at once. It was hilarious for me to see, humiliating for him to be.

If you are approacing a dock starboard side to, you can come ahead easy on a stern line hastily tossed over a piling and easy sneezy, the stern line on the onshore quarter combined with the right turning prop will put you snug on the dock. Leave it idle ahead, and take your time going forward to pass a bow line. Then kill the motor and deal with any spring or breast lines you think are needed. The stern line works great for a first line in this circumstance. Your line is cleated right there next to the helm and engine controls.

A good approach when you are going port side to is to pass a long line around your bow and back to the port side of your cockpit. Run it through a chock or fairlead on your starboard bow. Bring the bitter end back to the starboard side of the cockpit and be ready to work the line on a starboard side cleat. Approach a piling or dock cleat either by coming ahead or backing into it, and get that offshore bow line on. Take the slack out as you back down. It should be ideally on a piling or dock cleat at least a half boat length forward of where your bow will end up. You can adjust it closer later, after the tieup. Anyway, line secured, back down against it. Keep backing against the tight offshore bow line and you will fall right into the dock. Keep it in gear and the engine will hold you snug against the dock while you take your time and pass a stern line, then any other lines you want.

Always try to make good use of the wind. With a ketch, the mizzen can be a useful tool in maneuvering in tight spots. Simply letting the wind blow you onto a dock works beautifully if it isn't blowing a gale. Your engine and rudder simply maintain your heading and your fore/aft positioning.

A spring line is quite useful for docking, but it is even more useful getting away from a dock. Motor ahead against a spring line to cick the stern out, especially when you are stuck with docking port side to. Get that stern swung out far enough that when you back away, the tendency to back to port has been compensated for already.

Some marinas, my own included, do not allow you to sail in to a berth. Frankly, I almost am glad for that, because the wirst dockings I have ever seen were sailboats landing under sail alone. OTOH, the relatively low power of sailboat auxillaries vs the typically overpowered mobos helps to keep powered dockings much less traumatic with the sailboats than the stinkboats. For a single screw vessel, the average auxillary sail boat is quite pleasant to dock and easy to learn. But docking without using the engine can be tricky at times. Judging how much headreach you will have, being able to reliably drop your main at exactly the right moment, not having an engine to "put on the brakes", all place higher skill demands on the skipper.

Got a dinghy? Don't forget you have an anchor! An anchor can be a useful tool for helping to swing into a tight spot. The dink is used to recover the anchor so nobody fouls on your anchor line. Then again, there is the "med moor" where you put out two anchors, sometimes only one, and back down against them, paying out just enough so you are a step across to the quay. Two widely spaced stern lines complete the mooring.

Softly softly, catchee monkey. Get some way on and gently drift, rather than chuggachug all the way into a dock. At very low speeds, you have excellent control with rudder and engine. Put the rudder over, give it a good 3 second bump, and especially with a fin keel boat, you will spin her around pretty good. OTOH your rudder is useless in reverse unless you do have considerable sternway.

Backing into a narrow slip is usually preferable to going bow in, when you are by yourself. The reasons above. Backing, with sternway on, you can steer with the rudder. Kick it ahead and even without any headway, you can steer with the rudder. You are near the stern so you are ideally situated to fend off with a boathook. Remember with a right hand screw, you will have a tendency to back to port so compensate for that ahead of time and you will look like an old pro when you slip right in there.

Finally, ALWAYS test astern propulsion before approaching a dock! ALWAYS! Stuff happens. What if the engine stalls just when you need to reduce your headway to avoid crashing catastrophically into the dock? (Deja vu all over again... remember to approach as slowly as possible while still maintaining steerageway!) What if it simply refuses to go into reverse? What if your prop decides it doesn't want to hang on to your shaft anymore? What if what if what if? A gear test is something every prudent mariner does before entering port, from the biggest ship to the smallest motor launch. Steering and astern propulsion are the two most important things to test. Astern is your "brakes", above all else. So always slip into reverse at idle speed with some headway on, and if you have no problem, then you certainly won't have a problem at slightly higher revs. I recommend that for a critical stopping that you advance the throttle slightly, a couple dozen turns over idle, for reduced chance of engine stall before going into reverse.

Remember which way your stern will walk when backing or when first going ahead. Remember how the wind turns your boat when it is not making way. Remember how much rudder you need for this or that tight spot. Learn from your boo-boos. Take it easy, but don't be afraid to use some power when the wind is blowing you all over the place, or to keep from having a collision or allision. Watch out for the guy coming around the corner! Keep a boathook ready to fend off. If possible, alert nearby boats so they can assist. And FINALLY finally, PRACTICE. Don't procrastinate when you need to go pump out or whatever. You got to DO this to get good at it. Got a good restaurant nearby with a dock? Don't take the car... take the boat! Go for day sails and when you get back, dock, undock, and re-dock just for the practice. All we can do is give you ideas. The mind/body/boat connection you can only develop through doing the thing.
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Old 17-01-2013, 07:45   #75
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Informative thread. I don't have a lot of broad experience but did get a lot of repitition with the two larger boats I've skippered. The biggest one only needed a line off the stern cleat and to put the bow into the dock (with engine forward). Even if the tide was pushing the boat away from the dock it worked well. And it worked for port or starboard side docking. My boats both had really big rudders and I wonder if that helped. Never docked one of these bigger/newer boats with their smaller rudders.


They were very controlable backing as well. Could back them both out of a slip and "crab" the boat sideways to get out of the marina even when there was a strong tide that would have made it impossible to turn sideways.
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