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Old 17-01-2013, 07:46   #76
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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Originally Posted by pete33458 View Post
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
+1 that is exactly the best way. Without taking right-hand screw into the equation, it would seem that catching a piling with a starboard spring line just as the cockpit passes into the slip would work, and with enough sternway and a heavy boat, particularly if the wind is setting you onto the fingerpier to starboard, it can work. The problem with that method arises when you go astern with that spring line tight... the stern wants to go to port. So backing in free, catching a starboard stern line, and coming ahead on it is the best way. You can dock this way even with the wind setting you off the pier. Just be ready with a boathook to fend off.
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Old 17-01-2013, 11:36   #77
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Can't find anything to disagree with in the last three posts. Nice work !

ExCalif recommends taking the midships spring to a single point; I agree that is usually better than original suggestion to take it to two cleats: better still is Carstenb's suggestion of bringing ExCalif's midships spring back to a winch, because then you get the adjustability close to the helm. Self tailing winch makes this a snap.
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Old 17-01-2013, 11:49   #78
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

GrowleyM mentions dropping an anchor.

Tactics like this are often overlooked but used to be common, especially when many sailing vessels had no engine, or it was unreliable.

Another thing to bear in mind is warping, using long lines.

If you need to get into a leeward slot in a marina when the wind is blowing hard (I'm assuming the wind is blowing roughly parallel to the long axis of the slot) you have the option of rounding up to a pile on the far side of the fairway, or corridor, and put a line on.

This is a lifesaver if you need to go into the slot bow upwind, very difficult to do safely in a strong wind particularly when shorthanded.

If you don't have a long enough line to do this with a doubled line so you can retrieve it, use a single NON-FLOATING line and simply cast it off at your end when you're done.

You can walk around to the next row of pontoons and retrieve it when you're snugged down, and meanwhile you've cleared the fairway for others.

If the line is not unambiguously inclined to drop to the bottom, particularly if there's a fair current running, you'll need to prepare a couple of weights (eg fishing sinkers) with loops of cord that you can quickly cow-hitch onto the line as you pay it out.
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Old 17-01-2013, 12:16   #79
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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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With all respects to my peers, I believe they have over engineered this. Lassoing a cleat single handed is a challenge. I bring Cynosure in 99% of the time SH. When leaving set the stern line up with an eye hanging off the dock. I leave the bow stern and springs with their eyes hanging off the dock.

When you return, as you creep in at less than 1.2 kts... Yes I use gps speed when maneuvering as there is no current on the canal i keep the boat at. Grab the eye and drop it on the stern cleat, the boat should continue to creep forward in neutral as you walk up the port side; grab the boat hook off the cabin roof and pick the bow spring line off the dock. With two lines secured you can then grab the other lines.

Okay it is now time for a Jack... You've earned it

Bill
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Old 11-02-2013, 21:58   #80
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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Lassoing a cleat single handed is a challenge.

Bill
I have a 35,000+ lb Westsail 43' I want to get comfortable with docking myself in any conditions so I can take her anywhere without fear. Normally, I have a second person, which makes it easy in any condition. It should be noted that I like to take my dock lines with me for tying off elsewhere on cruises, so I don't leave lines behind. It should also be noted that because this is a full keel boat, backing in is really not an option in high winds.

Our home slip is a good place to practice. With the prevailing wind perpendicular to our finger, depending on wind strength, I typically enter my slip slowly and at a slight angle (about 5-20*) bow first, dock on the port side. Once I'm about halfway in, using my prop walk to port, I give a quick burst in reverse to nudge the stern in line with the dock. My helper then steps onto the floating dock (using steps) and places a spring line from my center cleat to the first cleat at the end of the finger. As soon as it is secured, I put the engine in forward gear with the rudder hard to starboard and the boat sucks up parallel to the dock. Once in place, it is a piece of cake tying off the remaining lines.

If I single hand, I try to get the boat almost stopped (in neutral), but with some slight forward motion. I have to go forward, leaving the helm, in order to get the spring line around the end cleat as it passes, or run out of room at the bow.

Here is my challenge. During the summer months, we typically have 20 knot cross winds on the port beam as I enter our slip, blowing me off towards my neighbor 4' away, so I have to come in a little bit faster or lose steerage. If I try to single hand the docking in these conditions, it will be very nerve racking to say the least, and I've yet to have the nerve.

As noted by Bill, my biggest fear is missing the cleat with my spring line. I've been looking for a sure fire way to get a spring line around the cleat before drifting on to my neighbor because I really only have one shot when it blows like that. Making it worse, my neighbor has a large sport fisher with a high flared bow that will hit my shrouds before hitting any bumpers. As suggested, I watched and read Capt. Jack Klang's docking info, and found the information very helpful. Before tossing a line over a cleat, he coils up the line into two coils, one for each hand, and tosses each coil past the dock cleat, then pulls in one end (the other is tied off). This seems like it would work very well, giving reasonable control, without a chance of coming up short, but is a bit unruly, and therefore requires extra time I don't have. Further searching on the internet revealed this even simpler method for lassoing a cleat (I'm sure there are others like it), while maintaining control of the line. It is called a Shipstik. I don't know these folks and haven't yet had any experience with one, but I am going to give it a try, I think, as this may be the confidence booster I'm looking for for single handed docking in our slip. It looks like it works equally well with both low cleats and tall pilings.

Has anyone else had any experience with tools like this versus just tossing a line or trying to grab a loop with a boat hook that could accidentally be dropped or missed under duress (ask me how I know)?

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Old 11-02-2013, 22:23   #81
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

I have a 12 ft loop of dock line with a rubber dock snubber incorporated tied off on the midship cleat, then use the following docking procedure demonstrated in the video. We were using it long before we first viewed the Capt Ron video. Make your approach at 90 degrees to the dock, it works every time. We never ask for or use dockside help, and always leave the engine running until everything is secured. After looping the dock cleat, I place the engine in forward and steer away from the dock. The yacht will then stay glued to the dock while I secure the bow and stern lines at my leisure.

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Old 15-02-2013, 17:28   #82
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Muthaiga

I use a similar device called "Docking Stick" (dockingstick.com - Home). Same principle, much smaller, clips to your own boat hook without having to find a place for another loose piece of gear.

Works like a charm. Can use the midship-cleat-springline approach without moving from the cockpit or trying to lasso pilings/cleats. Has made docking singlehanded into our rather narrow slip pretty routine. Highly recommend it. Cheap enough to just try it out.
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Old 18-04-2013, 20:23   #83
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Good day from NZ,

I may have come across a clever idea for single-handed docking in a traditional marina slip. I dock my Nonsuch 30 bow-in on a finger to the port side.

Sailing single handed has always been a challenge because both the prevailing wind and current push the boat off the finger before I get out, and often before I can get off and tie up on the way back in. My boat has terrible prop-walk to port, which causes the bow to swing out toward my neighbor before I get out of the slip.

I have conceived of a fitting installed at the outer end of the finger, near the outer piling, that is nothing more than a stainless steel tube (strong) welded to a flat plate that can be bolted down the the finger. The tube is bent over toward the open water (the bend is parallel to the slip) at about 45 degrees.

For leaving the slip, I would slip a loop of line over the fitting, and run it forward to a single block at the bow, and back to the cockpit. When I'm ready to leave I start pulling on this line with the rudder mid-ship (no engine, no prop walk). When the single block is parallel with the bent tube, the loop simply slips off and is pulled up tight to the toe-rail.

When returning, I have a pre-determined length of line fixed to a mid-ships cleat and brought back to the cockpit outside the stanchions. At the end of this line is a large loop.

As I approach the slip, I loop the line onto the bent tube, and keep the engine in slow forward. I put the wheel hard over to starboard, and when the line comes tight (snubber a good idea), the boat tucks up against the slip and I take my time fixing all the other lines.

Thoughts?
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Old 18-04-2013, 21:00   #84
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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Originally Posted by Island_Moose View Post
Good day from NZ,

I may have come across a clever idea for single-handed docking in a traditional marina slip. I dock my Nonsuch 30 bow-in on a finger to the port side.

Sailing single handed has always been a challenge because both the prevailing wind and current push the boat off the finger before I get out, and often before I can get off and tie up on the way back in. My boat has terrible prop-walk to port, which causes the bow to swing out toward my neighbor before I get out of the slip.

I have conceived of a fitting installed at the outer end of the finger, near the outer piling, that is nothing more than a stainless steel tube (strong) welded to a flat plate that can be bolted down the the finger. The tube is bent over toward the open water (the bend is parallel to the slip) at about 45 degrees.

For leaving the slip, I would slip a loop of line over the fitting, and run it forward to a single block at the bow, and back to the cockpit. When I'm ready to leave I start pulling on this line with the rudder mid-ship (no engine, no prop walk). When the single block is parallel with the bent tube, the loop simply slips off and is pulled up tight to the toe-rail.

When returning, I have a pre-determined length of line fixed to a mid-ships cleat and brought back to the cockpit outside the stanchions. At the end of this line is a large loop.

As I approach the slip, I loop the line onto the bent tube, and keep the engine in slow forward. I put the wheel hard over to starboard, and when the line comes tight (snubber a good idea), the boat tucks up against the slip and I take my time fixing all the other lines.

Thoughts?
I have stout lines in the water that keep my boat off other boats. I have a differen't problem, particularly when leaving, which isn't as efficient as returning -- my boat has a lot of freeboard, wide in the stern, and is very bow tender. The lines keep that bow from intruding into my neighbor boat.

Returning, I have a double-ended spring line secured to the outer piling and a cleat on the front of the dock. There's a figure-8 loop with a carabiner in it. I bring the boat in, latch the carabiner to the tow rail (or a stanchion base would do, just placed right), and the boat is secure. It can't hit the forward dock; it can't be pushed out of the slip; and I still have the lines to starboard protecting the boat to my side.

Don't know if it would work for you, but if it would, it would be a lot simpler.
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Old 18-04-2013, 22:39   #85
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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Muthaiga

I use a similar device called "Docking Stick" (dockingstick.com - Home). Same principle, much smaller, clips to your own boat hook without having to find a place for another loose piece of gear.

Works like a charm. Can use the midship-cleat-springline approach without moving from the cockpit or trying to lasso pilings/cleats. Has made docking singlehanded into our rather narrow slip pretty routine. Highly recommend it. Cheap enough to just try it out.
I may have to get one of these for pilings. Since my last post, I purchased and have tested a Johnson Marine Grab N Go hook and it works like a charm for clipping on to a cleat. It also works perfectly when leaving as you can attach a trip line to pull it off the cleat when leaving the slip.

So leaving, I do the opposite of what I do when I enter (see previous post for complete details). I put the boat in forward gear with my helm cut over to balance the boat against the dock while tensioned against the spring line. I then casually remove all but the spring line. I hop on the boat, give her a burst in reverse and as the spring line goes slack, I give a light tug on the trip line and the hook comes free.

Coming into the slip is almost as simple. I approach at a slight angle, hit reverse to kick the stern over (thus straightening the boat out) and almost stop the boat, I step to midships and as I glide by the end cleat, I hook it with the Grab N Go and return to the helm to put her in forward, turn the helm, and suck her up to the dock. To date, my worst case when doing this solo in my Westsail 43 was at night in a 20 knot cross wind in the rain, so pretty full proof. I use a head lamp to make sure I can see the cleat clearly when hooking it at night. At night, I also use a spot light and my spreader lights when approaching the slip to aid with seeing where my bowsprit is relative to the piling at the end of my finger and the hull to the dock so I don't smack it. In all cases, the extra light helps with depth perception in the dark.

No more leaving the boat to dock! In a stiff cross breeze, I just make sure I have enough momentum when hooking/unhooking the cleat to make sure I don't blow down on my neighbor before securing the boat. The simplicity of the Grab N Go allows me time enough to make several attempts if I miss the first few times, but usually I get it the first time.

Grab 'N Go Hook [48-750] - $103.00 : C.S. Johnson, Online Store

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Old 20-04-2013, 15:14   #86
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

Great idea, Island Moose. Very tidy!

Occasionally on shipping wharves you see "cow-horn" bollards which lend themselves to this cunning plan, if they happen to be oriented the right way for your departure.

I've resorted to doing a similar trick making use of a conventional existing dock-mounted double-horn cleat, and using a figure of eight to temporarily create a small eye in a dockline, but with small cleats they don't always release nicely, which can be embarrassing.

I did once stuff a rag under the other horn to ensure the line would not catch, but your idea is much more elegant, in a situation where it's your own dock.

A trick I have developed which works well when there's no suitable hardware is based on the old dodge of using a doubled line. However I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been burned more than once when the free end of the line, after being released, whipped around something else, or jammed in the bollard, cleat, or just a gap in the planking of the wharf. This inevitably causes an unrehearsed fire drill which is much more amusing for bystanders than participants.

On one occasion, in a big expedition yacht, we did serious damage to the jetty we were leaving when the line hockled and hung up, and had to spend the next day fixing it for the kind dock-owner we had been visiting.

My solution still relies on a double line, but rigged so that it doesn't have to render through any hardware, at least not for any distance.

The trick is to run the doubled line through the eye of a maxi-boat-sized trigger-type snapshackle (plain eye, not swivel).

The trigger shackles I happen to have are Wichard, but Sparcraft Tylaska, Lewmar, Gibb and others are equally suitable.

These all have a trigger hole, through which I tie an eye in the end of a lighter cord, which is then disappeared into the dockline (if braid, using a hollow fid, or if laid, simply by tucking it under successive turns after slightly opening the lay). In the braid case, the line can re-emerge at a distance and be secured with a rolling hitch: it has to be far enough away not to hang up in the line when it's tripped, as described below.

The idea is that the cord emerges from the dockline near its midpoint, and then is passed through the trigger hole before being tied back to itself to form the eye described above. The cord is a permanent prerigged feature to the line; it's just a matter of running it through the shackle and tying the loop to set this configuration up.

When I dock, I clip the snapshackle either directly to a suitable strong-point on the wharf or other vessel, such as a ringbolt or padeye, or to an endless sling cow-hitched through a suitable item on shore (I carry a variety of webbing slings, some of which I'm prepared to leave behind, but rope slings would be fine; I like the chafe resistance of webbing, and I find it very satisfying tying quirky 'beer knots' to make webbing slings .... they make excellent conversation pieces, as well, a bit like a Moebius loop)

When it's time to leave, it's simply a matter of loosening (rather than casting off) one end of the doubled line (doesn't matter which end, provided the cord is 'disappeared' into the line as described above) The light line will trigger the snapshackle to release, with the entire weight of the boat behind it, and there's nothing to hang up. What's more, you don't have long line tails to get onboard in a hurry before they can catch in the prop. (In this respect it's like Island Moose's elegant solution.)

These are also very handy for leaving a pile or float mooring singlehanded when hemmed in by boats all around. I leave the light line in situ on several docklines; it doesn't generally impede their use for other purposes, but I hitch it back to the line with a rolling hitch just in case.
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Old 24-04-2013, 11:40   #87
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Re: Single handed docking

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Leave a midships spring line spliced on . Get it tied off quickly . Then the rest is easy.
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Spot on.

Motor slowly forward against a spring with the helm over and you have all the time in the world to get the rest of the lines in place.

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Old 24-04-2013, 13:35   #88
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

You guys are all spoiled with mid ship cleats and finger piers! At our home marina in St Martin we have two steel pilings 50' from the dock and two stern cleats on the dock. I have to back a modified full keel that ONLY goes to port in reverse in, grab the two bow lines and the spring lines on the pilings and then get the stern close enough to the dock to get someone a line or grab my dock lines without taking out the boats on either side. Every time we come in... it is an adventure!
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Old 24-04-2013, 14:40   #89
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

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You guys are all spoiled with mid ship cleats and finger piers! At our home marina in St Martin we have two steel pilings 50' from the dock and two stern cleats on the dock. I have to back a modified full keel that ONLY goes to port in reverse in, grab the two bow lines and the spring lines on the pilings and then get the stern close enough to the dock to get someone a line or grab my dock lines without taking out the boats on either side. Every time we come in... it is an adventure!
yes they are very spoiled. here in denmark we also dock with only a couple of pilings say 15 feet apart and 50 feet from the dock. in a heavy cross-wind, docking is, shall we say entertaining?
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Old 30-05-2013, 19:35   #90
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Re: Single-handed Docking Procedures

At my home slip I enter the slip sitting on the port side at about 1kt in neutral. When the bow enters the slip I put her into reverse and give a burst of power. As she comes to a stop the prop walks the stern to port. I reach over the cockpit coaming and grab the stern line. Tie it off, shut down the engine, Grab the boat hook and walk to the other three dock lines sitting on the dock. Pick them up one at at time and attach. No one ever leaves my boat when docking until she's tied up. That's why I have a boat hook that extends to 12'. To pick up the dock lines from the dock, except the port stern, and bring them aboard.

At other docks it's a totally different deal almost every time. If I can come along side a dock I do it on my port side because prop walk makes the port stern go into the dock when I reverse thrust. When along side I step off carrying both the bow and stern lines(the other end is attached to the boat OF COURSE!) and tie off whichever end wants to blow off first.

Every new docking situation requires a pass or two to size up the situation. IF conditions aren't right I anchor out.
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