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Old 22-01-2007, 20:21   #1
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Single-handed Docking Procedures

I saw a bit of discussion on this in the single-hander thread, but thought it might be good to break it out as a separate discussion.

What techniques do you all use to make in single-handed docking or mooring?

It would be good to get a breakdown between techniques used at your own pier/mooring and procedures you use when at an unfamiliar port of call.
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Old 22-01-2007, 20:41   #2
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I approach the dock with one line cleated near amidships, lay the boat alongside a cleat on the dock, step off and make it fast and as short as I possibly can. This holds the boat in position while I then set up normal docklines at my leisure.
Anybody else? Always open to improvements.
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Old 22-01-2007, 22:09   #3
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A agree, Get all lines ready before entering the marina, pin the boat as best as you can with motor and grab something, step off the boat and start tieing off. Be careful of help, most do not know what they are doing. I had one that I threw the line to and expecting him to tie it off, I turned away and cut off the motor. He did not tie it off and the wind blew me into the dock, luck had it that the dock was high enough that my bow roller took the hit and did no damage.

I had problems docking under power until I found these video's
http://www.uspowerboating.com/videos/docking.htm

And

http://www.uspowerboating.com/videos/docking-a.htm

With a fin keel it easier.
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Old 22-01-2007, 23:01   #4
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Approach the dock to Port with a right hand turning prop.

The propwalk will pull the stern towards the dock when ya hit reverse to slow down.

Once ya see this trick, it will be easy.
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Old 22-01-2007, 23:12   #5
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ASA has some as well for Keel boats -

American Sailing Association - General Sailing Resources
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Old 23-01-2007, 02:18   #6
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Agree with Lynx, the minute you hand a line to a person on the dock you have lost all control of your vessel. When crewed I'll drop someone off on the dock if I deem it necessary rather than trust someone I don't know.
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Old 23-01-2007, 02:47   #7
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Great vids Lynx. If anyone else has any other vids pertaining to boat handling please post them. With me being new seeing the operation in realtime is a great help.
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Old 23-01-2007, 03:43   #8
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Originally Posted by sneuman
What techniques do you all use to make in single-handed docking or mooring?

It would be good to get a breakdown between techniques used at your own pier/mooring and procedures you use when at an unfamiliar port of call.

For walls and docks and other boats I have a big round fender that I place about 1/4 of the boat length from the bow (being round it copes with the sheer near the bow) to use as the deliberate point of first contact - so I can motor / pivot against it if needed (BTW I don't always aim to ram things! - just that I find it helps to know that one spot on the boat can "touch" safely and fairly predictably, even when not needed).

A bit of a PITA to stow, but I am always glad of it when needed!

I get the docklines ready well in advance and also other fenders in place. At the moment I do not have any cleats admidships (it's on the list!) - so I tend to use a Sheet Winch as a Temporary Cleat (Being a Centre Cockpit it is further forward on the boat). The aim being to get one line ashore so the boat can be controlled (it's why I have only a 30 footer - cos I am a weakling!) and then the fore and aft lines can be set in my own time (relatively).

My own mooring is a fore and aft drying mooring. As I cannot motor through the mooring (a Boat moored in front!), I give her plenty of Welly to get her straight whilst turning into the berth. a 1 second pause in Neutral (to clear the prop wash and be "Nice" to the gearbox) and then a "good" burst of welly in astern to stop me hitting the boat moored ahead. Sometimes this does involve resting against my neighbours boats, depending on the wind / tide. (they do the same - plenty of fenders all round).

IME the biggest help for mooring are wide and clear (ish!) sidedecks that I can scoot around easily and (against a dock / another vessel) being easy to hop off and back on.


Off course sometimes (?!!) I do motor back and forth like a tw#t trying not to sink anyone whilst docking. But ONLY when their is an audience!
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Old 23-01-2007, 04:26   #9
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David, you can guarantee that everytime you pick up your mooring perfectly there is not a soul within ten light years but as soon as you start to make a dog's breakfast of it there is a crowd big enough to fill Twickenham! And of course they are always full of "useful" advice on how to do whatever manoeuvre you're attempting. That having been said how many times have we all stood on the balcony of the yacht club, pint in hand, and revelled in the c*ck-ups of our fellow sailors - is there a sadistic streak in all of us?

As for single-handed harbour entries the advice already given above is what I follow. I put fenders out both sides, rig lines both sides and use the centre cleat initially to stop the boat and keep her still enough to jump ashore and short out the rest of the shore lines in slow time. If you haven't got a centre cleat then fit one, its worth its weight in gold in these situations.
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Old 23-01-2007, 04:30   #10
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David, you can guarantee that everytime you pick up your mooring perfectly there is not a soul within ten light years but as soon as you start to make a dog's breakfast of it there is a crowd big enough to fill Twickenham!
You said it Dunkers. I can't tell you how many times I landed perfectly at the mooring or dock and no one was there to appreciate it. The 10% of the time I really botch it is when I have an audience!
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Old 23-01-2007, 04:33   #11
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That having been said how many times have we all stood on the balcony of the yacht club, pint in hand, and revelled in the c*ck-ups of our fellow sailors - is there a sadistic streak in all of us?
Yes of course!

My YC has a balcony above the fuelling Berths - always good fun on a summers day

Unfortunately the introduction of the Bow Thruster has ruined so much fun - especially when watching 40+ foot flybridge cruisers.
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Old 23-01-2007, 05:59   #12
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There are three sound pieces of advice that were taught to me years ago.

It's a sail boat, so sail it. The wind and current will play a big part in leaving the dock so play them to advantage. There was a new boat owner on our dock with a Morgan 41 who could not get out of his slip. Propwalk and inexperience kept him pinned to the pilings. So one of the old racers on the dock went out wih him one day and taught him (and lucky me) how to simply sail out of the slip. Just let the weather push you into the fairway to a point where you can apply controlable power. This works with propwalk too.

Another secret is low and slow. Low power and just enough speed to get you to the dock. Too much power will give you other things to work on beside getting the lines tied.

Finally practice. Take a day off in the middle of the week and just dock, over and over again. Put out a bunch of fenders. If necessary get a friend to stand by while you practice.

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Old 23-01-2007, 06:41   #13
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Another secret is low and slow. Low power and just enough speed to get you to the dock. Too much power will give you other things to work on beside getting the lines tied.
Whilst I do not disagree with you (no point coming in faster than you need to), it is useful to have the confidence to give her a bit of "oomph" - if needed.

Quote:
Finally practice. Take a day off in the middle of the week and just dock, over and over again. Put out a bunch of fenders. If necessary get a friend to stand by while you practice.
This works well, I did it with a mate of mine when he first acquired his MOBO. Just standing by, until on one visit I stepped off..........he wasn't too happy initially - but also useful to have me on the dock / a berthed boat to push off and nod that he did have room etc.

Also what we did (and I have done myself on unfamiliar boats) is to visit some deepwater moorings and use the vacant mooring bouys as "target practice" to see how she handles and reacts in astern / forwards and sideways etc - you "Only" need to worry about tangling the prop - not hitting anything. You can really get used to throwing her around - with no expensive consequences.
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Old 23-01-2007, 18:23   #14
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Single handed docking

Leave a midships spring line spliced on . Get it tied off quickly . Then the rest is easy.
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Old 23-01-2007, 21:59   #15
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I subscribe to Capt. Jack's theorys. Go to Quantum Sails website and look for Capt. Jack Klangs words of wisdom under Docking, Maneuvering, and Anchoring.

Mid ships line used to slow and stop the boat, cleat it off, keep slight revolutions in forward, and the boat stays snug to the dock. Take your time taking care of the balance of the lines.

He has lots of other great suggestions as well. You may have seen his presentations at boat shows. I know he is going to be at Strictly Sail in Chicago next week. Great show! He now sells books at the shows and some of the information is on the website.
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