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Old 24-01-2014, 07:26   #16
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

You may never become completely comfortable with the dockside maneuvers. Some boats do better than others. There are a few things you can do that can help:
-Set yourself up for success: learn how to use the wind and prop walk to your advantage. When you come to a dock and are deciding which side to tie up on, think about how you will get away.
-If it's too windy, wait
-Work with your crew so they can help. A good crew can make you look good
-There are many tricks one can employ using dock lines and fenders to help you get away from a dock when you are pinned against it, etc. Look them up
-Final words: Remember, it's just a boat. It's OK to hit; usually nothing much happens. Don't yell at your spouse; even a new boat is cheaper than a divorce.
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:28   #17
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

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Originally Posted by klmmicro View Post
SNIP
This raised a question; about how long did it take for you seasoned salts to become comfortable with “in close” boat handling? I am still very cautious and thoughtful about getting in and out of the slip.
Three variables here, at least. First is the skipper, second is the boat, third wind and current. Back in the day I was both crew and pilot for my Dad's monohulls, starting with an H28 and then an Abaco schooner and later a Kenner Privateer. The H28 was definitely harder to pilot to the dock than the Privateer.

Now I have a Seawind cat with twin screws closer to amidship than the stern. It will spin in its own length and walk sideways unless the wind and current are so strong that I would refrain from docking till conditions were more favorable.

YMMV
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Old 24-01-2014, 07:52   #18
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

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Originally Posted by jeepbluetj View Post
I did about the same as you to figure out close maneuvers. I was taught the "back and fill" during my ASA classes (20+ years ago) and upon buying my boat 6 months ago I remembered most of it.

Heck, I just invited some crew out and started doing it. Now I'm perfectly comfortable singlehanding in/out of the slip. It's easier with a single slip (don't share with another boat) and floating docks. No pilings to lasso or anything.

I kindasorta ran into the poopdock the other day due to me thinking that the propwalk would spin me faster than it did -- so I need to go practice a bit more there. I also had limited visibility than I should have due to kayaks on deck... Yea... I'll blame it on that.. No, I just was too fast for the 180 turn I needed to make. OTOH, I had just made a perfect dock at the fuel dock, and sprung off in reverse in an amazing feat of boathandling -- so I'm calling that day a wash


Some other mediocre advice since I'm pretty dang new at it too:

If you can back and fill, you can get out of most situations. Try it in some wind and you'll get good at compensating for it. (Worked well till I misjuged the poopdock the other day.) Practice it. I need more too.

Just do it alot. Get some crew to help you fend the first 5-10 times (I'll help ya if you want) - and you'll get confident fast. I like to brief green crew on what I may F up, and what I'll expect of them if I do. In Dana Point my biggest fear/annoyance is paddle boarders at the end of the fairway when I'm entering the main channel. 'Cause if I stop there, we're gonna drift into other boats when steerage is lost. (And Dana seems to have a billion paddleboarders) - So I say if that happens, everybody is going to the port side to fend the boat that in the end-tie there. Hasn't happened yet, but it will. Plan is basically to just raft to the other boat if necessary.

Find out how long and how much throttle it takes you to stop - and what happens as you loose steerage. Somebody's gonna paddle infront of you and avoiding that collision is something to practice. I gotta get the wheezy old A4 just screaming to get any kind of thrust in reverse. You've got a lot more power and prop, it's likely easier for you.

Pay attention to the speed at which you loose steerage. Run into docks at exactly that speed

I use a little spring line to get out, as my slip requires backing to starboard, and a C30 just doesn't do that unless it's got some way on. Little 1/8" polyprop line, from a cleat on the back of the boat, around an old block tied to the dock, back to the boat (in my hand). Back out and pull the line, boat spins neatly to starboard. Pull the line in from the cleated end while motoring forward. If I backed to port it would be easy. It's saved my bacon several times when a paddleboarder decided to cross my stern while I was backing. I bet I could do it without now, as I would just hammer it in reverse to get the way on, pop in N, drift backwards out, and spin in forward, but it's cheap and easy confidence.

When we stopped in Newport, there were soooo many clueless paddleboarders and Duffy boaters. My wife & son typically warn me of any craft in my path. In Newport I said that I was going to hit a paddleboarder or a Duffy boater. The said that there were none in my path and that I wasn't going to hit one. I explained that I now wanted to hit one and that I appreciated them telling me where to aim!
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Old 24-01-2014, 08:12   #19
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

Backing? What's that?
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Old 24-01-2014, 08:32   #20
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

I love docking. I've been on boats since I've been 3 and am very proud at being able to dock in tight quarters or high winds. To me its a challenge and bragging rights when I get it right. Now that's not to say I haven't hit lots of things or screwed up and needed help to get in but I've paid my dues (just look at the side of my boat) and am very comfortable with docking now.

My favorite was when I was in my early 20's with just my girlfriend on board (now wife) and was pulling into a 32' space with a 30' boat. It was a street side dock with a 40' cabin cruiser on one side and a dock sticking out on the other. The owner of the cabin cruiser got nervous when he saw us coming, got really nervous when he saw I was young, and jumped on his transom to "fend off" when he saw I was actually going for it. I smiled at him as I swung by within a foot or two of him and before we even tied off I yelled to my wife to grab me another beer and asked if he wanted one too. I couldn't tell if he was relieved, pissed, or annoyed.

Now on the flip side of that don't ask me to dock a speed boat. I can't get past the no throttle no steerage conundrum and am absolutely horrible at it.
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Old 24-01-2014, 08:50   #21
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

First the boat. A 41' Marine Trader with a 14'6 beam. Single diesel no thrusters. It is a Taiwanese tri-cabin trawler with a full fly bridge and 18" keel running the length of the vessel.
My berth. My berth is a on a river, it is 3 slips over from the outside berth. The current runs fore and aft with respect to the boat when the boat is sitting in her slip. The current will travel up river or down river depending on the tide. The wind is usually from the forward starboard quarter, except when it blows from the portside aft about 25 % percent of the time.
The good part? My slip is the hardest place on the coast that I ever have to berth my boat, this makes every other place easy by comparison. Every time I leave my slip I have to know how fast the current is running and from what direction and from what direction the wind is blowing.
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Old 24-01-2014, 09:27   #22
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pirate Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

Comfortable.. never..
Confident.. 98% of the time.. but always expecting the idiot pulling out without looking.. fouling prop with something.. sudden wind gust at the wrong time.. blah blah...
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Old 24-01-2014, 09:49   #23
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

Never completely confortable. The biggest thing to learn I think is to pre plan: Wind? Tide/current? Room to turn? "what if". Other than that, know your boat.
Good example: In Nassau, I've talked with the marina and they have a slip for me. I'm waiting for the tide /current to diminish on their recommendations.... I'm circling around out in the harbor. They say it's looking better and to come on in, they'll have guys on the dock. As I enter the marina between two long piers that jut out into the harbor, I realize the current is running probably 5 knots in there! The trouble is... it's running into my slip instead of the other way. Panic'ed I realize my boat is going sideways at about 5 knots with the current and toward the row of yachts that are soon to be my neighbors! I have one option: gun the engine in forward to give me steerage. As I enter the slip I'm doing 7-8 knots! Into reverse I go and up to 2500+ rpm. The boat stops perfectly with the bow about 2 ft from the pier. The Bahama boys cheeer and tie me off immediately before the current takes hold. I'm a hero... with wet pants! Thank you Max Prop!
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Old 24-01-2014, 09:56   #24
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

As a club sailor I'm on a lot of different boats each with it's own characteristics and slip location so docking is always sort of a moving target in terms of getting really comfortable.

Looking at your Avatar it appears you have a nice wide slip. Can't see what's on the port side.

Doesn't answer your question but if nervous I would suggest investing in more fenders. If it's a single slip you can also string a dock line across the front with enough slack to float a fender in front of your bow as well. Some people leave their dinghy floating there. Accomplishes the same thing.

But as so many have already stated, the more you practice the better you'll feel.
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Old 24-01-2014, 09:58   #25
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

Luckily for the OP, he's got a boat that'll spin easily in it's own length (fin/spade). He's also in Oceanside where the wind is pretty much the same direction 90% of the time. Current is likely close to negligible. Floating docks, each boat has it's own slip IIRC (much less fear of hitting the boat next to you).

I still say quite confident within 10 or so times.

Negotiating the mouth of the breakwater in Oceanside during big swells will be fun too. Or so I'm told... Last time I was there it was lake-smooth.
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Old 24-01-2014, 10:26   #26
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

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Comfortable.. never..
Confident.. 98% of the time.. but always expecting the idiot pulling out without looking.. fouling prop with something.. sudden wind gust at the wrong time.. blah blah...
I think that one can be comfortable, Boatie. For a while.
Just before "Oh, oh, oh, $hiiiiittt!!!!!" and hitting a dock...
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Old 24-01-2014, 10:29   #27
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

I will admit my comfort level is directly proportional to how much I've had to drink before docking. The more drinks the more comfort, or is it the more drinks the less I care about hitting the dock.......either way it makes me feel better when doing it
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Old 24-01-2014, 11:10   #28
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

Awesome stuff KLM!

I go with boaty's thoughts on this... Confidence is the key... You know things (wind/current/obstacles) can change or affect the usual procedure (speed/course) used ... Expect these things and prethink what if's...

You have a great boat for maneuvering under power... It should do everything you want it to if you DON'T over react... The throttle can be your best friend or your worst enemy...

Things do go wrong though... Perfect example was my last time putting the girl to bed... Arriving home from the island at 0100.... Moonless night, smooth as glass... not a whisper of wind... Perfect landing without a thought... Except... Wrong slip... Two neigbors had moved places on me!

One tip I do have, is that if I'm in a visiting marina with an assigned slip... I usually hop off the boat at an end tie or guest dock, and go take a dock walk over there to see what obstacles await me before I head in...
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Old 24-01-2014, 13:29   #29
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

Thanks everyone for the excellent advice and experiences. 36 is definitely nimble, but still learning the ropes. I have not had to surf into the harbor mouth yet, but some day it will happen. It sounds like lots of practice runs is the #1 confidence builder. The dock I am on is great for everyone jumping in and helping as they watch you come in.
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Old 24-01-2014, 13:54   #30
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Re: So, how long before comfortable with slip in/egress

[QUOTE=Pelagic;1448673]
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[FONT=Arial, sans-serif] .....The maiden voyage..... was with a wonderful woman... We did “touch and goes” for about an hour before moving to “back up” ops. She was there to simply guide me and watch to make sure I was being safe about it all......./QUOTE]

Some times there is a danger in speed reading... I first thought this might be from a Playboy Forum

Glad I wasn't the only one!
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