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Old 26-08-2014, 05:51   #1
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Solo Docking, no Bowthrusters... Any Tips?

I have a single sterndrive Mustang 2800.

It has no bowthrusters and I usually dock alone.

I've actually found a technique for docking that has started to work for me.

But it involves leaving the helm and jumping off the stern with two line in my hand and tying them off one-by-one.

It's working in calm conditions, but this seems to be asking for trouble.

Any tips?
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Old 26-08-2014, 06:04   #2
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

Use boat hook from helm to drop lines over dock cleats,that way you dont leave helm,

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Old 26-08-2014, 06:48   #3
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

if you are indeed jumping off a moving boat then that can eventually cause problems like head injuries or broken bones.
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Old 26-08-2014, 06:56   #4
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

I have seen dock lines placed on a hat rack (for explanation only) set up made out of 20mm electrical conduit.

To use when departing set your dock lines ontop the conduit. When you return pick up the line and put on your cleat.

Haven't used but if I ever had a dedicated berth I would install this strait away, even if I had crew because you do not need to step of and the dock lines would always be at correct length and not on deck.


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Old 26-08-2014, 07:04   #5
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

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Originally Posted by Sydney Mustang View Post

I've actually found a technique for docking that has started to work for me.

But it involves leaving the helm and jumping off the stern with two line in my hand and tying them off one-by-one.

It's working in calm conditions, but this seems to be asking for trouble.

Yes, asking for it...

If you can at all get a single line on a dock cleat or around a pile -- from the boat -- a spring line can probably help. You'll need a decent line.

1) Fender up.
2) Put the line on a dock cleat or around a pile that will be ahead of where you want to end up (reach over? boathook? lasso?)
3) attach the other end of that line to your midship cleat (make the length so it keeps your boat from any obstacles aft)
4) gently back down on that line until the line length causes you to stop, up against the dock.*

(* Or you can work this the other direction, if necessary.)

By "back down," I mean minimum reverse, often just short bumps of reverse gear at idle, depending on your horsepower and the boat's reaction. Doesn't much matter which way you aim your prop, but straight aft should work well enough to get you started.

The result is that the motor and the line together will snug you up against the dock, once the line reaches it's max length.

Depending on horsepower and boat reaction, you can often leave the thing in gear at idle, leisurely tie up other lines whenever you get a round tuit. Or have a beverage, make your log entries, whatever... that single line will hold you.

It's sometimes easier to double a line right from the git-go. Attach to your midship cleat, simply run the thing around a pile or cleat and back to that same midship cleat on your boat. No loop or cleat hitch on the dock required at all.

All this is even easier in your home slip, since you can have pre-adjusted lines staged for easy pickup from within the boat.

-Chris
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Old 26-08-2014, 07:26   #6
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

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Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
if you are indeed jumping off a moving boat then that can eventually cause problems like head injuries or broken bones.
If you are indeed sailing then that can eventually cause problems like head injuries or broken bones.

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and expect to hit something hard at least once a month until you're good at it.
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Old 26-08-2014, 07:31   #7
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

On Sydney Harbour - generally not getting into a pen with posts.

I'm usually docking side-on to a flat dock in water affected by the unprotected harbour waters and passing ferries.

Okay, that's not a big problem in itself, I can account for that to stop close to my mark.

But the point at which I hit neutral, leave the helm, exit through the back door and onto the swim platform with a line running from the bow in one hand and a line from the stern in the other - I think "Now this could end in disaster one day".
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Old 26-08-2014, 10:50   #8
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Re: Solo docking, no bowthrusters... Any tips?

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On Sydney Harbour - generally not getting into a pen with posts.
"Pen with posts" means slip with 4-way tie-up?

Whatever, doesn't matter, the spring line approach does all it's work on one side of the boat.

And it's also especially useful for docking when the wind is blowing you off a fuel dock or whatever; back down on a single spring line, you're docked. Additional lines are just gravy.

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Old 26-08-2014, 11:58   #9
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Re: Solo Docking, no Bowthrusters... Any Tips?

If this is your dock, you can leave the lines suspended over the water on elastic booms. Then you do not have to jump ashore. Just reverse within say 4 ft from the dock, grab the lines and you are set.

Otherwise use a boat hook to reach your lines, but this is not quite this easy.

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Old 26-08-2014, 12:56   #10
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Re: Solo Docking, no Bowthrusters... Any Tips?

Sydney Mustang, this has saved my bacon more times than I can count.

There was a time when I had to jump, also. But I feel much safer and in control with the Docking Stick. I hope this helps you.
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Old 23-09-2014, 20:09   #11
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Re: Solo Docking, no Bowthrusters... Any Tips?

I singlehand my 46' ketch all the time. At my home port dock, I have a 'one line does it all' initial dock approach. I have permanently installed a line from the forward piling back to the dock piling/cleat with a small loop (Alpine Butterfly knot) tied in the middle of the line even with boat's mid cleat position when properly docked. Install this 'one line does it all' on the side you have easiest access to from the helm. I back into the slip and with the 'one line dies it all' elevated by any if the techniques already mentioned by others... I slow/ stop the boat so the loop is at/ near my sailboat's mid cleat position... shift into neutral... and just reach over and grab the line. Once I have my hands on my 'one line does it all line' the boat is under control. Usually just a little steady pull forward or aft will line the loop up with the cleat and I thread the loop threw the center and back around the ears. At this point the fore/aft movement of the boat is under control. If wind/ current starts to swing the bow/stern away... you just walk toward whichever end is moving away with the 'one line does it' sliding through your hand until you are forward/ aft enough to get good pulling position to pull the boat back into alignment... over to piling(s) to retrieve breast lines. My current slip is pretty wide and I have rigged a 'one line does it all' on both port and starboard sides to take advantage of/ not having to fight a strong cross wind and just use whichever side the boat blows to. Never had a problem docking using this system.
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Old 23-09-2014, 21:09   #12
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Re: Solo Docking, no Bowthrusters... Any Tips?

If you have twin engines then you can walk the boat sideways to a dock, lots of videos on youtube demonstrating that. Otherwise I would bow up to the dock, shift to neutral and turn the wheel slightly at the last minute. Keep a bow line and stern line tied together amidship with just enough slack to not be able to sink and catch a prop or rudder. Your momentum will bring your stern to the dock so you can lay the line on a cleat without leaving the boat. Shift to forward idle and the boat will hold itself to the dock so you can get another line secure.
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Old 23-09-2014, 21:13   #13
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Re: Solo Docking, no Bowthrusters... Any Tips?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sydney Mustang View Post
I have a single sterndrive Mustang 2800.

It has no bowthrusters and I usually dock alone.

I've actually found a technique for docking that has started to work for me.

But it involves leaving the helm and jumping off the stern with two line in my hand and tying them off one-by-one.

It's working in calm conditions, but this seems to be asking for trouble.

Any tips?
Yup, don't ever jump off the boat until it is stopped and you have used the boat hook to pick up your lines.

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