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Old 19-08-2019, 11:02   #46
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Re: Single handed docking help

1. Don't fight the wind
2. A post is easier to reach than a pontoon cleat.
3. The midship cleat is the first to get on when single handed.
4. It is easy to warp a yacht into position ( mine was 17 tons)

Fenders out and lines from all four corners and midships run back to the rails by the cockpit. Set up outside the marina while you have sea room.
Head into wind/tide, stop and loop midship line round post.
Hop ashore and take bow and stern lines and warp her into position.
If another yacht is on the windward side of the finger then come in at an angle to clear her stern - but this means more windage on her so less time to get a line on the pole.
If you need a bit of extra pull against the wind then take half a rurn round a pontoon cleat and sweat the line in ie. pull sideways on the standing part while holding the fall fast.
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Old 19-08-2019, 19:52   #47
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Re: Single handed docking help

This an article I wrote for PBO magazine some time ago. It might give you some ideas.





An Engineerís approach to Docking


Aeroplane pilots say that any landing you walk away from is a good one.

My boat is a 30 ft. S&S Defiance, Mikado II, in Western Port Marina, Hastings Victoria.

As a not very experienced sailor I have found that the takeoffs and particularly the landings in my marina pen are often the most fraught aspects of sailing.

Various factors contribute Ė the wind and the tide Ė the crew or lack thereof and at times, the state of marital harmony when there is a crew.

The following system has been devised to make single handed docking as easy as possible.

Part of the problem with single handed docking is that the helm and engine controls are at one end of the boat while action is often required at the other end.

Rather than bollards that can be hooked with a well thrown line, the fingers at WesternPort have eye bolts in the deck surface.

The system consists of:

A - a rotary fender on the end of the finger.

B - a one metre bow line attached to the outer end eye bolt with a snap hook at the other end.

C - a line running the length of the finger strung between the two end eye bolts with a block on it attached to

D *- a one metre stern line with an eye in its other end.

E - a stern spring attached to the outer eye bolt on the other side of the finger.

F - a pole sticking up, about 900mm, vertically from the outer end of the finger with a big hook at its top end.

The eyes in the stern line D and the spring E are attached to a metal ring about 100 mm in diameter. Bow line B snap hook is clipped to this ring and the whole lot is hung from the hook on pole F before take off.

The final bits of the jigsaw are

G - a line on the boat rigged from the cockpit up to a block near the bow and back to the cockpit on the outside of the safety line stanchions and fenders with an eye in its end.

H - a mooring hook on a boat hook pole with a short line attached.

The technique is to berth the boat stern first. One way or another, depending on the conditions, rest the starboard quarter against the rotating fender A, within boathook length of the pole F. Hook the ring and drop it over a cleat on the starboard quarter of the boat. Unhook the bow line B from the ring and attach it to the eye in the line G. You have not had to leave the cockpit. At this stage the stern is under control and the bow can also be controlled from the cockpit by line G. Back the boat in with everything coming to rest when the spring E takes up. If you are hard against the rotating fender you may need to adjust the boatís normal fenders as you move in. Organise your permanent lines.

All this may seem somewhat complex but once it is set up it is quite easy to use. Happy landings.

PS. A crew now becomes a bonus.


Geoff Champion
Mt.Dandenong
Victoria
aHH
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Old 20-08-2019, 04:05   #48
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Re: Single handed docking help

All boats behave slightly differently. But if I was in your position:
  • I would lead a line with a good sized loop, in from outside, through the mid cleat (or a snatch block if the cleat doesnít have an eye).
  • Inboard (bitter) end, around a winch in the cockpit. Enough free to handle easily.
  • Lead the (outside) loop outside everything back to the cockpit, within easy reach, in your hand. Possibly parked over the same winch as the bitter end is attached?
  • Approach the marina, straight ďupĒ in your diagram. A little helm to the right, you and cockpit should be right beside the marina cleat at the right end.
  • Drop your loop over.
  • Allow the boat to drift out about half your hull length
  • When the line is taut, either because youíve pulled in around the winch, or the boat has drifted to your set length:-
  • Gently reverse
  • Boat will arc back towards your desired position.
  • If wind blows boat too much clockwise:
  • Helm to (turn to) port - little bit of forward power to pivot boat anticlockwise.
  • Then gently astern.
  • You may grind in, or ease out, your mid line.
  • When stern is alongside (bow may be hanging out) attach your stern line. Or, if that doesnít reach, a line prepared on your stern cleat.

Never have to leave your seat! And because you are sheeting from your boat, is applicable in any similar situation, anywhere.

Two lines attached, take your time to tidy up.

Worth a try!
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Old 20-08-2019, 08:17   #49
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Re: Single handed docking help

If I understood correctly, you come in from the left side, past the short leg that your stern eventually butts up to. Why not try pulling up to the short dock, get off on that dock with a bow and stern line in hand and walk the boat in. Temporarily secure the stern, go up and secure the bow, leaving enough length to go back to the stern and start walking it in.
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Old 20-08-2019, 09:12   #50
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Re: Single handed docking help

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulg222 View Post
You mean something like this image, as first step ?

I agree that using the middle cleat of the dock, as the first attachment, does some easier.
I was thinking exactly that. You could then use the engine to position forward and aft. You would want fenders forward and aft since you will be at an angle until the bridle is tight. Once the bridle is tight, it should hold you in position. You might have to change the bridle position by running it through a block until you find the right balance.
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Old 20-08-2019, 18:06   #51
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Re: Single handed docking help

If your prop wash is same as mine, single screw saildrive?
Come in stern first, secure stern line, then apply ahead thrust, the bow should pull to port, toward the dock, then you can leave the engine in ahead and jump off and secure the bow and springers.
Conversely a stern line on the starboard stern cleat, should bring the bow out away from the dock in ahead, or the centre doing on the aft cleat and some astern.
Cheers Richard
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Old 20-08-2019, 19:25   #52
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Re: Single handed docking help

Thanks for all the great responses. I hope to try some of them out soon and I'll report back on what seems to work the best.
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Old 27-08-2019, 00:20   #53
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Re: Single handed docking help

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailormed View Post
The pole is not in the right place .
You need to make a longer mooring line that is attached to your cleat in the corner of the L. Create a small pole (or other pickup point) at the RH tip of the L for this line (bottom of drawing).

When you come in from the left, pickup this line, throw over your port winch, then stabilise the boat with rudder and engine as usual. Winch or pull in this line to get the boat in position. Rest as you usually do.
Update on my attempts:

So I tried the method described above by sailormed (was also suggested by someone I took a docking lesson from but it seemed hard back then). Had success 2 out of 2 times so far. As mentioned earlier there is actually a pole already there I can hang something from (not shown in my drawings) so I hung a line there and was able to grab it with a boat hook (note: I also park my dingy there (end of short pier), so I had to reach over that with hook).

First time I tried it the wind was pushing me off the dock (as usual) and I did actually have a bit of trouble getting the boat in close. After grabbing the line and driving forward while winching in, the boat came into the "L" but was still a bit far from the pier. Increasing revs and a bit of rudder did seem to make the boat start to come in more but it was slow, so I did some combination of throwing into reverse, pulling in more slack on the winch, going into forward, etc. So that got me in pretty close.

In stronger winds it may still be an issue to get the bow in close using this method.

Second time I tried this and wind was helping a bit (was either pushing me slightly in towards dock or slightly from behind). Boat came into the dock like a charm. So wind is definitely a factor here. I don't know what current is doing generally in my marina (how to tell?)
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Old 27-08-2019, 05:23   #54
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Re: Single handed docking help

Quote: " I don't know what current is doing generally in my marina (how to tell?)"

If you are on the dock, including if you are secured alongside, chuck a bit of toilet paper in the water and observe how it moves.

If you are afloat, as when approaching your slip, lie dead in the water a length or two off. In this situation you are concerned not with current alone, but with the combined effect of wind AND current, so observe how your boat moves in relation to the slip when lying DIW. When you are satisfied that you understand what the combination of forces is doing to the TRACK of your boat OVER THE GROUND, go around and make your final approach in light of that knowledge. Always remember that HEADING and TRACK OTG are very, very rarely congruent.

TP
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:02   #55
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Re: Single handed docking help

Hi guys. Iím new to the forum and joined thanks to this interesting topic.

May I start by saying there are hundreds of methods to safely achieve the desired outcome. The ideas shared here have been great food for thought. The method below is one Iíve adopted in similar past situations.

Iíve faced similar dilemmas with my mooring. The main requirement for me when solo and in close proximity to any hard objects is my escape plan.

Additionally, leaving the cockpit and controls until Iím safely controlled alongside is not an option due to proximity of surrounding boats.

Have a plan than can be repeated to infinity until successful without risk. A successful missed approach must always be a guaranteed option.

Additional Preparation:
- Midship spring with secured loop (bowline or similar).
- (Same) Midship spring led aft to a winch
- Port quarter & stern fender

The figure attached suggests getting the boat settled stern-to wind, motoring gently astern. Get the boat aligned with the wind and directly downwind from a mid-pontoon cleat (your aiming point).

If like my boat you suffer from chronic prop walk, build some momentum and then approach in neutral regulating momentum with FWD power if necessary.

1) Approach the pontoon upwind astern at a controlled speed The angle doesnít necessarily matter. It can be directly astern (Med-mooring style). The idea is to get a midship spring attached at a the port stern quarter (for this example).

If you donít like the look of it, motor forward and try again and again and again...

Having your midship aft spring led to a winch will allow you to quickly adjust the slack as required once attached to the cleat.

2) Once your midship spring is secure ashore. Allow wind to blow your quarter off the pontoon slightly then motor forward against the spring regulating runner angle to manage bow angle to bring you alongside.

Once alongside, keep motoring against midship spring, secure boat and make a plan to slowly manage lines to get your boat back to desired position.

Lastly; if youíre limited by room ahead, as you start to gently motor ahead, you can winch in the spring reducing its length to regulate your position alongside.

Good luck with the practice. Iíd be interested to hear which technique works and you decide to adopt.

Safe sailing.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:42   #56
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Re: Single handed docking help

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Quote: " I don't know what current is doing generally in my marina (how to tell?)"

If you are on the dock, including if you are secured alongside, chuck a bit of toilet paper in the water and observe how it moves.

If you are afloat, as when approaching your slip, lie dead in the water a length or two off. In this situation you are concerned not with current alone, but with the combined effect of wind AND current, so observe how your boat moves in relation to the slip when lying DIW. When you are satisfied that you understand what the combination of forces is doing to the TRACK of your boat OVER THE GROUND, go around and make your final approach in light of that knowledge. Always remember that HEADING and TRACK OTG are very, very rarely congruent.

TP
1) Check surrounding boats, bouys and moorings. If you see disturbed water (similar to a boats wake) behind a mooring. it’ll tell you which way the water is flowing.

Either that or the bouy is going out for a nice day sail...

2) Other sailing boats at anchor or on bouys will predominantly face into the current / tidal flow. There are a few exception to this (e.g. keel design, strong wind etc..) Also, you can look for seaweed or any floating object passing a fixed mooring.

Caution; motor vessels on a bouy or at anchor commonly face the prevailing wind direction (or a confusing hybrid of current and wind) due to their shallower draught and greater windage.

3) Look at surrounding boats mooring lines. Generally there will be a difference between the line tensions showing which way the current is trying to move the boat.

4) Check your GPS vs Log when approaching the mooring, especially in rivers. If your groundspeed is less than your log, you’re heading into current etc.

5) Lastly, boat rudders if unsecured will sit on centreline if facing the current and be deflected off to one side of the current is from astern.

This is to list just a few ways that pop to mind. I’ve definitely missed some.
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Old 15-12-2019, 06:35   #57
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Re: Single handed docking help

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulg222 View Post
Update on my attempts:

So I tried the method described above by sailormed (was also suggested by someone I took a docking lesson from but it seemed hard back then). Had success 2 out of 2 times so far. As mentioned earlier there is actually a pole already there I can hang something from (not shown in my drawings) so I hung a line there and was able to grab it with a boat hook (note: I also park my dingy there (end of short pier), so I had to reach over that with hook).

First time I tried it the wind was pushing me off the dock (as usual) and I did actually have a bit of trouble getting the boat in close. After grabbing the line and driving forward while winching in, the boat came into the "L" but was still a bit far from the pier. Increasing revs and a bit of rudder did seem to make the boat start to come in more but it was slow, so I did some combination of throwing into reverse, pulling in more slack on the winch, going into forward, etc. So that got me in pretty close.

In stronger winds it may still be an issue to get the bow in close using this method.

Second time I tried this and wind was helping a bit (was either pushing me slightly in towards dock or slightly from behind). Boat came into the dock like a charm. So wind is definitely a factor here. I don't know what current is doing generally in my marina (how to tell?)
More updates:
I stuck with the method above for this past season. It works. In light winds once I pick up the line at the end of the short dock, and put it on my winch, even a small bit of forward momentum pulls my boat right up to the long part of the dock. Sometimes actually there is too much of like a "whip" effect and it comes in a bit faster than I would want.

In higher winds the bow might stay pushed off a bit, but motoring forward enough can force it in. In very high winds, it still may be an issue.

One of the only difficulties I guess is picking up the hanging line properly. The supports for the bimini sort of get in the way of me using a boat hook very effectively from behind the wheel. If I were more confident at handling I could get close enough to just reach over and grab by hand, but I usually stay maybe 3-6ft off.
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