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Old 09-04-2021, 23:07   #1
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Ways solo sail into slip safely

Thinking of ways to solo sail into a slip safely.

1. Tie a fender with each fender end to a cleat so the boat hits the fender rather than the slip end if coming in too fast.

2. Prepare a line with a loop. Line is attached to boat mid ship so can just slip over cleat.

What other ways ?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-04-2021, 00:50   #2
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Difficult to answer with a few simple tips... Have moored my boat on numerous occasions by myself and every time is different. Biggest variable is wind speed and direction. With no wind it's always pretty trivial (drift gently with little/no use of the engine), otherwise it can get complicated and needs to be thought through every time.

I have found though to never rush it and to, as mentioned, use the engine as little as possible. In the Med if mooring stern to shore in between two other boats I have discovered that, if both those boats already have fenders out, to not also have fenders myself. That has on occasions caused big problems as the fenders get entangled preventing easy entry into the space. (Edit: and also when leaving, put the fenders on deck! Perhaps counterintuitive but leaving them in place can mean you leave a fender behind or you take one or more of your neighbours')

Otherwise... in the Netherlands it's different with poles in the water, etc. Strong cross winds complicate matters and usually I would not simply enter the slip without some lines ensuring the boat does not end up at up to 45 deg angles wedged in one way or the other.

Many variables...
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Old 10-04-2021, 01:04   #3
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

This works for me on either a blow on or blow off marina pen.

Aft spring attached to mid dock cleat and lead to a hook on the outer pylon.
Back in, grab the spring and clip it to a pad eye near the transom.

Select neutral and leave the helm.

Bow line is attached to outer dock cleat and lead to midship dock cleat.
Retrieve bow line with boat hook.

Walk forward wrap bow line on forward deck cleat.
When the aft spring apples the brakes the bow will swing away from the dock.
Your job is to control the swing and align the boat after it has stopped.

Now you can deploy the remaining dock lines and fenders to your satisfaction at leisure.
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Old 10-04-2021, 02:06   #4
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
Thinking of ways to solo sail into a slip safely.

1. Tie a fender with each fender end to a cleat so the boat hits the fender rather than the slip end if coming in too fast.

2. Prepare a line with a loop. Line is attached to boat mid ship so can just slip over cleat.

What other ways ?

Thanks in advance.
Strong recommendations for this book: https://www.amazon.com/Stress-Free-S...dp/1472978420/

It describes a lot of techniques for single-handed docking.
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Old 10-04-2021, 02:23   #5
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Really futuristic! The author must be a time traveller
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Old 10-04-2021, 03:20   #6
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

One guy I knew tied a rope cradle into his slip, rather like a horizontal spiderweb, that his boat would nestle into as he pulled in. The ropes both guided the boat and held him off the dock, and he could power gently into them to stay in position until he got a line ashore.
Pretty slick, I thought. I'd do that if I was ever had a slip to come and go from.
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Old 10-04-2021, 03:46   #7
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

If you are using the same slip all the time, you can just tie your fenders to the finger pier of your slip.

I come in bow first and grab the stern line as a past the inner piling and use that to slow the boat if needed then drop it in the cockpit and get off the boat and position it where I want while securing temporarily midships.
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Old 10-04-2021, 03:53   #8
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Actually, does the OP refer to mooring under sail? That changes the discussion a bit...
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:35   #9
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

A complete game changer for me was making a bow fender that sits on the bow at the waterline.

Come into the slip as slow as possible and ease the bow into the dock, when you come to rest put the engine into tick over and turn the wheel to bring the stern into the finger pontoon. The engine will holdthe boat in place, if its blowing a gale or theres a current pushing you off the dock just increase the revs to counteract. Step off and sort the lines out at your leisure.
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Old 10-04-2021, 04:41   #10
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely




















Practice,practice. Learn to "back & fill". Reverse only in short,strong engine bursts-to avoid prop walk. Practice out in the harbour,near a plastic buoy-to remove fear from the occasion. Do not be afraid of power & speed.Rudders do not steer at less than about 2 kts speed.
Install a strong "midship" cleat near the widest part of hull.Hang a fender 15" fore & aft of this cleat. Rig a permanent 15ft dockline to this cleat.Tie up tightly with this midship line first.The boat will not move & you can take your time putting out permanent bow,stern,etc. lines at your leisure.


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Old 10-04-2021, 05:30   #11
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Useful tool? No connection or personal experience with Docking Stick.


https://www.dockingstick.com/instructional-video.html
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Old 10-04-2021, 05:55   #12
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

You don't list what boat you have; that makes a difference. For instance, my boat can be steered even at a bit over 1 kt, but she has two rudders, so lots of surface area.

I solo into and out of my slip regularly. Sometimes (when there is little wind) I will practice going into and out of other slips, bow first, then stern first, then parallel dock to T-heads, etc. Lots of practice. Then start practicing with increasing wind.

As far as lines, as I enter my slip bow first I halt with the stern by the end of the finger pier and snag the stern line. Tie it on, put the motor into forward idle and let the boat hug the pier. Then leisurely attach the other lines.

Entering a different slip I would have a stern line prepared to drop over a dock cleat, then the same procedure.
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Old 10-04-2021, 06:30   #13
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailormed View Post
Really futuristic! The author must be a time traveller
Whoops! This seems to be the current edition: https://www.amazon.com/Stress-free-S...p/1472907434/r
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:46   #14
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

In my experience most people get into difficulties with berthing with or without crew because they are thinking it is like parking a car. It's not, boats have no breaks and often very poor steering at slow speed.


Key things for me are.
1 Fit amidship cleats and learn to use them to stop the boat in a straight line.
2 Beware if docking with a stern wind.
3 learn how to warp your boat and use warps not engines in difficult conditions, this includes kedging.


As an example. Entering a finger berth with a strong wind blowing into it. Risk is that you will need lots of power to stop and will slew across the berth into the dock, adjacent vessel or both. Solution. long line around a pile on the windward side of the channel and 'lower' the boat down wind. if needed when your bow is up to the finger end place a line around cleats on one or more fingers to control lateral position. Works safely even in a gale just takes a bit of time and planning.
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Old 10-04-2021, 08:58   #15
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Re: Ways solo sail into slip safely

Quote:
Originally Posted by arch007 View Post
Thinking of ways to solo sail into a slip safely.

1. Tie a fender with each fender end to a cleat so the boat hits the fender rather than the slip end if coming in too fast.

2. Prepare a line with a loop. Line is attached to boat mid ship so can just slip over cleat.

What other ways ?

Thanks in advance.
Lots of Practice
Different for every boat/slip

Is it nessessary.

Wind, current, direction of wind.
If your not concerned about comments from others, line your slip with inner tubes or lines of fenders.
Being able to drop sails without leaving the helm.
Topping lifts, lazy jacks.

A good relationship with the other boat owner in your slip, in case you crash their boat.
Being up on your INSURANCE!!

Word of wisdom here.
Practice outside of your marina, you'll make folks nervous otherwise.
Practice sailing up to piers or buoys first, and learn to sail off of them first.

Word of advise, if you have one use the engine, and always keep it running, in case you need it.

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