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Old 17-01-2020, 06:53   #1
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Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

YouTube’s algorithms thought I’d like the video below. They were right and I thought I’d share.

A large ferry drips an anchor at the last second to dock in a very strong crosswind. I would have skipped docking and anchored in the middle of the harbor. ;-)

What’s the most unusual docking techniques you seen or pulled off yourself?

- Guillermo
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Old 17-01-2020, 06:58   #2
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Does the time I took out our electrical pedestal count?

I had a teacher who was a WW2 submarine skipper. After the war, they gave him a destroyer to get home from the Pacific. That's from 6,000 HP to 60,000 HP. At Mare Island he sank a 2 1/2 ton truck that was parked on the dock.

Never let anything mechanical know that you are in a hurry.
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Old 17-01-2020, 07:10   #3
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Impressive ship handling! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 17-01-2020, 07:20   #4
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Nicely done - though they had that anchor in for quite a while before they docked. I suspect they also had it in as an aid to getting off that pier again a bit later.
Ferry captains have one of the toughest jobs when the weather gets snotty - they have to get in and tie up, no anchoring out (like you & I would do!). If you look around Youtube, there are lots of videos of ferries docking in some pretty hairy conditions, mostly in the Med when the Meltimi kicks up.
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Old 17-01-2020, 07:45   #5
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

When I was teaching sailing and boat handling, one of the hardest lessons to convey was that handling a boat with lines in close quarters was NOT "cheating" but the pinnacle of good seamanship.

For depart, and especially for landing, using warping lines seems to be a lost art that people avoid and get into all kinds of trouble as a result.

My current boat has a powerful bow thruster, but when I am approaching a dock my FIRST strategy is still to get a spring line on so I can power against it and pivot in no matter the wind or tide.
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:03   #6
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

A lot of years ago as I was heading for my first off-shore adventure- to Bermuda with my new-to-me at the time island Packet 37, I had stopped off at Little Creek, VA for the night before heading off to sea the next day with my crew of 4. As we left the dock in the morning, the tide was running out and we tossed off the lines and headed for the middle of the channel. There was a marina with a fuel dock on the other side- which was where I had fueled up the day before. Once we were in the middle of the creek, my engine died. We were drifting along with the tide at about 2.5 knots. A mechanic friend of mine who was aboard for the trip raced down to the engine. His report came back within a few seconds---- BAD FUEL! Another crew member was at the wheel at the time and he felt we could make it to the fuel dock on the other side. HOWEVER, it would have been one mean feat to stop that boat by throwing a few lines to the dock if we could get even get there, when just beyond the fuel dock were more docks with boats on them and if we couldn't stop in time, we would hit them.

My mechanic friend who was also a much more experienced cruiser than I was at that time then taught me a maneuver that I have been teaching ever since. He let the guy at the helm steer towards the dock (which was parallel to our course). We were pretty much in the middle of the creek but angling for it on the tide. Meanwhile we untied my portside (my lighter) anchor (we were heading east out the creek) and the dock was on portside. At the appropriate moment he picked it up and heaved it overboard as far to port as he could throw it- I think it was a 30 or 35 pounder and we were maybe 15-20 feet from the dock paralleling it. We let the line feed out for awhile and at his signal, cleated the line (it was rode). The boat moved forward, eventually jerked on the line, did a 180 turn and pulled up nicely alongside the dock within about 2-3 feet of it. By this time, a crowd had gathered on the dock and we had plenty of help to tie up. BTW, the fuel dock agreed the problem was their fuel and refunded me all of the money I had paid to fill my tanks and gave me some free filters and diesel treatments. We had everything cleaned up in about 2 hours and off we went.

Yes, you can use your anchor to help you dock!
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:18   #7
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Wouldn’t call it a technique that should be repeated, but was coasting down our fairway at about 3-4knots with engine in neutral, began to turn starboard into slip, finger on port side, pylon on starboard; about 10 yards out from slip, lined up perfectly between finger and pylon....shifted into reverse and noticed I didn’t feel or hear the typical clung from the transmission engaging...applied power hoping that my fears were unjustified....oops...shift cable had parted and neutral was all I had...began yelling for the harbor master to get off the dock directly in line with my bow, as my 16,000 pounds were not slowing as planned! Hit and the bow rode up about 1-1.5 feet on the dock before her momentum was spent and she began the slow ride back into the water....ugh....Jumped onto the finger - secured the stern line and ran up the finger to see whether I had crushed our harbor master. Thankfully, he had heard me yelling, “no reverse, no reverse, move away” and did....I stopped shaking about 10 minutes later..went home a had a Scotch just to insure the shaking was over. ..I now check the linkage/cable about every other time out..
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Old 17-01-2020, 10:26   #8
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Yes, but what kind of anchor was used????

Seriously though, I wonder if the captain was really depending on the anchor grabbing, first shot. Maybe. Could be he/she had done it many times before. Or maybe as Hartleyg says it was for getting off the dock later.
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Old 17-01-2020, 11:31   #9

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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Isn't this what we all do if we don't have a thruster ;-)?

Doing this sort of thing in a five-tonner is all in a day's work, I think, but doing it in an 11K-tonner is obviously a kettle of fish of a different colour. All hail to these ferry skippers!

Having said all that, we should probably note that one of the Hurtigruten ("Swift Line") ships calls at Bodö every day of the year. Given that, and given Bodö's location on the Norwegian Coast, I shouldn't wonder if every skipper and jimmy has been given special training in precisely this evolution. Certainly they would know from teaching and from experience just exactly where to drop the hook off the pier. The pier is Hurtigruten's own property I believe, and I'm sure other vessels coming into Bodö would take good care not to be at that pier at the published arrival times for Nordnorge and her sisters.

Knowing just where to set the hook and how much scope to pay out is not a luxury afforded those of us who might need to use this evolution in a place we've never been to before.

Therefore I'm with billknny. Proper use of warps seems to be an art that we Sunday-sailors too often neglect.

So thanks gsuescum :-)!

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Old 17-01-2020, 12:22   #10
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

Very Nice! Did something kind'a similar with my engineless Newport 41 but not with the same dire consequents of failure.

Engine was out of the boat for overhaul. Big tail wind dead down into my narrow slip. Pushed her out and went sailing for the day anyway. Coming back I instructed the crew to have the stern anchor at the ready to drop on my call as I lined her up with the slip three or four boat lengths out, depth about 10ft. With the anchor set, the plan was to just ease off on the line and "lower" her into the slip. By now a small crowd had assembled on the dock to watch me crash and burn. Just as I turned in and lined up with the slip the big tail wind died completely. "Hold the anchor" I shouted and we ghosted into the slip and came to a stop 5 feet from hitting. The crew stepped off and tied her up. Some jaws dropped in my audience and I heard a couple of "how did he do that" remarks. I just smiled.
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Old 17-01-2020, 14:55   #11
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

He knew what he was doing. Beyond that all the speculation an I did is trash.
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Old 17-01-2020, 16:53   #12
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

We were in the beautiful harbor of Otronto, Italy when a 700’-800’ freighter approached in 30 kt winds. We were worried about our safety when he executed a perfect approach to the wharf. If this wasn’t enough they decided that they needed to be tied to the opposite side. No problem, the captain pulled away from the wharf in high winds, dropped his huge anchor, pivoted 180 deg and tied up on the opposite side in a matter of minutes. This was the greatest example of seamanship that I have ever seen.
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Old 17-01-2020, 17:18   #13
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

33 Morgan OI,

1. First cruise, Lake Champlain, Burlington VT. Dead Engine. Sailed down wind past the finger pier, Turned up into the wind dropped anchor & "lowered" in. Never done it before - very relieved. Owner bought me a surf n turf lunch.
2. Fuel dock Belfast Maine. Wind blowing into dock built while nose in & fueling. I'd seen a schooner cap'n friend often used lines to warp around. Ran a long warping line from bow & tied it to a long warping stern line. Let go lines holding her to dock. Bystander took the bow line & I held the stern & we walked her around to point into the wind. Luckily there was enough room between the parallel docks to accomodate her length.
3. Dock at Winterport Maine marina on the Penobscot river. Solo again with heavy river current. Pulled up parallel to dock about 5' away with just enough throttle to offset the current. Tipped the wheel just a bit toward the dock & she siddled up sideways. Tossed lines. Done
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Old 17-01-2020, 19:38   #14
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

This is a technique I thought was taught to all ship drivers, it's called dredging the anchor. Certainly was part of nautical science class at the Coast Guard Academy and deck watch officer quals on the ship 25+ years ago and I know the boat people don't change much if at all so I'm guessing it's still a thing.
The technique is not actually to set the anchor, you purposely set a very short scope and drag it along, hence the name "dredging the anchor". You can see that in the original video as the anchor is clearly dragging. The idea is to just create some resistance as if you had a bow thruster or tug pushing your bow in the direction the anchor is in situations where you have neither.
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Old 19-01-2020, 16:08   #15
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Re: Crazy-Impressive docking using anchor in crosswind

I was on one of those Hurtigruten trips last November and I take my hat off to their captains. They run to fairly tight schedules & have to dock in all kinds of weather at all times of the day or night as they call in to a lot of ports up & down the coast of Norway. Very professional outfit.

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anchor, dock, Docking, wind

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