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Old 25-05-2024, 11:25   #1
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Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

I had a situation the other day when attempting to leave a slip like this one in a strong wind:

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The bow got knocked down to leeward before getting enough to momentum to make the turn to port. With the boat half out the slip, I put her in reverse and re-entered the slip. We straightened her out and tried again. The second and successful attempt involved another person on the dock (who was not going out with us) pushing the bow out as we were departing. The rudder bit and we could make the turn to port and out of the fairway.

What are some better options for this? A few thoughts:
-Juice the throttle more aggressively on departure
-Let the wind knock the bow down to starboard, and then BACK out the fairway
-Arrange some sort of spring line to help get the bow into the wind after leaving the slip (not sure how this would work - maybe a mid-ship port line around a cleat or a piling?)

Boat:
34' Sailboat
Twin Rudders
No Bow Thruster

Any experience with this type of situation, or thoughts on it?
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Old 25-05-2024, 11:33   #2
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

So not to be funny but you dont say anything about your boat.


Are you a power boat or sailboat?
Are you single screw or twins?
Bow thruster or not?
Is your boat a low rider or multiple decks with isinglass acting like a big sail?


Any additional information about the boat would help.



Otherwise my pat answer would be change your slip or consider staying at the dock in certain conditions.
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Old 25-05-2024, 11:39   #3
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

Quote:
Originally Posted by FranksWildYears View Post

What are some better options for this? A few thoughts:
-Juice the throttle more aggressively on departure
-Let the wind knock the bow down to starboard, and then BACK out the fairway
-Arrange some sort of spring line to help get the bow into the wind after leaving the slip (not sure how this would work - maybe a mid-ship port line around a cleat or a piling?)

Any experience with this type of situation, or thoughts on it?
Option 1 only works if you can bounce enough prop wash off the rudder to kick the stern hard enough to overcome the force of wind on the bow, and boat’s desire to track straight…. Not my first choice.

Option 2 is the one that has the lowest risk. It uses what nature is giving you, always the smart move.

Option 3 works if you have a good foredeck person AND if that person doesn’t mess up.


Obviously, I would go with option 2. Lowest risk and relies mostly on the skill of the person at the wheel.
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Old 25-05-2024, 11:40   #4
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

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Originally Posted by Love2 boat View Post
So not to be funny but you dont say anything about your boat.


Are you a power boat or sailboat?
Are you single screw or twins?
Bow thruster or not?
Is your boat a low rider or multiple decks with isinglass acting like a big sail?


Any additional information about the boat would help.



Otherwise my pat answer would be change your slip or consider staying at the dock in certain conditions.
Updated the original post. thanks
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Old 25-05-2024, 11:42   #5
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

Normally we do option 2 - turn to starboard and then back out. Our boat seems OK in reverse. I know that some are not. We have less room to our starboard side than your picture, so if the wind was strong we'd think carefully about whether we can get moving backwards in time.

I think twin rudders will make it harder to force the bow around using prop wash, so option 1 will be tricky.

We were taught the spring line technique and it certainly works but our foredeck person is not super comfortable doing it. We keep a long floating line available just in case, as my theory is that it will be harder to get wrapped.
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Old 25-05-2024, 12:21   #6
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

With twin rudders you can't use prop wash against the rudder to turn at lower speeds or to spin around the long way. So the answer is to back out. It's just about the only choice in a boat that will need significant forward speed to have good steerage.
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Old 25-05-2024, 12:37   #7
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
With twin rudders you can't use prop wash against the rudder to turn at lower speeds or to spin around the long way. So the answer is to back out. It's just about the only choice in a boat that will need significant forward speed to have good steerage.
1+ this is the down side of twin rudders.
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Old 25-05-2024, 12:43   #8
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

So I have a thought but before I share it - it gets you out but does not guarantee you get back in.


Spring lines will work on the windward side - I have a pylon on my finger dock. But if you have a clean cleat (one that is not wrapped in line) or a pylon it can be used in a cross wind to keep you close. Did I mention you need a mate on deck that is capable in controlling the boat while you are at the helm?


Use a cleat or pylon at the end of the dock to control your turn into the wind and keeping the boat on a short but controlled leash. Your mid cleat on your boat should the easiest on to use. This means your mate needs to let the line extend as you are pulling out into the fairway - so have a longer line. I know this is hindsight but try this first with little or no wind to practice. Then as you become proficient you can add wind and try it again.


Good luck.
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Old 25-05-2024, 12:50   #9
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

Quote:
Originally Posted by FranksWildYears View Post
What are some better options for this? A few thoughts:
-Juice the throttle more aggressively on departure
-Let the wind knock the bow down to starboard, and then BACK out the fairway
-Arrange some sort of spring line to help get the bow into the wind after leaving the slip (not sure how this would work - maybe a mid-ship port line around a cleat or a piling?)

Boat:
34' Sailboat
Twin Rudders
No Bow Thruster

Any experience with this type of situation, or thoughts on it?
We are often affected like that by either wind or tide. Our usual approach is to back out of the fairway when necessary.

A spring line can work, but it needs tending by crew with a clue... and often isn't worth the effort when simply backing out instead solves it.

-Chris
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Old 25-05-2024, 13:16   #10
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

Keep it simple! The more lines you employ the more confusing it'll get and the more opportunities for screw-ups there will be.

Twin rudders/single screw is one of those miserable "work-arounds" designers are forced to use due to the modern fashion of demanding hotel style accommodation below decks. Makes doing a pirouette damn difficult!

So what I would do (but it demands good timing and a lot of confidence):

Single up to a midships breast line.

Then: "Let go midships!"

The moment the line is aboard, you, being on the helm, "goose her". Get her out of the slip, stern clear of the end of the slip, before the wind has a chance to overcome the boat's inertia, and you want to get to a speed where the rudders have authority just as fast as you possibly can! Probably an elapsed time of about 20 seconds.

Now, the moment the stern is clear: "Hard a-starboard! Full a stern"! Assisted by the wind, the boat will align herself with the centre of the fairway. The moment before she does: "Midships!"

She'll now come dead in the water, still at "full astern", and she'll begin to pick up sternway as fast as she is able. As soon as the rudders get authority, you can back her out along the fairway as neatly as if you'd learned it at your mother knee :-).

Remember: It's in the nature of your prop that while making sternway you can, by going "full ahead", stop her in less than a length if anything gets in your way.

As I said, it takes confidence :-)! You'd better practise this evolution in open water a few times before you do it in your slip. It is important to know how many seconds it takes for the boat to execute each component of this evolution! You can only come to know that through experience.

Remember that even a lightly built modern 34-footer is a big hammer :-)!

Bonne chance

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Old 25-05-2024, 13:22   #11
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

These harbor maneuver problems are fun. Harbor maneuvers were a terror for me the first couple of years with this boat, because I knew that I couldn't manhandle the boat in case of a problem. Still sometimes scary, but I relish them now. Doing it well is a real pleasure.

I think you have two options.

One is what someone above suggest, which was to exit ahead and let the bow blow off to starboard, and then reverse out. That's a clever maneuver, and low risk, because the stern will hold up well against the wind. Never forget that in a stiff wind the boat will always want to be stern to the wind, and the bow will blow off.

The other option is just to goose it good coming out, stay close to boats opposite, and try to get enough way on to keep from getting blown off. In anything less than gale force winds, I would think that would work with most boats, and that would be my Plan A. In my boat that would be fine at least in anything under 30 knots, but you have to get way on snappish.

Kudos to you for successfully aborting your maneuver and getting back into the slip. That's good work!


The blue arrow here is actually all you need to do.

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Just don't let the wind get on your stb side before you have rudder authority and you'll be fine.



P.S. "Quartering headwind" is an oxymoron.
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Old 25-05-2024, 13:29   #12
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

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. . . Twin rudders/single screw is one of those miserable "work-arounds" designers are forced to use due to the . . .

Hooh, boy. Worst idea, ever.
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Old 25-05-2024, 14:27   #13
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

Trentepieds, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen this go wrong and in how many variations on the theme. The obvious catastrophic collision with the boats on the other side of the marina at “goose” speed stands out as the worst case scenario but the equally embarrassing and usually fruitless back and fill recovery from the failed exit needs to be considered. The advice to back out after a downwind exit from the berth will work but only if you have a yacht that will actually steer in astern, if you have a Morgan, a Westsail or a Colin archer its probably wise to avoid this method.
I’d probably spring out using a loop around the marina cleat back to the midship cleat on my boat but only if I had a line handler aboard who knew exactly how this works and was capable of flicking the spring off the dock cleat at the appropriate moment and getting it back on deck.
Everything depends on wind strength, skill of the crew, underwater profile of the hull , power and reliability of the engine…..and how urgently you want to get out of the marina.
And of course there’s always the dinghy to push the bow around.
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Old 25-05-2024, 14:37   #14
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

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Originally Posted by skipperpete View Post
Trentepieds, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen this go wrong and in how many variations on the theme. The obvious catastrophic collision with the boats on the other side of the marina at “goose” speed stands out as the worst case scenario but the equally embarrassing and usually fruitless back and fill recovery from the failed exit needs to be considered. The advice to back out after a downwind exit from the berth will work but only if you have a yacht that will actually steer in astern, if you have a Morgan, a Westsail or a Colin archer its probably wise to avoid this method.
I’d probably spring out using a loop around the marina cleat back to the midship cleat on my boat but only if I had a line handler aboard who knew exactly how this works and was capable of flicking the spring off the dock cleat at the appropriate moment and getting it back on deck.
Everything depends on wind strength, skill of the crew, underwater profile of the hull , power and reliability of the engine…..and how urgently you want to get out of the marina.
And of course there’s always the dinghy to push the bow around.
I'm the greatest fan of spring lines, and use them more and more with every passing year. My crew sometimes calls me Mr. Spring Line.

But I'm going to defend Mr. Trente Pieds here -- spring line will do nothing useful in this situation, and goose is all we got. Because it's a race between the wind blowing us off and us getting enough way on to have rudder authority. In a race, goosing the throttle is right.


What concerns steering in astern -- I've had a boat like that. And I will never have one again. That will not be the defect of the OP's boat. It will steer fine in astern as soon as there's enough way on. The issue with the OP's boat is he doesn't get any benefit from prop wash on the rudder. Irrelevant in astern.
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Cushion me soft . . . . rock me in billowy drowse,
Dash me with amorous wet . . . . I can repay you."
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Old 25-05-2024, 16:28   #15
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Re: Departing Slip Bow Out with a Strong Quartering Headwind

I have twin rudders w/single prop. Those rudders will grip and turn the boat nice and quick if you can get adequate speed. Though, this is understandably frightening to trust when in a tight marina. When in doubt...back it out.
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