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Old 10-01-2017, 10:18   #31
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

I'm stunned by the number of experienced sailors that never learned this skill. Stunned. I know many single handers that do this all the time, with no special dock prep at all. Then again, some folks never learn to parallel park a car.

There are many variations--the wind and tide are different every time--but with rub rails or a long cushion of some sort it is usually a matter of getting a spring on and using the engine to balance the forces until you get the second line on. Also, the vast majority of marinas will send out a line handler if you ask.

It's just part of boating. Get to the windward side of the slip, get a spring on, and use that one line to stabilize the boat. Fenders if you need them, to protect your neighbor in case you lose it, not from the pilings.

I also think boats without functional rub rails are silly.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:44   #32
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I'm stunned by the number of experienced sailors that never learned this skill. Stunned. I know many single handers that do this all the time, with no special dock prep at all. Then again, some folks never learn to parallel park a car.
tw, I've been sailing singlehanded for 35 years (yeah, I'm married and she comes with me often, but when she doesn't, that's the result! ), and I offer this to your statement, because I appreciate your contributions on this and other forums but think you're wrong here.

In those 35 years on rental boats, charter boats, a C22, a C25 and our C34 (for the past 18) I have been "blessed" with floating docks with cleats. I have even been known to provide links to my letter to Latitude 38 promoting the use of midships springlines.

I CAN dock by myself in a wide variety of conditions.

However, I recently moved, by sailing my boat 850 nm from San Francisco to Vancouver Island. Yes, there are floating docks here, but not all of them have cleats, only bull rails (which, incidentally, were covered in that letter).

This makes my "perfected" routines meaningless, and I have to learn new techniques. My new dock has no cleats and I've had to be creative.

I know how to parallel park my car and dock singlehanded.

I am sure to run into new pilings, someday soon. Hence, my questions on this topic.

It's sure to be stunning.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:52   #33
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I'm stunned by the number of experienced sailors that never learned this skill. Stunned. I know many single handers that do this all the time, with no special dock prep at all. Then again, some folks never learn to parallel park a car.

There are many variations--the wind and tide are different every time--but with rub rails or a long cushion of some sort it is usually a matter of getting a spring on and using the engine to balance the forces until you get the second line on. Also, the vast majority of marinas will send out a line handler if you ask.

It's just part of boating. Get to the windward side of the slip, get a spring on, and use that one line to stabilize the boat. Fenders if you need them, to protect your neighbor in case you lose it, not from the pilings.

I also think boats without functional rub rails are silly.
I love my steel-capped rub rail. But not so easy for those who may wish to retrofit. Singlehanded or not, it's often easier for me to lay side-to to an outermost piling, wrap a stern line around the piling and back to a cockpit winch within easy reach of the helm, and then reverse -- tensioning/paying out line as you go and as needed. The stern will pivot right around for a stern-to docking, and you can keep the helm centered and not worry about prop-walk.

For those without a stout rub rail, perhaps a 4' length of 2x6 or 2x8 fender board laid over 2-3 fenders would accomplish the same thing. The problem with deploying fenders ahead of time is that they can get hung up btwn. boat & pilings, thereby complicating matters.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:52   #34
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

It seems like it's rare to see them anymore, or even hear of the mentioned, but it's pretty simple to make fender boards. Which they're definitely helpful in docking situations where you want some stand off distance, & or, extra protection from the dock/anything downwind of you. Plus they're a great tool to have on hand when springing the boat, etc.

Also, you can greatly simplify the task of placing or retrieving dock lines simply by using a boat hook. As it gives you a huge boost in terms of reach. And there are even fancy ones that are purpose designed for various "trick roping" techniques. Such as placing lines on cleats or pilings from a distance. Latching a line onto a mooring ball, etc.

One other thought is to do some studying on various docking proceedures & options, including tricky/difficult ones. As I alone have penned pages of text on the subject here on CF. And of course there are entire books dedicated to this. Plus, in my youth, we spent dozens, & dozens of hours practicing such manuvers. It's the only way to get good at them. And one needs to regularly brush up on such skills in order to stay fresh. Use'em or lose'em.


EDIT: To be clear, when I say fender board, what I'm referring to is a plank with a fender at either end. They needn't be permanently joined together, but quite often get left assembled in such a configuration. And either get stored along the lifelines, or in a large cockpit locker.
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Old 10-01-2017, 10:55   #35
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

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It seems like it's rare to see them anymore, or even hear of the mentioned, but it's pretty simple to make fender boards. Which they're definitely helpful in docking situations where you want some stand off distance, & or, extra protection from the dock/anything downwind of you. Plus they're a great tool to have on hand when springing the boat, etc.
Great minds, right!? Easy to make too. I just use a couple of pieces of pressure-treated wood from Home Depot with holes drilled for 1/2" line. They stow easily under a berth.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:47   #36
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

Fender boards are not so rare down here in pole world.
Mine are real expensive, about 4' of 2x6 you buy at Lowes, they are 4' long, cause they come in 8' pieces, if you want them 6' long, buy one 12' long and cut it in half.
Biggest problem is finding a place to put them, storage wise.

What worries me is not poles, but ancient concrete docks that may have rebar sticking out of them, so I bought two giant balls, not knowing what else to do.
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:51   #37
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

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What worries me is not poles, but ancient concrete docks that may have rebar sticking out of them, so I bought two giant balls, not knowing what else to do.
I've thought about a couple of those large round fenders you see a lot on fishing boats. Are they the inflatable type? Fenders are one thing I haven't quite figured out stowage-wise.
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:34   #38
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

Yes they are inflatable, or they would have to stay on deck, they are BIG.
Always called them red balls, although mine are white, good ones will take an enormous amount of abuse, and back in my little boat fishing days there is even a trick to use one to pull up the anchor, you need a ring to go on the line though
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:49   #39
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
tw, I've been sailing singlehanded for 35 years (yeah, I'm married and she comes with me often, but when she doesn't, that's the result! ), and I offer this to your statement, because I appreciate your contributions on this and other forums but think you're wrong here....

... I am sure to run into new pilings, someday soon. Hence, my questions on this topic.

It's sure to be stunning.
I didn't mean it as an insult. I KNOW many of these people have more experience than me at other things. For comparison, I think I tie up to docks in this rough proportion when transient.
  • 4-pilings = 60%
  • piling bulkhead = 38%
  • bull rail = 2%
  • floating = 2%
My home dock is 4-pilings and I would do that more often as a transient, but I have a 16' beam and they put me on bulkheads.

In my experience, boating means 4-pilings except for rare exceptions. Even expensive marinas. So it is a standard skill, like hoisting a sail or reefing.

Anyone without a fender board is going to get busted up on a bulkhead. Their as common as waves, some folks carry 2. Many people use them in slips and more use them on bulkheads. I've helped folks build them from scraps when they needed one in a hurry.
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Old 10-01-2017, 16:33   #40
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

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Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I didn't mean it as an insult. I KNOW many of these people have more experience than me at other things. For comparison, I think I tie up to docks in this rough proportion when transient.
  • 4-pilings = 60%
  • piling bulkhead = 38%
  • bull rail = 2%
  • floating = 2%
My home dock is 4-pilings and I would do that more often as a transient, but I have a 16' beam and they put me on bulkheads.

In my experience, boating means 4-pilings except for rare exceptions. Even expensive marinas. So it is a standard skill, like hoisting a sail or reefing.

Anyone without a fender board is going to get busted up on a bulkhead. Their as common as waves, some folks carry 2. Many people use them in slips and more use them on bulkheads. I've helped folks build them from scraps when they needed one in a hurry.
102%...?
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Old 10-01-2017, 21:13   #41
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Re: Docks with just posts - singlehanded

If only docking were as easy as parallel parking! Been doing that for forty-five years on the streets of NYC. If a car will physically fit in a spot, I can park it.

I don't know whether rub rails were an option on the '86 Bristol 31.1 (Hood/Empacher), but mine doesn't have them. The high teak toe rail was an upgrade option. So, rather than retrofit, I'll deploy fenders and/or fender boards and hope I get the same feel for docking as I have for parking!
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