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Old 01-06-2017, 10:26   #16
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

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Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
I think that's one of the points I often have trouble making new crew understand: during tricky approaches were we're likely to have one and only one chance for an elegant landing or departure

Some things, especially with spring lines, need to be done RIGHT NOW!!!! else an otherwise perfect maneuver can turn to crap in a heartbeat.

I'm beginning to experiment with practice sessions beforehand, even when we're just hanging around on the boat in the marina...

-Chris
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Yes, but that is really 99% up to the skipper, to get this performance out of the crew. It takes a very clear explanation, and then confirmation that you have been completely understood, then it takes effective communication during the maneuver itself. If practice is necessary, then the skipper must be able to discern that and then provide the necessary practice. The right skipper can get this much performance out of practically a monkey. That is skippering 101.
I definitely concur with Dockhead on this, & it's why I suggest both chalk talks (verbal rehearsals) long before any manuever is needed. And in doing so you can cover the why's as to the importance of things. As well as what the options are to save the day when things go awry.

Plus, again, it helps to have everyone, & I mean that literally, man all of the various positions when docking, & practice docking. There's nothing like experiental learning period. Which such practice makes everyone feel part of the team, & tightens up the crew.

Folks are a lot more likely to sail with you, as well as follow your commands promptly when they feel part of the team. And most that are new'ish to sailing postively beam when they pull off a good docking, when in the role of a skipper. Coached through the manuever or not.
How you coach is key as well. As they say, there are no bad crews, only poor leaders.


EDIT: One term I have a fondness for using is Sailing Master. And usually I apply it to myself when onboard, unless there's an even better sailor on hand.
It's use allows the Captain to remain as such, or for someone else to fill said role, yet everyone knows & takes comfort in the fact that there's an experienced hand there to take charge to prevent true emergencies. Such as people getting hurt, or damage to the boat in the 4-digit plus range.
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Old 01-06-2017, 10:43   #17
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

One of the worst places we docked had us pinned hard to the pier with no room at all. We ended up using a forward spring and driving into it with a large square bumper on the stem. The flow across the rudder let the boat rotate almost perpendicular to the pier. We backed out of the marina.
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:11   #18
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

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Yep. absolutely, it's on me, no question.

This "speed needs practice" thing is one that took me a while to recognize... so I'm working on me and the crew practice is secondary.

-Chris
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Old 01-06-2017, 11:43   #19
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

Turn steering hard toward dock.
Apply a heavy shot of fwd power & then neutral-to kick the stern off.
The mass of the vessel will not allow it to move fwd.
The bow will not hit the dock as the bow is curved.
The wind cannot push the bow into the dock very quickly.
As soon as stern is clear of dock,center rudder & apply a heavy shot of reverse & then neutral.
Coast backwards-do not power in reverse.
Coasting avoids propwalk.
Repeat above til stern clears the obstruction behind.
Then increase your reverse speed(momentum) by short bursts of heavy power & neutral.
A boat steers by the stern like a forklift.

Practice the above in a safe area til you master it & gain confidence.


Cheers/ Len
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Old 01-06-2017, 12:06   #20
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

Alternative using a stern spring & a crewmember.

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Old 02-06-2017, 00:05   #21
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

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Alternative using a stern spring & a crewmember.

That's my standard technique. However, I usually don't do it in forward like this; rather I reverse out using a spring line from the bow. Why?

The wind is working against you, the way it's done in the video. That works ok in a very small wind like in the video, but if it's blowing hard, it won't work. That's because the wind rotates the bow down, so once you take reverse power off, the bow will start coming back in. So as you come out, you will want to apply some left rudder to point the bow back out, but that will swing the stern into the boat ahead. This can be a really nasty situation. A bow thruster will help up to a certain point, because you can leave the rudder centered or even turned slightly to starboard, while thrusting the bow to port, and this will produce displacement to port, giving you clearance to the boat ahead. But this only works up to a certain point -- if the wind in that video had been blowing at 20 knots, that maneuver wouldn't have worked even with a bow thruster. Even though it was a fairly easy situation otherwise with quite a lot of space fore and aft.

The other thing I don't like about springing off forward is that the stern is fatter than the bow, so will contact the quay earlier, before you have much angle. I have davits and stuff on the stern I don't want to scrape or snag on something too.


If you spring from the bow and reverse out, on the other hand, the wind will be rotating the boat in the right direction, so will be helping you instead of trying to rotate you into the next boat. You just have to be careful not to let the wind bash your bow onto the quay once you start reversing out, but the bow thruster is a terrific safety net for that. Another thing you can do if it's really blowing hard, is let the spring line out gradually so that you can get to a really steep angle. I do this single handed, using an old dyneema halyard rigged to an electric primary sheet winch.
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:33   #22
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
That's my standard technique. However, I usually don't do it in forward like this; rather I reverse out using a spring line from the bow. Why?

The wind is working against you, the way it's done in the video. That works ok in a very small wind like in the video, but if it's blowing hard, it won't work. That's because the wind rotates the bow down, so once you take reverse power off, the bow will start coming back in. So as you come out, you will want to apply some left rudder to point the bow back out, but that will swing the stern into the boat ahead. This can be a really nasty situation. A bow thruster will help up to a certain point, because you can leave the rudder centered or even turned slightly to starboard, while thrusting the bow to port, and this will produce displacement to port, giving you clearance to the boat ahead. But this only works up to a certain point -- if the wind in that video had been blowing at 20 knots, that maneuver wouldn't have worked even with a bow thruster. Even though it was a fairly easy situation otherwise with quite a lot of space fore and aft.

The other thing I don't like about springing off forward is that the stern is fatter than the bow, so will contact the quay earlier, before you have much angle. I have davits and stuff on the stern I don't want to scrape or snag on something too.


If you spring from the bow and reverse out, on the other hand, the wind will be rotating the boat in the right direction, so will be helping you instead of trying to rotate you into the next boat. You just have to be careful not to let the wind bash your bow onto the quay once you start reversing out, but the bow thruster is a terrific safety net for that. Another thing you can do if it's really blowing hard, is let the spring line out gradually so that you can get to a really steep angle. I do this single handed, using an old dyneema halyard rigged to an electric primary sheet winch.
I agree on all you said about stern spring lines.
I threw the vid in because some folks insist on driving their boat like a car.
I still prefer my post #19 method. It will work in most cases of wind that you would depart in,as long as you have the power & are willing to use that power fully & in short bursts. It does take some nerve & practice to get used to. Watch any commercial displacement single shaft boat.Throttle is your friend-"drive it like you hate it"-when maneuvering.

A thruster is a fine safety net but not all can afford one.
Use a spring if you must for peace of mind,but IMHO,it is not really needed in most situations.

Cheers/Len
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Old 02-06-2017, 07:47   #23
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Re: Spring Line and Bow Thruster Used in Combination

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
I agree on all you said about stern spring lines.
I threw the vid in because some folks insist on driving their boat like a car.
I still prefer my post #19 method. It will work in most cases of wind that you would depart in,as long as you have the power & are willing to use that power fully & in short bursts. It does take some nerve & practice to get used to. Watch any commercial displacement single shaft boat.Throttle is your friend-"drive it like you hate it"-when maneuvering.

A thruster is a fine safety net but not all can afford one.
Use a spring if you must for peace of mind,but IMHO,it is not really needed in most situations.

Cheers/Len
Yes, I agree with you, and I do employ your #1 method. In combination with the bow thruster! That technique works extremely well with the thruster because you can bump out the bow together with bumping out the stern with your burst of power. You can move the boat directly sideways if the wind isn't blowing too hard.


I don't normally need a spring line unless I'm in a really tight berth or it's really blowing. In the situation in your #2 video, with quite a bit of space ahead, I probably would have done something yet again different --

Right rudder, burst of reverse, thrust the bow to port, rotate the bow out. Then full right rudder, hold down the bow thruster, and power ahead. The boat would move directly sideways for a time before she started to gather forward momentum, and by that time I would be well clear of the boat ahead. Center the rudder as I gain way and steerage -- being careful that the stern is clear of the boat ahead. If not, then continue slight right rudder and thrust the bow to port to gain displacement to port.



I don't "drive it like I hate it", with this boat, because I have a 100 horsepower turbo diesel and relatively fragile Kanzaki transmission. I hope to get a few more thousand hours out of them. But with a Brunton Autoprop, I MUST use fairly robust bursts of power when changing direction, because otherwise the blades don't flip around! This can cause some real brown shorts moments in tight marinas when you're first getting to know this prop.



I'm not sure if it was you who mentioned the 360 degree turn in place, but that's another maneuver which benefits from an additional force -- in this case, wind. The basic principle is that stopping forward motion with a burst of reverse doesn't stop rotation of the boat. If you can time your burst of reverse to correspond with the wind catching the bow, you can do a spectacularly snappy turn in place! I actually managed to do just that, just yesterday, after leaving that difficult blown-on berth with a spring line. It was one of those times when I was pleased that a crowd had gather in the expectation of getting to watch me crash the boat, in the tight marina and strong wind!
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