Solo docking

Discussion in 'Motorsailers' started by MaddMatt, Dec 11, 2020.

  1. MaddMatt
    Joined: Oct 2020
    Posts: 13
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: buffalo ny

    MaddMatt Junior Member

    I'm trying to wrap my mind around all everything I need to know considering I will be soloing most of my trips in a 26-30'er....

    Should I route my bow lines so I can access them aft, near the helm? That way I can stay near the controls.

    I know that there is often someone around on the dock to help but I'd rather have my bases covered and be competent by myself.

    What do y'all do? Tips and tricks?

    Matt
     
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,820
    Likes: 1,084, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    In a previous life I was skippering a 40' 20 tonne tug singlehanded, and when I came into a dock I would have a spring line all ready and made off on the bollard amidships.
    The spring line had a large loop in the end; when I came along side I would simply throw the loop over the cleat or bollard on the dock, put the engine in slow ahead and turn the helm hard over away from the dock.
    And just doing that will hold her there very nicely (if you keep the engine in slow ahead), giving you plenty of time to get your bow and stern lines on to the dock.
    Very often I would stay there at the dock (if it was just a brief visit, eg to pick up people), with just a spring line on, and the engine running slow ahead until it was time to leave again.
     
    missinginaction and BlueBell like this.
  3. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 2,041
    Likes: 617, Points: 113
    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell . . . . .

    As Bajansailor says, a midship breast line is the way to go, in any landing.
    Sure, run your bow line aft (outside your stanchions of course) and have a stern line at the ready as well.

    One trick I learned for a strong, off-dock wind, was to nose the boat into the dock (perpendicular)
    and get a loose bow-line tied off. This can be tricky alone, and confusing as hell to someone already on the dock,
    unless they know and understand what you're up to. Apply forward propulsion and steer away from
    the dock. The line will go taught and the stern will swing in. Decrease power to dead-slow,
    leaving the helm hard over will keep you along side while you tie off your stern.
    Practice on a calm day.
     
    bajansailor likes this.
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,820
    Likes: 1,084, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Another useful trick - when you boat goes astern, she will more than likely favour going one way rather than the other, because of the sideways kick from the propeller.
    If the stern tends to swing to port when you go astern, use this to your advantage, and try to come alongside portside to the dock - it will then be much easier to swing the stern in.
     
    BlueBell likes this.
  5. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 2,041
    Likes: 617, Points: 113
    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell . . . . .

    Some call it "prop-walk".
    Very useful, or really annoying, you choose.
     
  6. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 1,083
    Likes: 243, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Single engine or twin Madmatt? Years ago an old timer taught me bajansailors spring line technique. This works nicely for docking.
     
  7. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,820
    Likes: 1,084, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    That is a good point MIA - I was assuming that Matt has a single engine sailboat, as he has posted in the Motorsailers group.
    But if you have twin engines, you can use the twin engines (one ahead, one astern) to spin her around in a tight space - or to park her alongside a dock.
     
  8. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 1,083
    Likes: 243, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 512
    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    Having twins is cheating. ;) Almost everyone at the boat club has twins. We're on the Mohawk River in New York and depending on the day the current can be pretty strong. I can't tell you how many times people were yelling at me "Slow down! You're coming in too fast!". They don't realize that I have to carry a certain amount of speed into the slip as I'm a single. Better have a reliable idle too. If your engine stalls as you go into reverse you're going right into the dock header. It's never happened to me but I've seen it happen to others. Not pretty.

    I think the OP is interested in pontoons or a catamaran so he'll probably be a single outboard. A lot easier than my v-drive but he'll be light and the wind will play games at times.

    Regards,

    MIA
     

  9. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2,820
    Likes: 1,084, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.