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Old 01-22-2010, 01:30 PM   #1
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Post Best practices for docking

Well the weekend is here but I donít think I'll be out boating this one. :-( That said, I was thinking about my next outing and particularly putting the boat back into the slip afterwards. While I'm not new to boating, I am relatively new to a 30' + boat.

The 2900 I have has a 31í LOA with just under a 10' beam. and my slip is a 30x12'. Its located at right angles to the main channel so I always seem to get the remnants of someoneís wake pushing me all over the place. Up till now, my MO for docking has been to approach the slip with my port side quite close to the dock and then start to make a starboard turn and power off letting me drift until I'm at right angles to the dock. Once there, I put the boat into reverse and start backing up and thatís where things tend to go a little haywire.

As I back up, the bow always seems to start drifting to port and I end up going into the dock and clipping the outside corners of the dock. When I say clip, itís a nudge. I've already powered off and if I'm on my own, I'm already on the swim platform to walk myself in or if someone else is there, they do the same thing.

While I'm writing this, I'm thinking to myself that I should make the turn to starboard earlier and come around a bit further and use the drift and power to back in.

What do you guys think? Any advice from the old salts here?

As always, any advice is much appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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Can't offer a lot of insights. I have seen that some slip holders secure a line from one of the out board pilings all the way back to the dock, paralelle to the slip. They can then grab that line, either by hook or hand, once they get the stern into the slip.

Dear Wife bought me a book for Christmas that had some excellent drawings of different tactics for docking. Many of them involve the use of lines tied to pilings and cleated to the boat, in order to make it pivot in various ways. It also showed interesting information about where the various pivot points are on the boat. Will see if I can find it.

Your 2900 have twins? In your scenario, I'd probably do the same; approach with port close to dock/out board piling. Once I had the piling about 2/3rd's down my port side I'd turn the wheel hard to port and reverse the port screw - thus allowing the boat to pivot on the piling. This of course assumes there is a bumper or padding on the piling, and that you won't run afoul of the bow of the boat in the neighboring slip. Otherwise, approach close to port, turn hard starboard and just as the boat starts to pivot, go hard port in reverse with port screw. Could also to hard port, foward on the port screw and reverse on the starboard screw. Should make that thing pivot right in place.

This will be the first season that we will actually use a slip on a regular basis. I'm definitely going to run that line from piling to dock I mentioned above.

Dan
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:31 PM   #3
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what I do...and not sure if this will help you since I have twins now..is to get in front of the slip...always approaching slow...never approach the dock faster than you want to crash into it...
then I'll turn the boat using the differential thrust of fwd/rev....until I'm fairly close to lined up with the slip..then I bump the engine into reverse a few times to get me going into the slip...at the earliest moment, I'll have the wife toss a line into the hands of a waiting helper....then I keep guiding the boat back into the slip...

now with my single engined 2700 scr....all bets were off ...you approach the dock as you mentioned...then turn the stern into the slip...bumping the throttles in and out of gear....one thing that really helped me TON's was getting one of those suicide knobs on my steering wheel....you can move the drive faster and quicker with your left hand spinning the wheel and using the right to bump the drive in and out of gear.....on my 2700scr...I could dock that thing in any kind of current....

SP
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:53 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. Much appreciated.
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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The name of the book is "Powerboat Handling Illustrated" by Bob Sweet.

Dan
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:31 AM   #6
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Hey Cymru,

I feel your pain as I went thru a lot of practice trading up from a 2300SCR (2 tons) to a 3300SCR (6 + tons) I would take all the previous rec's plus this one simple thought that I picked up from the skipper that delivered my boat. An arrow hits a target by developing straight line momentum. If you have the room in your slip area, make the widest turn possible that gives you the most distance from the slip at a right angle, then cut with enough advance that you can turn into the slip and keep closing the gap (very gradualy) towards the side of the dock that you are going to tie up on. All the time thinking low and slow....your ego will heal alot faster than a fiberglass repair! I used to go down at lunch time when no one was around and practice just what I explained. The straight line momentum will work in conjuntion with the boats keel guiding you in straighter and less effected by wind or other boats thrust turbulance.
I didnt catch if your 29 has twins, I would suspect though. The thing about twins is if you want to tug the rear end (or push the front end for that matter) aways use the opposite side mill to do the job, in otherwords if you are in the slip and now want to tuck the rear end in to the right hand side of the dock, grab the (opposite) throttle or left and apply thrust with the wheel spun to the point of right hand lock. This method of using the opposite screw creates more leverage to rotate the axis of the boat.

Anyways I hope this advise helps you like it did me.

Jeff / Bella Sera 3300SCR
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:09 PM   #7
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If you start lined up straight with the slip and get push to far to the side or the bow gets pushed too far to port, then I would do the following. Look at how much teh boat 'slips' to port as you back up. Look at the average angle of the bow to port (in relationship to the slip). Now, the next time you dock, start with your bow the exact same angle to stbd. Allow the same forces your fighting help you instead. The wind and wakes will push teh boat INTO alignment rtaher than OUT of alingment. When you make the turn, allow the bow to come past straight and keep going a bit. sometimes when the wind is strong, you really need to snap the bow much further to stbd than you would think, but that is fairly rare.

Also, it is very true that you only want to go as fast as your willing to hit something. Hovever, NOT moving will only allow you to get pushed into something by the wind, wake and current at the speed that your comfortable hitting it. Obviously there is no steerage when not moving. I'm not saying move fast. But I am saying that the boat isn't going to dock itself. Don't dawdle thinking about it. The entire process should be smooth and seemless. If you need to pull out and try again, you need to pull out and try again. So be it. I would head down to the marina on a weekday when there's not many people around and I would practice.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cymru View Post
Well the weekend is here but I don’t think I'll be out boating this one. :-( That said, I was thinking about my next outing and particularly putting the boat back into the slip afterwards. While I'm not new to boating, I am relatively new to a 30' + boat.



As always, any advice is much appreciated.
There is a very good Powerboat handling book ... by RYA "The Powerbook Handbook"
Author is Paul Glatzel ...... you can get it via Amazon.

Very useful book.


Remember the key piece of advice for slow speed handling ... steer then gear, that way changes are the way you want them. Power in then out in short bursts.
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