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Old 05-19-2014, 04:52 PM   #1
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Default Advice on backing into a slip solo or with an inexperienced deck hand needed.

After a day on the water fishing, I needed a bathroom break and also some more bait. The marina I called in to said they had a slip all the way in closest to shore with no finger piers, just a dock and 4 pilings in the water. I was by myself on a Maxum 2000 SR3 which has 3 cleats per side. I managed to back in and get tied up but it wasn't easy and I was lucky there was no wind. What steps do you those of you who can do this by yourself follow?

I went past the slip which was on my right and turned away from the slip at idle speed. I then proceeded to back in to the slip and had a line tied to the mid-cleat next to the driver. As I passed the first piling, I bumped the throttle forward to come to a stop so I could tie a spring line to the forward most piling on the right side of the boat. I then bumped it into reverse letting out line through the mid cleat until I was close to the pier in back and tied it off. At this point the boat was secure in that it wouldn't hit the dock but it wanted to hit the piling up front. I then put the engine in forward and then back in neutral so that I could get a spring line on the left side of the boat. This was the hardest part since I didn't have anyone else behind the wheel to manage the engine for me. After both spring lines were tied I backed up to the pier and secured the left spring line to the mid cleat at the same length as the other. At this point I was able to hop off the rear and tie my stern lines but it was tough doing it all by myself and I never did tie up my bow lines because I was only going to be there for 45 minutes or so.

Any advice on how to do this an easier way?

Edit: I did ask the marina if they had a dock hand that could help out but they said no since there was only 1 person there.
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Old 05-19-2014, 09:07 PM   #2
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Sounds like you did all the right moves. Putting out a few fenders helps soften the piles contacts.

Practice helps.
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:50 PM   #3
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Sounds like you did all the right moves. Putting out a few fenders helps soften the piles contacts.

Practice helps.
I had fenders out but the front left kept rolling on me. The prop walk was kicking my *****. Every time I bumped it into reverse it would hop over a foot.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:10 AM   #4
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Sometimes you are put in a situation you can only do only try to do your best.

Sometimes it is better just to come in bow first if there is no one there to catch your bow line if you are backing in.

Into the wind or against the current is how you want to be whatever direction you are trying to go.

Can't be perfect all the time.....only try :-)

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Old 05-20-2014, 01:41 AM   #5
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I had fenders out but the front left kept rolling on me. The prop walk was kicking my *****. Every time I bumped it into reverse it would hop over a foot.
Hopping a foot sounds like a little to much throttle. The idea is to just get it into gear at idle then back to neutral. Remember there is a delay in how a boat responds at slow speed.

When I first started I would find a cove and practice making the boat turn in tight circle clockwise and counterclockwise this way I room to learn and not hit anything.
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:44 AM   #6
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Hopping a foot sounds like a little to much throttle. The idea is to just get it into gear at idle then back to neutral. Remember there is a delay in how a boat responds at slow speed.

When I first started I would find a cove and practice making the boat turn in tight circle clockwise and counterclockwise this way I room to learn and not hit anything.
I just put it into gear with no rpm's above idle. After I put my 4 blade prop on the prop walk is very pronounced. When pulling up to a dock performing the "back and fill" maneuver it only takes 2 cycles of reverse and forward now vs 4 cycles with the 3 blade prop.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:33 AM   #7
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I just put it into gear with no rpm's above idle. After I put my 4 blade prop on the prop walk is very pronounced. When pulling up to a dock performing the "back and fill" maneuver it only takes 2 cycles of reverse and forward now vs 4 cycles with the 3 blade prop.

Yep more blade area increase prop walk, my BII swings a 3 blade 18.75 dia prop and I have a similar affect although the draft of my bigger boat helps offset it some.
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Old 05-20-2014, 11:58 AM   #8
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If I was staying in the slip longer, what would have been the best way to secure the bowlines? Would I have tied the line when I did the spring lines?
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Old 05-20-2014, 01:31 PM   #9
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I agree with Roger on bow in sometimes when you are alone is the smart thing to do. You can also find helpful videos on YouTube on docking.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:07 PM   #10
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If I was staying in the slip longer, what would have been the best way to secure the bowlines? Would I have tied the line when I did the spring lines?
I kept my first boat in a slip all season and would forst attache the spring lines then the stern and save the bow for last. Departing I did the opposite order.
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Old 05-20-2014, 04:34 PM   #11
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I don't think bow in was an option here since the dock had no fingers.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:32 AM   #12
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I kept my first boat in a slip all season and would forst attache the spring lines then the stern and save the bow for last. Departing I did the opposite order.
How did you do the bow last? Once my stern lines were secure I couldn't reach them unless I threw a loop over.
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:35 AM   #13
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How did you do the bow last? Once my stern lines were secure I couldn't reach them unless I threw a loop over.

In my case this was my slip so I set the lines at the beginning of each season. All depends on the spacing of the piles, you can leave the spring and transom lines loose enough that you can move the boat abound in the slip to attach the bow lines, once all are attached readjust them as required. Once again it comes down to trial and error, every slip will be a little different and you will learn to judge what works for you under each condition as you get experience.
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:40 PM   #14
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If I'm pulling into a fixed slip for the first time, I take lines with spliced/braided loops and run the line into the loop end making a large adjustable loop. These are slipped over the pilings and pulled tight. They are then cleat tied to the cleats. I'd do this with 2 bows, two sterns and typically 2 aft springs. If it's a slip I'll be in for the season then 2 forward springs as well. I'd especially be using two forward springs if there were no finger pier and you were embarking/disembarking 'quay' style, as you described. It's much easier to tune the length on the boat cleat. If it was a transient slip I'd probably stay that way. If it were a seaonal slip, then i take 1 extra line and start turning the lines around. I tend to start at the bow and move back. Since all the line lengths have been adjusted, I can take the spare line and clove hitch or 2-turn on the piling with 2 half-hitches. I use the existing line as a 'template' for length. Once I have a line the same exact length as the first line with loop end on the cleat, I remove the first line. Take that spare line to teh next cleat. When your done, you have all the lines turned around with the loop on the cleat side and they are all sized perfectly. You will have a spare line left in your hand that can get stowed away.

I'm not sure if this makes sense, but that is how i do it. It works. It also helps if there are some kind of line retainer on the pile to keep the line from slipping down.

As for backing in. try to turn the wheel slightly to counter the prop walk. Or align yourself offcenter to account for it. It's harder in a single, but the guys with twins make it work for them.
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Old 05-21-2014, 03:10 PM   #15
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I think you handled it pretty well, but I'm more impressed that you spent all day fishing and didn't have to pee once.

Once you had the spring lines secured I would used them to pull the boat forward and attached the bow lines, leaving them slack. Reverse the boat and secure the stern lines. Cut the engine, and tighten up all lines.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:16 PM   #16
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If I'm pulling into a fixed slip for the first time, I take lines with spliced/braided loops and run the line into the loop end making a large adjustable loop. These are slipped over the pilings and pulled tight. They are then cleat tied to the cleats. I'd do this with 2 bows, two sterns and typically 2 aft springs. If it's a slip I'll be in for the season then 2 forward springs as well. I'd especially be using two forward springs if there were no finger pier and you were embarking/disembarking 'quay' style, as you described. It's much easier to tune the length on the boat cleat. If it was a transient slip I'd probably stay that way. If it were a seaonal slip, then i take 1 extra line and start turning the lines around. I tend to start at the bow and move back. Since all the line lengths have been adjusted, I can take the spare line and clove hitch or 2-turn on the piling with 2 half-hitches. I use the existing line as a 'template' for length. Once I have a line the same exact length as the first line with loop end on the cleat, I remove the first line. Take that spare line to teh next cleat. When your done, you have all the lines turned around with the loop on the cleat side and they are all sized perfectly. You will have a spare line left in your hand that can get stowed away.

I'm not sure if this makes sense, but that is how i do it. It works. It also helps if there are some kind of line retainer on the pile to keep the line from slipping down.

As for backing in. try to turn the wheel slightly to counter the prop walk. Or align yourself offcenter to account for it. It's harder in a single, but the guys with twins make it work for them.
I appreciate the post. I never thought about making a big adjustable loop using the spliced ends. It would have made things much easier if I had thought of that. I just bought a pair of 25 foot lines with pre spliced loops so that I will be able to do this in the future.
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