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Docking in a tight marina (pics)

Old 04-18-2009, 05:52 PM
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Default Docking in a tight marina (pics)



So what do you guys think? I highlighted my slip and the arrow is the approach. As you can see the waterway is only 30' wide while the boats in here are 26' in length.

I have a Larson Cabrio 26' with an I/O. I have docked 3 different ways so far and each one doesnt seem very positive.

First, I drove in, and past the slip, then backed in. Worked so-so but transom door is on the wrong side and so is my shorepower, so this isnt really an option.

Next, I drove in again, then banked the turn and docked it perfectly, the problem is that when there is a boat parallel to the approach (as shown just north and starboard of the approach arrow) it isnt possible.

Last- I didnt drive into the waterway I backed in instead, past my slip, and then pulled forward and banked starboard into the slip. This works somewhat, but today with the wind blowing it was difficult.

What is THT's thoughts on this? This marina is too tight, its my first year here and I do love everything about it, except for the docking! It just plain sucks.

Thanks for any thoughts.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:15 PM
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That is little tight. I would do what you tried first.I would make shore cord work one way or another.As long as you have a swim platform it does not matter what side your door is on.I am amazed how many boats are pulled in foward. At my marina there maybe 2 or 3 in the whole place.
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:27 PM
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Most boats up here are bow in for whatever reason. Is there a real advantage to go stern in?
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Old 04-18-2009, 06:54 PM
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It looks like your marina has finger slips, which is why most people pull in bow first. There is no advantage to bow or stern first, just depends on the slip and your preference. I like stern in for other reasons...
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:54 PM
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That's exactly how our old slip was. Finger dock on the port side (docked bow first) and a slipped boat on the starboard. I always came in bow first and stayed as far right as possible, very close to the boats on the opposite side. Turn it hard to port and before getting to the boat next to me I'd ease it into reverse and crank the wheel. This would obviously slow me down and would also "straighten" me out to pull into the slip.

I would not think entering your marina in reverse is a good idea. With wind and current it would be easy to get sideways with the limited torque and control of the boat when going backwards.

Keep at it. Practice makes perfect. I've got an easy slip to get in now and still got sideways today due to a wicked wind blowing from behind.
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Old 04-18-2009, 08:06 PM
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Funny you should mention that, it does like to wander with the wind in reverse, the duo prop volvo drive really does hold its own though- it goes where you point it, its the bow that causes the issues.
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Old 04-18-2009, 08:18 PM
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Practice practice practice.........
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Old 04-18-2009, 08:55 PM
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I like your idea number three, although the backing into the channel can as you said be complicated in wind. The best way into that slip is from the north (in your photo), going forward bow first toward the finger pier and then into the slip.

I notice the channel is apparently a little wider toward the top. Is there a turning basin or turning area further into the channel (north, above the top of the picture) where you could turn around? This is NOT a slip you should try to be backing into on a regular basis (I mean backing into the slip. Backing up the channel, as you did in #3 is not a bad answer, depending on wind and current, if any.)

You are lucky in a couple of respects. That cabrio has a pretty low profile for windage and even a single I/O has pretty decent dockside maneuverability.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnshan View Post
Most boats up here are bow in for whatever reason. Is there a real advantage to go stern in?
Where I'm at only sissies dock bow in . Also bow in makes you anchor overhang the dock creating a getting racked hazzard .
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Old 04-19-2009, 05:37 AM
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Find another slip. If there is any wind, you will in the fiberglass repair business.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:07 AM
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There is no turn around basin, its just a dead end with even more boats to the sides.

Guess I just need to keep trying to find what works, in talking to a slip neighbor I mentioned how I planned to back down the water way and then forward into the slip, he thought that was great, and it is great if the wind is zero. I am going to try forward straight in again and see what happens. Looks like their is no easy way to do this.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnshan View Post
Most boats up here are bow in for whatever reason. Is there a real advantage to go stern in?
It depends on your boat and how you use the marina and boat. At my marina:

everyone backs in. Many of the boats are a little longer than the finger piers so it makes it easier to board the boats, but primarily, there is a lot of socializing and moving from boat to boat. Also chairs and tables are set up pn the dock so stern in works much better.
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Old 04-19-2009, 06:17 AM
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Pull into the marina with your approach. As you near the slip cut the wheel all the way to the starboard side when the boat starts to turn, cut the wheel all the way to port, and put in reverse. This will square you with the slip, now back straight in. Really simple.

Posty
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bamaskeetshooter View Post
Find another slip. If there is any wind, you will in the fiberglass repair business.
Ha ha - I think there is some truth to this post Bama!

I liked your first option; head into your row face first, then back into your slip. Your power cord will reach and the most important thing is to be able to get into your slip.

With no wind/current, as someone else suggested hug the starboard side of the finger, hard to port, reverse engines to stop motion and get parallel with your slip, then go bow in. ANY wind or current will make this move extremely difficult though. In that case, powering into the wind/current in reverse will provide a lot more control.

Lastly, it will take practice and even when you're good at it, not every time will be perfect. Get good fenders and go slow.
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Old 04-19-2009, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnshan View Post

First, I drove in, and past the slip, then backed in. Worked so-so but transom door is on the wrong side and so is my shorepower, so this isnt really an option.

Next, I drove in again, then banked the turn and docked it perfectly, the problem is that when there is a boat parallel to the approach (as shown just north and starboard of the approach arrow) it isnt possible.

Last- I didnt drive into the waterway I backed in instead, past my slip, and then pulled forward and banked starboard into the slip. This works somewhat, but today with the wind blowing it was difficult.
I'm confused about the transom door and shorepower inlet. They are are on the same side regardless of how you get into the slip as long as you are stern in, right (option 1)?

So have you decided to dock bow in or is it still undecided?

My best advice is to talk to and watch your slip neighbors. They have been there a while and will be able to give you suggestions based on their experience.
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Old 04-19-2009, 09:42 AM
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I'm as confused as rwidman about the shorepower. Seems that any kind of bow-in docking will extend the distance that the shorepower cord needs to travel.

How about a 50' cord if your 30' isn't long enough? I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how a 30' cord wouldn't fit to a 26' boat? Over the windshield, even?
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:31 AM
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I won't try to add to the suggestions.

Will comment that here in our condo marina we comply with two rules;
- state guidelines on slips that require distance between piers to be 1.5 times the length of the longest slip at either pier. This would prevent a 30-foot waterway between piers with 3-foot slips.
- our own condo rules that prohibit boats from sticking out at all from their slips. And we strictly enforce it. This makes it a lot safer in windy conditions, so you can lay the boat against a piling and pivot into your slip, without worrying about the adjacent boat's bowspirt or engines sticking out into the waterway.

Brian
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Old 04-19-2009, 11:00 AM
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Get a kick out of this bow in/bow out stuff. Seems to be totally local custom. Here in south Florida (where there is usually no current to speak of in slips, but wind) stern in is the deal. With bigger boats across the midwest and north, bow in is much more common.

As to the OP's custom at his marina, note both his comment ("Most boats up here are bow in for whatever reason,") and in the photo appears that score is 26 bow, 5 stern, counting the jetski but not counting those tied alongside.

Someone's idea that backing into the wind will give better control is true if -- and ONLY if -- there is not much crosswind. Backing a single I/O with crosswind will easily result in the bow going any old which way, particularly while executing a turn while backing, not a good thing in tight quarters like this. This is why I told him I"d rather back straight up the channel, and then enter slip forward.

I have a marina with large boats on a river with lots of cross-current all the time, and REALLY lots sometimes, and backing in just doesn't cut it, even with twins, unless you have a thruster. (Our boats are big enough there, and many river boats though some cruisers, that there is "socializing" space at both ends.....plus the view is way better from the outer ends of the finger piers rather than the head pier end. Plus how much socializing can you stand when all you really want is a beer, a little quiet and watch the sunset??) And as another said, we have rules against -- and strictly enforce -- any overhang at either end of a slip, either over the headpier or into the channel (the feds enforce that last one for us.)
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Old 04-19-2009, 03:33 PM
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The shorepower cord is amidship on the port side. If I dock bow in, my power cord runs right up alongside the finger pier and plugs in. If I dock stern in, the cord would have to either jump across the stern of the boat, or over some water then onto the boat. Hope I explained that correctly.

Docked it today in some wind, nothing major but WTF were they thinking when they built this marina. NO room. I came in at 3.5 mph (idle) and bumped in and out of gear, lined it up, pulled bow in and the wind caught the bow and that was all she wrote! Into the next slip I went (no boat next to me yet). So I backed out, drove out of the marina and came back in, this time I backed down the waterway and pulled in. This worked well, however the wind caught the bow again and blew the plupit/anchor into the damn power station. So basically I am F'd if there is any wind at all.

I said to my wife F it, thats why we pay insurance, I give up.
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Old 04-19-2009, 04:00 PM
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Sounds like you've done as much as you can while wind is blowing. If it were me, invest in 6 cheap fender for the bow and have a sturdy boathook at the ready in case you're bearing down on the boat next to you.

Oh, yeah, snag one of the spots on the outward side, too!
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