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Experienced boaters- ever blunder still while docking?


Experienced boaters- ever blunder still while docking?

Old 07-10-2015, 08:24 AM
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Yes, usually in front of a crowd... nerves I guess.
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:25 AM
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Funny, I think when its light, you sort of overcompensate still. Few weeks ago I came in and the wind sort of died. I was playing the gusts, so this left me hanging off my slip. Looked like a total amateur.

I've run 200' dinner boats etc., I've always tried to use the rule, don't get too cocky. anything can happen. Try to read the wind and water when approaching. I tend to go slow, a few guys I worked with like to go in hot to minimize wind impact. I never liked that in case I lost power, etc. which, has happened.

I try to have things ready especially when people are on who are not boaters so they can help grab or fend off something. another rule, obviously, is don't let them get between the boat and the dock. i say, 'the boat will always win'.

Try to have fun with it. I think also a good way to learn how a boat reacts and watching her as you leave the dock. little bits of power / steering here and there and you can really gauge the reaction when your against a pier. also, inboard boats.... center those rudders and no touch when maneuvering
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Old 07-10-2015, 08:32 AM
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It's a routine type of thing like taking the morning dump..If something's not normal (new slip, tide, current, other boats, etc) it throws off the whole rest of the day!
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:43 AM
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I usually fit it like a glove, but things happen. I have learned to tell guests ahead of time to NOT try to help by pushing off of pilings unless I ask them to do so. I think they get nervous when the dock gets closer and the natural reaction is to push off. That is when the boat bounces off pilings like a pinball. I am so used to doing it all by myself that I have to ask people to sit down and just give me room to move around the boat if needed.
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:48 AM
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Three words: rub rails baby
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:52 AM
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Me? nah, never happens, nail it everytime...

PS: rub rails don't help much if the piling falls over..
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:31 AM
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At my local ramp I can solo launch my 18 footer and have it tied to the dock, run back and pull the trailer out and be out of there in less than 10 minutes. Done it a zillion times and its just routine.

So........ the other day there's a bloke cleaning a LOT of fish caught from a crappy old Jon boat he had tied up to the dock. Yours truly swings into the ramp with the usual paraphernalia - a dozen rods, outriggers, downriggers, kickers, duel screens, grenades etc. etc. and run the trailer back into the water.

Jump out the truck and onto the boat and proceed to rev the crap out of the engine as it wont come off my trailer? I realise I didn't come back quite far enough and glance around hoping no one has spotted my mistake... but walking towards me already onto my screw up was the bloke cleaning his catch, and he was giving me that LOOK like it was my first go - I may have done this to others!

He gives me a gentle push from the bow that gets me off. I wave a big thanks and put the boat in gear to tie up over at the dock and then basically proceed to crash into it! I get to the dock and realise I am going in too direct, too hot and too late to save it!

I manage to fend off the bow in time to bounce off my fender (at least I had that on) and get a rope around a cleat... then I'm confused because the boat wants to keep going forward of the cleat and I think its just the wave action then soon realise the throttle's still in gear..... are you kidding me!!

The boats trying to drive away from the dock.... I don't want to look but I turn around and the blokes back at the cleaning table cleaning his catch chatting with his wife and they now BOTH glance at me with that LOOK and pointing and giggling at the ding dong in the boat barely hanging off the dock!

Finally got it all tied up and had to do the walk of shame past him at the cleaning table to get the trailer out but couldn't look them in the eye the big coward I was LOL

I felt like a right D!CK HEAD!!!

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Old 07-10-2015, 11:45 AM
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Thanks- I feel MUCH better;
My Alpha 1 has a bit of a stretched out shift cable- between the engine and the lever so engaging gears/ disengaging has been fickle lately, it also doesn't idle slow so it could have contributed to coming in hotter than usual on a flat day....

Reminds me of last summer, went to a restaurant on the water and decided to dock up VERY close to the front, For a single prop- I completely owned it! Had to essentially walk it in sideways and do a hard turn between some very large boats and pilings, not a bump, pushoff, or scuff, I was expecting a standing ovation by the other patrons- it felt that good
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Old 07-10-2015, 11:54 AM
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shansgonefishin…gave me a good laugh! Been there too buddy.

Sometimes it's better off if we just stayed in bed……...
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:10 PM
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Never go faster than you're willing to hit something. I got caught in a nasty current a few years ago and I got pushed backwards into the dock, put a nice little crack in the cowling as a reminder, I tried to get on the throttle a bit but I had a jet skiier right in front of me. I figured okay to crack my cowling, not okay to crack their skull. I do have some instances where I have to do the ole wave off, and reset and try again. I'm trailering mostly though and if the wind or current messes up your track, no issue trying again. I can usually always get it the 2nd go around.
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Old 07-10-2015, 12:11 PM
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The last time I took the boat (56 ocean yacht) to west end I struggled the whole weekend. We were on the S dock right next to a BRAND new 70 something foot viking. 2 out of the three days it was blowing 25+kts out of the west. He had the east most of the 2 slips and I had the west most. If your not familiar with this marina, there are no pilings between these two slips. It would take me 3 or 4 tries but I'd make it in there without hitting his boat. On the last day ( literally zero wind) I was turning the boat around to get the stern closer to the fuel dock. During this process I took out a ladder on the dock with the bow pulpit there was probably 150+ eyes watching me as I did it
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:06 PM
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last year I lost my port LU neutral and reverse trying to dock stern in. basically it was in fwd all the time and I had no idea.

it got ugly, almost hit a couple of boats. tried to bring her in 4 times before I knew something was wrong, and turned off the port and just brought her in on the stbd. was so pissed i just left for the day.

next day i figured out what was going on in 2 minutes.

no harm no foul , but still was ugly.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:29 PM
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Yes, I've got a counter rotating single screw inboard. I have a 90 degree starboard turn to get into my slip. Being counter rotating it swings my port quarter out in forward. Naturally no steering in reverse and the south wind is always blowing off the dock on my starboard side in the summer! Other than that it's cool.
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:30 PM
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I still get nervous when docking
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Old 07-10-2015, 02:38 PM
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Who hit a wood post the size of a telephone pole last month? Luckily all those oyster shells softened the blow..
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:02 PM
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for all have sinned
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:17 PM
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Default docking

I love this thread...my grandfather flew Newports (biplanes) in World War I he said a good landing was one you walked away from!
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:18 PM
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With current or wind in direction 90 deg from the slip your engaging with enough room to clear the adjacent boat by a few feet, yes. I still can't figure out a graceful way to skillfully get into one of those and be proud.

I docked at a resteraunt with another couple. The guy has severe Add. I went over the plan got the stern rope ready for him and told him to step out gracefully to tie off tight and let me then use the rope on cleat to pin the boat until I could exit with anothe rope to hold us even. He was talking profusely and dropped the rope jumbled it up and I punted to another slip to avoid bumping the other boat.

Definitely slow and graceful with competent crew when needed.
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Old 07-10-2015, 03:32 PM
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Had a couple of close calls, but no "public spectacles". I've driven ships up to 300 feet with no tugs, driving directly to the docks...never a problem. My personal boats, never a problem. I did captain a fifty foot custom Carolina boat for about six years....never a "real" problem, but I did have a "gotta do-over" once. Had a slip on a channel about a hundred feet wide, slip was narrow enough that the flare of the bow touched both piles when I backed in with about 1.5 feet of clearance on the tumblehome at each quarter. Single screw boat with a notorious "single screw theory" port drift when in reverse...bad. The slip faced straight north, so a NE wind of any significance was a nightmare, as the whole boat moved left when you put in reverse...the wind blowing the bow and the screw pulling the stern. Came in during the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, everyone was on the docks watching the boats come in....including other captains. I came in, reached the slip adjacent to mine, put the helm hard over to starboard, about halfway through the turn I threw it in reverse and let the port walk of the prop bring my transom around to the slip piles. I missed, and was in front of the other slip past my own, due to the wind! So, I "put it in her" a bit and kicked it on around to head back out the channel, then spun her around and came again. Now everyone is watching because they heard me dump some fuel, and they're gathering on the dock behind my slip....so now I'm like WTF!!! Made another approach and nailed it!!!!!! They simply waved and slowly scattered. My heart was pumping though....it was one of those "screw the boat, this shit is about ME now!!!!!" moments.
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Old 07-10-2015, 04:07 PM
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My dock is in front of the biggest bar in the marina. When I was learning all the bar flies would hoot and holler while I went back and forth trying to line up.
Now that I am an old salt, they don't look up from their drinks. I concentrate, getting hooted at makes you learn quicker.
But I still screw up. Wind was blowing 10 knots into the fuel dock. I lined up and cut the power, too soon as it turned out. I hit hard enough to pop one of the fenders with a report like a rifle shot and jumble up the contents of the cabinets inside.
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