Please select your home edition
Edition
Lancer 40 years

Three Defensive Docking Strategies for Sailors

by Captain John Jamieson on 18 Jul 2014
Captain John Jamieson http://www.skippertips.com
Keep emergency docking plans at the forefront of your 'what if' mindset. Just in case that boat pulls out ahead of you or your engine conks out in restricted waters. Practice these defensive docking strategies to be prepared for the unexpected in close quarters.

* Look for Empty Berths to Park the Boat

Imagine that you enter a narrow waterway, bound for your marina slip. It's been a perfect sailing day. Indeed, something out of a Winslow Homer painting. You're happy, content and your sailing crew thinks you just about walk on water. When all of a sudden...

You see another boat back hard out of their slip about three boat lengths ahead of you. Now, that might seem like plenty of time to react--but you'll need to act fast. What could you do right now--this instant--that might save the day and avoid a close quarters situation--or even a collision?

Your first reaction will be to back down, and that's an option. But there's another option that just may be even more effective in some circumstances--if you have planned ahead of time. Slide into an empty dock or slip space. If you see a clearing, get out of the channel and put a line onto the pier or piling.

* Use a Quarter Spring to Stop Momentum

Bare poles sailing? You bet. If your engine dies in a channel you might be able to sail your boat up to an open pier with the wind astern. Many sailboats sail quite well under bare poles. Realize that your boat will have lots of forward momentum if you need to slide alongside a pier with the wind astern. You will need to get a stern line secured to a pier cleat or piling without delay.

Practice in an open area. Lower all sail. Do not start the engine. Keep the wind well aft of the beam or astern. Become familiar with your sailboat's capabilities with the wind astern. Communicate with your sailing crew or partner so that they understand the steps to success. Line the side with lots of fenders. Rig an after quarter springline onto a stern cleat. As you come alongside, you must get the quarter spring secured onto a cleat or piling as fast as possible to stop the boat.

* Practice this 'Tight-Quarters' Technique

Scan to the left, right and ahead of your boat as you enter the narrow waterway. Do not wait until you are inside super restricted waters. Do it now! Lock onto those valuable 'emergency landing strips' or even solitary pilings that you could glide up to in case your engine quits or another boat threatens your safety. It just might save you lots of grief this sailing season. Sail safe and sail defensive--wherever in the world you choose to sail or cruise!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Captain John Jamieson with 25+ years of experience shows you the no-nonsense cruising skills you need for safer sailing worldwide. Visit his website at Skipper Tips. Sign up for the Free, highly popular weekly 'Captain John's Sailing Tip-of-the-Week'. Discover how you can gain instant access to hundreds of sailing articles, videos, and e-Books!
Barz Optics - San Juan Worlds Best Eyewearnavathome 660x82Fremantle to Bali Race 660x82

Related Articles

Kids Polarised Sunglasses from Barz Optics
Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Barz Optics have developed a quality range of junior polarised sunglasses ideal for sailing and fishing. Each pair are supplied with a neoprene case and sunglass retainer.
Posted on 4 Aug
Reducing weight aloft with composite backstays
Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Reducing weight aloft is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing your boat speed and performance. Every kilogram you take out of the rig is roughly equivalent to 4kg added to the bottom of your keel!
Posted on 26 Jul
Bavaria STYLE 46 Australian Premiere at Sydney International Boat Show
For everyone who appreciates luxury on the water, the STYLE package is now available for the Cruiser 46 and Cruiser 51?. For everyone who appreciates luxury on the water, the STYLE package is now available for the Cruiser 46 and Cruiser 51?. Making the most of your time on board, be it with family or friends, is becoming more important. Yacht owners want certain levels of comfort and an onboard living experience coupled with versatility.
Posted on 26 Jul
What to look for when buying a modern lifejacket
There is no doubt that modern lifejacket design has changed considerably. There is no doubt that modern lifejacket design has changed considerably and one of the biggest drivers of this change has been due to personal ownership. Rather than crew relying on lifejackets being on-board a boat, they want to own their own lifejacket as part of their kit bag.
Posted on 25 Jul
The New Bavaria Cruiser 34 - you won't believe this is a 34' yacht!
The Sydney International Boat Show sees the World Premiere of the Bavaria Cruiser 34 - 2 Cabin version. The Sydney International Boat Show sees the World and Australian Premiere of the Bavaria Cruiser 34 - 2 Cabin version. The new Cruiser 34 offers more space and more comfort than ever before with a bigger cockpit, dual helms and ergonomically designed seating. This is the first time the entry level Bavaria cruiser has been offered in twin helm!
Posted on 19 Jul
Navathome Australia brings RYA Theory to your door
The RYA Cruising Syllabus has been built up over years of best practice development in Sail and Power Boat skippering. The Royal Yachting Association Cruising Syllabus has been built up over years of best practice development in Sail and Power Boat skippering. Split into a theory and practical syllabus the training modules take you in steps from a Start Yachting orientation through to Yachtmaster for either power or sail.
Posted on 5 Jul
Free $US3,000 Carbon Vang with SouthernFurl boom orders in July
Southern Spars is giving a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July Southern Spars is giving away a free carbon vang - valued at US$3,000 - with all of their SouthernFurl in-boom furlers ordered in July. Carbon gas vangs make a great addition to the furling boom package, though if you’d prefer to keep your existing one, Southern Spars will offer you a 5% discount on the price of your boom instead.
Posted on 29 Jun
Newport Bermuda Race - High Noon takes honours
As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, As the Newport Bermuda Race fleet rushed to the finish line on Monday in the wake of the first-to-finish boat, the powerful 100-foot grand prix Comanche, to the surprise of many they were led by an unusual boat and crew. High Noon, at 41 feet, is fully 59 feet shorter than Comanche and tens of feet shorter than many other entries.
Posted on 22 Jun
Platino recovery - Family confirms that tug has made rendezvous
Reports in social media say a salvage tug has made a rendezvous with the Platino earlier than expected. Reports in social media by family and friends of Nick Saull, the crew member killed during a catastrophic incident abroad the 66ft yacht Platino say the salvage tug which left on Tuesday night has made the rendezvous earlier than expected. The Facebook report says the tug, Sea Pelican, arrived on Friday morning, the weather in the area has eased and with a more favorable outlook.
Posted on 16 Jun
Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to ban bottled water
Approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. The RQYS Management Committee has confirmed that approval has been given to create a ban on bottled water that comes in plastic containers. This will place the club as a leader in environmental impact management in Australia and around the world. The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club earlier this year did likewise. Who’s next?
Posted on 16 Jun