News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Cruising Int Photo Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : What now, Skipper? Five top tips on docking without an engine

What now, Skipper? Five top tips on docking without an engine

'Docking can be fraught with difficulties if your engine dies at the wrong moment'    .

You are entering a crowded marina, ready to dock your boat when all of a sudden--your engine coughs, sputters, spurts, kicks once, and dies with a shudder! You push the start button once, twice...but nothing happens! What now, skipper? Here Captain John Jamieson gives you five easy tips you can use right now that could save you from embarrassment, damage, and costly repairs!

Fenders are one of a sailor’s best friends -  .. .  
1. Prepare your boat ahead of time.

Docking a boat like a pro begins with well thought out preparation long before you arrive at the marina entrance. That way, when the unexpected happens you are ready. Make these preparations first, before you start your entrance:

* Attach bow and stern lines on both sides of the boat. Rig spring lines equal to two-thirds of the boat length on both sides. If you have just bow cleats, make each bow line about two-thirds of the length of your boat.
* Rig fenders on both sides of the boat.
* Assign one crew member, if you are lucky enough to have spare crew, to a roving fender. This single fender should have a three to four foot line attached to one end. The crew member walks (roves) about the deck to cushion any contact points throughout docking maneuvers.
* Break out the boat hook and extend it to the maximum length. Set it onto the coach roof so that it's ready for action.
* Make the bow and a stern anchor ready for 'letting go'. These should be light, easy to handle anchors that can stop your boat, or break the momentum to a crawl in an emergency (more on this below).

Why make up lines and fenders on both sides of the boat? In a non-emergency, such as tying up to a fuel dock, you may find that you need to switch sides. In an emergency, you will not know which side you will come alongside. In either case, you are ready for stress-free docking and maneuvering anywhere in the world.

2. Brief your crew and make assignments.

If you lose your engine, put your emergency action plan into play. Brief your crew on each step necessary. Assign each of your crew a position--line, fender, boat hook, and anchor. Remember you may have just seconds to execute the plan. With clear communications ahead of time, your crew will understand right away what to do if the unexpected happens. If, like many cruising couples, you have only one crew, assign the tasks in order of their importance.

Fenders should line up - but then have a crew member with a ’roving fender’ -  .. .  
3. Use bare steerage and feathering.

The moment your engine dies, you will continue to drift at a certain rate of speed. That's one reason to slow down as much as possible in restricted areas. You will have more time to take action, do less damage if you impact against another vessel, piling, or seawall, and still maintain positive rudder control.

You must maintain steerage--the slowest speed at which you still have positive steering control--in order to maneuver at slow speeds. That way, you can move out of the way of boat traffic, make a controlled approach to a pier, or make a sharp turn into a slip.

Remember that sailing vessels have larger rudder blades than their powerboat cousins. At extreme slow speeds, use lots of rudder to make sharp turns, or use the 'feathering' technique--or powerful rudder sweeps--to maneuver.

To feather a sailboat with a tiller, shove the tiller handle hard and fast over to that side opposite the turn; then bring it back to the center in a slow, smooth motion; then shove it again hard to the side, then bring it back to the center. Repeat this process until you have completed the turn.

To feather a sailboat with a wheel, turn the wheel hard and fast in the direction of the turn, then bring it back in a slow, smooth motion to the center; then turn it hard and fast again in the direction of the turn, then bring it back in a slow, smooth motion. Repeat until you have completed the turn. You can turn a sailboat with feathering in almost her own length, through 90 degrees or more!

4. Choose the safest method for control.

You have three ways to get to safety. Drift over to an open pier, into an empty slip, or anchor. Choose the method based on which gives you the most control with the absolute least amount of damage should something go wrong. Keep in mind that once you commit, you might not have a second chance.

Pier:
Look for an open space at least 3X the length of your vessel at a pier. At all costs, you want to avoid contact with another vessel. You must put over a stern line aft of your boat as soon as you get alongside to stop the forward momentum of your boat.

Slip:
Unless you are quite experienced with docking in a slip without an engine, this should not be attempted unless you have no way to dock at a pier or deploy an anchor. In that case, drape two spring lines that are two-thirds the length of your vessel over each outer piling as your bow enters the slip. The shortened spring lines on each side will act like a 'brake' to stop your boat before it makes contact with the seawall at the end of the slip.

Anchor:
Use the anchor methods described below based on the wind and current relative to your beam. Take care that you have room to swing and that the other two methods above are not practical.

Docking might look easy - but are you ready for the unexpected? -  .. .  
5. Turn your anchor into a brake or 'dredge'.

If steering into a strong wind or current when you lose power, you will drift to a stop and then start to drift astern. Use large sweeps of the tiller or wheel to keep the bow pointed upwind or up current. Lower the bow anchor right away. Don't worry about scope; put out just enough anchor line to get a bite into the seabed.

But what if your anchor drags? Dragging anchor at a slow, controlled pace could help you slide over to a pier, piling, or alongside another vessel. Then you could 'walk' yourself in to safety (move your vessel by hand with fenders and help).

For centuries, large sailing ships used this exact maneuver--called 'dredging'--to work the ship into a pier or wharf. They would lower an anchor on short scope, but not set it into the seabed. The anchor slowed the ship to a crawl and bounced along the bottom as the elements (wind and/or current) pushed the ship downwind (or down current) to the pier or wharf. Often they deployed this 'dredging' anchor from the side of the ship opposite the pier or wharf. The ship would pivot on the anchor rode--much like a boat pivots on a spring line--to work herself alongside.

You may have too much forward momentum to drop the anchor from the bow. Drop a stern anchor right away. Put out enough scope to stop the vessel or to slow your forward momentum to a crawl.

Now you know five fast ways to get your small sailboat or power boat under control fast if you lose power in a crowded marina or other tight spot. Follow these tips for confident docking and maneuvering and you will be able to handle any situation that comes your way!

About Captain John Jamieson:

Captain John teaches sailing skippers the skills they need for safer sailing anywhere in the world. As a SkipperTips member, you will receive fresh articles and videos to your inbox every week about a wide range of subjects. You might want to check out his website for all it has to offer at www.skippertips.com.




by John Jamieson

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=83623

12:14 AM Wed 18 May 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Practical

Related News Stories:

31 Jan 2014  Ten boat safety checks every skipper needs to make
05 Jan 2014  In-mast furling - is it the 'no-no' we've always believed?
13 Nov 2013  Product of the week: One Sailor MBS for single-handed docking
29 Oct 2013  Get your DSC-equipped VHF hooked up right
14 Oct 2013  Evolution Autopilot - top honours in Marine Electronics Awards
30 Sep 2013  Product of the Week: Safer and easier docking - SlideMoor
17 Sep 2013  Mountain bike torch great for tough sailing conditions
16 Sep 2013  Product of the Week: Drawer fridge for cool-keeping and accessibility
25 Aug 2013  Rig your own sailing boat? Yes, you can!
23 Aug 2013  Product of the Week: The LED ringed switch
MORE STORIES ...

Cruising USA

Springtime Greening: Boaters Tips for Earth Day by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,










How sailors really do have a voice in the future of our oceans by Sandra Whitehouse, Sailors for the Sea,


Message-in-a-bottle record - 102 years by AFP/Sail-World Cruising,








Canadian solo sailor rescued north of Auckland by Sail-World Cruising round-up,




















Free online fuel spill course - how much do you know? by BoatUS Foundation/Sail-World Cruising,












Life-shattering event sends 'rookie' couple sailing the world by Asia News Network/Sail-World Cruising,








3,200-year-old boat found in Croatian waters by Haemus/Sail-World Cruising,






Canadian storm bomb threat - sailors advised: get off the water!
Sailing family condemmed for taking 3-year-old on circumnavigation
New contract-free plan for satellite communicator on your smart phone
Yacht of the Week: The Dashew creation: no sails, but eco-friendly
No laughing! Sailing mistakes I don't want to make
Destination: From Moscow Sea to the White Sea
Land sailors of India on adventure across the Rann
A Paint App to (almost) replace your marine store assistant
Volunteer Canadian rescue team homeless - any offers?
Hilary Lister and Nashwa Al Kindi set a new trans-ocean record
How to anchor and 'never utter a word'
Non-pyrotechnic flares for my boat - Can I or can't I?
Health benefits of sailing
Cruising in the Maldives - some nuts and bolts
ISAF Guide to Offshore Personal Safety for Racing and Cruising
Halyard Tension - a video
Winchrite - for lazy days or extra muscle-power
Researcher examines 'current leaks' that may change the way you sail
Paris off to attempt to circumnavigate the world again
Need a tow from that helicopter? - watch the video and don't laugh
Certain oil spill products shown to be ineffective and toxic + Video   
The Constrictor: a powerful 'Queen' of sailing knots!   
Boat painting - simple but best tips   
'It's never just one thing' - Swedish sailors rescued   
Cruising Club of America celebrates outstanding sailors of 2013   
Book of the Week: From the Galley of...   
Two brave women to sail India to Oman across Arabian Sea   
Rhode Island's Classic Yacht Symposium - Registration opens   
Bad Karma as roving American cruising sailor fined in New Zealand   
Another rescue for second-time unlucky solo sailor   
New York to San Fran record attempt - Maserati reaches the Horn   
Finally the book:HMS Bounty, Disaster and Survival in Superstorm Sandy   
Yachts impounded in Mexico - the agony goes on...   
Students achieve robot boat Atlantic Crossing - but not as planned   
Endurance Award for cruising sailors, new worldwide award for 2014   
It's coming. Dodgers/biminis to be solar power producers   
New Maldives rule - yachts can stay six months   
Unmanned tsunami boat takes three years to reach Taiwan   
Swedish boat builder and Jeanne Socrates a winning team   
A boyhood dream come true - sailing to Antarctica   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XL NEW Cru USA