RE: Four questions from a novice's first harbor solo

Cosens, Eric D (
Fri, 20 Aug 1999 10:42:31 -0500

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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> 4) When ready to go, and when sitting on the windward side of the dock,
> with no idle position to one's motor, how in the heck does
> "one" prepare
> the tiller to drive you away, not into, the dock, watch the
> pilings that
> are
> fifty feet away, maybe less, to windward, (I think that's how you say
> that)
> and the wind wants to push one back up the very shallow ramp and into
> the dock, and how does one turn around, and pull their motor
> starter 3 to
> five times (that's what it takes me) AND shove off so the running prop
> isn't
> banging into the dock.... HELP !!!

> experience :) Chapman's and the Annapolis book of seamanship give a lot of
> tricks for dealing with docking situations with various wind conditions.
> Getting to the lee side of the dock buys you a lot of options.

What you describe can be a challenging situation.

There's also a book or two out there on Dockmanship (one is titled thusly).
I've only
flipped through it, but my sense is that it may be helpful as well (in
addition to the excellent
sources recommended above) . I learned a couple of neat
tricks recently from one of Steve Colgate's books whereby certain docklines
are cast off and others
are looped back to the boat, but still attached to the dock. This allows
one to power
against the docklines of choice, thereby pivoting your boat in the desired
manner (depending on which
lines you leave attached and how you power against them, i.e. forward or
reverse). When ready
(i.e. pointed more or less in the direction you want to go) you can let go
of the line from the boat, since it's looped back to the boat and not tied
onto the dock. I tried this technique the last time I went out (with a
10-15 mph wind blowing parallel
to the dock) and it worked like magic. Docklines are your friend.

If you try this, be careful not to let the line fall into the water and foul
the propeller!

Another note: Do you really mean your motor has no "neutral"? All motors
idle. My 1988 2.2 hp Mercury
is like yours; no neutral, no reverse, just idle in gear. It does, however,
pivot 360 degrees giving me some kind of pseudo-reverse (but it's pretty
wild to use). When you have a motor like this you have to plan ahead and
have a strategy. Fortunately, after mine has been started for the day it
usually starts on one pull subsequently. If I had $700 or $800 laying
around not doing anything (which I don't) I'd get a motor with at least
neutral and ideally reverse for the convenience.

Big bumpers are helpful too. :-)

Montgomery 15 #412, "Lucy Maud"