Leaving dock singlehand with a crosswind

pcoe

New member
33
1
Virginia
I am sailing more and more singlehand these days and duirng the fall, we start to get a good breeze but it comes accross my beam, so my stern and bow is under tension, sometimes a lot with a 15 kt breeze. Two people, no problem as I have the one person tend the bow line as a loop / spring and when I tend the stern, fairly straight forward as I typically reverse into my slip. 

Singlehand is a different story. As I soon as I go up front, remove the last bow line that is under tension, run back and remove my mid-ship / stern line and jump back behind the wheel. NO matter how fast I do this, the time I get to my wheel, my bow is all the way on the other side of my slip and now I am fighting a piling on the leeward side, rubbing aginst it. Same struggles coming into the slip, as soon as you get the sailboat into the slip in the perfect postion, you jump to it and start tying of a stern and bow, or sometimes a midship tight to the sailboat, but in that 10 seconds for the first line, the bow has already started to move to the other side of the slip.

It's timing of when you step away from the helm and get to the critical lines to secure the sailboat in place, it's too late.

I saw on youtube, a bow spring line, secure to your geneo winch, outside of the hull and looped aroudn the farthest forward piling and then to the bow cleat, around the cleat and run inside of the shrouds and back to the cockpit. both ends are in the cockpit. 

This morning I had about 12 kts to 15 kts accross my beam and so I tried this. All was good until I released my mid-ship / stern line, and then started to pull in the bow spring line from the inside for about 10 seconds but my stern started to wonder while I was doing this and result was the same. I need to duplicate myself only when I leave the dock and arrive, just the extra pair of hands for that 10 seconds.... 

Lighter winds or winds on my nose or stern is fine. Is the cross wind that gets me every time.

Any thoughts on a better technique?  

 

AnotherSailor

Super Anarchist
1,270
402
SF Bay
Use the engine and a stern  line.

It seems you are backed into your slip, did I get that right? 

If backed up into slip, indeed, leave the stern dock line on the windward side as last one. You remove all the leeward lines as well as spring lines. Turn the engine into fw gear. First watch what happens. Because of the tension on the stern dock line, you can keep the boat where it is. with more rpms you will even be able to push to windward. The rudder will probably also help a bit, but not much. It is just moving the prop water, you don't have real steerage, because you are not moving. I would suggest to add enough rpm so that the boat is slightly to windward. Then, take the engine out of gear, cast off the last line (if your wheel is more than 2 seconds away from the cleat, you should cleat the stern dock line on a winch next to the wheel) and off you go. It might take a few tries to get this right, but if you see that the boat is drifting too much you can move the boat to windward a bit more on the next try. The idea is really that you create a bit of room for yourself to drift and have everything close together so that you will only allow 5 to 10 second of drift while in neutral.

If you need to back out of the slip everything is slightly harder. Prop walk needs to be taken into account. Some boats go straight backwards, others are fairly predictable in their deviation, and some seem to have a will of their own. One of my boats, a 30 footer with a full keel, was a bit of a challenge on windy days with a crosswind, although I could predict it would turn its stern against the wind.  The full keel also delayed everything slightly which can be your advantage. I would simply put her in gear fwd while I untied all the docklines except for the stern leeward (!) line. This way she would be positioned with the bow slightly to windwards. Then I would go backwards, uncleat the last line, and the bow would be pushed down while because of the prop walk the stern would go to windward (yes that was a fine feature in that regard). I have also had occasions when I left a windward (uncleated) line and pulled the stern in the direction I wanted it to go, while already going backwards.

When you come in: grab the stern line, cleat it, and again use the engine.

 

allweather

Member
393
76
baltic
my bow is all the way on the other side of my slip and now I am fighting a piling on the leeward side, rubbing aginst it.
Picture of your slip? Crosswind are the classically difficult ones but since it is your home slip you could do some modifications to make the job a breeze that wouldn't be available in some guest slips.

My own experience is to just accept that it won't be as smooth as docking with two people.(especially in my own case where I don't have that much practice and routine!)

Working from that I approach crosswind docking singlehanded very differently.
Making sure to stop the boat once the windward midcleat is positioned at the stern docking cleat and fasten a direct line there(and only that). Boat should then be secure and balanced.

If anything have the bow drifting a little and put out fenders to windward/leward depending how your boat behaves or on both for safety's sake. Force should be low and movement slow so it is entirely adequate.

If one has a rope running from the stern mooring cleat to the bow one can now run a block/shackle from that rope to the bow cleat(midship or both is good too), which will prevent the bow from drifting while you pull in the boat the rest of the way.

You can also take your time bringing out the two stern lines now before removing the midship one that had your boat secure while you were doing all that and then simply motor in the rest of the way.

Departing is essentially the same but even easier if you rig the shackle so that you can open it with a tripline from the cockpit.

Just general musings, would be helpful to know your specific dock to give more relevant advice. Otherwise there is always foolish's book with worthwhile information.

Führungsleine-Fernauslöser.jpeg

 

pcoe

New member
33
1
Virginia
Most of the time, I back in to my slip. The slip has pilings on each side and a mid-size port finger dock about 14' or so. 

The crosswind is coming across my beam and pushes me off the dock. When the wind pushes me towards the dock, it is easier to manage. Wind on my nose or stern, either arriving or leaving is not a problem by myself. It when the wind is pushing my bow or stern too quick to get movement and steerage until you are rubbing up aginst the farthest piling.  

The picture above looks a little a foolish but you know, that proably would work. Being able to release the tension on the bow line while at the same time, starting to move forward. It's a timing issue. The time I release the dock line on the bow, hurry back to the cockpit while releasing the stern dock line, put the sailboat in forward and the wind has already pushed my bow to the other side of the slip aginst the starboard piling. 

 

allweather

Member
393
76
baltic
The time I release the dock line on the bow, hurry back to the cockpit while releasing the stern dock line, put the sailboat in forward and the wind has already pushed my bow to the other side of the slip aginst the starboard piling.
And woe if anything snags while doing all of that ;)

One does need to faff around with the extra ropes though. But then, that is basically a given single handing, right? Since you have pilings(missed it first) that should be an option for you. Works the same way while backing in too.

 

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,286
556
Myrtle Beach,
Put "training wheels"  on your finger pier and piling.

If you have significant tide you may need to fabricate a float around the piling or use these or these or these

Put a line from the piling without the finger pier ,to the main dock, so you have a "catching" line that will keep you from drifting out of your slip and into neighbors. 

Use a doubled "breast" line to a free running ring/block/large eye on the dock. 

Departing: 

  • Snug up the breast line at midships./max beam to bring boat hard on the fenders, bring the loose end back to your helm. 
  • Cast off the bow/stern/spring lines
  • Go to your wheel and ease the breast line as you go into gear, slipping it as you pass the eye on the dock, making this a polypro or other floating line is a sensible choice. 

Docking: 

  • if the conditions are marginal, don't try to back in 
  • if backing is appropriate, have your breast line end rigged with one of something like this 
  • snag your large diameter vertical ring as you motor in, and let the breast line bring you against your fenders in gentle reverse, 
  • step off and place your docking lines. 
 
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Foolish

Super Anarchist
1,686
363
Victoria, BC
Tie your wheel into the correct position before you start the whole process, so the boat moves as you want without you at the wheel.

Tie your fenders to the dock and to the pilings, rather than on your boat.

When returning to the dock you'll need to keep some speed to maintain steerage.  So put a fender where your bow will hit the dock.

Try to swap spaces with a boat that doesn't singlehand and rarely leaves the dock.

 

danstanford

Anarchist
558
129
Lake Ontario
I had a bad cross wind slip for a while only I had a slipmate who I didn't want to crash into. My solution was to have a pre-made line that was the right length to go from my aft cleat out around the adjacent cleat on the dock and then up to my cockpit winch with a loop I could drop over the winch. The fairway was so narrow that I couldn't back in so I always went in forward and the procedure was to reach out and loop the cleat then drop the end of the line over the winch. Once this is in place you can motor in idle forward and you will snuggle right up to the dock. I reversed the procedure to get out with the only stress making sure my loop didn't get caught in the dock cleat. 

I would think you could reverse this for leaving if bow out so that once you have this in place and idling in forward you can remove all other dock lines then just unloop from the dock cleat from the cockpit. 

 

AnotherSailor

Super Anarchist
1,270
402
SF Bay
I had a bad cross wind slip for a while only I had a slipmate who I didn't want to crash into. My solution was to have a pre-made line that was the right length to go from my aft cleat out around the adjacent cleat on the dock and then up to my cockpit winch with a loop I could drop over the winch. The fairway was so narrow that I couldn't back in so I always went in forward and the procedure was to reach out and loop the cleat then drop the end of the line over the winch. Once this is in place you can motor in idle forward and you will snuggle right up to the dock. I reversed the procedure to get out with the only stress making sure my loop didn't get caught in the dock cleat. 

I would think you could reverse this for leaving if bow out so that once you have this in place and idling in forward you can remove all other dock lines then just unloop from the dock cleat from the cockpit. 
Yep, use the engine. If you want to get some real appreciation for this, crew on a freighter or tugboat you cannot move without the engine... 

 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
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worldwide
Double end bow and stern line 

start engine 

release stern line 

let boat weathervane into the wind , a little reverse gear  may be needed to prevent the boat from sailing forward 

then release bow line 

 

danstanford

Anarchist
558
129
Lake Ontario
Double end bow and stern line 

start engine 

release stern line 

let boat weathervane into the wind , a little reverse gear  may be needed to prevent the boat from sailing forward 

then release bow line 
Isn't the core problem how long it takes to get to the helm after removing lines and the things that happen during that time? 

 

slug zitski

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Isn't the core problem how long it takes to get to the helm after removing lines and the things that happen during that time? 
Hard to say 

everyboat and every docking situation is different 

US style with the boat between 4 piling is obnoxious

i know of no easy way to deal with this mess  

 

Marcjsmith

Super Anarchist
3,717
943
Washington DC

slug zitski

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774
worldwide
I ve got 6 piling.  two fore, two mid and two aft.  I pull in forward.

I installed the piling protectors on mid and aft piling.  https://www.taylormadeproducts.com/products/dock-products-and-lighting/removable-post-bumpers  screwed them to the piling.  that way when the boat ends up leaning on something  its not going to  kill the fiberglass.

going out solo is easy.  usually no much wind.  coming back is always when excitment ensues.
Yah 

no easy solution ... fenders aren’t effective 

If  it’s your permanent  berth , it’s best to sheath the poles

The curse of modern boats is rollerfurling 

the wad of sail on the stem presents so much windage that you can’t control the bow 

 
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In this situation I more or less succeed by:

  • pre set my helm angle 
  • walk my boat forward on the slip, and tie it with a (doubled) midhsip line that is going round the cleat which is at the end of the slip (the bowline is removed)
  • get engine in gear, idle
  • release stern line, stern starts to pivot
  • jump on the dock, midship
  • walk the boat forward, trying to keep the bow from blowing away
  • let go of the midship line, jump aboard (or vice versa)
  • gas on (I need to do a sharp turn, and I have a daggerboard, so I need speed…)

There is also a variant where I stay onboard (who could blame me ?) brace against the shrouds and  use the misdhip line as a pivot to keep the boat in line .

It might not apply to your case (my boat is a trimaran, 6500 lbs so still responsive to human muscle). But with 15 knots I would struggle.

 

allweather

Member
393
76
baltic
but you can't really use that system when you get back to the dock.
Not exactly but kind of? In fact I have used the same principle twice this summer when docking alone at a very exposed port(200m concrete causeway to a fishing/yacht port in deeper water) and 15-20+ knots of crosswind. Did locate slips with guide ropes installed though.

Stopped up close to the windward piling near midships where the boat is generally balanced. Clipped a short, 100mm, strop from the shrouds(basically balanced there on the H-boat) to the guide rope and checked that the boat stayed where it was.

Put out the two stern lines(took me a few tosses to get the leward one without changing the length of the midships tether. Need to practice nailing a piling from a distance some more) and slowly pulled myself forward from there with the boat secured against drift amidships and the windward stern line. For my small boat this is more than sufficient. Though it can be benificial(angle wise) to add one line between the guide rope and bow cleat while you're at it.

It's all a bit more friction though when using a simple snap shackle like this. Which makes manual pulling more of a chore but also keeps the boat from being pushed with every little motion...

 

Misbehavin'

Member
384
151
Denmark
Not exactly but kind of? In fact I have used the same principle twice this summer when docking alone at a very exposed port(200m concrete causeway to a fishing/yacht port in deeper water) and 15-20+ knots of crosswind. Did locate slips with guide ropes installed though.

Stopped up close to the windward piling near midships where the boat is generally balanced. Clipped a short, 100mm, strop from the shrouds(basically balanced there on the H-boat) to the guide rope and checked that the boat stayed where it was.

Put out the two stern lines(took me a few tosses to get the leward one without changing the length of the midships tether. Need to practice nailing a piling from a distance some more) and slowly pulled myself forward from there with the boat secured against drift amidships and the windward stern line. For my small boat this is more than sufficient. Though it can be benificial(angle wise) to add one line between the guide rope and bow cleat while you're at it.

It's all a bit more friction though when using a simple snap shackle like this. Which makes manual pulling more of a chore but also keeps the boat from being pushed with every little motion...
I've recently upgraded from a H-boat size boat (International 806) to a bigger, twice as heavy boat, and it's a lot more work docking singlehanded between pilings in a heavy sidewind.

 
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