Reversing neatly into a berth

It's really not that tough to park a boat when it's blowing hard up the bum. The bow stays down, it's just playing with throttle. 30 on the beam, that's a tad tougher.
Probably my most fun (?) departure was in those conditions. 250 foot salvage ship, on the quay wall in Truman Annex (the Old City Harbor, west end of the island) in Key West. Small concrete basin, on-setting wind dead on the beam, 30 gusting 35, with other tugs moored forward and aft with maybe ten feet clearance.
Kept Line 2 (after bow spring) on for a bit while proving that we had enough engine power to lift off into the wind, then you just bite the bullet and go for it. Walk sideways upwind far enough to power out ahead but away from the entrance, spin her in place and make for the breakwater entrance, while tapdancing around the dredge who was working the center of the basin.

Had a brief moment of concern twisting around... when you realize you've got the engines running opposed at basically a Full Bell (3/4 throttle, or 12 kts in open water) holding all the forces in balance, and wonder what would happen if one quits - that concrete wall is probably going to get really close really fast.

 

Tucky

Super Anarchist
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It is that "what happens if it quits" feeling that I've never gotten over on a sailboat- I'm just not truly confident in engines no matter what. I often do things assuming the engine will keep running, but have a little knot in my stomach and wonder if i should have an anchor ready to deploy.

 

Mr. Ed

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It is that "what happens if it quits" feeling that I've never gotten over on a sailboat- I'm just not truly confident in engines no matter what. I often do things assuming the engine will keep running, but have a little knot in my stomach and wonder if i should have an anchor ready to deploy.
I'm always surprised when I see yotts under power with sails all in covers and no anchor ready to drop. They seem to have no imagination!

 

Point Break

Super Anarchist
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Long Beach, California
It is that "what happens if it quits" feeling that I've never gotten over on a sailboat- I'm just not truly confident in engines no matter what. I often do things assuming the engine will keep running, but have a little knot in my stomach and wonder if i should have an anchor ready to deploy.
I kinda agree with that. When I sail all the way into the harbor and don't drop the sails until I'm in the turning basin right outside my fairway.....for years I always left the engine on idling in case. Kinda takes some of the magic out of it...............I've stopped that mostly because 1) nothing has ever happened to me while sailing in........not in 40 years of sailing into various harbors 2) the way my anchor is rigged, preparing to deploy really only takes about 10 seconds 3) I have better insurance.............. :)

 

Mr. Ed

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You mean like every single motorboat on the water?
Motorboats don't have a choice, true. Hopefully their engines are better maintained than many yotties', though that might be contradicted by the fact that the large majority of tow-ins are of broken motorboats. And lots of mobos have little outboards on the back as an auxiliary, if they don't already have two engines to begin with.

I frightened myself doing a delivery and not taking the cover off the main, thinking we would do it all under jib and mizzen. When the time came that we needed a bit of main to make a headland (she doesn't point well without a bit of main) it was an unattractive prospect taking the complex cover off when we were off a bumpy headland.

 
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IStream

Super Anarchist
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I'm not giving you a hard time, Ed, I actually agree with you that it's prudent to have the sails ready to go (cover off or open, halyards attached) when coming in. That said, in my experience small diesels are very reliable once started and running. Unless there are serious fuel supply issues, serious enough that they're probably known beforehand, the risk of a diesel auxiliary quitting without any warning are pretty low.

 

Mr. Ed

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They may be reliable, but I still don't trust them!

Lovely story of our wonderful and grizzled engineer at the yard that does the hard work for us - he did some work on the fuel system midweek, and ran it up afterwards for a good 20 minutes. On Friday night he rang me and asked if he could come on board the next day, wouldn't say why, and he ran it for another 20 mins, when it stopped, just like that.

"Ah, thought it didn't sound right" says wise old hand.

Sounded like a bloody engine to me, but he could tell it was sucking a bit of air in.

"Wouldn't let you go out like that, Ed"

 

sculpin

Super Anarchist
That's pretty fukn cool! +1!!

You guys just need one of these...
Yes, but you know some doofus is going to try it in >5 kts of wind and watch his $100k bass boat be blown across the lake.
Or be really loaded... fall in off the dock while trying to do the cool "step onto the boat as it passes by", lose the remote... watch the boat happily motor away.

 

jack_sparrow

Super Anarchist
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Some geek will adapt one of those so you can attach to a pretty girl....however there is a God ..cause he will then take some of those squilions and go out and buy a large Oyster.

 

Bryanjb

Super Anarchist
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Various
We generally enter the basin we dock at with some speed because of that concern. And we did have the engine quit once, we fortunately had enough room to set an anchor and effect repairs. Turns out the cable from the panel to the engine worked loose, it's now wire tied.

It is that "what happens if it quits" feeling that I've never gotten over on a sailboat- I'm just not truly confident in engines no matter what. I often do things assuming the engine will keep running, but have a little knot in my stomach and wonder if i should have an anchor ready to deploy.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Here's a hot tip, if you end up having to sail into a marina don't use the main. Use the jib and have the halyard ready to drop or better yet furl, you'll have way more control. If its windy, seamanship says wait for a tow.

 

Alcatraz5768

Super Anarchist
We used to sail into and out of our berth as a matter of course. Engine was so unreliable we didn't even try it most of the time, so luckily our berth faced into the prevailing wind, so we'd hoist the main the pull the boat out using the bow lines then bear away and off down the fairway. To return pull the main down at the right time, Coast up the fairway and turn head to wind by our berth, but close enough to grab one stern line, then ease the old girl back in. My partner in the boat used to practice tacking duals with 4' of bamboo taped out the front and stern. Only when you were crossing one another close enough to hit the stick every time could you be happy with the day. Good times.

 

afterguy

Member
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0
I frightened myself doing a delivery and not taking the cover off the main, thinking we would do it all under jib and mizzen.
I walked my boat out of the slip in a stiff breeze only to discover that I hadn't removed the wheel cover or uncovered the dodger windows. I was getting blown down onto the opposite boats. Frantic unzipping of covers and desperate craning of neck ensued. Best part of singlehanding is that you're the only one there to laugh at your screwups!

 
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