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 Maneuvering from tight quarters at dock
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Dave Bristle
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Djibouti
10005 Posts

Response Posted - 02/02/2010 :  19:48:00  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by piseas</i>
<br />Charlie, thanks for that. But do you have links to the sites and/or pics on your boat...<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">Note that he sails a C-25 where the outboard is back on a bracket and generally has better turning ability than on the C-250 transom.
- Snoop Dog

Edited by - Dave Bristle on 02/02/2010 19:48:28
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willy
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USA
422 Posts

Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  08:40:35  Show Profile
OK, so I know I am probably going to get criticized for saying this, but my boat "bumps" the pilings fairly regularly. Understand that I am going less than 2knots when it happens, but I am on a coastal bay in a tight manuevering situation with often fast dramatic wind changes. That being said, I have added quality bumper strips to the pilings I usually bump, and tip-toe in... no flying towards the pier. Between the rub rails and the bumpers, I have had ZERO damage to my boat.
Willy

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Nautiduck
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USA
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Response Posted - 02/03/2010 :  10:34:36  Show Profile
Willy, that's what fenders and dock liner are for. A docking with no damage and no injuries is a successful docking!

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TakeFive
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Response Posted - 05/14/2010 :  19:22:45  Show Profile
OK, guys, I could use some help getting OUT of my slip. We have very strong tidal currents on the Delaware river, pushing me directly into or out of the slip. Of course, as I'm coming into the fairway these are strong side currents.

FYI, I have to back into the slip because the finger piers are not long enough, and the freeboard and lack of side decks on the Catalina 250 makes it impossible to board amidships.

For coming into the slip, I start out in the river and determine the throttle level needed to barely make headway into the current going BACKWARDS. I stand in front of the wheel facing backwards and holding the wheel tightly (since the rudder is badly unbalanced going backwards) and my wife sits at the motor and controls throttle/shift. Then I approach the fairway backwards. At this speed the boat is "crabbing" badly, since the speed is not enough to swing the boat around into a straight-backwards orientation in the cross-current, so I have her juice up the throttle a bit. Once we get to the slip I do a hard 90-degree turn and immediately throw it in neutral and sometimes hard forward to keep from hitting. A spring line onto an amidships cleat pulls us nicely to the finger pier and prevents us from hitting, but when it's just the two of us we sometimes get too far past the spring line to get it on the cleat - that's when she really throws it into hard forward. However, we've managed to get into the dock every time without any mishaps.

But going out is a much tougher problem. The boat just does not want to turn at slow speed. This is especially bad when we're going with the current out of the slip - we did have a mishap where we had to hold ourselves off of the boat across from us. When with the current, here is just no way to make the turn quickly enough to avoid being carried into the boats across from us - even when we pivot the motor. So I would like your advice on springing out of the slip. This is not as easy as it might appear, because there are no pilings. So I would need to spring from a cleat on the finger pier, which requires a very long spring line, and thus a large turning radius.

There are a couple of possibilities. We could put a spring line on the bow to turn us toward the starboard and proceed out of the marina forward, or we could spring amidships on the port side, swinging the boat to port, then back out of the marina in reverse. The latter would use a shorter spring line and be easier to access since it's amidships. The bow is very narrow and my wife does not like going up there.

Here is a satellite pic of the marina. Our boat is where the white rectangle is located (sorry for my lousy photo editing skills). There are currently more boats across from us than pictured here. Currents go roughly left to right depending on the tide:


Here is a schematic of the slips and boats adjacent to me. You can see that I need to maneuver between a 36' Chris Craft tri-cabin two slips up, and two other boats across from him with very threatening looking bow sprits. You can see that springing to the starboard from the bow will take over 60' of line - 30' from bow to cleat, and 30' back the other way:


Here is a picture of my neighboring boats (on a very dreary evening). You can see that the available cleats are pretty far back on the finger dock:


And finally here is a view looking out toward the river. The bow of my boat is barely visible to the far right - back from the Chris Craft:


I am open to your suggestions.

Edited by - TakeFive on 05/14/2010 19:36:58
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John Russell
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USA
3444 Posts

Response Posted - 05/15/2010 :  08:06:22  Show Profile
Are you sure that cleat is actually "available" to you. It looks to me to be for a boat that will berth between you and the motoryacht. Your slip arrangement is just like mine. I am bow in and tie 2 bow lines, one to my slip and one to the main dock. I secure my starboard stern line to my slip and a spring line from a movable cleat on my jib track to a post on my slip also on the starboard side. The boat is secured at 3 "corners" and a starboard spring line.

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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
9017 Posts

Response Posted - 05/15/2010 :  08:36:49  Show Profile
Rick... I'm thinking your best maneuver leaving the slip might be to idle out in reverse gear, letting the current take you out, turn the engine to pull your stern to starboard (toward the bottom of the picture), throttle up (still in reverse), then starboard rudder (tiller to port) as the boat starts backing around, and then <i>back out of the fairway</i> (crabbing as necessary, stern slightly to the current). I believe this will allow you to maintain the best control relative to the boats across from you. I've used this strategy when faced with nasty winds that want to blow the bow around in a fairway--I just let the bow follow me out.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 05/15/2010 12:49:17
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TakeFive
Master Marine Consultant

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2270 Posts

Response Posted - 05/18/2010 :  19:09:26  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Stinkpotter</i>
<br />Rick... I'm thinking your best maneuver leaving the slip might be to idle out in reverse gear, letting the current take you out, turn the engine to pull your stern to starboard (toward the bottom of the picture), throttle up (still in reverse), then starboard rudder (tiller to port) as the boat starts backing around, and then <i>back out of the fairway</i> (crabbing as necessary, stern slightly to the current). I believe this will allow you to maintain the best control relative to the boats across from you. I've used this strategy when faced with nasty winds that want to blow the bow around in a fairway--I just let the bow follow me out.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
I am leaning strongly toward doing exactly what you suggest. The only remaining question is whether a spring line on the port side would provide added "insurance," or just be one more thing to potentially go wrong (such as getting fouled on the cleat, fouling the prop, or forcing me to leave the helm at an inopportune time, etc.)

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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
9017 Posts

Response Posted - 05/18/2010 :  19:56:09  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by RhythmDoctor</i>
<br /><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Stinkpotter</i>
<br />Rick... I'm thinking your best maneuver leaving the slip might be to idle out in reverse gear, letting the current take you out, turn the engine to pull your stern to starboard (toward the bottom of the picture), throttle up (still in reverse), then starboard rudder (tiller to port) as the boat starts backing around, and then <i>back out of the fairway</i> (crabbing as necessary, stern slightly to the current). I believe this will allow you to maintain the best control relative to the boats across from you. I've used this strategy when faced with nasty winds that want to blow the bow around in a fairway--I just let the bow follow me out.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">...The only remaining question is whether a spring line on the port side would provide added "insurance," or just be one more thing to potentially go wrong (such as getting fouled on the cleat, fouling the prop, or forcing me to leave the helm at an inopportune time, etc.)
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">IMHO, you won't need it--keeping the engine in reverse as you drift out forward should allow you to control your drift, stop, pivot, and start backing down the fairway. I'd keep it simple. Note that I'd only do this when the current is pushing you out of the slip. If it's on your nose, pushing you in, I'd do a normal right turn and go out forward.

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TakeFive
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2270 Posts

Response Posted - 05/18/2010 :  20:17:35  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">IMHO, you won't need it--keeping the engine in reverse as you drift out forward should allow you to control your drift, stop, pivot, and start backing down the fairway. I'd keep it simple. Note that I'd only do this when the current is pushing you out of the slip. If it's on your nose, pushing you in, I'd do a normal right turn and go out forward.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Yes, there need to be two totally different strategies for ebb vs. flood. When exiting against the current (ebb), I am a bit concerned that the bow may have gotten pushed to port last time. Perhaps the current is at a slight angle. Or maybe it's prop walk pushing the stern to starboard when the motor is in forward. Whatever, last time we went out against the current things just were a bit odd, and replaying it in my head has not yielded a clear answer. Maybe we can manually push the bow to starboard a bit before we cast off (as long as the adjacent slip is still vacant).

Edited by - TakeFive on 05/18/2010 20:19:11
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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
9017 Posts

Response Posted - 05/23/2010 :  09:16:25  Show Profile
Did you try the backing thing? Just curious...

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TakeFive
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2270 Posts

Response Posted - 05/23/2010 :  09:23:31  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Stinkpotter</i>
<br />Did you try the backing thing? Just curious...
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
Weather conditions and personal scheduling conflicts have prevented us from getting out since your suggestion. Next time, if the current is pushing me out of the slip, I plan to use your suggestion. Next Saturday low tide is 9:30 am, so if we go out around noon we will have to use that method.

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jbkayaker
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USA
299 Posts

Response Posted - 05/23/2010 :  17:11:54  Show Profile
What you need is a bow thruster or another transom mounted motor on the port side. It would be a bear to engineer but an electric trolling motor could work.

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TakeFive
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2270 Posts

Response Posted - 05/23/2010 :  17:49:32  Show Profile
In the interest of keeping the project less bear-like , I installed my simplified hard link today. Weather was too unstable to take it out for a test run. Here are some pics:

Here are the mounting pins without the link attached:


Here is the link. I cut several inches off from the way it was supplied by Stearns. The Stearns connectors and pins are identical to the ones that someone else posted a couple years ago (sold separately in that case). Note that I have prepared the link for the inevitable drop in the water:


This is the view from behind the transom. (If anyone knows where I can find an exact replacement for the fuel box cowl vent please let me know.) Note at the bottom of the aluminum top-of-rudder assembly I have used some adhesive pads with interlocking fingers to secure the base. Without this the assembly has a bit of a tendency to pivot forward and back under the slight torque when turning the motor. Using the pads and a wing nut makes it easily removable in case I need to use the emergency tiller:


Starboard motion is somewhat compromised by the parallax problem of having the link mounted diagonally. I could alleviate this somewhat by moving the pintle more toward port (and adjust the link longer) - then the pintle would move toward the stern when turning starboard. I might also mount a short extension pushing the pintle back a little. But a long extension to make the rod directly from left to right is WAY too much lever arm and would limit the motion of the rudder when the motor reached its limit:


This is the port position. Here I need to be careful not to pivot the motor too far...


...due to close clearance between the shift lever (shown here in forward) and the starboard edge of the motor well:


In order to facilitate the use of the link I reduced the turning friction. As a result, when I tilt the motor it wants to flop to one side. Flopping to port makes it rest harmlessly against the helm seat and railing. There is a little bit of play in the motor housing seal which I plan to eliminate by using some self-adhesive weatherstrip material around the bottom edge of the housing:

Edited by - TakeFive on 05/23/2010 17:59:50
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TakeFive
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2270 Posts

Response Posted - 05/28/2010 :  21:29:40  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by RhythmDoctor</i>
<br />...Starboard motion is somewhat compromised by the parallax problem of having the link mounted diagonally. I could alleviate this somewhat by moving the pintle more toward port (and adjust the link longer) - then the pintle would move toward the stern when turning starboard. I might also mount a short extension pushing the pintle back a little...<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
I made this revision tonight. By relocating the pin in a way that the rod comes in tangential to its arc of rotation, it provides much more even rotation to both port and starboard - exactly what I was looking for. Increasing the rotation to starboard was very important because of the orientation of my slip, and it was also needed to negate some of the prop walk effect in the opposite direction. Unfortunately this evening there was still too much thunderstorm threat to take it out for a trial. Hopefully this weekend:






Edited by - TakeFive on 05/28/2010 21:38:35
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TakeFive
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Response Posted - 05/29/2010 :  11:32:31  Show Profile
We went out today - first chance to test the hard link. Current was pushing us out of the slip, so we idled in reverse to slowly coast out, then throttled up in reverse to back out of the marina. The boat responded extremely sensitively to any turning motion, even at slow speed. As you guys know, the keels on these boats provide a nice pivot point that helps maneuverability, so long as you have some sideways force from the rudder and/or linked motor.

It was a nervewracking "slow ballet," partly because over the past three weeks of inactivity I had really let the whole thing play games with my head. But the fact is, we maneuvered out of the slip, and between the big Chris Craft and other boats with their imposing bow sprits very easily without even the slightest problem. It would be a lot tougher without empty slips on both sides (since we started drifting sideways before fully out of the slip), but we'll see how long our luck holds out on that count.

Coming in to dock had never been a problem, but is even better now because we can do it slower. We no longer need high SOW to have turning ability - the motor pivot allows us to steer at much slower speed. So once we've crabbed past the "pinch points" in the diagram, we can immediately slow down to idle speed and back in more slowly.

There is one other huge benefit that I had hoped for but wanted to confirm. You can see from the messages above that we do a lot of backing up in close quarters, and I have to hold the wheel very tightly because the rudder is so badly balanced in reverse. If I let go of the wheel for a split second, the rudder would turn hard in whatever direction it wanted. But with the rudder linked to the motor, that no longer happens. The motor is very well balanced in reverse, and keeps the rudder steady. I can loosen my grip on the wheel, and even let go momentarily if I need to.

All in all a huge success! No bow thruster needed And frankly, I don't think any electric trolling motor would be much of a match for the 2+ knot currents in the Delaware.

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jbkayaker
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USA
299 Posts

Response Posted - 05/29/2010 :  17:19:38  Show Profile
The bow thruster suggestion was a somewhat kidding suggestion intended to encourage thinking beyond the usual solutions.

I used a 55 pound thrust trolling motor for a while on my previous boat, a MacGregor 26D. It moved that 2800 pound boat 2 to 3 mph. The obvious downside was the finite range, but it was perfect for maneuvering my boat onto a trailer due to its responsiveness and near silence. I really do think that a strong trolling motor mounted away from the standard outboard and used in conjunction with it could help in difficult docking situations, just as twin engines make powerboats much more capable than single engine equivalents.

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TakeFive
Master Marine Consultant

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2270 Posts

Response Posted - 05/29/2010 :  17:51:55  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by jbkayaker</i>
<br />The bow thruster suggestion was a somewhat kidding suggestion intended to encourage thinking beyond the usual solutions...
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
I sensed a little tongue in cheek, and I do appreciate your suggestion to think expansively.

Over on Sailnet a guy suggested springing with 50 lb test line (string? Stren?), and allow it to break after I've swung around. Now THAT'S out of the box! lol

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Stinkpotter
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Djibouti
9017 Posts

Response Posted - 05/30/2010 :  06:26:23  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by RhythmDoctor</i>
<br />...Over on Sailnet a guy suggested springing with 50 lb test line (string? Stren?), and allow it to break after I've swung around...
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">One of two things will happen: The line will break too early (no spring), or the line will break too late (springing you into the next slip). There's no third possibility.

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