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Hatem

Docking Technique - Pulling away from dock with single engine.

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It would be so much easier in a brand new 307 SSX with dual 300hp motors and a joystick and my worries would be all over! :D Unfortunately I don't have that and only 1 motor in my 276 SSX and I've recently discovered in my few times after launching off the trailer and temporarily docking with fenders out and a stern and bow line tied off that unless my path is straight away from the dock with a slight angle....that it's rather difficult to pull out sideways enough to clear the edge of the dock with my stern and make a turn in tight quarters (moored boats) and face opposite direction to exit the channel.

So in my mind I've been contemplating different steering and throttle techniques to achieve that sideways motion with a single engine boat. Would the following work if I'm docked to starboard?

- turn sharp and quickly to port and bump throttle in forward (1scnd) and back to neutral

- immediately turn sharp and quickly to starboard and bump in reverse

- keep repeating this causing enough sideways motion (kinda rocking bow and stern from starboard to port) just enough with the small throttle bumps and quick, full, sharp steering so that I don't hit the dock with either end of the boat and enough prop motion to push boat away laterally from the dock creating enough distance to then turn the boat around to portside and clear the dock with the stern and make the U turn.

Is that crazy or is there another way besides pushing off (tried that but boat too heavy to get desired effect) and would like to actually learn how this is done. I've seen videos of guys who are really well trained in these back-&-forth motions to get these slight movements that work.

Please share your experiences and what you think of that technique and if it sounds silly, do tell and no worries. My skin is thick and I only want to learn.

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HG, you probably want to look into some techniques using spring lines to help you cut those angles. I am trying to sketch out your description of the situation and I might be missing it, BUT you might have a look at this video and see if it offers some ideas. Where I put in I am often pinned to the dock by current and sometimes both wind and current. The fuel dock is parallel to the launch ramp on the other side of the marina office/restaurant and it is common to get hemmed in by people fueling or eating at the restaurant so I've had to learn how to spring off the dock by use of either a stern line or a spring line (that's what you call the line attached to the cleat that's right there next to the helm and across on the port side near the head door. The video here shows how to use a stern line; I just watched a couple last week that showed some spring line techniques. I'll see if I can find those in my browser history and post them as well.

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There are a few good videos at youtube location. Practice a few of them to find out which one will work for you.

.

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Hey Matt, nice to see she is not sleeping any more, she looks great all wet. Denny.

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In a TIGHT docking situation ? I can sometimes do it alone by using a LOONG enough line on the bow. I reset the dock line to ONLY have a 1/2 of a loop on the dock cleat. I then walk the end back to the wheel. Pull tight onto the closest cleat I can reach. Use the rudder & reverse as a STERN puller or thruster to swing the stern out.

WAY OUT if possible. Quickly shift to neutral. Fast pull in of the bow holding line. I am out. Sometimes At a place I I simply move their boat if I can. They do not care ? neither do I about them. Maybe 5 times in 76 years.

Got to do what is needed to get out.

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HG, you probably want to look into some techniques using spring lines to help you cut those angles. I am trying to sketch out your description of the situation and I might be missing it,

You pretty much got it, Keith, but here I drew it out rather crudely and sorry for the cruddy photo (scanner is down) but you'll get a better idea of the situation anyway. Once I launch from that ramp, sometimes (depending on who else is there or whatever) I have no choice but to end up facing in the that right direction once tied off to the dock. And can't get the other dock to the right since someone's already occupying it. I also didn't draw in the harbor master's boat directly behind ours on that left dock. Then you can see the moored boats further up. To the far right (beyond the other docked boat) is the edge of the park and beach which is shallow so that's a no-no going there. I really have no choice but to try to pull out of that spot (sideways) to clear that boat and the harbor master's boat behind me just enough to make the U-turn before slamming into those moored boats to get out the channel. I've ended up in this situation twice already so I'd love to be able to do it without any spring lines since I see many people do it with this trickeration of forward/reverse and turning the wheel etc. I'm just wondering in your and any other's opinion if that series of steps would achieve that. I realize I have to get out there and try it. Just asking ahead of time.

IMG_1924_zps5b3f9a2f.jpg

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What you are proposing doing may work under certain conditions but there are a lot of variables. When the boat is moving very slowly you have to allow for prop walk, which is tendency for the stern to want to move to the right when in forward and to the left when in reverse. If you have ever tried backing up to your right I am sure you have noticed that it can be difficult until you get a little speed. If you have a duo prop/Bravo III drive, then that is less of an issue.

As mentioned above, if the wind is keeping you against the dock, then your method will prove to be a good way to scratch up your boat. If it were me, I would a spring from your bow cleat to a mid-ships dock cleat. if you by yourself, run a long line from you bow to the dock with just a half turn on the dock then another half turn around your bow with the bitter end held by you at the help station. Place two fenders on the starboard forward side of your boat and idle forward with right rudder and watch your stern swing out.

Once you can back up about 60 degrees from the dock, then let go you line and let it pull out of the cleats. Retrieve the line and be on your way.

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i just push off the dock real hard... :scratchchin:

That work for me too with the exception of strong wind pushing the boat toward the dock ... then spring lines and/or extra fenders protecting stern/swim platform. Controlling the bow (high windage) is the biggest problem on my boat. Once the bow is clear I can get the boat out and away from dock with minimal drama.

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Well, everyone at my marina has collaborated to use my boat as their fender to bump off from. I guess I missed that meeting. I'm going to start wrapping mine in bubble wrap when I'm not around.

If you're really fast with the wheel, you can do some amazing docking maneuvers. I pull up, whip mine around, and back in my slip like a car. Took lots and lots of practice.

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I have 7 fenders on my Chap. VERY close with docking mate. 1' clearance each side with his boat against the dock. Windy fun sometimes. Or I just tie up on the end of the T pier until the wind drops. + 15 mph is a wee bit touchy for me.

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If you're really fast with the wheel, you can do some amazing docking maneuvers. I pull up, whip mine around, and back in my slip like a car. Took lots and lots of practice.

Yes! That's exactly what I'm talking about. Hey, how about one of these bad Larrys?

2564e79b49545663791f26fba4d64c5e.jpg

Wheel knob and go to town, spin that steering wheel faster than the power steering can handle lol! I think these are illegal in the automotive world in some states but what about boats?

Some of those big, cruise boats you can spin that stainless steel wheel like the Wheel of Fortune lmao and the thing does about 68 revolutions before coming to a stop. :D I only need 7 or 8 to one side or the other.

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i just push off the dock real hard... :scratchchin:

Ya but where's the fun and skill in that? I'll tell you, I tried pushing that 276 with all my might and I barely got 3 feet of lateral movement and then I had to book it to the swim platform and long-hump it into the boat.

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What you are proposing doing may work under certain conditions but there are a lot of variables. When the boat is moving very slowly you have to allow for prop walk, which is tendency for the stern to want to move to the right when in forward and to the left when in reverse. If you have ever tried backing up to your right I am sure you have noticed that it can be difficult until you get a little speed. If you have a duo prop/Bravo III drive, then that is less of an issue.

As mentioned above, if the wind is keeping you against the dock, then your method will prove to be a good way to scratch up your boat. If it were me, I would a spring from your bow cleat to a mid-ships dock cleat. if you by yourself, run a long line from you bow to the dock with just a half turn on the dock then another half turn around your bow with the bitter end held by you at the help station. Place two fenders on the starboard forward side of your boat and idle forward with right rudder and watch your stern swing out.

Once you can back up about 60 degrees from the dock, then let go you line and let it pull out of the cleats. Retrieve the line and be on your way.

I do have duo props and they're pretty responsive but I know exactly what you mean about that threshold where if you're too slow they don't work.

Everyone seems to be suggesting the spring line and I will try that. But technically, it sounds like that jitter-jatter with that wheel and throttle, if done right and fast enough, should work to wiggle the boat laterally right out of that spot.

BTW, this all was prompted by the two times we launched like I mentioned in the opening, but second time when we came back after a long and great day, I dropped the son and admiral off at the dock and once the trailer was in the water, I went to move the boat off the dock and onto the trailer and as the Admiral was untying my lines, she was watching me leave and screaming "WATCH OUT WATCH OUT" cuz she thought I was going to swipe the entire swim platform off the dock. She said she didn't know how I missed it but that made me think what's a better way to pull off the dock and not get that close. And BTW, I always have 3 fenders dropped off when docked so that should reduce the chance of scuffing up the gelcoat.

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Used to call them suicide knobs. They could flip down when not wanted at 90 mph +.

Could've sworn I've seen either a sailboat or some other motorboat with one of those suicide knobs.

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Ya but where's the fun and skill in that? I'll tell you, I tried pushing that 276 with all my might and I barely got 3 feet of lateral movement and then I had to book it to the swim platform and long-hump it into the boat.

The extra three feet bow clearance is all you need to clear the dock without hanging the swim platform on it. If you do not push off the bow or stern first, one of them will be scraping the dock ... it would be the stern in a case shown in your drawing, in the first step.

FWIW ...

Unlike a car, when a boat turns, the bow goes one way and the stern the other. It is actually the stern of the boat being steered even though it seems that a bow is turning.

When going ahead a power boat pivots around a point roughly a 1/3rd from the bow … beware of a stern swinging and colliding with a dock.

Pivot%20points%201.jpg

When moving astern, the pivot point moves to a point 1/3rd from the stern … watch the bow when turning in revers as it now swings the most.

Pivot%20points%202.jpg

Hope this helps ...

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HG, I think in the sketch you show, the suggestion Al give will work. If you're concerned about boogering up your swim platform then springing off the bow could work for you. The only concern I have about that, though, is I have a hard time keeping fenders in a good protective location when the dock surface is lower than the top of my gunnels. This would require you or your crew to tend to the line a little more closely to keep it short enough that the V of your hull doesn't touch the dock or doesn't hit hard enough to do any harm. So you have to figure out which end you think you can protect the best. When I spring from the bow, I mainly am just trying to get my stern several degrees away from the dock so I can engage reverse and back away. Still, either I or my crew will have a dock pole handy to tend to the bow and keep from banging the dock.

When doing this springing maneuver, you only have to work at idle speed - it doesn't take much for that boat to respond to the physics and start to swing. I might *slightly* turn my drive facing away from the dock to induce just a bit of thrust perpendicular to the dock! but not too much. It will go on its own eventually even with drive completely amidships. The main thing is it just seems really unnatural to put a boat in gear while a rope is still set.

When I don't have wind to contend with, I use the 'shove as hard as you can' method myself, though.

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When I don't have wind to contend with, I use the 'shove as hard as you can' method myself, though.

I like that ... seems to work well for many boaters in many situations ... :)

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The extra three feet bow clearance is all you need to clear the dock without hanging the swim platform on it. If you do not push off the bow or stern first, one of them will be scraping the dock ... it would be the stern in a case shown in your drawing, in the first step.

Yes, you are correct. However, my drawing was simply to indicate the overall picture to show what the conditions were and what I meant by that rocking, lateral movement, but I did show the boat tight up against the dock which is not really the case. I have 3 fenders dropped (stern, midship & bow) so there is at least that much space between the boat and the dock. Then while I'm at the helm and junior unties the lines starting at the bow, then stern, the boat usually starts pulling away a bit from the dock just naturally on its own and as he gets on at the swim platform, he gives the boat a little push-out at stern too so by the time I'm ready to make my move, we're probably 1-1/2' to 2' away from the dock edge already which technically should give me just enough room to start the HG technique (lol) by turning wheel to port and bump throttle in forward for 3 sec? I said 1 sec in my opening but that's probably not enough, I think. That gives the stern a bit of room as the boat pivots (like you mentioned) enough clear the dock. Then quickly to starboard and again quick, 3 sec bump in forward in time before stern/swim platform bumps the dock. Even if it does, maybe add the midship fender at the swim platform to double-up for extra protection but by then, technically and theoretically I should be a good 4' away from the dock without having touched it.

Or........start the process by turning starboard to push the stern out first. That might actually be better since the tapered curve of the bow gives you more room to turn it toward the dock without hitting it? That actually sounds like the better starting option.

Unlike a car, when a boat turns, the bow goes one way and the stern the other. It is actually the stern of the boat being steered even though it seems that a bow is turning.

When going ahead a power boat pivots around a point roughly a 1/3rd from the bow … beware of a stern swinging and colliding with a dock.

Pivot%20points%201.jpg

When moving astern, the pivot point moves to a point 1/3rd from the stern … watch the bow when turning in revers as it now swings the most.

Pivot%20points%202.jpg

Hope this helps ...

Yes, it does! Thanks for taking the time to put that together. I never knew that pivot point existed in those two spots under those conditions. That's good to know, I'll be looking for that next time out, for sure.

The 2nd picture makes me think that starting the maneuver by turning the bow towards the dock and pushing the stern out first is more likely the better and safer way to go. There's more clearance because of that natural, bow curve.

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HG, I think in the sketch you show, the suggestion Al give will work. If you're concerned about boogering up your swim platform then springing off the bow could work for you. The only concern I have about that, though, is I have a hard time keeping fenders in a good protective location when the dock surface is lower than the top of my gunnels. This would require you or your crew to tend to the line a little more closely to keep it short enough that the V of your hull doesn't touch the dock or doesn't hit hard enough to do any harm. So you have to figure out which end you think you can protect the best. When I spring from the bow, I mainly am just trying to get my stern several degrees away from the dock so I can engage reverse and back away. Still, either I or my crew will have a dock pole handy to tend to the bow and keep from banging the dock.

I know exactly what you mean. Every time we get ready to launch, Junior gets all stressed out as I assign him fender tying duties because he doesn't know how high or low to put them lol. I tell him to just try to cover the black band on the side of the boat. That usually gets us close enough to adjust once we're in the water. But so far, I haven't run into the water being low enough so that the dock is level with the gunnel of the boat! Wow, that must be really low tide or something?! Usually it's a good foot or more above the dock level. But I'll be looking out for that variation just to keep an eye on it. That would mean the dock is built pretty high, right?

Either way, I think Al's suggestion is right in line with yours and Cyclops', isn't it? Same principle?

When doing this springing maneuver, you only have to work at idle speed - it doesn't take much for that boat to respond to the physics and start to swing. I might *slightly* turn my drive facing away from the dock to induce just a bit of thrust perpendicular to the dock! but not too much. It will go on its own eventually even with drive completely amidships. The main thing is it just seems really unnatural to put a boat in gear while a rope is still set.

When I don't have wind to contend with, I use the 'shove as hard as you can' method myself, though.

So, is idle speed the first notch into either gear? I keep hearing that - "idle speed" and confuse it with neutral but it isn't, right? Props aren't turning in neutral and idle usually means neutral so what's idle speed?! Sorry for the ignorance but like I said in my opening thread, I'm never embarrassed to ask the dumb questions. :D

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So, is idle speed the first notch into either gear? I keep hearing that - "idle speed" and confuse it with neutral but it isn't, right? Props aren't turning in neutral and idle usually means neutral so what's idle speed?! Sorry for the ignorance but like I said in my opening thread, I'm never embarrassed to ask the dumb questions. :D

Yup, it was confusing to me too ... power boater lingo, I guess.

You got it, neutral means out of gear, idle speed means gear engaged at minimal speed.

The throttle shifter is right after the first click indicating the drive is in gear.

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Don't know where the name came from,( but back in the day ) ( man I hate saying that ) around hear they were called Barney Knobs, and yes they were illegal, but every kid had one on their car, along with Blue Dot Lenses. Kids today don't know what cool Really is or was. Today they buy it and have someone put it on. We took it off and didn't pay someone to do it. Sorry for veering away from what this post is all about. My :Twocents: just play with her enough and you will find out what she will respond to under different conditions. Every time out is a new adventure. Denny.

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