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Docking Technique - Pulling away from dock with single engine.

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Thanks, Ig. Maybe it'll come as part of the course I'm taking? I'll wait and see. Will keep you posted.

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BTW, it does work! Even a newbie like myself I was able to turn to starboard and push the bow to the dock and stern away, then turn the wheel really fast all the way to port, give it a bump and she pulled way about 4ft+ from the dock which was empty yesterday and luckily no one in front or behind me so I didn't have to worry about the current which was pretty strong.

However, once I had turned the 2nd time, and started concentrating on the moored boats, I lost my grip on where the steering wheel was and it took me a second or two to get re-orientated to where the heck I was lol! Figured it out and off we went. So this technique definitely works but needs A LOT of practice for a newbie like myself. For you vets it should be a piece of cake!

Nice job!

We had guests on our boat this weekend - husband/wife friends of ours and not a shred of sailoring between them. I almost snatched the husband off the pier as I was maneuvering and he was trying to hold on to a dock cleat and a grab rail in the bow while I was reversing to starboard to swing the stern alongside the dock. My plan was for them to board via the swim platform and walkthrough into the cockpit - he apparently thought my angled bow approach was an invitation to board into the bow. I was looking aft to make sure I cut power and didn't hit the dock and didn't even see what he was doing.

It's easy to forget that while we captains are working through our planned sequences, our passengers don't know what we're up to and with the best of intentions just really wind up doing exactly the wrong things. I just forgot to communicate. One demerit for me.

We had a great outing, though - a 70 mile round-trip cruise upriver through a bald eagle sanctuary and lunch onboard. Several eagles spotted and a lot of fun and laughter with old friends. Exactly what a day on the boat ought to be....

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Isn't a paddle a required coastguard piece of safety equipment?

As Iggy mentioned already, this might vary by state, province, or country, and is based on boat's LOA.

In most cases the regulations state that paddle OR anchor is required.

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Nice job!

We had guests on our boat this weekend - husband/wife friends of ours and not a shred of sailoring between them. I almost snatched the husband off the pier as I was maneuvering and he was trying to hold on to a dock cleat and a grab rail in the bow while I was reversing to starboard to swing the stern alongside the dock. My plan was for them to board via the swim platform and walkthrough into the cockpit - he apparently thought my angled bow approach was an invitation to board into the bow. I was looking aft to make sure I cut power and didn't hit the dock and didn't even see what he was doing.

It's easy to forget that while we captains are working through our planned sequences, our passengers don't know what we're up to and with the best of intentions just really wind up doing exactly the wrong things. I just forgot to communicate. One demerit for me.

We had a great outing, though - a 70 mile round-trip cruise upriver through a bald eagle sanctuary and lunch onboard. Several eagles spotted and a lot of fun and laughter with old friends. Exactly what a day on the boat ought to be....

Incredible! Great lesson to teach, Keith. Glad it turned out ok and into a great day instead of a trip to the hospital. And what a day from the sound of it!

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If you look closely at the videos posted, you can see the swirl of bow thruster on both boats. It would be hard to walk sideways on two fixed engines without it. The new Joystick controls allow the two drives to steer in different directions at the same time. The fishing boat is a standard twin screw configuration probably with standard rudders. In that scenario, only the engine running forward would have any steering effect. You can spin the boat on two but to move sideways you need a thruster or a tugboat.

In a single engine scenario, There are things that you can do to jockey sideways but the conditions have to be good for that to happen. If a stiff wind is keeping you pinned to the dock, No amount of forward and reverse and steering is going to get you off that dock without a spring line. If you are docked with a head-on current, then getting off the dock is simple as you can put in gear to maintain a "still position" that matches current speed give the bow a little nudge and the boat will move sideways across the current with no rudder needed. If the current is behind you, then put in reverse to hold position and then give a little rudder to move your stern away from the dock, the bow will follow.

My advice is to take you boat out someplace where you can set up a couple of buoys and then practice getting between them end to end. Play with your boat and learn about its handling quirks such as tendencies to drift to the side in reverse, etc. Once you feel comfortable with it, then by all means try different approached but know your boat first and be prepared to abort an attempt.

The best rule I know is: "Never approach a dock faster than you are willing to hit it" .

My experience with single engine boat docking was learned over many years of sailing larger boats with auxiliary inboards. With a keel and a mast, both wind and current have a big play on what you do and how you do it. Prop walk can be your friend or enemy depending upon what you are trying to accomplish.

Your boat is going to like going backwards in one direction better than the other. To demonstrate that, take your boat out to a secluded area. Put your wheel amidships. Put the boat in forward just long enough to start making headway then without touching the wheel put it in reverse. You will see your stern shift in one direction, typically to your left. When you make headway in reverse, then shift back to forward and watch as your stern continues to move to your left. If you want to, several repeats of this process will spin you around 360* without ever touching the steering.

Have fun.

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If you look closely at the videos posted, you can see the swirl of bow thruster on both boats. It would be hard to walk sideways on two fixed engines without it. The new Joystick controls allow the two drives to steer in different directions at the same time. The fishing boat is a standard twin screw configuration probably with standard rudders. In that scenario, only the engine running forward would have any steering effect. You can spin the boat on two but to move sideways you need a thruster or a tugboat.

Agreed. That fishing boat was moving sideways without any zig-zaggin motion so it had to have bow thrusters. Plus you're right about seeing a bit of swirling at the bow area.

In a single engine scenario, There are things that you can do to jockey sideways but the conditions have to be good for that to happen. If a stiff wind is keeping you pinned to the dock, No amount of forward and reverse and steering is going to get you off that dock without a spring line. If you are docked with a head-on current, then getting off the dock is simple as you can put in gear to maintain a "still position" that matches current speed give the bow a little nudge and the boat will move sideways across the current with no rudder needed. If the current is behind you, then put in reverse to hold position and then give a little rudder to move your stern away from the dock, the bow will follow.

Tremendous stuff! I like that very much, Al, and will try that. I'm thinking off the top of my head that it's going to be a challenge in of itself just to find the right throttle setting to match the current! lol. Thanks for adding to my stress level with another thing I need to learn!

My advice is to take you boat out someplace where you can set up a couple of buoys and then practice getting between them end to end. Play with your boat and learn about its handling quirks such as tendencies to drift to the side in reverse, etc. Once you feel comfortable with it, then by all means try different approached but know your boat first and be prepared to abort an attempt.

The best rule I know is: "Never approach a dock faster than you are willing to hit it" .

I like that idea with the buoys. Probably in a lake where it's calm and not too deep to be able to set up the buoys with a heavy weight and just drop it in 5ft+ of water and practice that stuff. Hard to do it in the ocean where we go and live near.

Funny you mentioned wind earlier and approaching the dock. WOW! When we got back, it was a tough docking but managed it with team work. Once trailer was backed up, I pulled the boat out and as I'm lining up with the trailer and within 10ft, I put it in neutral and by the time the bow was at the glide posts, I was almost at 90 degrees heading nose first into the corner of the pier! That wind really affects the bow from what I'm seeing so far. So I yelled out to the Admiral to push the boat off and get it lined up again and to her credit, with all her might she went to work! lol, it was great. I didn't think she would be able to pull it off but she saved the boat from a potential, huge gouge! She needed some oxygen, a ginger ale and a big hug after but she was a trooper and came through big-time. That wind can be an SOB.

My experience with single engine boat docking was learned over many years of sailing larger boats with auxiliary inboards. With a keel and a mast, both wind and current have a big play on what you do and how you do it. Prop walk can be your friend or enemy depending upon what you are trying to accomplish.

Your boat is going to like going backwards in one direction better than the other. To demonstrate that, take your boat out to a secluded area. Put your wheel amidships. Put the boat in forward just long enough to start making headway then without touching the wheel put it in reverse. You will see your stern shift in one direction, typically to your left. When you make headway in reverse, then shift back to forward and watch as your stern continues to move to your left. If you want to, several repeats of this process will spin you around 360* without ever touching the steering.

Have fun.

Excellent, Al. This is exactly the stuff I'm looking for. Thanks for the tips and information. I've heard many of the guys talking about 'prop walk', just never looked into it but now that you've explained it so well I understand it perfectly and that'll be the first thing I try the next time out. Sounds like most boats will go to the left simply because of the torque effect from the direction of the props turning. Makes perfect sense. That's a heck of a move to learn, spinning 360* in place with a single engine.

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Prop walk is primarily caused by the difference in water density against the top of your blade and the bottom of your blade. As you know from jumping into the water. The pressure on you ears increase dramatically in just a few feet. Since you probably have a prop that spins clockwise when if forward, the paddle effect of the prop, being more pronounced at the bottom of your prop tends to push the stern to your starboard and when in reverse to port.

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Let me clarify something since I cannot edit the previous post. Since putting it in gear forward moves your stern to the right and putting in reverse moves it to the left, then logically it won't spin around. But, remember that when you are in forward, you are pushing water across your skeg which reduces sideways movement. When in reverse, there is no water forced against the skeg and thus the movement is more pronounced. In order to make the best use of the skeg, you might have to give it a little right rudder. Again, experiment until you are comfortable.

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One last thing. I didn't catch that you have a "duo Prop" That configuration minimizes prop walk since the two are always spinning in opposite directions. That means that you will have to use the wheel to spin the boat. Sorry about that.

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Prop walk is primarily caused by the difference in water density against the top of your blade and the bottom of your blade. As you know from jumping into the water. The pressure on you ears increase dramatically in just a few feet. Since you probably have a prop that spins clockwise when if forward, the paddle effect of the prop, being more pronounced at the bottom of your prop tends to push the stern to your starboard and when in reverse to port.

To me, prop walk is caused by the torque of the prop or engine and with dual props (counter rotating) you will not prop walk. Some boaters use it to there advantage, some boaters hate it.

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One last thing. I didn't catch that you have a "duo Prop" That configuration minimizes prop walk since the two are always spinning in opposite directions. That means that you will have to use the wheel to spin the boat. Sorry about that.

Yeah but even with the duo-props, I did notice that it preferred one side when I would go into reverse, just can't remember which side it was. Wasn't drastic, though.

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Some of the Garwood Mahogany runabouts come with bow & stern thruster. At + $ 330,000 for 32 footer. No bait wells. :)

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You noticed that the sales hype did not mention that Duodrive is not perfect either. Can not have propeller efficiency & no prop walking at the same time. Life is just full of sales hype today. :)

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I think you're always going to get some counter force to any rotation just from the torque of the motor and shaft, even with duo props I think it's probably limited and less than a single prop, but to some degree it's there from the torque.

I bet you the new, dual propelled helicopters like the Russian Black Shark and even the classic American made Chinook despite not having a tail prop do experience a small amount of that counter force or what we call prop-walk in the boat world.

Bad ***!

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Forget about any fancy shmancy zigzagging today at the dock trying to get off of it and into the trailer. Low tide plus pre-storm, heavy winds were really powerful that not even a spring line worked! It was awful and I was pinned to the dock and my son is trying to push me out after springing failed and I couldn't do anything for a while! How quickly we were humbled by our failure! Swim platform bumped into Harbor Master's boat but they have these outriggers just for that, to protect them for guys like me lol and also protect their Merc outborads. Finally got away and ended up into the trailer successfully and pretty straight.

But coming in I used the current to get me right to the dock nice and parallel it was a great feeling! Impressed even myself. It's nice to get a little confidence even if it was rapidly followed by a lesson in humility. It's ok because it felt great to understand the movement of the water and wind and how to use it to your advantage. What I found out is that before, I was impatient and sort of going into a panic and doing too much if the results weren't instantaneous. I'm learning to be a little more patient and let the boat get there and not worry so much, either.

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On Friday: 120' wide completely empty launch ramp, coming back in to the marina to trailer home. Admiral backed trailer in less than 12' off of the left retainer wall (why, with all that space, I'll never know but we don't question The Admiral, now do we) with breeze blowing right to left and current moving right to left. "Okay", says I ... "Done this enough over 8 years that it should be easy enough...."

4 attempts required.

Kind of like hitting a golf shot over water - you can hit a ball 200 yds on the fairway but put a ball 10 feet from water and it won't go 20 yds - that $@% wall was like a magnet.....

The only thing that would have made it harder would have been a full ramp watching.... Humbling indeed.

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Would it have helped you if she was closer to the retaining wall to grab a bow line and help steer her in? Or is that retaining wall inaccessible?

After the first few times being about 4ft away from the side of the ramp, that's when we learned it's better to be closer and always do that now, all the time, drop the trailer really tight to the pier or side dock. Trailer wheels are 8" away so that you can reach in and grab the line. Makes a huge difference.

I've done the 4 attempters twice already, Keith, and once in front of quite a few people and that was the time where I overcame my nervousness because of watching eyes. It helps my confidence when I completely ignore who's around and not even pay any attention to them.

I did notice a guy yesterday, sitting in a beach chair on his swim platform with a beer in his hand and facing the ramp just to watch people on the ramp. That stuff just really gets under my skin I tell ya lol. People have nothing better to do in their life. My buddy Joe is like that and I give him #$^% every time he tells me he does these kinds of thins at the ramp or on boats or whatever. Such empty lives with nothing better to do. :D

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Ramps can be very entertaining!!! The best one was an F150 floating away. It stayed afloat for some time!!

But, I have only been to that ramp once and that was a few years ago. I don't remember it being too tight, but can't you go though it?

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What ramp are you thinking of, Ig? The one I'm talking about is Salem and at low tide it's an absolute disaster. You can only use one side because there's a big rock on the other LOL! :D When you back your trailer far enough you're past the dock.

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Would it have helped you if she was closer to the retaining wall to grab a bow line and help steer her in? Or is that retaining wall inaccessible?

After the first few times being about 4ft away from the side of the ramp, that's when we learned it's better to be closer and always do that now, all the time, drop the trailer really tight to the pier or side dock. Trailer wheels are 8" away so that you can reach in and grab the line. Makes a huge difference.

I've done the 4 attempters twice already, Keith, and once in front of quite a few people and that was the time where I overcame my nervousness because of watching eyes. It helps my confidence when I completely ignore who's around and not even pay any attention to them.

I did notice a guy yesterday, sitting in a beach chair on his swim platform with a beer in his hand and facing the ramp just to watch people on the ramp. That stuff just really gets under my skin I tell ya lol. People have nothing better to do in their life. My buddy Joe is like that and I give him #$^% every time he tells me he does these kinds of thins at the ramp or on boats or whatever. Such empty lives with nothing better to do. :D

Nah, HG - it wasn't all that big a deal. There's a walk on the retaining wall that goes on out to the pier - probably could've done something like you suggest but the main point of the post was to just say that after doing literally hundreds of launches and recoveries over the years, I do like the luxury of sinking the trailer dead center of a nice, empty ramp and for whatever reason the Admiral acts like it's 9am on Labor Day and shoves me all the way to one side and here's the "expert" having to make 4 passes to get the boat recovered with nobody in the marina and nobody watching. Just humbling to come to grips with the fact that even when you think you're at the top of your game, when it comes to boats, you're really probably not....

I still don't know what I did on the water that day that made the Admiral get even with me..... :slap:

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Nah, HG - it wasn't all that big a deal. There's a walk on the retaining wall that goes on out to the pier - probably could've done something like you suggest but the main point of the post was to just say that after doing literally hundreds of launches and recoveries over the years, I do like the luxury of sinking the trailer dead center of a nice, empty ramp and for whatever reason the Admiral acts like it's 9am on Labor Day and shoves me all the way to one side and here's the "expert" having to make 4 passes to get the boat recovered with nobody in the marina and nobody watching. Just humbling to come to grips with the fact that even when you think you're at the top of your game, when it comes to boats, you're really probably not....

I still don't know what I did on the water that day that made the Admiral get even with me..... :slap:

Gotta give the admiral credit for backing the F-150 with the trailer on it and lining it up and especially parking it, if she does do that. That, in of itself is something that needs learning and lots of practice. Swinging the trailer around and knowing how much clearance you need to make a turn and backing it up straight etc. It's challenging.

I've seen couples doing that at the ramp with the Mrs. in the truck or vehicle. The teamwork is impressive, no doubt about it. Heck I watched this 70 year-old couple a few weeks ago who wanted to take out their grandson on the boat and she backed up the truck for him while he was in the boat and she had a tough time releasing the winch and the old man was nasty mean to her lol (probably because it was her idea to take the kid out and he wanted to stay home and watch the ball game lmao) but he eventually mellowed out and she got it and pulled the truck out and actually had a tough time parking it because it ain't easy getting that thing lined up between two other trailers in an already tight parking lot. But they did it.

I was told I'd get sick of trailering a 29ft boat around every time I want to get out on the water and for the most part it hasn't been that bad because the learning process has been a blast, but I'm ready for a slip next year only because of the time wasted with the launching and recovering, that's all. It will be much quicker, of course. But I dread the thought of bottom painting her. :(

I wonder if I could leave her the way she is then only pull her out at the end of each month and give the hull and stern drive cleaning and flush the motor. You think that would keep the gelcoat looking fresh and free from growth? Although bottom growth in salt water is probably 100 times worst than fresh.

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My Admiral is probably the most masterful marina trailering person I know (she does NOT like towing out on the open road). Regularly holds her on against the dually-driving cruiser owners and the dozens and dozens of good-ol'-boys with their Chevy trucks and bass rigs. She's actually better than me at getting the trailer lined up and backing straight down the ramp. She's had to make an adjustment going from the Suburban with liftgate up for best visibility to the F-150 with tonneau cover and no visibility but the rear camera on the tailgate is a pretty good trade-off. We pre-rig the winch with the right amount of strap already deployed and the ratchet in the correct position - that's her last checklist item when she parks the truck/trailer and heads down to the pier for me to pick her up. That way, once I power the boat up the bunks and touch the roller, I just hop over the anchor locker onto the trailer tongue below, attach the hook, winch up snug, hop back up into the cockpit, kill the engine and trim up, and whistle to head to the secondary parking lot to clear the ramp. No wet shoes, no slipping on ramp slime. To be fair, we had to do it several dozen times before we got into the groove, but once we got it down, boy can we clear a ramp in a hurry.

We did time ourselves one evening. I dropped her off on the pier and loitered in the harbor entry until I saw the truck begin to move from the parking space and started timing then. We went from parked trailer to wet trailer to boat on trailer to secondary parking lot, plug out, straps on, cockpit covers on and heading for the exit in about 11 minutes. Granted, we left coolers and gear on board because we were coming back out the next morning, but we were pretty proud of that effort and she turned a few heads in the process. Well, she's pretty cute so that might have had a little to do with it, but maybe it added to the wow-factor of the whole thing. Good looking and boy can she drive that truck and trailer.....

After dry-racking at the marina for 5 years, we were told we'd be sick of trailering our 24 footer as well. Honestly, we do miss the convenience of phoning the marina to splash the boat and being able to drive up, park, and walk down to our boat nicely tied up at the pier ready for us to get in and go. However, we take the opportunity to mix it up and put in at any one of about 6-7 nearby locations and enjoy a different view every now and then. We launch 75% of the time from our "home" marina because it's only 11 miles and 20 minutes away, but that other 25% of the time is a nice break in monotony. Still on the waiting list for a dry rack at two marinas but the nearest one that can accommodate our boat would be a 45-55 minute drive one-way and that's just not too attractive, to be honest. Unfortunately our favorite former home marina can handle a SeaRay 24 foot Sundeck but can't handle our 246 due to the integral ESP sticking out too far into the aisle.

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That 11 minutes would've probably been cut in half if you didn't put the bow and cockpit covers on. Those actually take a bit of time, I noticed, because of all those darn snaps. But good stuff, as usual.

I think next year we will get a slip, but I won't bottom paint her and just pull her out once a month and give the bottom a good power-wash and cleaning. I would like to experience the convenience of just getting into the boat and going. Seems like such a convenience compared to launching at retrieving a 29ft boat. But then have the option to trailer it also since we're fortunate to live in an area that's surrounds by many waterways and ramps. Heck, Boston harbor and the 4th of July fireworks is on the table for next year but that requires being able to anchor amongst a zillion other boats and their operators, half of whom are most likely pretty buzzed by 10pm when the show is over and everyone is trying to mad dash out of the Charles River through a pretty narrow draw bridge that leads out to one of the main harbors in the North East United States! AND....do this in the dark.

First pic you can see them coming in at the top right corner. By mid-day, this whole area is jammed with boats, so you can imagine what it's probably like getting out of there! I meant to ask Iggy if he's ever done that. I bet he has.

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Spectacular photos HG!! I can only imagine what that area looks like on a busy day. You have some pretty serious cajones to start off as a newbie with a 29 footer in THAT. Hat's off to you, sir....

Forgot to mention that at our old marina where we dry racked, they had a storage barn for trailers of folks who had slips or dry-racked. I think we paid an extra 20-25 deer a month for trailer storage which seems a little expensive but it's out of the UV and your tires and bearing lube last a lot longer being out of the elements, so I guess it's a fair trade. Also, for paint-matched trailers like I usually have, you don't get the paint fade, either. You might ask whatever marinas you're looking at berthing in and see if they have some arrangements for you at a reasonable price.

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Spectacular photos HG!! I can only imagine what that area looks like on a busy day. You have some pretty serious cajones to start off as a newbie with a 29 footer in THAT. Hat's off to you, sir....

Thanks, Keith, but believe me, I realize that there's a fine between having serious cajones and being stupid, or a combination of the two! :D By then I hope to have a bit more experience so we should be ok. Maybe make the trek beforehand on a weekday to get familiar with it. Trust me, if I don't feel good about anything, we're not going anywhere near there!

Forgot to mention that at our old marina where we dry racked, they had a storage barn for trailers of folks who had slips or dry-racked. I think we paid an extra 20-25 deer a month for trailer storage which seems a little expensive but it's out of the UV and your tires and bearing lube last a lot longer being out of the elements, so I guess it's a fair trade. Also, for paint-matched trailers like I usually have, you don't get the paint fade, either. You might ask whatever marinas you're looking at berthing in and see if they have some arrangements for you at a reasonable price.

That's a good idea, otherwise the trailer sits in the driveway and takes up valuable space. Thanks for pointing that out. Well worth that small herd of deer.

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