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Docking Technique
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cadenza



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 6
City/Region: Vero Beach
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2006
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Cadenza
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 12:55 pm    Post subject: Docking Technique Reply with quote

We picked up our new C-22 "Cadenza" a couple of weeks ago and have taken her out several times. The boat is wonderful and we are really enjoying her. Having had a variety of sailboats and lived and cruised aboard a trawler for four years I thought I knew how to dock a boat. However, it's become clear that I need to learn a lot more about how a C-Dory handles in the wind, especially near things like docks. Having always had boats with keels and rudders, I'm learning that you don't just put this boat in neutral and steer up to the dock.

My wife and I were out practicing around a post in the water yesterday to get a better idea of how she handles in a cross wind at slow speed. It seems that the bow tends to fall off with the wind pretty fast because of (1) weight in the back, (2) windage forward, and (3) flat bottom.

I was just wondering if there is any advice or tips anyone can give me regarding techniques you use for docking this boat. Thanks.

P.S. Just wanted to also mention that we bought our boat from Big Boys Play Toys in Palatka, FL. They are a new C-Dory dealer in Florida and Rodney and his crew were a pleasure to deal with and did a great job preparing the boat and installing the equipment. I would highly recommend them to anyone considering purchasing a C-Dory here in Florida.

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Steve and Carla Martin
CD22 - "Cadenza"
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dotnmarty



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 3832
City/Region: Sammamish
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1993
C-Dory Model: 16 Angler
Vessel Name: LIZZIE II
Photos: Lizzie
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome! Your post has it pretty well pegged. Docking is part of the C-Dory adventure. I can't really add much except, put your bumpers out, make sure your mate can use a pole, and rig up your slip so you can lean out and grab a line and secure it to the cleat right under the helm window. Other than that, go to the C-Dory gatherings-there's always lots of help from dockside. Again, welcome. I like the name Cadenza.
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"...we're all in the same boat..."
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Sealife



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 295
City/Region: Woodland Hills
State or Province: CA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: SeaLife
Photos: SeaLife
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One rule I learned several times the hard way is that, if the wind is going to be behind and off your quarter, don't try to back into a tight spot. There's no way to prevent the bow from falling off. With the wind behind, it's much safer to dock bow in rather than backing in. Twin engines help somewhat in countering the effects of wind on the bow, but not dramatically so. If you've discovered that the wind drastically affects the bow of the boat much more than the stern, and that it tends to pivot at the bow, you won half the battle. Took me a long time to realize that simple fact, but once you do, you can take it into account. With my twin engines, I've found it effective to "bump" the engines in and out of gear as I make my approach, and sometimes even use only one engine for my forward thrust, reserving the other for some directional control. But anyway you put it, the boat's a handful in the wind.
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Larry H



Joined: 01 Nov 2003
Posts: 1985
City/Region: Tulalip,
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 1991
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve and Carla,

Here's how I dock. This works best if you dock port side to the dock.

Approach the dock at an angle of 30 to 45 % with just enough speed that you will carry and not get blown off.

When the forward fender(port side) is almost at the dock, spin the helm to port and engage reverse. Give it enough throttle to stop the forward motion and pull the stern over to the dock. Then the crew in the cockpit can grab the dock or put the stern line around a cleat. Then someone jumps out and holds the boat at the dock until the bow line can be cleated.

This will also work docking starboard side to the dock. Due to the right hand turning prop, port side to is easier, but the ability to turn the motor makes it possible to dock either side to the dock.

As you found out, the lightweight, flat bottom, high windage changes the way you have to dock. The light weight however, allows the boat to Approach the dock faster and be stopped quicker than a heavy trawler or sailboat. Also the fact that the prop thrust can be 'aimed' helps.

My first boat was a 30 ft trimaran sailboat and landing was more like landing an airplane on a carrier than docking a boat. Many times I had to jump off the moving boat with stern line in hand to 'snub off ' on a dock cleat and stop the boat.

You are doing the best practice, approaching a float in the water. Try approaching the float with some boat speed and stopping the boat with reverse. This is also good practice for 'emergency stops' if you don't see a rock or something that you don't want to hit.

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A C-Brat since Nov 1, 2003
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1991 22' Cruiser, 'Nancy H'--1991-2006
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B~C



Joined: 31 Oct 2003
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C-Dory Year: 1999
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Blue~C
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

one thing that takes a little getting used to, you can't ease into the dock if it's very windy, go ahead a full ramming speed and then reverse thrust at the last moment. If you timing is right you make a nice landing, if not....well....I guess that gel coat is repairable. One handy addition is a short boat hook stored by the helm
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1999 22' boaterhome
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Bess-C



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 451
City/Region: Anacortes
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2003
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Bess-C
Photos: Bess-C
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't add much to the others comments. They are all techniques I've learned the hard way. The one little extra I can add is to get a tractor nob for your steering wheel. Shelley got one from the John Deere dealer for me last year. They make stainless ones for boats that do the same thing but are more expensive.

It was a revelation the first time I used the nob. Because changes in wind direction and wind speed have such a drastic impact on the C-Dory, you need to make fast corrections at low speed. With a nob and hydraulic steering I can go lock to lock in a split second. It's almost intuitive. I don't make small corrections now at slow speeds into the wind. I will come hard over and then back off as soon as the bow starts to move in the direction that I want to go. It also makes the trick that Larry discussed with reverse much easier. It took me three years to learn this, do yourself a favor and go get one as soon as possible.
Lyle

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ffheap



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 733
City/Region: Hingham
State or Province: MA
C-Dory Year: 1983
C-Dory Model: 22 Angler
Vessel Name: Inn-The-Water
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Folks,

A few ideas. First, put three finders along side you are going to dock before approaching dock.

COMING UP TO DOCK ON WINDWARD SIDE.

I try to come parrel to the dock at about 1 to 2 feet from the dock. Just before I want to dock, turn boat slightly away from the dock. Stop boat. She should end up right at dock. If you are two far off, the bow will swing to fast.

Another idea. You can do this with a dock with a large cleat or post. Tie both ends of a 12 to 15 foot docking line to stern cleat of boat.. As you come along side, step out of cabin and loop sternline over dock cleat, running engine forward and close to dock. Boat should snug right up to dock.

COMING UP TO DOCK ON LEEWARD SIDE.

Before coming along dock, attach both stern and bow line to boat, and run free ends to the aft corner of the cabin. Come along side, and stop engine, jump ashore with both dock lines in hand. Secure docklines. Make sure dock lines are long enough so as you tie the stern line, you can hold the bow line in your hand. That means that on a 22' boat, the bow line should be from 25 to 30 feet long.

If people want to help, let them by passing lines to them and tell them to NOT pull on line, but HOLD line until you can secure boat yourself. If the dock has lots of cleats, pass the loop end to the person and ask them to put it on a cleat you designate. You control your lines at the boat.

My boat is in Nantucket, and at 3:00 PM (1500 Hrs) the wind pipes up out of the SW at 15 to 25 Knots. I get a lot of practice, and sometimes it does not work the way I want. If there are boats at the dock, and you have to fit yours between other boats, it gets a little more hairy.

Remember, as long as you have way on, the boat should not swing much. It is when you stop that the bow swings fast.

Good Luck,

Fred Heap

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Pat Anderson



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 7944
City/Region: Birch Bay, WA
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 25 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Daydream
Photos: Daydream and Crabby Lou
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, this is the Modified Inertia Method - and I have the repair bills to prove it!


B~C wrote:
one thing that takes a little getting used to, you can't ease into the dock if it's very windy, go ahead a full ramming speed and then reverse thrust at the last moment. If you timing is right you make a nice landing, if not....well....I guess that gel coat is repairable. One handy addition is a short boat hook stored by the helm

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Captains Cat



Joined: 03 Nov 2003
Posts: 7311
City/Region: Cod Creek>Potomac River>Chesapeake Bay
State or Province: VA
C-Dory Year: 2005
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Captain's Choice II
Photos: Captain's Cat
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You all may have forgotten this by now but this from an earlier post from B~C. Enjoy

PRACTICE DOCKING


Read the directions first. It'll still drive you nuts...

And what someone else said, Never approach a dock faster than you'd be willing to hit it!! Shocked

charlie

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Captain's Cat II 2005 22 Cruiser
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CAVU



Joined: 02 Nov 2003
Posts: 665
City/Region: Spokane
State or Province: WA
C-Dory Year: 2002
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: CAVU
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fred,
Great instructions and if I ever find dock space on the windward side I will tie up and never leave it. You would think the law of averages would provide favorable docking conditions half the time but that has not been my experience. Like Pat, my boat shows a clear history of docking encounters.

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22 CD Cruiser, CAVU
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cadenza



Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 6
City/Region: Vero Beach
State or Province: FL
C-Dory Year: 2006
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Cadenza
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to all for the very nice responses to my question, you've given given us a number of things to think about and to practice. My wife and I have been sitting here together reading and rereading the all the responses and talking about what we will try next.

So far the gel coat is still intact. I don't know why. These must be tough little boats.

I tried the online simulator. I'm glad you don't have to pay for damages on it. I'll keep trying.
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B~C



Joined: 31 Oct 2003
Posts: 2706
City/Region: S.W. WA
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C-Dory Year: 1999
C-Dory Model: 22 Cruiser
Vessel Name: Blue~C
Photos: Blue~C
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

some more thoughts, current makes docking a bit more difficult but it is consistant, wind makes thing a bit more tough as it varies, but, the one critical, key, variable that will most likely determine if your docking attemp is smooth or a controlled crash, is the number of spectators.

When approching the dock, have all the crew return their tray tables to the upright position and assume the docking position before hand. If you have folks running about on the boat it makes it kind of hard to control.

Joe, I revisited that docking simulator and the docks where all smashed on my screen Smile
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rogerbum



Joined: 21 Nov 2004
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City/Region: Kenmore
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C-Dory Model: 255 Tomcat
Vessel Name: Meant to be
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of things..

The thing that has made the most difference in my ability to dock gracefully has been to put a 50' line that is centered on the bow with 1/2 running down the port side and 1/2 down the starboard. I also have a 25' line at each stern cleat. On both the port and starboard side, I arrange the lines so that a both a stern and a bow line hang over into the cockpit about 2' apart. Hence, once I get to the dock either I or someone else can hop out with BOTH lines in hand at the same time. If you approach with some speed, hit reverse and hop out with both lines in hand you are in control (provided you remember to put it in neutral prior to getting out.

The other technique that works well is to have a line from the midships cleat the terminates in a loop that can be placed over a cleat as you are moving down parallel to the dock. If you (or your mate) can get that line over a cleat, a little forward momentum and leaving it in gear will bring the boat into the dock and hold it there. Then you can get out and deal with the other lines and then shut down. I use this all the time at the locks or other places where the stay will be short (a few mins). This way I can keep the boat tight to the dock in a cross wind with only a single line.

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sailor-d



Joined: 01 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Docking Reply with quote

After two aborts and a particularly rough docking in a breeze and very conscious of being closely watched by two much older sailors on a large sailboat we finally tied off.
He came over to us and gently suggested next time we try dead slow and into the wind. He said not to worry though and then briefly recounted that as a former KLM pilot his adage was that any landing is a good landing as long as you walk away from it.
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SeaSpray



Joined: 11 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to dock today at a small dock with a light breeze and about 1.5knt current coming across the dock. I made one attempt bow first but the current pushed me away. Next I tried to back in - same result.

You generally have more control when going into the current. So I came up to the end of the dock (bow into current) until I could get onto the dock from the cockpit. I grabbed bow and stern lines as the bow began to get pushed down by the wind and current. I got both lines on cleats and pulled in the bow.

You don't alway have to pull-up to the side of the dock (or into a slip) you want to be on. If it is easier, just pull up to the end and use the bow and stern lines to put the boat where you want it. Of course this can take significant strength if the current is over 5knts and the wind is blowing over 25!

Steve
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