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Let's say you just experienced the best sailing trip you've ever had. You are really starting to get the hang of all the boat terminology and equipment, and your response time has never been better. Now, it's time to get the boat safely back to the dock. It's not as easy as it may seem. Successfully anchoring and mooring a sailboat to a dock is tricky business and, just like sailing on the open water, it takes a good deal of practice. When planning your initial sailing trips, it might be best to save some extra time and energy for docking. Performing a good dock when you are frustrated and tired is nearly impossible.
Here is a guide to sailing when it come to anchoring a vessel alongside a dock:
*Start preparing for your dock long before you start to execute it. You should check the wind and water conditions and any currents that are running, consider any crew that will need to take direction from you, and any mooring equipment you will have to use.
*Never wrap your arm or other extremity around the rope or chain that holds an anchor to the boat. Even anchors on small boats are heavy enough to do harm if you use this approach. Consider developing a series of hand communications to be use between the helmsman and the person on the foredeck. Keep in mind that a motor might be running or sails might be flapping and cause a miscommunication.
*If the current is enough for your boat to swing, consider using two anchors in both directions the current is moving. When you approach the dock, have your fenders in the deployed position. Make sure your lines are untangled when you attempt to secure the boat.
*Finally, it may be necessary to back the engine down as you get close to the dock, letting the wind take you in to the dock. If wind is coming off the dock, you need to be more aggressive in your approach as the wind will keep pushing the bow away from the dock.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|