Docking at Courageous!
The Big Ideas
- Land pointing as much into the wind as possible (spin boat around after sails are down, if necessary).
- Goal is to be almost entirely stopped when crew steps off.
- Set up a close reach approach, sails luffing, so you can control speed.
- If wind is parallel to the dock, approach aiming about half a boatlength behind (downwind of) your chosen “parking spot.” In other words, initially aim for the fender of the boat just downwind of the boat you plan to tie up on. You might need more or less space to glide to a stop, depending on your speed.
- Have a plan, plus a safe way to abandon if you’re coming in too fast or aren’t making it. Make sure everyone knows both plans!! Your crew should know which side they’ll be stepping off.
- Turn bow in a little so your crew can take an easy, safe step off the boat. (This is the moment shown in these diagrams--after that, the boat probably ends up pointing even more into the wind.)
- Never T-bone the dock, a boat, or a fender! Even if the wind is blowing straight off the dock, turn the bow a bit one way or the other. Your crew should never have to jump around the forestay, and you need a clear way to turn away if you’re coming in hot (too fast).
- Never drop your mainsail before you’ve landed (except when it’s a lee dock)--you might end up needing it.
- Docking’s an art, not a science. The wind is extra shifty in the slip. Experiment on the water with how long it takes your boat to glide to a stop in different conditions. Never be afraid to sail away and start over! Jen Bodde, Courageous Sailing, 2015