Members' Online Book: Coming Alongside (Docking) Made Easy, Chapter 1 of 11

Introduction to Coming Alongside (Docking) Online Book

Over our years on the water, Phyllis and I have seen so many unhappy and stressful events unfold while watching yachties bring their boats alongside—yes, even more than anchoring, and that’s saying something.

These events go all the way from a little scrape on the paint work up to major damage and even personal injury. And then there’s all the shouting and the resulting hurt feelings—just not fun.

And that makes us sad, because it does not have to be that way. We have been bringing our 56-foot, 26-ton boat alongside, double-handed, for years—much of the time in challenging circumstances—with little difficulty. I say that not to boast…well, maybe a little bit…but to show that once you know a few simple techniques that we are going to share, docking is not that hard.

That said, to take the angst out of docking we do need a deep understanding of the geometry and forces at work. To that end, over the spring (ouch, bad pun), we will be adding chapters to a new Online Book on close-quarters boat handling that will explore each technique in detail.

We will even have videos and diagrams to help make things clear.

And then, over the next year, we will add further chapters on real world docking situations Phyllis and I have been faced with, particularly the tricky ones, and how we pulled them off—we might even share the ones that didn’t go that well.

We will also add chapters on how to solve specific docking problems posed by you, our members.

We start in a couple of days. And I promise that, no matter how much you and your crew hate docking, if you stick with me through all the chapters and practice a bit, you will join me in the “Docking Perverts Club”: A club reserved for those who actively enjoy close-quarters boat handling and even look forward to it.


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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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