Leaving a Dock Against an Onshore Wind—Part 1

OK, how do we get out of this one? Reasonably easy in a calm, but what about if it's blowing us onto the wharf? Particularly challenging since the wharf is angled immediately behind us. But even in this situation the right technique makes leaving painless. That said, we better get this right—note the name on the boat ahead of us.

Since I'm now back to adding chapters to our Coming Alongside (Docking) Online Book, it's a good time to cover how to get off the dock, particularly in an onshore wind.

Before getting going on this, I should apologize for leaving all of you stuck alongside for four years since I finished the getting alongside part!

Anyway, as usual, we will assume two people and a right-hand prop for this chapter, as well as no bow or stern thrusters. If you have a left-hand prop you just need to reverse everything.

And, again as usual, I'm assuming you have read the rest of this Online Book relatively recently, so I'm not going to bore you, or wear out my typing fingers (all three of them), by going through all that again.

In particular, you need to clearly understand prop walk and wash to make sense of this chapter.

OK, with all that out of the way, let's get off that wharf with our paint intact and without a knuckle sandwich from that guy with the bulging muscles and the anger management issues on the boat behind us, and his twin brother on the boat ahead of us.

Oh, yes, and it's blowing 15 knots with gusts up to 20 right on the beam.

Of course, we could just stay alongside and wait for the wind to drop, but the brothers have just informed us that their cousin, who shares the same direct descent from the Neanderthals, is due in at any minute and will be taking over our spot because we are leaving, now.

And, further, they are not going to help us and no one else wants to get close to us with them around.

It's no fun if we make it easy. But we are up to the challenge (as if we had a choice), so let's do it.

Reverse or Forward?

As I'm sure you have all figured out by now, we are going to use a spring to get this done, and I will get into more details on setting that up later, but before even going there we have a critical decision to make:

Are we going out in reverse or forward? Both have benefits and drawbacks, but one has a hidden danger.

Let's figure that out.

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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 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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