Torpedo Tubes for Flying Scott

One of the hardest things to learn for me in regards of sailing is to keep the cools at the docks. I always thought motor boaters are clue less but I have been corrected yesterday. While the wind was gusty (winds 13-17 mph and gust 20-25 mph) the sailing was great. We had some friends along so somebody could always stay on shore and watch the kids, our son 10 months and their daughter 19 months. Their older daughter who is 5 years did go along the first sail but she still doesn’t care about the heeling of the boat.

The wind came from north-west-north so we had to dock on the south side of the dock, which is also the side of the boat ramp. When it was our turn to dock we got cut off by a larger sailboat that motored to the dock and then took the longest time aligning the boat on the trailer. This included pulling the boat partially out of the water and then back into it several times. Throughout the time we’ve been tacking in front of the dock so that we’d be ready to dock once the boat was out of the water.

Meanwhile another large sailboat motored in and made fast on the north side of the dock. While they started to make an attempt to move the boat to the other side of the dock I came closer to hail that they would please let us dock as we’ve been waiting for quite a while. All that did was to make me look like an idiot while getting to close to the other boat to be comfortable. In any case they still continued to move the boat to the south side where the first boat still wasn’t totally out of the water. I was surprised that they didn’t hit each other.

The second sailboat wasn’t much better in getting the sailboat on the trailer. From the way the boat was at the dock it seemed for the longest time that they are planning to load the boat with the transom first onto the trailer. During this time a crew from one of the two boats, I forgot which one, offered assistance to dock on the windward side of the dock. I declined the offer, as with most offers I get around the dock. Most people don’t seem to know the behavior of a sailboat in the wind and would manhandle and fighting the wind is a stupid thing to do. The best thing is to know the boat and let the wind do the work on dock like on the lake. My crew and I have well established routines especially at that dock. I'd hate to rely on a person whose skill I don't know just to see that I'm neither being pushed into the wind nor made fast at the dock, instead I'm floating into a rocky shore or docked boat without control.

Once we got our chance to dock we sailed up from the leeward side, placed the boat into irons while it was still gliding toward the dock. The crew got on the deck with the bow line to dampen the dock contact and to fasten the boat. While the bow is tied up I’ll drop the sails and then get the trailer. This nearly picture perfect docking takes us about 7 minutes until the dock is clear for other boaters. But it seems that people don’t believe in simple docking of a sailboat.

Tacking in front of the dock for 30 to 45 minutes does wear on me so much that I really wished I had a torpedo to clear my way. The whole thing was worsened by the fact that someone was waiting with our screaming son at shore. The sad part is that such a nice relaxing day had to have the stress at the end. I continuously try to learn to stay relaxed and not let things like that get to me. But still haven’t mastered that skill. Also from past experiences, I’m not quite as good of a sailor as I am once tempers are high, in other words those are the time when things go wrong. In hind sight the best thing would have been to sail another hour and come back then cause after us the dock was unused for a while.

How do you fellow sailors deal with situations like that? Are you experience similar things? Do you have torpedoes on board for these situations? Do you have knitting stuff on board to calm you down or is this just one of my own personal problems?

Claus FS5074 Ames, IA

I find that approaching the windward side is often the best way in. Just drop sails upwind from the dock and come in on a bare pole. We did this at the Midwinters last year when the wind came up and the race was cancelled. We did a slow and controlled approach while others were planing into the harbor and trying to gybe to the dock.