All wet again


New Member
I was able to get out on the water with low-moderate winds and spend a few hours single handing this little dingy on Sunday. I was able to get around in a number of different points of sail and felt real good on the water. Out on the water was exactly what I have this boat to experience. When I decided I was done I took a couple passes past the dock to check on the wind and dial in my approach speed. The wind was usually coming from the (let’s call it) south and the dock setup is east to west. That is when the fun began. There was another sailboat on the leeward side of the dock so decided i would pull up with the light wind at my back and let the wind bring me slowly into the dock vs coming up short and having little space for issues next to the other boat. Being single handed I had to get from the boat to the dock with a line in my hand and let the tiller go. I was moving at a very slow pace and started to turn to bring my port side along the dock. It was all going well until I made my move from the stern to the bow and had to bring my 260lbs quickly around the mast on the starboard side. I wasn’t able to keep my weight close enough to center and over she went in a flash.
I was able to again test the homemade mast float (this time on water not sand) and it did keep me from going turtle, as the water near the dock is only 6ft or so and all mud on the bottom. I hung on the centerboard and she popped right up. The nearby sailor was nice enough to lend me a hand and took the line while I hoisted myself out of the water. It was an unfortunate ending that spoiled an otherwise great day on the water.

What else should I have done to be able to step off the boat and onto the dock without going around the mast. Should I have turned more to have the port side right against the dock and then tried to hop off from the cockpit? I am still not sure me stepping off from there would have been any more graceful. The only way I can keep from bringing this tender boat over when coming aboard is stepping onto the bow close to the centerline and then crawling around the mast into the cockpit. I don’t know if I could have done that fast enough the other direction. Any advice aside from bringing on crew or a tiller motor for docking? Unless you have better coaching I will go back to beaching myself each time I am ready to come in.

At least it was entertaining for those walking around the lake that day.
I have found that dropping the main onto a boom kicker and using jib power only is most effective when the wind is not blowing in the ideal direction for docking. You can let the jib all the way out and totally depower it. The main seems to always have power unless you’re pointing directly into the wind. (I haven’t done single handed, but I work use the same approach)

Other advice based on your story is to stay very lower on the boat and to get a longer bowline so you don’t have to go up so far to the front.
Or do an electric trolling motor. See my posts, I always motor in/out and do the sails on the open water. Makes docking a piece of cake!
To revise what I said about using just the jib, I tried this yesterday and had some issues with this when going upwind on a close hauled.
I have been strongly considering a trolling motor to help me get out in the open water where my learning is less critical to the safety of others. I have an old one my father-in-law gave me, but not sure I can trust it. (See pics) Also unsure how much I want to invest beyond this in a battery. But free is free, so just buying a battery and using this donation is at least a discount of 50%.


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I single-hand my boat and even though I mostly use a small electric trolling motor to get in and out of dock, I found something that might work for you. A boat hook is essential to grab the dock cleat. I keep a line around my aft dockside cleat and get that tied off quickly (to the dock). If the boat starts to point away from the dock, I use the boat hook to pull myself back to parallel. I use a free line that I keep on hand to loop around a dock cleat closer to the bow, then loop it around mast and tie. This way I'm quickly tied parallel to dock.