Coming alongside pontoons with a cross-wind - advice needed please!

tom3987

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If mooring next to 5 was an option, and warping across was possible, then sometimes a useful backup plan. Make sure fenders rigged both sides before coming in. Even with no lines attached, once alongside and upwind you probably won't go anywhere, and have the time then to sort things out.
Luckily 5 was free as we would have hit into a boat if it was in that spot. I think going into 5 with the wind direction we would have been held against the pontoon, i then could have put the lines on 3 and either pulled the boat or put it on a winch.

This would prob work but not if a boat was in 5 (Thinking ahead for next time this comes up)
 

tom3987

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To be really helpful we need to know the kind of boat - e.g. sailing boat, long keel or short keel, heavy/light, etc.
And the wind direction and strength.

To have control over direction, you need to be moving. The more wind the faster you need to be moving to prevent the bow being blown off.
You will also find that you can turn better in one direction than another doing a 3 point turn. However, if there is too much wind you can't get around with a 3 -point turn anyway.

Most sailing boats will back reliably dead into the wind. For a different direction it depends very much on the boat.

Do not underestimate what can be done with a warp in the right place and motoring forwards or backwards against it.
It is a 2000 Sun Odyssey 37.4

When you say a warp in the right place are you referring to something like springing off from the potion but to get on to it?
 

Halo

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My berth is in a very similar position to yours. I find the best way is to come into my berth from the “dead end “ and use the inertia of the boat to take her up to the pontoon as I turn in. I normally turn round 180 degrees further in but sometimes reverse well down between the pontoons.
To turn in the tight space I use the prop wall and a blip on the throttle with the helm well over. These can be practiced in the widest part of the marina on a quiet day.
 

Minerva

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Personally, I think the marina were out of order to ask you to move, in the dark. I would have politely refused, said I didn’t know the way, and if they wanted it moved, to kindly do it themselves. Unless the bertholder you wre in was waiting for his berth that is. Otherwise, you did well, in very difficult circumstances.
+1

New boat,
long days sailing
New marina
In that dark
Outside of peak season

Nope. “Sorry, I’m exhausted from todays sail, tied up and settled down here - if you need me to move in the morning I will do so, but for now this berth is good enough for me - I’ve got my slippers & a glass of red waiting for me down below. Thanks & Goodnight”
 

westernman

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It is a 2000 Sun Odyssey 37.4

When you say a warp in the right place are you referring to something like springing off from the potion but to get on to it?

Yes.
The tricky thing you are encountering is that you cannot swing round fast enough to line up and get into the berth. You need a bow thruster to push the bow up into the wind. So use the next best thing - a bow line tied to something up wind.

If you are two up or more, then back up into the wind, and then get the bow as close to the end of the pontoon as you can and lassoo the cleat closest to the end.
Back up again - and manoevre so you bow just misses the end of the pontoon.

You can then gradually pay out the bow line as you steer to starboard and give short forward bursts to swing the stern around and into the berth. As the wind is behind, as long as you keep hold of the bow line, you can keep everything under control and go as slowly as you want.

If you are single handed, then I would put a lot of fenders out on my port side, and come along side outside of the berth you were supposed to be in. You can very gently place the fendered nose of the boat at the right place on the outside edge of the pontoon, and then let the wind blow the stern in - it will be slow.
 

johnalison

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It is a 2000 Sun Odyssey 37.4

When you say a warp in the right place are you referring to something like springing off from the potion but to get on to it?
This might depend on the boat and the circumstances but generally the centre cleat will be the most useful. Once attached, you can motor forward and the line will bring you alongside the finger. There might be occasions when a line from the bow is needed, as if the wind is blowing very hard from the right in your chartlet and there is little room to the boat to port. You would then hang off the finger for a short while before motoring in.
 

doug748

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The marina numbering system looks a bit nuts, no wonder you got misled tom.

With the wind from the top left I am not feeling the love for hanging on the end of the pontoon with warps on a 37 foot boat. Poking your nose in the aisle, then reversing up towards the pink barge, then going in forward could work ok.


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tom3987

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The marina numbering system looks a bit nuts, no wonder you got misled tom.

With the wind from the top left I am not feeling the love for hanging on the end of the pontoon with warps on a 37 foot boat. Poking your nose in the aisle, then reversing up towards the pink barge, then going in forward could work ok.


View attachment 175843

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Hi Doug, Yes that does actually seem like a good route. Even if the wind were to push me I would end up in bay 5 and then can pull across with lines.

With regards to the numbering, VB3 does not exist on the website page, the PDF download, the booklet they handed me or on the board in the marina office. They said they would pass this on to management. Funnily enough, the pack they handed me had a sticky note with VB3 on it too.
 

SimonKNZ

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I would go ahead well up the "aisle" and then astern into the berth. Need to ensure you account for wind and prop walk when going from ahead to astern, but I've always found that going well past your berth before going astern allows plenty of time to get the boat under control astern so you can make a nice turn into the berth. Have a crew ready to take a head rope ashore and have a stern line ready on an aft cleat to step ashore with from the helm.
 

oldbloke

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I suspect it was no accident that you were given this berth. Get your name on the list to move to an easier one as as becomes available
 

Refueler

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Luckily 5 was free as we would have hit into a boat if it was in that spot. I think going into 5 with the wind direction we would have been held against the pontoon, i then could have put the lines on 3 and either pulled the boat or put it on a winch.

This would prob work but not if a boat was in 5 (Thinking ahead for next time this comes up)

I advise against such ... windage of a boat can make that hauling across the gap incredibly hard work. It would really be a last gasp action.

Best is to have that line over onto finger end and then boat controlled so that it cannot be wind blown to 5. The wind in fact will help you pivot round the finger end .. then you just have to make sure you get that stern line secure quickly before wind keeps stern moving out ..
 

billskip

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Nothing was damaged
100% well done ...
almost hit the finger side on.
But you didn't, these things happen, it's how you handle your situation at the time, which is nothing gets scratched, rarely will things go exactly to plan "A" under difficult conditions, so plan "B" is don't scratch anything....tiz what fenders are for. Leaning against things is for assistance, perfectly acceptable.
 

Fr J Hackett

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I advise against such ... windage of a boat can make that hauling across the gap incredibly hard work. It would really be a last gasp action.

Best is to have that line over onto finger end and then boat controlled so that it cannot be wind blown to 5. The wind in fact will help you pivot round the finger end .. then you just have to make sure you get that stern line secure quickly before wind keeps stern moving out ..
I would say not if berth 5 was free then it is by far the easiest option and winching a boat across would not have been difficult maybe it would if it was a 55 foot 25 tonne thing but it wasn't. Even without winches you could sweat the lines and haul it across.

Fannying about trying to drop lines over cleats or piles when you are stressing over a situation is a recipe for things to go wrong especially if there is a simple clear option of an open berth.
 

flaming

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Excuse the slight corporate speak... but to me the biggest learning to take from this is not the specifics of how you should have got into that berth, it's that you didn't have a "go around" plan.

Whenever I set up an approach to an unfamiliar berth that looks a bit "interesting" the first thing I look for is "where's my out?" If this isn't looking right, at what point am I going to admit defeat and go around, and what does that look like?
In this case, and going only on the diagram, the bail out plan seems relatively straightforward. Essentially as you start turning into the aisle, if it starts to look like you're not going to turn all the way into the berth, then stop trying to and just aim straight down the aisle, knock the engine into slow reverse and allow the boat to weathercock with the stern into the wind. You can sit there pretty happily whilst you work out what next.

Looking at the actual plan to get in there, what you decided on, i.e simply turning round through 180 to come in forward, might look like the most straightforward option, but it is in my eyes the plan least likely to succeed.
Remember that unlike cars boats don't follow an exact turn, but they "wash out" as the boat slides sideways through the water a bit. And this is greater the tighter the turn. Therefore trying to berth on the inside of a tight turn, with the wind blowing you off, and propwalk that kicked you away from the pontoon was always going to be super tricky, every external influence was taking you away from the berth. A good rule of thumb is to look at the external influences and see if there's a way where you can get at least some of them working in your favour.
I'd also suggest that this was not an occasion for "slow and steady" but a case for plenty of power and stop the boat quickly before the wind takes charge.

Any plan that involves going up the aisle, either forwards or backwards, and then coming at the berth from that direction with the berth on the "outside" of your final turn in has a much higher chance of success, as at least then you have the "wash out" of the turn sliding into the berth. I think I'd have got the boat going astern in plenty of space out in the main "channel" then headed down the aisle almost to the end, quick burst of hard ahead to make the sure the propwash gave me control and the wind didn't take charge, then a reasonably fast approach to the berth at a relatively steel angle, final turn to match the berth angle and a burst of astern. Some relatively competent line handling and I'd think I had a decent chance of that working. And the beauty of that is that at basically any point there I have an easy out if I don't like what's happening.

Definitely not a straightforward berth though, and anything that results in no damage, however ugly, is a win in my book.
 

Refueler

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I would say not if berth 5 was free then it is by far the easiest option and winching a boat across would not have been difficult maybe it would if it was a 55 foot 25 tonne thing but it wasn't. Even without winches you could sweat the lines and haul it across.

Fannying about trying to drop lines over cleats or piles when you are stressing over a situation is a recipe for things to go wrong especially if there is a simple clear option of an open berth.

We are not there so can only surmise based on what we may have done.

I looked at wind direction ... and the orientation of the berths ...

My first idea would be to drop that line as the wind is blowing not at 90 to the berth - but at an angle that would actually put the boat TO the finger end ... AIDING the drop of line onto it. Then its simply pivot round like a pendulum on that line ...

We all have our ways and none are the perfect answer ...

But I will say this ... I have a 25ft motor sailer ... 4T displ .... and I have tried heaving her across a berth slot in moderate winds ... and I can say - it is not an exercise I would choose lightly. I assume OP was not in light breeze conditions - otherwise his berthing would be more conventional and unlikely to instigate this thread.
 
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