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

Fr J Hackett

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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.
We don't know the wind direction other than it was a cross wind what we do know is that berth 5 was empty and open ie it was the obvious and easiest choice anything else just complicates matters.

Maybe you should up your fitness or fit some bigger winches, for what it's worth I have winched a 35 foot 10 tonne ( laden) boat into berth first by winching the stern across part way then sweating the bow line to get the bow across with no problem and the wind was 30knts or there about.
 

Refueler

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We don't know the wind direction other than it was a cross wind what we do know is that berth 5 was empty and open ie it was the obvious and easiest choice anything else just complicates matters.

Suggest you go back and look at his pictures ... he makes a very clear picture of the wind coming from the bottom left corner at an angle to the berth ...

https://forums.ybw.com/attachments/1713725698256-png.175806/

Then he even makes it more plain in post #24 .....

Try again ??

Complicates matters !!! That's funny ....
 

Fr J Hackett

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Suggest you go back and look at his pictures ... he makes a very clear picture of the wind coming from the bottom left corner at an angle to the berth ...

https://forums.ybw.com/attachments/1713725698256-png.175806/
There is no indication of where the wind is coming from in any of his diagrams and if it was coming from the LHS as you think then it's even easier as berth 5 is unoccupied he pokes his nose into the unoccupied double berth and the wind will blow his bow off and on to the berth followed by the stern.
The solution lies in berth 5 being open and available and that is the only thing the OP has made clear.
 

johnalison

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There is no indication of where the wind is coming from in any of his diagrams and if it was coming from the LHS as you think then it's even easier as berth 5 is unoccupied he pokes his nose into the unoccupied double berth and the wind will blow his bow off and on to the berth followed by the stern.
The solution lies in berth 5 being open and available and that is the only thing the OP has made clear.
#24. Not his finest work of art but probably done in haste, and clear enough.
 

Fr J Hackett

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#24. Not his finest work of art but probably done in haste, and clear enough.
Thanks so again it's simple stick the bows into a large open double berth the wind will push the boat onto berth 5, winch the boat across the gap into the nominated berth no reason to overcomplicate things KISS principle.
 

doug748

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We don't know the wind direction other than it was a cross wind what we do know is that berth 5 was empty and open ie it was the obvious and easiest choice anything else just complicates matters.

Maybe you should up your fitness or fit some bigger winches, for what it's worth I have winched a 35 foot 10 tonne ( laden) boat into berth first by winching the stern across part way then sweating the bow line to get the bow across with no problem and the wind was 30knts or there about.

Indeed, the winds were light and the OP has indicated they were coming from the bottom left of the initial photos.

IMHO the only thing he got wrong was trying to come in on a too tight turn as he was flustered from the marina cock up and the gent winding him up about the stern anchor from the large vessel. 9 times out of 10 he would have probably waltzed right in as he did initially, further along.

I agree with you I have found no problem pulling a boat on the winches unless the weather is very strong on the beam.

.
 

Refueler

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Oh Dear ......

KISS !! Love it ....

That's EXACTLY what I suggest ... none of the flaffing about with prop walk, trying to get a boat to go astern ... steaming around doing about turns ... heaving boats around .... KISS ... yeh !! sure ....

I'd be tied up - in the pub and sipping my pint while rest of you lot are still faffing about.
 

Fr J Hackett

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Oh Dear ......

KISS !! Love it ....

That's EXACTLY what I suggest ... none of the flaffing about with prop walk, trying to get a boat to go astern ... steaming around doing about turns ... heaving boats around .... KISS ... yeh !! sure ....

I'd be tied up - in the pub and sipping my pint while rest of you lot are still faffing about.
I somehow doubt it.
 

Fr J Hackett

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That's your choice ...

I like that there are different views ... but there are simple and there are not simple ... guess where yours falls !! But you stick to it mate ... :ROFLMAO:
Mine falls into the most uncomplicated and simple solution. A wide open berth with a simple readjustment once alongside. It’s why I managed 25 years plus of owning recalcitrant long keel boats without damage or insurance claims to mine or others boats.
KISS and as others have said have a back up plan and if you don’t think you can do it don’t!
 

flaming

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Oh Dear ......

KISS !! Love it ....

That's EXACTLY what I suggest ... none of the flaffing about with prop walk, trying to get a boat to go astern ... steaming around doing about turns ... heaving boats around .... KISS ... yeh !! sure ....

I'd be tied up - in the pub and sipping my pint while rest of you lot are still faffing about.
The thing I don't like about your solution is that it purposely brings the corner of the pontoon close to the boat. In my experience that's a recipe for scrapes and gouges in the gellcoat.
 

Major Tom

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Make inertia and wind your friend - I would have reversed up the alcove a good distance, then a nice slow paced forwards into the berth, allowing the wind to gradually help align the bow with the finger, and inertia to side slip you towards the cleats rather than away, (all with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight from the comfort of my sofa)!
 

johnalison

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Make inertia and wind your friend - I would have reversed up the alcove a good distance, then a nice slow paced forwards into the berth, allowing the wind to gradually help align the bow with the finger, and inertia to side slip you towards the cleats rather than away, (all with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight from the comfort of my sofa)!
I think that would work well on my boat, but in the near dark on a new-to-me 37’ boat it could be a bit daunting.
 

Major Tom

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Actually I was making the assumption of a fairly recalcitrant boat, while in reality, because I'm fantastically lazy in planning and execution, I probably would have done what the OP did, but use my powerful bow thruster to spin it like a top to line up, and to hell with the kudos!
 

johnalison

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Actually I was making the assumption of a fairly recalcitrant boat, while in reality, because I'm fantastically lazy in planning and execution, I probably would have done what the OP did, but use my powerful bow thruster to spin it like a top to line up, and to hell with the kudos!
As you are presumably new here, my advice is that kudos is the sole reason for posting here and confessions of lazy technique or carrying the wrong anchor carry no weight.
 

Dutch01527

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Given your set of circumstances you did very well. With the wisdom of hindsight and many mistakes a few observations.

- Always fender both sides in advance and have a roving fender in a crew members hands, if man power allows. Pre set a midships line with a large loop to motor against, preferably both sides as well as fore and aft lines.
- In those wind speed attempting a direct 180 turn was a good option, maybe with a bit of a three point turn to make the turn less sharp
- With no boat in berth 5 if you could not make your berth 3 as long as you were in the bay between berth 3 and 5 you could have drifted slowly on the wind to berth 5. Then walked /winched the boat around to berth ending up bow out. That assumes a reasonable level of strength. If that was not available, stay on berth 5 and tell the marina people that they need to help you if they want it moved.

I echo the comments on marina staff sometimes not being as experienced as you would expect. I was once told to vacate a visitors berth at Kingswear when a spring gale was blowing 25 gusting 40 knots because they had a booking for a rally the following day. I refused and told them that as skipper duty was to the safety of my crew and boat. We all have that option, not a lot they can do about it. Predictably the rally was cancelled and I was there for 2 extra nights while things calmed down. The marina manager apologised the following day, gave me a night free and promised to give his staff more training which was fair enough.
 
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LittleSister

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Lots of suggestions about how to tackle the particular situation you were confronted with in a relatively new to you boat, but more important in the long run - for the OP and anyone else - is getting to know how your boat handles in confined quarters, e.g.
- how quickly do you need to be moving straight in forward and reverse to largely overcome a side wind?
- how well can it be steered in reverse (if at all in a trad long-keeler!)?
- how fast does the bow, and the boat as a whole, blow off downwind when slow or stationary?
- how quickly does it turn in different winds (or none) at different speeds (n.b. can be somewhat different port to starboard)?
- which way and how much does the prop walk push the stern of the boat (and hence bow in opposite direction) in forward and reverse?
- how quickly can you stop by applying reverse thrust, and how quickly can you get it moving to steerage way forward and aftwards from stationary?
- how much welly do you have to give the throttle (probably more than you think) with the rudder hard over to kick the stern round each direction from stationary/low speed?
- how fast can you go backwards but still control the tiller or wheel when the rudder kicks over to one side (beware getting trapped between the tiller and the coaming when it does that!)?
- etc.
You can then put that knowledge of the various factors into the equation when weighing up new challenges you are confronted with.

Worth practising such manoeuvres whenever you have a few spare moments, ideally in no current and near some stationary object - buoy or water - so you can accurately judge your boat's movements/responses.

A bit of expert tuition in close quarters handling is worth considering. (I was amazed to learn things I hadn't thought of, and be trained to do things I hadn't considered physically possible for a yacht.)

I would emphasise that I am not at all an expert, but have managed to survive all sorts of challenges without damage (at least so far!), mainly in long-keelers (and have the nervous tics to prove it) which are typically slow to turn, difficult if not impossible to steer in reverse, but on the other hand don't skate sideways in a wind when slow moving as readily as a fin keeler.

People have mentioned variations on getting attached to the end of a finger and heaving the boat around. I did most of my early sailing on a friend's ultra-heavyweight ferrocement long-keeler, and we'd often resort to alighting in an accessible berth or position, and then warping the boat round to where we actually wanted to end up. That stood me in good stead in subsequent years in more modest (and more modestly crewed) craft in later years. Warping the boat into and out of position is a bit of a lost art, but was standard for ships and boats before they had engines, let alone bow thrusters, and is well worth remembering and practising (and having some very long warps aboard to facilitate it). In the OP's situation, for example, it is not clear whether it would have possible to temporarily berth astern of, or even alongside, the large craft on the hammerhead, and then warp the boat around into the assigned berth. 'Sweating' the warps by pulling them sideways to overcome heavy loads, taking careful notice of how the wind could help or hinder the operation, and working from the pontoon/shore, rather than aboard and using a winch, is generally most likely to be successful, in my experience.

If conditions are a bit dodgy, and/or I'm not certain of what to expect, if I can I'll usually walk round to assigned berth to size up the situation, which other berths are vacant, potential temporary alternatives/warping opportunities, any particular wind and current situations, and formulate possible plans and escape routes in my own time, without the time pressures and everything else going on when I'm actually approaching in the boat.

I've also at times explained to marinas my particular long-keel, single-handed or w.h.y. challenges and generally got a sympathetic reception and sometimes an alternative, less difficult for my circumstances, berth.
 
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LittleSister

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I reckon, after a long day, in a 37ft boat, in the dark, in an unknown’ marina, and with a side wind, only a bow thruster would get you into that berth without mishap.

Being tired is, indeed, a big disadvantage, both in thinking clearly and acting decisively, but it can be impressive how that can sometimes be temporarily overcome by a bit of terror-induced adrenaline!

Mishaps are not things to be avoided, but part of the process. (I didn't get to where I am today without mishaps! 😁)

Mishaps are inevitable, and something you have to live with and most importantly not get thrown by, in order to win the game. (If you can't handle mishaps, then perhaps sailing is not for you - try jigsaw puzzles or crochet. ;)) Anticipate the most likely mishaps, avoid damage (though if the worst happens it's why you have insurance), and by hook or by crook you should be able to get in that berth somehow or other, even if, as is quite likely, it takes several tries.
 
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