Warping into a verv tight berth

FairweatherDave

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The answer will be slow slow slow with lots of fenders and crew, but the question is about getting into the tightest of berths. And the principles of almost manhandling the boat in. I have looked on the net about warping but not with a huge amount of success. Apart from the obvious not pulling on other peoples stanchions and guard rails what would be top tips?
The situation is that the aisle is so narrow it is about two boat widths, and then I have to almost nuzzle between two boats to get my bow to the pontoon. The stern is secured to chain by line on the end of a pick up bouy. So I presume I come in and handle the starboard quarter of the adjacent boat and I turn to port. As said in my other post I do kick to port in reverse. What would be the best plan. Assume no tide and little wind, it is more about handling the lines and where to attach to what!
 

RichardS

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Certainly it's normal practice in the Med to nuzzle in between boats provided everyone is well-fendered on at least one side of the two making contact. Using the boat either side as a cushion is often recommended when stern or bows-to mooring rather than going for an empty berth, particularly if there's a cross-wind to contend with.

I don't know how "nuzzling-in" is regarded in the UK.

Richard
 

FairweatherDave

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Thanks Richard. I'd say it is normal practice in the location I am describing, and the situation does remind me of the Med, except more often there it was stern-to. The bit I am not used to is the very narrow aisle approach and then the hard 90 degree turn to port. It is inevitable to use the other boats to aid the turn, my question is how to do this properly when the easiest and wrong thing to do is to work your boat round whilst pulling hard on someone's pushpit.
 

Concerto

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Warping a boat is a traditional skill that was used to move sailing vessels around in harbour.

What you are proposing is very easy by comparison. You may find all the advice given turns out to be wrong when you do try this.

The best advice I can give would be to look for several places to hook long lines to. This way you can let them slip once you are in to retreave them. Look for bollards or cleats as these should be strongly mounted, it does not matter whether these are onshore, a pontoon or another boat. Make sure they will serve a purpose, like stopping the stern swinging round. The actual loadings on the ropes will be quite low if you take things slowly as the boat weight is taken by the displacement of water. Have fun and do come back and explain how you found it.
 

FairweatherDave

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What you are proposing is very easy by comparison. You may find all the advice given turns out to be wrong when you do try this.
:)
Yes, I do feel this is not too risky in that everything is close to hand, slow motion and fenders. But I am not used to using other peoples boats as fixed points to turn mine.... I was also hoping if anyone knows of any on line guides........ Otherwise I am thinking of a line from my midship cleat around their starboard quarter cleat and playing the length on that. Preumably you use a boat hook witha line from your own boat to lassoo their cleat under the pushpit?

Hmmmm.......... maybe a bow line on my boat round their cleat and back to the bow?
 

pvb

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Where is this berth? Do other boats manhandle their way in, using other people's cleats? I'm not sure I'd be too happy about it.
 

FairweatherDave

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There are no finger pontoons, just a long aisle with perhaps 10 boats each side, the majority bows to. I can understand that some people would not want to keep their boats there because it is cramped. But others do and they must use these techniques.
 

garvellachs

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The answer will be slow slow slow with lots of fenders and crew, but the question is about getting into the tightest of berths. And the principles of almost manhandling the boat in. I have looked on the net about warping but not with a huge amount of success. Apart from the obvious not pulling on other peoples stanchions and guard rails what would be top tips?
The situation is that the aisle is so narrow it is about two boat widths, and then I have to almost nuzzle between two boats to get my bow to the pontoon. The stern is secured to chain by line on the end of a pick up bouy. So I presume I come in and handle the starboard quarter of the adjacent boat and I turn to port. As said in my other post I do kick to port in reverse. What would be the best plan. Assume no tide and little wind, it is more about handling the lines and where to attach to what!

Reminds me of Sixhaven in Amsterdam! It's hard to see how to berth a boat at right-angles into a berth almost as narrow as the boat, from an aisle only twice its width - that's well under its length. Is this just for the winter or are you going to come and go regularly? And where abouts is this pick-up buoy and line that you moor the stern to? Sounds like mooring next to a lobster pot.

Anyway I think I would definitely need at least two people on deck to help. I'd fender the starboard bow with a big ball fender or two and approach very gently - at the minimum speed that will maintain steerage. Idealy I'd like the wind to help by blowing back down the aisle towards me. If there's much breeze coming down the aisle in the same direction as the approach I'd wait for a calmer opportunity or ensure there's someone strong on the starboard side boat to help.

I'd steer the bow in and expect to land on the starboard side boat so lots of fenders down there; the bow would touch first probably so the rest of the boat would then rotate obediently as we gently move in.

The problem is hitting the boats on the other side of the aisle with the stern, so another person there with a roving fender I guess. If you have to start fending off yourself it'll all get a bit you-tube-ish.

Is this a fin or bilge keeler? Does she rotate obediently round her keel(s). Do you know about using little brief bursts of thrust to nudge the boat around in confined spaces?

A last point, moving along against an adjacent boat can be problematic when both have fenders down - the fenders can jam against each other?
 

FairweatherDave

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Thanks for that detailed reply. My initial reaction is you have not mentioned using warps. The reason I started this thread is that whilst I will have the engine the need to go slowly means I would likely loose steerage and then the warps approach takes over. Take the points about fenders catching and bursts of power for tight turns. The aisle maybe a fraction wider than I describe but the entrance is a boat and a third width wide (eye of a needle). I think some people could drive in without warps/ using others boats to turn but less skilful people might want to be more cautious.
 

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If you have enough crew, it might be worth dropping one of them ashore, so they can get aboard the 'target' boat. It might also be worth getting lines on to the boat on the other side as well. If you can get four lines secured, your boat will be under control at all times.
 

FairweatherDave

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berth2.jpg

This shows how tight the berth is.
Thanks StormNorm, you probably describe the best approach..... many crew plus lines. My plan might be to tie up temporarily and recruit a couple more people. As it stands it is just me +1
 

garvellachs

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Thanks for that detailed reply. My initial reaction is you have not mentioned using warps. The reason I started this thread is that whilst I will have the engine the need to go slowly means I would likely loose steerage and then the warps approach takes over. Take the points about fenders catching and bursts of power for tight turns. The aisle maybe a fraction wider than I describe but the entrance is a boat and a third width wide (eye of a needle). I think some people could drive in without warps/ using others boats to turn but less skilful people might want to be more cautious.

I understand your caution but I don't think using warps is the answer except in dire circumstances - this is not a sailing barge with no engine! I think a boat like your Konsort will behave quite predictably in gentle conditions, but it takes an hour or two to learn how she behaves. There's no substitute for mucking about in a quiet corner of a marina maybe, clear of expensive boats, practising turns and berthing and reversing etc.. Someone on here from the Solent would go out with you I'm sure if you asked? Of course we all make a mess of it sometimes, but you are so right to suggest going very slowly with lots of fenders - that way no damage will be done - and people always come running to help anyway.
 

Seajet

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Dave,

rather than cleats which vary a lot boat to boat, if looking for a good bit on other boats to latch onto I'd consider dropping a bowline over sheet winches, they're usually proven to have decent backing pads so shouldn't come off in your hand !

If nuzzling into a tight spot fenders have a nasty habit of riding up to save themselves rather than the boat/s; I might consider one or two of those flat padded fender rectangles - a bit like a gymn mat with eyelets.

How about these ?

http://www.force4.co.uk/force-4-flat-fenders-m.html?gclid=CJrLoKOuxcgCFcafGwodI3gAqw#.ViASqW4oGSo
 
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pcatterall

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Bloody hell! That is tight! I would hope that anyone with a boat in there has removed or padded any sticky out bits like anchors on bow rollers etc.
I wouldn't have thought engine power and rudder alone would get me in to the aisle. Perhaps motor in and then it would be boat hooks and warps from then on.
 

Ravi

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Yikes! That does look tight!

If you know your neighbours and you know they are not going anywhere when you are out for a sail, one option could be to rig a sort of lazy line going from the pontoon at your berthing spot to a big bowline on their aft cleat. Then you could nudge your bow close enough for your crew to hook the bowline and the crew could then pull your bows to your mooring.
If your crew can also drop a line with a bowline over the same cleat (on the boat to starboard), the helm could pull your stern round, till you are parallel.

I think my sailing would be spoiled by the perpetual worry that the wind would pick up when I returned. Trying to get in there in gusty conditions wouldn't be much fun!
 

ProDave

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I thought I had a tight berth until I saw that picture.

Our setup is two pontoons side by side with 3 boats each side of each pontoon. I'm a middle boat of the 3 in the line.

The gap to get in when all berths are full is a snug fit for my boat, so if the first 2 are on their berths, I motor into the gap, step off over one of the moored boats and warp it in the rest of the way. It works well even single handed.

I am very glad I have an OB that I can vector so I can steer the boat well when reversing out.
 

Baddox

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I was wondering what all the fuss was about until I saw the photograph. Rather you than me springs to mind now. Even motoring down the fairway, between the moored boats looks like a nightmare with gaps narrower that some of the boats' beams and what appears to be a lot of lines in the water leading to buoys.

My strategy would be to find a different marina. Failing that, Garvellach’s method of poking well fendered bows in will stop them being pushed round by any wind. Then the rudder and engine can move the stern into position, or lines could be used.

On the bright side, once you master berthing there, any other berth you use on your travels will be easy.
 

johnalison

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It's never going to be very easy but if you take it steadily and avoid difficult conditions (by taking a temporary berth near the end of the pontoon) it shouldn't be too traumatic. I am delighted that you know enough not to pull or push on someone's lifelines, so you are well on the way to being a welcome neighbour anywhere.
 

wiggy

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Tttg
berth2.jpg

This shows how tight the berth is.
Thanks StormNorm, you probably describe the best approach..... many crew plus lines. My plan might be to tie up temporarily and recruit a couple more people. As it stands it is just me +1
That'll be Sussex Yacht Club at Southwick then. As a member who keeps his boat in Portsmouth Harbour for most of the year I regularly used to wonder how anyone ever got in. I've often used the visitors berth and one winter used the berth 3 to the south of yours. I reversed all the way down and into the spot. Once the stern was attached I went forward and got the bow attached, I was on my own but fortunately a club member poped up from down below and came over to give me a hand.
I'm coming back some time in December for a lift out just before Christmas so may see you around.
 
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