Leaving a Slip or Dock
Follow the steps here to leave the dock or slip under power.
Make sure the motor is running smoothly before you start removing lines.
Untie the dock lines in reverse order.
Unless there is a lot of wind, untie your dock lines in the reverse order of how they were tied when docking. Start with the spring lines. Leave for last the line holding the end of the boat that faces into the current or wind.
Push the bow away from the dock and step aboard with the last dock line.
When backing out of the slip remember the boat will always want to take the stern to port when starting from a standstill so applying tiller to port – (wheel to starboard is the same action) to try to counteract the propwalk. (propwalk- lateral thrust created by a spinning propeller. As you look to the stern of the boat, a right-hand prop will spin clockwise in forward gear. A left-handed prop will spin counter-clockwise. Some boats cannot back in the direction opposite of the propwalk. Propwalk will be a lot more pronounced in reverse than forward gear.)
Unlike driving a car, a sailboat doesn’t immediately change direction when you shift the gears from reverse to forward. Adjust your tiller according to the direction of movement, not the direction of engine thrust.
Try using less throttle – this reduces the effect of propwalk. Also try not putting the tiller all the way over to port. If the tiller is all the way over then the rudder may act more like a bulldozer blade pushing water straight back rather than a rudder diverting water to port and boat to starboard. Of course this requires backwards motion to gain this effect.
A pivot turn is a technique for turning a boat 180` in a narrow channel.
The turn must be done in the direction of the propeller’s prop walk when the boat is geared in reverse.
The timing of the turn relies on a number of factors. Most importantly, the wind, the current and the width of the channel you’re backing into. If the channel is narrow, you may need to turn the boatbefore the bow has fully cleared the slip. If either the wind is blowing, or the current flowing, you’ll want to stay on the near side of the channel. Power ahead away from the dock at a shallow angle.
Watch the stern!
Remember that a boat’s stern always moves in the opposite direction from the bow. You could crash the stern back into the dock if you turn too sharply as you power ahead.
Don’t forget to bring in the fenders once you’re underway. Nothing marks a beginner like sailing along on a fine breeze with fenders dragging in the water, ensuring you’ll get catcalls from passing boats!