Docking Physics in a Camano

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Docking Physics in a Camano

Postby jhance » Sun Jul 18, 2021 9:17 pm

Curious to hear from any long-time Camano owners - what is your preferred method of getting off a linear dock? Assuming no wind, are you generally "crabbing" to port (assuming starboard tie) and then forward and out when you have enough room (generally how I do it)? Or do you kick the stern to port, bow to starboard, and reverse out? Prop walk is great getting onto the dock but it is working against you getting off when you are in reverse. I find I can crab out to port but I generally am too far forward at some point and I have to reverse, while parallel to the float at the moment, but then of course prop walk brings the stern back toward the dock. Wheel hard to starboard with kicks of power helps bring the stern back out, but there is always a little forward movement each time you do that. Another way I have been playing with is to crab out to port a little with rudder to starboard, then goose the throttle, thruster to starboard so I can then back out. The bow gets a little close to the float for that uneasy feeling, however!

As we know, our boats have some crazy windage especially with flybridge enclosures. I was in Bellingham with a 15 to 20 knot wind pinning me against the dock. Our little bow thrusters aren't going to win that battle. Only way off the dock is with a bow spring, fender on the bow, kick the stern out, release the spring, and back out. We have done this a few times and it works great. I understand you can also do a spring coming off the stern and forward to a cleat on the dock. Reverse and the bow will start moving to port so that you can go out forward once clear. I have been reluctant to try this as it seems the swim step and/or dinghy will hit the float even with a large fender on the starboard quarter. Has anyone tried this maneuver?

I experimented with a spring running from amidships on the boat and then looping the spring onto a cleat on the dock about 10' astern so that I can be "sucked" into the float if the wind is pushing me off the dock on approach. Rudder hard to port thinking the spring will bring in the bow and I want the stern to bring in at the same amount. I'm not sure if the Camano has it's amidships cleat too far forward for this, but when I tried under gentle forward throttle, my bow turned hard into the float very fast and stern kicks out. I guess you just have to barely be moving forward to avoid the "nose dive" into the dock. I don't think I was in forward, for good water against the rudder to be effective on the stern, so maybe that was the issue. At any rate, I don't think I will be bothering with that maneuver again! I think docking against the wind/current is best if you simply use momentum, rudder to port, prop walk, and thruster. I, or deck hand, can usually get off the boat, quickly cleat the stern line first, and we always have our bow line coming back to the cockpit on approach, sitting ready on the side deck, so that it is easily grabbed after tying off the stern. It's worked well for us.

I think some of you tie the spring line first, but how are you avoiding the "nose dive" into the float?
Jamey Hance
"Audrey Grace" #188
Orcas Island, WA
jhance
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:26 pm

Re: Docking Physics in a Camano

Postby nwradio » Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:57 pm

I keep it pretty simple myself - when leaving a dock I just use the bow thruster for 5+ seconds until the bow is pointed out the channel and I know I can clear the boat in front of me, then move it into forward with a straight rudder until I am clear the other boats and in the waterway.

Most of my travels are single-handed so I use the stern and mid-cleat for everything until the boat is secure, then I go up and tie a bowline. This keeps me from doing any tip-toes out to the bow during bad weather, (or crawling out the forward-berth hatch) to fight the swells that are common in puget sound or gulf islands. When I pull in, I will do the usual 45 deg. angle (or as much as possible - sometimes I have to straight-in) to the dock and then turn sharply to move the stern in, while shifting to reverse for a few seconds to bring the boat to a stop. I step off the boat, quickly secure the stern, then grab the line from the mid-cleat that I put on from the pilot window

I reach out, put the loop on the cleat, leaving the line inside, then I walk to the stern, get the boathook, and pull the rest of the line to the stern so it is resting on the side deck, ready to be grabbed.

Sometimes I do have to crab my way in with transmission changes and a touch of bowthruster, but it does not seem to take much and a little practice makes (almost) perfect.

As for leaving a dock at 20 knot winds, I just will not do it - call me mr. wimpy. If it is 20 knots at the dock, it will usually be higher out in the water and although I have been out in 30 knots and 4 ft. seas, I did not enjoy it and will find the first safe inlet I can get to to avoid that type of weather. That has only happened to me twice. Something about seeing lots of saltwater go over the top of the flybridge reduced my joy of boating. The first time I pulled into Kingston and added a day to my journey, the second, I got across to the protective side of whidbey island and hugged the shore to reduce the wind affect coming from admiralty inlet while heading south to Everett.

Oh - I do have two special lines I use sometimes - I made with floating 1/2 inch line (Samson MFP Floatline - I got it at West Marine) so if they fell into the water, I did not have to worry about diving off the stern with a knife in my teeth to clear the prop. I also have a long one for towing.

Sorry I do not have any special tricks - I am pretty conservative and have owned the boat for 18 years. Have enjoyed every one of them - I am a steady customer at friday harbor, roche harbor, sidney, ganges, maple bay, victoria, nanimo and many little spots in between - always seems to be room to squeeze another 30 footer in. I also enjoy anchoring out a lot and while I keep the boat safe, Sea Bear takes good care of me.

Fair winds for your travels.

Walt
'Sea Bear'
#43
nwradio
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 3:17 pm

Re: Docking Physics in a Camano

Postby jhance » Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:59 pm

As the wind pushes the bow first, the bow thruster is much less effective when trying to use it against the wind. For me, however, I start there as a first try unless there are moderate or greater winds. But I find that at some point off the dock, in really any kind of wind, I give up trying to battle the thruster against the wind. I'll goose the throttle against a starboard rudder and perform a back-and-fill to starboard so I can get my stern into the wind for backing out. I'll use the benefit of a tapering bow to allow for me to potentially get closer to the dock if the wind decides to put me there. My turns seem so much more effective in wind using throttle/rudder than thruster. Another trick I haven't used much (because Camanos are set up for stbd ties) is to dock on the port side if I know I will need to be departing against the wind. That way prop walk will help me out. It is so much easier to back-and-fill to port than starboard in a Camano.
Jamey Hance
"Audrey Grace" #188
Orcas Island, WA
jhance
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:26 pm

Re: Docking Physics in a Camano

Postby jhance » Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:07 pm

I will also say, if you can get off the dock a few feet and then perform a back-and-fill to starboard, with the wind off your port beam, use the wind to your advantage and let it push your bow to starboard. This helps in the turn and allows you to back out. Good to have nice fenders on the bow in case you don't get your turn in time before your bow hits. But I still think the best way is to spring off the dock with a bow spring in wind if you have a deckhand on the bow. I'm not sure how to do this single handed, however?

Anyone have other methods in this scenario (departing against the wind)?
Jamey Hance
"Audrey Grace" #188
Orcas Island, WA
jhance
 
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:26 pm


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