How to Leave the Dock Safely

The Moorings Base Tortola

In partnership with our friends from Yachting World, The Moorings is pleased to bring you the first “Tricks of the Tradewinds” post that will be part of an ongoing series featured on The Mainsheet Blog. The purpose of the blog series is to provide fellow seafaring enthusiasts with top-notch sailing tips and techniques from seasoned experts they can trust.

The first tip we want to share is based on the instructional video below, which features a Moorings 4800 and highlights the proper way for a catamaran to leave the dock.

Multihull guru Nigel Irens makes handling look easy with his undocking demonstration, and certainly the catamaran’s twin engines can be helpful with maneuvering. Just in case you’re not quite as comfortable and skilled from the helm of a cat as Nigel, here are some key things to keep in mind the next time you depart the dock:

  • Use your catamaran’s secret weapon – twin engines allowing for better handling and turning at low speeds.
  • Resist the temptation to use the wheel while departing the dock and rely on thrust from the port and starboard engines for steerage.
  • Once you’re through the turns and have gathered speed, resume steering with the helm.

And, if you need to spring off a dock some additional tips are helpful to keep in mind:

  • Make a “game plan” before leaving the dock; prepare fenders and lines, and communicate the plan to your crew.
  • Use spring lines and breast lines.
  • Double the lines back to the boat so all crew can be aboard when departing.
  • Cast off the breast lines first.
  • When you apply throttle, do so gently.

Be patient. Docking well takes some practice. Most importantly, to avoid injuries, make sure that fenders are the only things that ever come between the boat and the dock.

What about you? Do you have any tips and advice for leaving the dock? Leave them in the comments below!

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