Stern-to docking

Planning a tonnage survey (required for registration) for tomorrow morning, in English Harbour. So we set out, with Alexis, for a sail to English Harbour, to practice Mediterranean stern-to docking on Nelson's Dockyard.

There was a nice sea offshore, so practised some more man overboard manoeuvres, single-handed. I was first to practice, dropping the sails, immediately, and going after the fender under engine power. Maybe a little too hasty, didn't realise that I hadn't completely released the main-sheet when I went up to drop the main.

It took a couple of attempts to get close enough to the fender to pick it up, the auto-pilot can't hold the course that tightly at slow speed in a big sea, so when I left the wheel I'd drift off target. The trick is to pick up the fender right next to the wheel, and forget about the auto-pilot.

Johno managed a pick-up on his first try. Although had some flapping sails, trying to get them down. Tightening up the preventers first could have helped.

After that, we tried our hands at stern-to docking, 2-handed. Nelson's Dockyard is full of thick heavy mud (centuries of waste, and rotting ships, I'd imagine), and our anchor didn't hold very well.

Stern-to docking requires putting down an anchor (or picking up pre-placed mooring ball) off the dock, and then reversing into it and attaching stern-lines to the dock. Then tightening up the lines and anchor, to get the boat in the desired position (maybe 50cm away from the dock during the day, and a metre or two at night).

One of us would be on the wheel, and the other would first drop the anchor, and then run back to throw the lines, and tension them on the winches. We have anchor winch controls at the helm, so the helmsman could take over adjusting the anchor chain (without being able to see it). The mud was so loose that on one attempt the anchor was fully pulled up onto deck, without the helmsman realising.

After several attempts, and getting our anchor caught in at least 3 lines running through the muddy bay, we got stably moored for the night. The fore-deck was covered in mud, that came up on the anchor chain, so there was a good half-hour of hosing down and scrubbing the decks.

Time on the water: 6:29
Distance covered: 7.8nm
Avg speed: 1.2kts
Max speed: 20.5kts ?? (that looks suspect)

Navionics Track


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