Returning home and first docking mishap

Well, first docking mishap to cause damage I should say. Ugh.

So let’s get to it – after a lovely weekend at Orcas Island (where I saw several firework displays)


and ate some oysters (I had one that was too big and I couldn’t swallow it quite fast enough and took an intake of breath and got a shitload of hot sauce up my nose which led me to ACTUALLY believe I was dying)


and made a floaty swan floatilla on a local lake


it was time to head home.

And as fun as the trip out was, the trip back was pretty bad. I had to motor all the way to the haro strait, where I managed a couple of hours of fun sailing into the wind, but as I got onto the Juan de Fuca, the wind built to 20 knt RIGHT on the nose, and I also had the worst flood current I’ve seen there – I was losing 3.5 knots!

So I had to slowly motor at 2.5 knots into howling winds and horrible chop. Miserable.

And then, when I finally got in, I managed to ram the dock and ding up Gudgeon! UGHHHHH

So, this is what happened. Here is my slip


Few things to note:

– The slip is shorter than my boat
– prop walk in reverse is to port, so throwing it into reverse pulls me away from the dock
– there is about 6 foot between me and the boat next to me
– the wind direction in summer is away from from the dock

What happened was, I was coming in solo with around 10 knots of wind from the 4 o clock position, so mostly from my starboard away from finger with a component pushing me into the dock (the worst direction). It was very gusty, and I was coming in at a 45 degree angle squeezing between the boat to my left and the fishing vessels behind me. As I went into neutral and started the turn to port (I was going at around 2 knots) a big gust (15 knts+) kicked up and swung my stern to port, towards the boat next to me.

At this point I figured hitting the dock was better than hitting the other boat so I went back into forward and aimed more to starboard to make sure i’d make the dock. Just before I hit the finger I straightened out and went into neutral, and then quickly hopped off and tried to slow the boat by hand ( I couldn’t use reverse as the prop walk woulda pulled me away from dock) . This didn’t work and the front of the boat went into the dock at maybe 1-2 knots (luckily I missed the electrical box).


This is the result



Gelcoat gone and a small amount of fiberglass damage. Not too hard to repair but I am feeling pretty shitty about it!

Next time, with the wind that strong from that direction and me being solo I am going to either

  • reverse into slip, dropping line over dock cleat as I go back
  • wait until the wind dies down/changes direction or I can spot someone to help.

Anyway, after over two years that’s the first damage I’ve done by docking. Onwards and upwards!


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