Approaching a Jetty - Wind across tide.JPG (26045 bytes)

Techniques & Maneuvers

Coming Alongside a  moored boat, pontoon or jetty
(under power or sail)

The procedure is very similar to picking up a mooring. The most important preliminary is to establish the direction of wind and tide. Once again, there are basically two procedures, with a third slight variation.

When wind and tide are in similar or opposite directions, follow the routines outlined for picking up a mooring. The only additional problem is that with jetties or pontoons your choice of escape routes is likely to be more limited if things go wrong with the approach.

The third variation is if the wind is blowing across the tide. The principle to remember is that when the sails are hoisted the yacht is likely to be wind-rode; when they are dropped it is likely to be tide-rode.

This will not apply when one of the forces is much stronger than the other but it makes a good general rule.

Your approach should always be into the tide. If the jetty or pontoon lies parallel to the tide, choose which side of it to approach.

If you are heading for the leeward side of the jetty, treat it as 'wind and tide together' and approach with both sails up. If you have to sail for the windward side of the jetty, treat it as 'wind and tide opposed' and lower the mainsail.

If the jetty or pontoon is perpendicular to the tide, always head for the downtide side. Treat it as 'wind and tide together' and do not lower the sails until your mooring lines are secure.

Leaving a jetty with Onshore & Offshore Winds

Leaving a jetty Onshore & Offshore winds.JPG (13030 bytes)

Approaching a jetty
with Onshore Wind

Approaching a jetty - onshore wind.JPG (10562 bytes)

Approaching a jetty
with Offshore Wind

Approaching a jetty -Offshore wind.JPG (11461 bytes)

Making Fast Alongside

Although with a lightweight yacht you can temporarily make fast with just bow and stern lines, the following method provides security for all sizes of craft.

Normally four ropes or mooring lines are used to secure a boat alongside. The head rope is led from the bow well forward along the jetty. Similarly the stern rope is led aft from the stern. These are normally the first two ropes taken ashore, since they will locate the boat in her berth.

Better security is provided by springs, which hold bow and stern in to the jetty and prevents the boat from surging alongside. One spring is taken from the bow to a point aft. This is known as the forward spring because it stops the boat moving forward. The back spring or aft spring is taken from the boats stern to a point well forward on the pontoon

Mooring alongside.JPG (9425 bytes)

Sailing a Circular Course

This exercise is very popular with AY Instructors and sailing coaches as it provides a very compact way of practicing or assessing boat handling (Go to Photo Sequence and Diagram Click Here). You should aim to complete a neat circle repetitively around a stationary or free floating object such as a dory, the radius of the circle being no more than three times your own boat length.

With practice in a yachting dinghy you should be able to bring the radius down to one boat length, meeting the criterion that, should the action be "frozen" at any moment, everything is perfectly suited to the points of sailing. Each tack and gybe should be smooth and the boat should remain upright throughout. The beauty of this exercise is that, if you have the ability you can keep up the circling almost indefinitely whereas if you are not totally in control of your tacking and gybing, you will end up with a cockpit full of tangled sheets.

Sailing Backwards

In congested areas it may be necessary to leave the beach or jetty by sailing backwards.This technique is also used to clear debris that may be caught around the keel or rudder before the race start. Properly done, this technique appears elegant, but it is not simply a matter of pushing the boom as far forward as you can and the crew holding it in position.

There are three important points for the helmsman to remember:
1. Co-ordinate crews activities and concentrate weight well forward in the boat. This lifts the stern clear of the water, reducing drag and making steering easier. Don't forget to raise the centerboard if you have one as it is not needed to prevent leeway and its presence will exaggerate course corrections.
2. Keep a firm grip on the tiller. The stern has effectively become the front of the boat and as you gather speed the water pressure increases on either side of the rudder. Only very small tiller movements are needed to control your course, remember that the rudder is operating in reverse.
3. When you have sailed backwards far enough, choose which way you want to be heading to sail off. Unless hazards restrict the choice, it is easier to get out of this maneuver by pointing the tiller towards the boom. That way, the boat will turn and the mainsail will end up to leeward without the boom swinging across the boat in an inadvertent gybe.

Stern To Landing

If you want to land on a lee shore or berth the yacht stern to and then sail off again after a short break, the following variation may be useful. Success depends on knowing the length of your anchor warp, assessing distances accurately and the crew communicating and co - ordinating their roles.

1. Sail towards the lee shore, turn head to wind and drop anchor
2. In strong winds, lower sails at this stage. If motorized engage reverse gear at this stage and begin steering backwards.
Pay out anchor warp to allow boat to move or drift towards shore until close enough for crew to jump off or if berthing cast the mooring lines ashore.  If sails had been left hoisted to aid drift, they should be lowered now.
4. Depending on wave conditions haul off into slightly deeper water to avoid damage

To sail away, simply release any stern lines, haul on the anchor warp until you are in deeper water, hoist sails, recover anchor and sail away.

If you are blown aground on a lee shore unintentionally and cannot sail off again immediately, lower your sails. Do not raise the centerboard, because you will only be blown further on. To get afloat again, try heeling the yacht and kedging off.

Landing & relaunching.JPG (13561 bytes)

Awareness of Lee Shore Dangers

Until you become familiar with a particular stretch of water there is always a chance that you will run aground. In muddy estuaries the first indication of trouble is a gradual slowing down accompanied by a loss of steering. Your natural reaction to raise the centerboard will save you if you are on a weather shore. It could be your undoing if you are on a lee shore, because you will simply blow further on to it.

Your AY Instructor will give you practical experience on getting off a leeshore. If the water is a manageable depth on a small yacht you need only jump overboard, push the bow round towards deep water, lower the centerboard and sail away on a close hauled course.

If the water shelves gently and is muddy it is often best to abandon any hopes of sailing off. Lower the sails and row out into deeper water then hoist the sails and sail away.

The principal problem is that shallow water prevents you from lowering the centerboard.
Off the beach sailors
may be able to wade out to chest depth with sails hoisted, pull the boat forward and jump aboard, sailing slowly away from the shore, gradually lowering the centerboard as you go.

Alternatively, kedge your way off by throwing the anchor and warp as far as possible to windward; then haul the boat to it and repeat the process until you are in deep enough water to hoist the sails at anchor and sail off

As a general rule, prompt decisive action will get you off while indecision generally results in total defeat and at risk to stranding - when the only way you will get afloat is with a tow from a rescue boat.

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