40. Sailing – Learning “Dockmanship”

Keola B&B40.  Sailing – Learning “Dockmanship”

First, we sailed inside the lagoon.  There were things to learn before we ventured out into the exposed Pacific Ocean.  For example, my Boy Scout training did not cover “Dockmanship”.

The “dock” is a floating boardwalk to which are tied a quantity of boats, bow on, to minimize the waste of space and to maximize the number of boats that can be tied there.  Skilled dockmanship includes sailing into the slip directly at the dock with the intent of almost reaching it, but not running into it.

Another aspect of dockmanship is called “mooring.”   The objective of “mooring” is to tie ones boat so that the Keola sailboat dockboat is far enough away from the dock that no one can quite step the distance between the two, yet close enough that one hopes that he can.  This leads to a fascinating game that goes as follows:  One pulls at the mooring line of the boat so that the boat moves toward the dock.  At a certain point the boat is as close to the dock as it can go, and tension on the stern lines will reverse the boat’s direction.

The player in the game judges the moment at which the movement of the boat brings it closest to the dock, and for a fraction of a second — not moving.  The player then steps from the boat to the dock or vise versa.  Winners in the game are left standing on the dock as the boat moves back to its original just-out-of-reach position.

Losers in the game have several alternative consequences.  (1) A loser might be stranded somewhere in between.  (2) He might land in the water handicap.  (3) He might make a desperate hop to the dock that could make him a winner or result in broken bones.  The mark of a #3 loser is a 30 lb. white plaster anchor encasing the right leg from knee to toe — for six weeks.

Yep!  I was a #3 loser!  Oh well; what’s a little fractured ankle?  At least my legs got a workout!

Next: “Dockmanship” #2 — Oops. More learning experience!

Have you had any boating experience you’d like to share?