The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Docking Single Handed

I was cranking the windlass in low gear watching the 8 mm line getting thinner under the tremendous load. 

"A little more," Ryker said hanging over the side ready to tie off the next section.

I pumped the windlass handle once more and - snap - the line broke. The two sections of dangling chain we'd already raised splashed back into the water. 

"Hell," I said as we both stared at the broken line.

We concluded that the bottom chain must be snagged on something. My windlass had nearly reached its rated pulling force of 500 kg; there's no way a chain buried in the mud could offer that much resistance.

We motored back to the marina without having checked the shackle and swivel linking the riser chain to the thick bottom chain. In the end, it wasn't that important anyway. Ryker doesn't use the mooring; it's merely a backup in case he buys another boat or whatever.

I had my camera in my pocket for a shot of the shackle and swivel attached to the 22 m studded ship's chain. One picture would have been better than this whole explanation. Better luck next time.

Back at the marina I got to work on my invention for docking single-handed, or with a crew for that matter.
Docking single-handed
Should I patent it?
All I have to do is stick the light-weight vertical pipe in the bottom one, and that's it.
In theory, when I approach the slip I can grab the line and tie if off at the midships cleat. If I'm not close enough to grab it by hand, I can easily pick it up with the boat hook. After I'm done the vertical pipe can be stored in the boat until next time.

It's made of plumbing pipe and a stainless lifesaver holder I already had lying around. The hook is screwed into the pipe and taped for good measure. The whole thing cost 7 euros. Feel free to copy the idea. No, I don't have a "donate" button.
Fender step
I've seen dirtier fenders, but not many!
I had quite an appetite after all that hard work. I'm not sure why, but some people have this thing about food. For your benefit here's what was left of my lunch when I remembered to photograph it. I tell you, I'll have to start wearing the camera around my neck!
Meals aboard
The chicken was really golden and delicious.
  After lunch I tackled the winch that seized on my trip up from the Algarve. I haven't serviced the winches for years. Believe me when I say that I'm embarrassed to have allowed the winches to reach their pathetic condition. Simply disgusting.
Barlow 24 servicing
Set up a little barrier to prevent those jumping-jack springs from popping overboard. Wasted time - all the parts were cemented in place by the goopy mess. 
Long-term marina rental in Peniche
You'd think my French neighbor is having a yard sale.


  1. Nice post, my salty fellow slave.
    How I wish boats would have yard sales. Even a shop with used boat parts would be cool, but I've never seen one.
    Smart little contraption for docking in your slip. Now, if I only had a slip.....
    Snapping 8mm lines, playing with moorings..... dude, it's winter time! Brrr.! I'd leave that for...July!
    I got a little 400gr four leg-ed anchor. Very useful for fishing out sunken mooring lines. Also good to fling ashore to dock bow-to the rocks with a stern anchor, a light-wind dinghy anchor... or to fling onto other boats to board and slit their throats and clam some booty.
    Still sound like a fun day though.

    oh, yes... the winch.... for shame! Bad slave, bad!

  2. Glad you liked it.
    Yard sales, used boat parts shop, affordable prices, big selection...only in the good old United States of America, unfortunately!
    The mooring chain wasn't sunken - it's still attached the the buoy - our mission was to check the swivel and shackle conecting the riser chain to the heavy bottom chain and maybe replace them.
    These days nearly everything is fun except work and paying taxes. The pisser is I spend most of my time doing the latter.