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Gain confidence and competence docking in close quarters in a range of situations involving wind and currents on a sailboat with an auxiliary inboard engine.

Vessel: Hunter 33

Docking can be stressful for many sailors, but with practice and the right techniques, you can become proficient at docking smoothly and safely.  With the right understanding of the basic scenarios and a bit of practice, you too can master the art and science of docking. Join us for a full day course divided into two half days.

Max Class Size: 4

Learning to dock a sailboat is an essential skill for any sailor. While it can seem daunting at first, with practice and the right techniques, you can become proficient at docking smoothly and safely. Here's our basic course outline for learning sailboat docking:

  1. Understanding Your Boat: Learn about its size, weight, handling characteristics, and any unique features that may affect docking.

  2. Docking Terminology: Understanding the terms such as bow, stern, port, starboard, windward, leeward, etc will help you communicate effectively with your crew.

  3. Docking Preparation: Ensure that all lines, fenders, and other docking equipment are ready and properly deployed and assign specific roles to your crew members.

  4. Approach: Approach the dock slowly and at a shallow angle, typically into the wind or current. Use the engine to maintain control and momentum.

  5. Wind and Current: Understand how they will affect your approach and adjust your strategy accordingly. You may need to approach the dock at an angle to counteract.

  6. Communication: Clear communication between the helmsman and crew is essential. Use verbal commands or hand signals in noisy or windy conditions.

  7. Line Handling: Practice tying and releasing dock lines quickly and securely. Understand the use of spring lines and breast lines to control the boat's movement.

  8. Practice: Spend time practicing various docking maneuvers in different conditions, wind blowing on and off the dock, coming in forward and reverse. 

  9. Review and Reflect: After each docking attempt, review what went well and what could be improved. Use your experiences to inform your future techniques.

Remember, learning to dock a sailboat takes time and practice, so be patient with yourself and focus on continuous improvement. With dedication and perseverance, you'll soon become confident in your docking abilities.

Instructors are fully licensed and insured to operate as sailing charter and school. Read other qualifications here.

NauticeEd Practical Training School Logo - Satori Sailing - Sailing School and Private Charters in Marblehead - Boston Area

Learn more about how this course can support certifications:

  • Qualified Crew Rank

  • Skipper, Large Keelboat


Gaining certification will enhance your competence and will provide you with a roadmap to achieve your sailing goals.


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