Woman to Woman

Zen and the art of docking

By Capt. Katherine Redmond

A student in my Boat Docking Tips Course said he feared entering his slip because he didn’t know how long it would take his boat to stop. This made me realize how scary it would be if every time I pulled into my garage, I didn’t know how far my car would travel after I stepped on the brake.

Before you can dock your boat successfully, you must know how it responds to your commands, while keeping in mind that external forces can alter your boat’s reactions a little or a lot depending upon conditions.

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Sun exposure on board

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

Although it’s winter, I’d rather talk about the sunny boating season to come.

At the turn of the 20th century, people endeavored never to be exposed to the sun (especially women), and doctors recommended sunbathing for good health. After World War II, sunbathing and deep tanning became popular and remain so today.

Medically speaking, although some sun exposure is required for good health, getting a suntan is not. Anyone who spends time on or near the water gets plenty of sun without sunbathing. As a doctor, I believe sunbathing is almost as bad for you as smoking and should be totally avoided.

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How to turn a boat at the dock

Have you been tied up to a long dock on a boat that won’t back up with any degree of certainty with boats sitting on each side of the fairway you could crash into on the way out?

how to turn a boat at the dockIf so, you may be able to turn the boat at the dock within its own length. First, check the wind and current. They don’t have to be completely in your favor, but they should be enough in your favor to allow you to turn the boat and go forward.

First, ready a bow line and a stern line long enough to reach the bow and the dock while turning the boat. Leave one person on board to handle the stern line by bringing it forward to the bow on the opposite side of the boat from the dock. You can do this without a person on board by bringing the stern line forward to the bow and having it available as you turn the boat.

When all is ready, push the stern off from the dock and walk the bow down the dock to where the stern was previously located. You can do this with the bow line or by holding onto the bow pulpit. The wind or current will push the stern around to the previous bow position as you walk the bow down the dock. If the wind or current is in the perfect direction, the stern will come against the dock with little or no help. If not, the stern line can be used to pull the boat into position against the dock. You have now turned the boat in its own length at the dock even with boats ahead and behind you.

If the wind is in the opposite direction, you can still turn the boat by pushing the bow off and walking the stern to where the bow was with the long line on the bow. –Jerry LeCocq


This article first appeared in Boulder Beacon, the newsletter of Boulder Valley Sail & Power Squadron/30.

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How to remove water from a soggy fiberglass boat transom

How to remove water from a wet fiberglass boat transom

By Dave Osmolski

This past year, the brass tube for one of my boat’s self-bailing scuppers came loose. I decided to refasten the brass tube and make it watertight before we left on our annual fall trip to our homemade tropical paradise in Southwest Florida. First, I removed the tube and waited for the transom to dry out. Despite the warm, dry weather, the transom stayed as wet as the day I first removed the tube.

This led me to a discovery: Transoms, rudders and other thick constructions on fiberglass boats are not solid. They are built with air spaces between the laminations primarily for weight reduction.

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DIY bird deterrent

DIY bird deterrent for your boat

By Dave Osmolski and Doug Carlson

This time I’m sharing a project developed by friend and fellow Charlotte Power Squadron member Doug Carlson. Doug and I often get together for breakfast at a local diner, where the conversation usually turns to the subject of how we should use our boats more often but can never seem to find the time.

One of the problems with leaving a boat at the dock is that many different birds, mostly big birds, use it as a rest stop and leave their “calling cards.” In addition to being an unhealthy problem, bird guano can harm the gelcoat, upholstery and other fabrics. Some birds have hard shells from small mollusks and crustaceans in their droppings, which can do serious abrasive damage to the gelcoat.

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Taming the winds and seas

Use a bridle

Have you been in an anchorage where the wind keeps the boat at odds with the waves, rolling your boat from side to side, making you uncomfortable and nauseated? Some people deploy flopper stoppers on each side to slow down this motion, but you have to store them somewhere, and they take quite a bit of effort to deploy.

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Are you ready to hit the waves?

Traveling by boat is not always smooth sailing. If we’re not properly prepared, the waterways around us can wreak havoc with the boat and people aboard. Before you leave the dock, take a close look at the inside and outside of your vessel.

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Woman to Woman

Lessons learned while docking

By Capt. Kathrine Redmond

In my next few articles, I’ll share information as though you have just completed your boating safety class and are gathering on-land, theoretical knowledge of the docking process.

In my previous column, I mentioned that the helmsperson must stop the movement of the boat in the slip so that the line handler can step off the boat, not jump off. Over the years, I have seen line handlers suffer broken and sprained ankles and have seen them fall into the water when skippers come into the slip too quickly and line handlers attempt to stop the boat by jumping onto the dock to tie a line. This practice is dangerous. The helmsperson’s job is to stop the movement of the boat in the slip!Read More

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Emergency room afloat, part 2

The day sailor’s first-aid kit


By Gino Bottino, M.D.

In the last issue, we discussed “time to professional medical help” as the single most important variable in determining the extent of medical supplies and training needed aboard.

Accordingly, we divided the theoretical “complete medical chest” into smaller kits based on boating needs. The simplest of these is the day or deck kit, where medical help is available in less than 30 minutes.

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Woman to Woman

Develop your docking muscles

By Katherine Redmond

In my next few articles, I’ll share information as though you have just completed your boating safety class and are gathering on-land, theoretical knowledge of the docking process.

Most boaters would agree that docking a boat is the most difficult maneuver in the sport. It’s amazing to watch adventurers who have crossed oceans become uncomfortable when docking their vessels. If we are to become proficient at docking, we should learn all that we can about the task through on-land lessons and on-the-water skill drills.

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Kill Switch

Must-have devices that could save your life

By Dave Osmolski

I have just returned home after spending a few weeks at my “homemade tropical paradise” in Flamingo Bay, Florida, where I can boat, fish, swim and enjoy some of the best shelling in the U.S. I keep my boat in my backyard, so I can be off and running in a jiffy.

During this trip, I learned of a boater who died in an avoidable boating accident, the second boating accident fatality in the area in a few years. Both fatalities could have been avoided had the proper safety procedures been followed.

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Emergency room afloat

The medical kit and  the conscientious boater, Part I

By Gino C. Bottino, M.D.

The realization

When I started this column, I wanted to write about putting together a complete medical kit. The more I thought about the idea, the more I realized how complicated the task would be.

First, you have to keep the size manageable while making it reasonably complete. This becomes difficult when you consider that everyone boats in different venues, at different times of the year and in different climates with different groups of people, all of whom have individual needs.

After much consideration, I broke the topic into two segments: on-board medical kits for groups with an organizer and staff, and kits for those traveling alone.

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