This type of docking is space efficient, is used nearly everywhere around the mediterranean and may eventually become common in Australia as the cost of marina berthing increases. Simply it means backing up to a wharf, securing stern lines and then securing the bow with either lazy lines or using the anchor to hold the bow. This method maximises marina space with boats very close alongside each other so wharf space is only taken up by beam width.
When lining up to go astern, don’t be afraid of a narrow spot because it usually makes the job easier. Go slow if the wind is not blowing across the beam and use the boats alongside to keep your boat straight, use lots of fenders to prevent any damage.
Keep a cool head and get some practice by steering astern toward a buoy or other object whilst in open water. Stand backwards facing the stern and with a little bit of confidence, you will get the hang of it.
Dock staff are usually standing by to catch your lines and help secure the stern so the crew need to have lines ready to throw when you are close to the dock. Don’t tie the stern short just yet. Once the stern is secure, power the boat ahead so that it doesn’t drift, the dock staff will hand you a line that leads forward. The crew should then walk forward lifting the line up from ahead of the boat so that when the line is tied off on the bow, it pulls the boat forward against the stern lines. Then go astern and tighten up the stern lines so that there is tension on both the bow and the stern which should keep you in place. Adjust the lines as necessary until you are secure.
Before you back into the wharf, make sure there are lazy lines attached to the dock. If no lazy lines are available, you may have to use your anchor to hold the bow out in which case someone needs to drop the anchor and control anchor tension. Don’t be afraid to lay enough chain so that the anchor holds using the five to one rule. be careful to drop in a straight line to minimise crossing anchors.
Watch the video to see just how it’s done.