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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Southminster, essex
    Posts
    9,441

    Default Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    I have been into the Dutch canals lots of times ( first went in 1970).
    But next year I will be leading a club cruise in company & I will be single handed. So after i finish this year's holiday in Ostend I will nip up to Middleburgh to practice going through the Flushing lock single handed. This is different to all the other locks I have done single handed because the bollards are inset so I have to get a line into the void & onto the bollard. So that will be a trial to start with. Spring lines do not work as invariably being high up my bow goes in & the stern comes so far off that I cannot get a rope on - I know this because I have tried it with a crew many times. (I have done over 350 lock passages, Over 200 SH but not in Dutch locks) So here I intend to get a long stern line on & then gently motor forward so I can then go & hook a shorter bow line which I can tend whilst the boat rises/ falls.

    However, my real reason is to go to Middleburgh to see how I get on parking between 2 poles & then getting the bow tied on. In Middleburgh my stern should still sit between the poles when my bow touches. ( 31 ft boat) But getting off the bow is difficult (The pontoon is very low), so somehow I have to lasso the cleats from on deck.
    I need to keep the engine in tickover to prevent the boat drifting back.

    In places like Willemstad the poles are further away from the pontoon so there is nothing to hold the stern if I do not get the lines right first time. I have to lasso them first time both sides whilst keeping the boat straight!!!. That means the bow will drift sideways without someone to adjust the line, whilst I run forward to tie the bow that will inevitably be drifting sideways, if there is no boat each side of the berth.
    It is not really fair to rely on adjacent boats to guide me in anyway

    Sooo! has anyone any tips for berthing single handed in Dutch boxes when there is no one around to help please
    Last edited by Daydream believer; 06-08-19 at 07:48.
    It is all down to the fact that my wife does not understand me !!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Posts
    1,457

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    I believe some locals deploy thick dia & adjustable lines along the hull ( max beam ) when using box`s to fend off the poles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    1,540

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by Daydream believer View Post
    In places like Willemstad the poles are further away from the pontoon so there is nothing to hold the stern if I do not get the lines right first time. I have to lasso them first time both sides whilst keeping the boat straight!!!. That means the bow will drift sideways without someone to adjust the line, whilst I run forward to tie the bow that will inevitably be drifting sideways, if there is no boat each side of the berth.
    It is not really fair to rely on adjacent boats to guide me in anyway
    Adjacent boats (and their crew) are very convenient in such circumstances, so if you can choose, try to pick a box where you will be likely to get some support. Be well fendered, though.
    Concentrate on lassoing the upwind (or upstream) pole, you can sort the other one once you have the bow line secured.
    I have never sailed to Holland, so am unsure how confident one can be of always finding a cleat on the pontoon or quayside. Lassoing a ring or hoop could prove difficult. Getting a bow ladder might be a good idea.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    22,881

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    Firstly, always display a single-handed pennant, numeral No 1. This will make life a lot easier in moorings and locks.

    Obviously, it helps to have all lines and fenders ready, but often it is better to keep fenders on deck as they may catch on the posts. Any boat already there will certainly have its own fenders, and relying on them is perfectly normal. Although lassoing a post is one way, we much prefer a single line with a generous bowline at the end. As well as being easier to control, you get double the length in occasional long boxes.

    I agree with trying to choose a box with an adjacent boat. It is quite acceptable to lie against the other boat and take your bow line ashore via its deck.

    Dutch boxes are almost always in quiet harbours, unlike Baltic ones which can sometimes be challenging. The main thing is to take it quietly and try to remember that you are trying to enjoy yourself. In difficult situations it often pays to park half-in and half-out while sorting things out. An alternative, when the boxes are long enough, is to park outside the boxes across the ends. I have seen this done by singlehanders while they dropped the sails and got ready to manhandle the boat into the box. Basically, there are no rules. Any method which is safe and successful is OK.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    I have adopted the following after many visits.
    Secure long mooring lines on both bow and both quarter cleats, fender up both sides well in advance of entering a lock, harbour and box. Make sure the box is wide enough for your boat and fenders on both sides.
    Give a thought to the wind on your approach and how it may assist or resist your final slow speed turning ability. Note what happens to those ahead of you. In Middelburg the wind often funnels down along the canal and across the boxes.
    Bow lines initialy with a bight over the guard rail will help you or a shore party to grab and secure. Lead both stern lines forward close to hand on the deck alongside the helming position again checking the lead is clear over the guard rail ready to deploy without faff. Nine times out of ten the posts will be positioned further out from the staging than the length of your boat, but if not, have a long mooring line secured to a midships cleat on the windward side and lay on deck ready to deploy outside all rigging etc.
    Gently continue into the box favouring the windward side and pass the aft or midships windward line over the post as you glide in, take half a turn around a convenient winch or cleat and keep in hand with sufficient tension to check the boat's progress as you move further in. This not only gives you control moving forward but also helps keep you off a leeward boat or posts.
    Hold off a couple of inches from the staging balancing rope against engine (Obviously in a blow you will need to keep sufficient way initially to pick up the post then confident control of sufficient power and easing of rope to finish the maneuver.)
    By this time a shore party will usually have popped up to take your bow lines but if not secure the aft line, leave the engine engaged and secure the bow.
    You can now disengage the engine, drop back and to leeward to get a line on the other post and readjust to secure in mid box as close to the staging as is safe for the boat. Make sure you to can get on and off and other berth holders pass without too much agro. A step fender of appropriate steps for your topside height is very handy particularly if you have a bowsprit.
    A fore or aft spring from midships may be required to maintain control of the boat both fore and aft and mid box if there is a strong cross wind, or the posts are positioned for boats shorter or longer than yours.
    The trick is to be and look relaxed at all times and take everything that unfolds in your stride.
    Final thought, I always secure back onto the boat so that I have control for adjustments and departure.
    Last edited by WFA; 06-08-19 at 18:03.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Southminster, essex
    Posts
    9,441

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    That is a great link which I intend to study very carefully
    Thank you
    It is all down to the fact that my wife does not understand me !!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Essex
    Posts
    22,881

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    I disagree with the advice to moor the stern with a loop back to the boat, which you will find is not usual practice. In the first place, it is easy to run out of line, and the length of boxes can be deceptive. Leaving is normally easier with a single line. Usually, one line can be regarded as 'lazy'. In most boxes this can be flipped up and off at an early stage. The weather, or working, line can then be kept under tension, with no risk of a loose loop fouling the prop, and can be used to initiate the boat moving, for which I often stand on the side deck so that the force is fore-and-aft, the helm can be left central at this stage.

    Occasionally, a neighbour's loop or bight will be above yours, but taking things slowly and slipping your loop up through the other loop and over the post will free it. If you have the nightmare neighbour who moors with a slip-knot, you may have to fiddle and loosen his loop, or better still, take a knife to it. As ever, be prepared to exit in stages rather than trying to do it all in one go.
    Far away is near at hand in images of elsewhere

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Devon
    Posts
    2,220

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    I'm always worried about falling off when single handed as I head to the bow (quickly if there is any breeze) but the bow is a bit slim and there are no guard wires.
    quicKutter rope cutter, shaft and rudder bearings
    www.h4marine.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bradwell and Leigh-on-Sea
    Posts
    14,491

    Default Re: Single handed parking in Dutch boxes

    If there is nobody around then it will go perfectly. If there are people around they will come and help and avoid a disaster.

    I would go in backwards and step off the sugar scoop. A fender or two hanging off the stern. Sort the other end with a boat hook.

    If the HM has gone home then stay on the outside pontoons.

    Good luck.
    Not all who wander are lost

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