More on Docking

This is the continued series on how to leave the dock in a sailboat

(3) Wind pushing into the dock and current from behind.

Leaving the dock

Leaving the dock

You can use exactly the same method as described in (2) above.

(4) Wind pushing you onto the dock and current coming from forward.

leaving the dock

leaving the dock

If the wind is light you can usually get away with just pushing the front of the boat out. But significant wind may prevent this from happening.


  • Once you are confident of your plan, appoint a crew member to use a fender at the rear of the boat to prevent the boat from touching the dock.
  • Release and stow the dock lines but leave one spring line from the dock near the center of the boat attached to the rear of the boat.
  • The spring line should be arranged so that it is attached to the rear cleat, runs freely around the dock cleat and returns back to the appointed crew member. In this manner the crew member can release the line and retrieve it by letting it slip around the dock cleat. ENSURE that there are no knots in the line to get caught on the dock cleat as it runs through.
  • Keep the wheel centered and engage reverse gear.
  • This will have the effect of pulling the front of the boat away from the dock.


  • Once the boat has turned out from the dock, engage forward gear and have your crew member release and retrieve the spring line. Remember the rear of the boat will swing back towards the dock if you turn the wheel. Ensure the boat has swung out enough so that you can motor straight out.


  • Continue maneuvering out to be completely clear before turning.

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My vision for NauticEd is to provide the highest quality sailing and boating education available - and deliver competence wherever sailors live and go.
Grant Headifen
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Last updated on July 8th, 2022