Single handing a 32/34

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  • #13349
    AvatarGreg Berkman
    Participant

    Hi all –

    I am still fluber-dubbing around a bit while I get my act together to buy a 32/34 in the puget sound region. (Anyone? Anyone?).  In the meantime, can you all soothe my savage mind with glorious stories of how easy it is to single hand one of these babys into a slip?  I am at Elliot Bay Marina in Seattle.  It is notoriously challenging with cross wind, current and tight fairways.   I have gotten the hang of putting my 36′ sailboat to bed (mostly), but still have a little lingering trauma on the topic.  Thanks in advance!

     

    #13350
    Tom EasterbrookTom Easterbrook
    Participant

    Hi Greg,

    I don’t have any experience actually single handing any boat, because my wife is always along.

    However, for similar sized boats, I would expect that a NT 32 would be about as easy to single hand as any other single engine boat, and probably at the easier end of the spectrum due to the pilothouse door, and low freeboard.  You could increase the boat’s handling potential by finding one with, or adding later, a stern thruster. For tricky docking situations, have the marina send out a dock hand to assist with the first line.

    If your sailboat is fin keel, the Tug will handle a bit differently. Once you get a Tug, you may want to hire a Captain (like Linda Lewis for example, no affiliation) to give hands on instructions. My wife and I found “taking instruction” to be very worthwhile when we made that transition.

    Good luck with your hunt for a Tug.

    #13351
    AvatarGreg Berkman
    Participant

    Thanks Tom – I usually have my wife along too, but I want to be able to handle it on my own on occasion too.  I barely could do it with the 36 ft fin keel sailboat.  conditions had to be pretty benign.  I am hoping this is a bit easier once trained up. Good suggestion, and referal!

     

    #13352
    AvatarGreg Berkman
    Participant

    Thanks Tom – I usually have my wife along too, but I want to be able to handle it on my own on occasion too.  I barely could do it with the 36 ft fin keel sailboat.  conditions had to be pretty benign.  I am hoping this is a bit easier once trained up. Good suggestion, and referal!

     

    #13357
    Avatarrayerickson
    Participant

    I just made the transition from a 34 Ft sailboat to a Nordic 32 this year.  The bow thruster is a nice addition and I will be adding a stern thruster over the winter.

    I would say the biggest between my sailboat and the Nordic is that the sailboat rudder would work better at low speeds when the engine is in neutral.  With the Nordic, you really only have steerage when the engine is engaged.

    #13358
    AvatarGreg Berkman
    Participant

    Thanks Ray!

     

    #13385
    Mike YoungMike Young
    Participant

    Greg, I’ve started to respond to your post several times and refrained; there’s enough difference among individual mariners that my perceptions/attitudes may not be relevant or appropriate for someone else. With that caveat, though, I’ll join those who encourage installation/use of a thruster, to make life easier and more relaxing when single-handing a Nordic Tug in tight quarters.

    In my experience, a single-engine inboard powerboat is more challenging “in close” than an auxiliary sailboat, a single-engine inboard/outboard powerboat, a single-engine outboard, or a twin-screw powerboat. And, in windy conditions, that challenge increases with your “sail area”; our flybridge NT 42 captures a lot of wind, for example. When we bought it (used), it had both a bow and stern thruster already installed. Based on a lot of experience (well over a half century) single-handing all of the pleasure craft configurations I mentioned, I initially thought I wouldn’t be using the thrusters much. (That had been true in our significantly larger Ocean Alexander, for example, despite many dozens of single-handed trips through the Ballard Locks.) But 4 years into our very positive experience with our Nordic Tug, I use at least one of the thrusters pretty regularly, especially in mooring situations when there’s a significant (or fluky) cross-wind or cross-current. (We’ve moored 3 of our boats at Elliott Bay over the years; I’m a real fan of that marina and its management, but I have to agree with your description of the mooring challenges.)

    #13492
    AvatarGreg Berkman
    Participant

    Mike – Just saw your post.  Thanks for responding.  I am going to budget for some training for sure!  Greg.

    #13494
    Tom EasterbrookTom Easterbrook
    Participant

    Greg,

    As Ray stated, for us, the biggest difference was the fact that the sailboat responded to helm instantly while moving forward in neutral, while our Tug usually does not. You must engage the engine for the boat to respond (in any meaningful way). Set the rudder first, then engage the engine for a moment to “swing the stern”. Taking advantage of prop walk (ours is to starboard therefore we always try to dock to that side) also helps. I have never been to Elliot Bay Marina, but have heard it can be very challenging. Taking a lesson using your own slip could be very worthwhile giving you at minimum more confidence, and probably some new techniques and ideas. Learning to use spring lines can be helpful as well, but requires at least 2 people.

    If you are interested, send me an email and I can send you a couple of articles where single engine boat handling (docking) techniques are discussed. You may find it useful?

    firehoser75@hotmail.com

    Tom

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