Thursday, October 8, 2020

Alligator River Marina - at a facedock


Four of us here for the night

It was a perfect day to cross the Albemarle with a minimum of wave action. We had 5 to 10 kts of wind but it was all directly behind us so it was a smooth crossing with full sun and warm temperatures. There are not many days like that when crossing the Albemarle. 

In the late afternoon, after we docked, two sailboats came in for fuel. The wind had piped up to 15 kts directly out of the north which hit the two boats broadside, pinning them to the face dock. When I first bought my 38 ft Ericson and brought it home in the early spring from Rhode Island, I found myself pinned to a dock by high winds. I had no idea how to get off so I spent a very uncomfortable night pounding against a dock in my new boat. I never found the proper procedure until I was in the same situation one day in Fernandina. There is a long face dock there and winds of 20 kts were coming broadside. The dockhands knew what to do and I observed and recorded how to do it in a chapter in my guide. 

In short, you tie a line from a bow cleat to a cleat the dock that's aft of the boat cleat. The helmsman puts the boat in forward gear and turns the wheel into the dock (counterclockwise) which pushes the prop wash to port, pushing the aft of the boat to starboard. At about a 45 degree angle, the helmsman then goes into reverse, swings the wheel to starboard (away from the dock) and backs out. 

I saw a dozen 60 to 70 ft boats leave the dock that day in Fernandina. They all had bow thrusters but with their high bows, the thrusters were no match for 20 to 25 kt winds and accompanying waves. Only the procedure recommended by the dockhands there worked. Here's an excerpt from my guide on the complete details. 

From page 44 of 2020 ICW Cruising Guide

We plan on leaving early Thursday morning and perhaps getting to RE Mayo for the night, it depends on the weather. Otherwise, we'll stop at the Pungo River anchorage. 


John said...

How is the depth at the marina entrance? Last time I was there it seemed shallow on the north side of the entrance.

Bob423 said...

We saw 8 ft in the middle but on the way out it was only 5.2 ft favoring the red side.