Docking STRESS!!!

I used to hate docking. If you’ve followed us from the beginning, you know that we had a bit of an experience in San Juan, PR back in November 2019.

See, we hadn’t had much experience with currents in our sailing. Certainly not with docking. We had just picked up Wind Therapy in the BVI and were slowly taking her home to Florida. We sailed from BVI to Puerto del Ray Marina in Fajardo, PR and went home to enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving with family. And now it was time to get serious. We were going to sail all the way back to the US, our longest and most ambitious sail ever. Granted, we were island hopping the whole way, but we still had a necessary 3-night sail between PR and Turks and Caicos.

My brother-in-law, Marc, and our friend, Mike, flew to PR to join us on the trip. Jeff and I sailed WT from Fajardo to Old San Juan Marina where we would meet them. Old San Juan Marina is just that, old. The docks are high and fixed with sharp corners and some errant nails sticking out from the planks and pilings. Our slip assignment should have been easy, a double slip with no-one occupying the other side. We had it all to ourselves. All we had to do was sail down the fairway just past the slip, turn the boat 90 degrees, and slide on it. But, (there’s always a “but”) we didn’t account for the current. Yep, that pesky little current that took our bow WAY over to port before we knew what happened.

Being the newbies that we were, we didn’t have that whole sailing ling thing down. I shouted, “You’re gonna hit the dock!” Jeff, giving in to his knee-jerk reaction, threw the throttles into high speed reverse, and we ended up with a 12″ almost-hole in the hull. Everyone in PR was great about it, and we had it fixed in no time, only costing us $600 and one more day at the dock.

We’ve always heard “never approach anything faster than you’re willing to hit it.” It’s a great motto to sail by. So is, “It’s just fiberglass.”

Anyway, here we find ourselves in Antigua at Nelson’s Dockyard in March 2023. We have to med-moor for only the 2nd time. Our friends from Seascape were onboard for moral support (and any other support necessary). We motored into position and began dropping our anchor three boat lengths from the sea wall. Then the current pulled us an entire slip away from our assigned slip. The dock hands were great. No yelling, just speaking instructions a bit loudly, me running back and forth tossing lines, tightening lines, loosening lines, over and over until we got it just right.

In the end, we didn’t hit the dock or anything else, for that matter. It was a successful day. But I still hate docking.