on docking a tall ship
and the dangerous joy of leaping
At just over eighty feet long, twenty two in the beam, the Amara Zee was a replica of a Thames River sailing barge. She weighed over eighty tonnes. Given that I struggle attempting to park a full sized truck, getting docked was frequently an ordeal. Luckily, I wasn’t in charge of the wheel or helm. I was there to leap.
Tides, winds, currents and water traffic all were huge considerations when we arrived at any marina. Daytime had it’s problems. Recreational boaters typically don’t fill harbours in the dark. One of the benefits though? During the day, there would usually be someone present to catch our dock lines as we pulled along side a wharf.
In the hands of someone in the know, the lines could be secured on a cleat on land. Once caught there, we could use the cleat on the ship as a kind of brake - letting the rope slowly move around it while we increased the friction, slowly stopping the boat.
Though days were fine, I liked night best of all. First? There’d be no crowd. Sure, it was f…
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