The Resourceful Sailor has given us lots of tips and tricks about conducting repairs on our boats. Recently he’s been up to something different and has sent us the following post and video describing how to warp your sailboat at the dock. Wondering what that means? Read on …
According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the third entry of “warp,” as a verb, defines it as: “to move (something, such as a ship) by hauling on a line attached to a fixed object.”
I have warped Sampaguita, my Flicka 20 sailboat, many times at various places. I sometimes find it easiest and safest to move the boat around in tight spaces with guiding lines while remaining on the dock.
Sampaguita is full-keeled. Under power, she makes wide turns and can be temperamental about going backward. The outboard motor is mounted off-center on the transom, so no propeller wash is flowing over the rudder. I can angle the prop side to side for maneuverability, but prop walk effects are atypical, and the traditional technique of ‘back and fill’ does not apply. (What are those, you say? Subjects of a different article.)
At times, the outboard engine has been off the boat for some DIY maintenance. Or I have been at shallow docks and wished the boat were pointing the opposite way. Or I was just feeling that the process of rinsing and flushing the motor afterward was too much trouble. No problem, I warped it around.
Warping the boat takes some planning. A couple of long lines on opposite sides are necessary, as are fenders. Each location will take a different approach, and nature has a way of constantly changing the variables. I like to imagine my way through the process first and test the boat before I fully cast off the lines. I factor in wind and currents and try to use them to my advantage. If they are too strong, opposing each other, or pinning the boat to the dock, I may wait for a more favorable time or get some helping hands. Improvisation on the theme is often necessary.
The following video is just one specific circumstance. In this particular case, there is no wind, but a slight current is flowing into the slip. The boat drifts back to the dock, so I pivot it around with my foot. A Flicka 20 is a ‘big’ little boat. With the weight and windage, choosing the wrong time or trying to hurry can be trouble. I have had to drop emergency hitches onto nearby cleats, feeling the boat would get away from me or pull me in. I go slow, feel how the boat will handle, work with the natural forces, and guide it.
Video by: The Resourceful Sailor
Usually, I can do this maneuver by myself. I imagine there would be a bit more of everything with a larger boat. Happy warping.
The Resourceful Sailor aims to offer tips to help keep fellow boaters on the water. Remember, keep your solutions prudent and safe, and have a blast.