We applaud all our Krogen women at the wheel and Ginger Marshall is, of course, among them. This installment is a call-out to ladies everywhere to learn their systems and try docking their yacht!

I’m a girl and I dock our Kadey-Krogen 52’. There, I’ve said it.

This simple act of seamanship evokes so many emotions. For the men on the dock, it ranges from disbelief to disgust. OK, to be fair, many men give me thumbs -up and say, “Nice job.” From the women, I typically get cheers, applause or, “you rock”! Unfortunately though, far too often the next thing out of their mouths is, “I could never do that.” To that, I always say, “Yes you can, and yes, you should.”

ginger-and-husband-star-1My transition from crew to captain was a humble one. My husband, Gary, and I, previously owned a sailboat that I could undock and sail, but I just couldn’t master docking. The straw that broke the camel’s back happened roughly seven years ago when I was bringing her in. We were literally half-way into the slip when I unceremoniously handed the wheel over to Gary and said, “I can’t do it.” Of course he stepped in and brought her into the slip beautifully.

Fast-forward to buying our first Krogen–a 44’, Gary said to me, “You will dock this boat as well as, or better, than me.” Taking Gary’s words to heart, I learned to dock her and never gave back the wheel. We now have a Krogen 52’. Our baby, LivLife, is nearly 60 feet in length. If you told me 10 years ago that I would be docking a boat this large, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, you know what, the larger the boat, the easier she is to control. She is heavier, sitting still in the water until you give her direction–plus, she has more assistive devices like thrusters and wing stations.

So, why should you learn to dock your boat? Safety. On the topic, you’ll hear from boaters, “What if your husband falls overboard or has a heart attack?” Now, I’m not that dramatic. Things as simple as a bad back, case of the flu or a jolting wake, causing a sprain or broken bone, could take your partner out of the picture as a fully functioning skipper. Doesn’t it make sense to learn all you can about driving, starting, stopping and docking your boat now, before you may be forced to do so under more stressful circumstances?

And to the notion that you could never do this, I say, “It may not be the prettiest docking, but you can do it!” Repeat after me:

– Fenders are my friends
– Neutral is my friend
– VHF radio is my friend

livlife-5As with anything else that you’ve ever done, practice makes perfect. Find a time when the conditions are right for learning this new skill; light or no wind and a long linear dock or an empty, wide-berth slip. Put out LOTS of fenders to minimize the chance of doing any damage. Make certain that your lines are ready. Keep the boat at a slow speed, tapping in and out of neutral; slow enough to be safe, but enough speed so that water still flows past the rudder, ensuring you maintain steerage. And remember that when going forward, reverse stops the boat. I was once told, “When docking, you don’t want to be going any faster than the speed at which you want to hit the dock.” All of this assumes you have a loving husband/partner who supports your efforts to learn to dock your boat; and why wouldn’t he? He loves you and he loves his boat (order to be determined!).

If you find yourself having to dock in an emergent situation, call ahead to the dock at which you will be landing. Use your VHF radio or cell phone to let them know you would like assistance. It can also be useful to communicate to marina staff in non-emergent situations; especially when pulling into a dock for which you are unfamiliar. Ask about peculiarities of the marina: prevailing winds, currents and depths.

I have been a part of the Krogen family since 2010. In that time, I have met a number of Krogen owners. I must say that Krogen women are a breed apart. In my opinion, we are active participants in the boating journey and expect our boats to perform for us. We have a long list of “must haves” when it comes to our boats. We want a boat that is livable, that we can entertain on, and has ample storage and a modern galley.

But, we also want a boat that is stable in rough seas, offers easy access to engines and operational systems, and comes from a company that stands behind its boats and supports its owners.

I’m suggesting you add accomplished skipper to your list of ‘must haves’. A sense of pride and accomplishment is felt after working with your boat to bring her and her crew safely to the docks.

This article is not intended to be a tutorial on how to dock your boat, but rather an inspirational message to encourage you to start today!

“Go girl, you rock!”