Gil Weiss, who took a private docking class in July 2010, sent the following comments:
Back in late July, I spent a Tuesday learning all about docking one of your Island Packet 32’ sailboats. I enjoyed the experience as Capt. Gary provided an intense day of training and practice. I left your school feeling confident in what I learned.
However, the proof came during my two Chesapeake Bay charters that followed, one in mid August and one two weeks ago. Sailing a Pearson 36 from Rock Hall to St. Michaels, Annapolis and Baltimore gave me many opportunities to use my new skills. The confidence I gained from the training I received allowed me to effectively deal with the various docking and departure situations I encountered. I actually enjoyed them. Had I not had the training I would have been nervous in these situations. My crew and I had an easy time docking at the Annapolis Yacht Club, Baltimore Inner Harbor Marina, etc. I also fulfilled a long time dream of mine to motor into and around the Baltimore Inner Harbor. All five of us on the boat really enjoyed going up near the Cheesecake Factory and doing a 360 degree turn between the wharf and the USS Constitution. It was very cool . . . .
The key was being confident and knowing how to move slowly and deal with an inboard single screw motor. I will say that the Pearson 36 backed up differently than the Island Packet 32, but because I was not intimidated by the size of the boat or handling it, I could effectively control it in the various situations I encountered. (With full right rudder a hard kick in reverse did not move the stern to the left – it actually moved it to the right.) I practiced a bit and learned to back up and steer as required. Again, the key was the fact I had confidence. Later I was told this difference in handling was due to the difference in keel configuration.
training was a wonderful thing and I want to thank everyone again for providing
me with the special one day course.