We arrived in Cannes yesterday after a no wind trip under engines from St Tropez.
I had called ahead to reserve a marina place at the Port de Cannes and they were ready for us when we arrived. It’s a huge marina with Superyachts docked all over the place. There are also some sections for regular boats, which is where they put us.
When we arrived, we had to figure out how to dock and tie up securely in the marina, which was a bit different to our berth in La Grande Motte, and nothing at all like what we are used to back home in Australia.
Getting into the dock is pretty easy, just have to be sure to have plenty of fenders out to protect against contact with your neighbors. If there’s any wind from the side (there usually is) you will be blown against one of the boats beside you once you are fully back to the dock, which seems to be a normal part of the process, and nobody had any issues when it happened to us. I also noticed the exact same process being followed by other boats arriving after us.
In Australia, and other marinas we have used, there is a dock finger on one side or the other (and sometimes both sides) which is used to keep your boat in line with the berth by controlling side to side movement. That is not the case here, instead they use an underwater mooring line in front of the boat to control the bow, and you attach your aft mooring lines to set the distance from the stern to the dock. Then you set your aft spring lines to control the side to side position of the stern.
How you deal with the bow line depends on the wind direction. If the wind is blowing from astern, then you can attach your stern mooring lines and stop the engines while you attach the bow line. If the wind is from the side or ahead, you will need the engines to keep your boat away from the dock and off your neighbors while you attach the bow line.
In this photo, I have pulled the bow line out of the water and over the mooring line bow roller on the front crossbeam. I untied the pickup line and attached it to the roller frame because it wasn’t long enough to pull onto the foredeck. I used a second line attached to the mooring line with a rolling hitch so I could pull the mooring line in with the electric windlass capstan.
The lower line in the photo is attached to the mooring line with a rolling hitch on one end, and then to the windlass capstan on the other, which makes it easy to put tension on the mooring line. If the wind is blowing from ahead, you need quite a bit of force to pull the boat away from the dock. Of course you can use your engines to move the boat forward and set the mooring line, but using the windlass like this allows you to adjust your docklines after the wind shifts without having to restart the engines, and you can also do it single handed to precisely position your boat in the mooring space.
The next step is to center the bows so the boat isn’t twisted to one side or the other. A twist takes the stern out of square to the dock and will cause one of the transoms to come too close or maybe bump into the dock. It also pulls the bows over towards one of the neighbors which isn’t good.
I use a bridle line from the mooring ring to the starboard bow cleat to square the bow and stern to the dock. Once the boat is square to the dock, the stern spring lines are attached. These keep the stern from moving from one side to the other.
It sounds more complicated than it really is, but following this method allows you to position a catamaran in a stern-to dock without any damage while keeping the sides away from the neighboring boats. Everything remains adjustable, so if you need to fine tune position, or compensate for changes in wind, it’s very easy to do so.