French boatbuilder's Dock & Go berthing system solves one of boating's thorniest problems

How about this for a revolutionary boating invention? See Bénéteau’s video below of their new ‘Dock and Go’ berthing system, which uses a rotating saildrive and bowthruster operated by joystick to manoeuvre precisely in and out of a tight spot.

As you’ll see, it’s an animation of still photos and plays on the theme of the quarrelling couple: man barking the orders from the helm, woman running around with the warps and getting cross when it all goes wrong.

Ah, how true it is. Most of us have, at some time or another, enjoyed or provided a harbour cabaret act. Rarely does the term “darling” take on such poisionously icy overtones as during a live debate about who is to blame for some imminent marina disaster.

My colleague Toby Hodges recently tried out the Dock and Go on a Bénéteau Sense and will be writing about it in our November issue. He says it is ingenious and child’s play to use.

“It really surprised me with how well and easily it works,” Toby comments. “I don’t think the video does it justice. The alpha sailing male will certainly lose his technical driving rights and will rightly be consigned to fender-and-warps duty…”

I doubt it, Toby – nice idea, though.

It looks like a great innovation. And it would be fantastic to see the idea taken one step further and using hybrid power. I would love to see boats – especially motorboats – using quiet and clean power for precise manoeuvring in and out of harbours, marinas and anchorages, saving their fume-creating, noisy and polluting diesel engines for open water.