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Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

I must confess that I absolutely love the look of the old Bristol and Pearson boats; makes my heart go pitter patter. But I didn't buy one for two big reasons: they don't move very well in light air and are tender; and, I was frankly very afraid of having to back one up every time I left the dock. I was on an old Pearson with some friends, and the skipper was white knuckled and sweaty as we prepared to back out of his slip. Just looking at him made me nervous. He was able to use a combination of prop walk, small rudder movements and plain luck to get us out, but he was clearly tense about the whole thing. His demeanor did a 180 once we were in forward gear. He confided in me that every time he left the dock was challenge and that there were days when the wind was blowing from the wrong direction that he just wouldn't even try. That experience left quite an impression on me, so much so that despite the fact that I well and truly love the look of the old Carl Alberg and Philip Rhodes designs, I will likely never own one. On the flip side, I was walking the bulkhead in Wickford, RI one day, and there was a guy jockying his full keel boat back and forth, waiting for space at the fuel dock. He was moving his boat a few feet this way or that like he had bow and stern thrusters. On top of that, this guy was so non-chalant about the whole thing; he looked bored. So it can be done.
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