Originally Posted by djodenda
So my question is:
Do people ever get good at backing up full keel boats? Can a truly skilled sailor do it? Or is it just something that they live with?
When I owned 'Indian' I was somewhat able to back her. My trick was to get her moving pretty quickly in reverse then put her in neutral. It mostly worked. The trick was to start at an angle to where you wanted to go so that the initial prop walk straightened you out. You can imagine she mostly wanted to back dead straight if the prop wasn't spinning so precision backing was never a sure thing.
The other oddity on 'Indian' was the gear shift which was a 2" x 1/4" by 2 foot long piece of bronze with wooden handles. It dropped into a hinged collar in the cockpit sole. There was a piece of iron water pipe that connected the bottom of the collar to the shift lever on the side of the Universal Bluejacket Twin (half of an Atomic 4). The problem was that when you put pushed the lever forward, that put the engine in reverse and so you always had this moment when you had to stop and check that you had pushed the lever the right way. It meant a bunch of concentrating when backing and filling.....