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Old 08-15-2008
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Optimal backing up strategy

OK a guy I sail with (Catalina 30), who got a new dock. It is a port side dock he pulls in bow first. To leave the dock he has to backup then turn to port 90 degrees. The problem is that the wind is usually blowing from the port and seems to catch the bow much more than the stern. This blows the bow starboard so he has to do 270 degree turn which is less than seamanly looking. The chanel is about 60 feet and of course their are boats in finger slips on both sides.

This is what seems to work best:
  1. Back out in reverse wheel centered at idle until the mast clears the piling
  2. Wheel hard to starboard and rev the engine for about 6 seconds then idle. This usually kicks the stern to starboard and the bow to port.
  3. Neutral until the stern is approaching the other side.
  4. Forward, wheel hard port, rev engine.
  5. Reduce engine, straighten wheel.
This works most of the time but with sufficent wind it can be hard to turn.
Is this the optimal process?

I suspect that hard to port or starboard is less than optimal?
I wonder if the changing the transmission first or the wheel first is best?

And yes I know you old timers are going to say.
If you can't turn a 30' boat in a 60' channel stay home. I know you turn your 50 footers in a 60' channel but we are still learning.
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