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post #8 of Old 04-28-2009
Dick Pluta
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Florida, US northeast
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There is no substitute for practice. Go out into open water on a calm day and just play around doing slow turns. Here are a couple of tips I have discovered over the years.

First, a fin keel boat rotates on the keel. When you make a slow turn to starboard, for example, the bow turns to starboard, the stern turns to port and the keel stays pretty much where it is. That means you can start your turn into the slip much later than with a full keel boat that makes a big, swoopy turn. I could turn my old Pearson 30 on a dime. My "new" Islander Freeport 41 takes a lot longer to make a turn.

Second, learn how your boat "prop walks". Depending on whether you have a LH or RH prop, the prop will push the stern one way in forward and the other in reverse. I can almost turn my Islander in place using the prop walk effect. Between that and your bow thruster you can probably carve your initials in the water.

Finally, and most important, never dock faster than you are willing to hit something.

Best regards,

Dick Pluta
Moore Haven FL (for the moment)
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