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post #9 of Old 07-20-2009
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My situation may not be a good example, since the (or at least my) Bene31 backs very nicely with the factory prop. In fact, I dock stern-to because it is easier in my boat than bow-to. But in case it helps (I almost always have a cross-wind):

I try to already be in reverse when I make the turn into the slip. That is, rather than approaching the slip in forward, turning away from the slip and backing in, I usually make a U turn in the alley, then back towards my slip and turn in. This allows me to get some water moving over the rudder in reverse well before I get crosswise to the wind. I give it a good burst of reverse thrust to get moving backwards, then once I have rudder response, I drop it off to cut down on the prop walk.

I do this so that my approach is stern into the wind. As I said, usually this means making a U-turn with our typical prevailing wind, but if the wind is reversed it means going past the slip and then backing back.

Whether this will work for another boat depends on how well you can steer it backwards once you get it moving.

The other thing I've leaned, at least in my boat, is that when you are moving in reverse, you can stop really fast. The prop is optimized for forward thrust, and it makes a _really_ good brake when you are moving backwards. The practical effect is, you can approach a little faster in reverse than in forward and still stop safely. This gives you more water over the rudder, and therefore more control. (But please, make sure you have a good feel for how fast you can stop your own boat before backing fast towards a dock!)
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