Join Date: Dec 2008
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My Contessa has a wind vane hung off the transom, a BBQ on the pushpit, and a transom/keel hung rudder; All of which make it advisable to dock bow-to.
However, there's another reason to go bow in; Not all boats back up predictably. I've only had my boat a very short while but I have yet to figure out her ways. She will turn, eventually, in the direction I want as I reverse but that happens in her time, not mine. Therefore, backing into a tight spot would be very difficult.
Other boats on which I sail have razor sharp handling in reverse and we back into the slip each night on race night.
The point being, outside of preference there is the physical ability of the boat design to manoeuvre in reverse.