Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: New Orleans Louisiana
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever
Full keels are notorious for large turning radiuses. There isn't much that can be done to correct this, except for time spent driving.
However there are a few things to keep in mind.
1) full keels are prone to stalling the rudder. This is particularly true at low speeds. In open water, say near a deep water mark, practice turning at slow speeds. As soon as the rudder stalls though the turning radios will suffer, so move the rudder back to midship and see how far over you can go before she stalls.
2) low speed under power typically is going to force you to deal with prop walk. Until there is enough water flowing under the hull for the keel to bite, the prop actually pushes the boat to the side, almost as much as it pushes it forward or back. Learning to use this to your advantage is important, but very tricky. Assuming you have a fixed prop this is particularly problematic in reverse.
Take it slow, and practice in open water. Back when I first started driving, my dad took me out and had me do approaches to a fender. Bow to, stern to, both sides to, and then turning drills, trying to turn the boat in its own leingth using nothing but the prop walk.
It can be done, but takes practice, and a lot of time driving.