Re: Docking with an outboard
I have a 10hp outboard on my Catalina 27. I leave the motor ALWAYS looked straight and use the sailboat rudder/tiller for everything. Actually, the most awkward thing is backing out of the slip. The rudder usually wants to pull over one way or the other - quite hard - and I have to be on the tiller pretty firmly to keep it backing straight.
Coming INTO the dock, I generally leave the outboard at an idle and in forward gear. About 50 yards out, I will pop it into neutral and "coast" in the last little bit. However, I can easily pop it back into forward gear if I need a little more "uumph", or reverse if I need some "brakes". If there is a good crosswind blowing, I'll have to come in a little "hot" and grab a line quickly.
I feel strongly it's better to leave the OB straight all the time. Use the tiller/rudder on the sailboat for maneuvering. If you're trying to do both (tiller and OB), you're going to feel like a one legged guy in a butt kicking contest.
Now . . . that sounds wonderful and easy . . . we've had our share of messy dockings though too!!! grin.
S/V "New Girl" on the dock