Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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Re: Docking with an outboard
When you're at zero knots your rudder is useless except for sculling. So an outboard with a shift, that can be turned, can turn you when rudder can't. That's when you need both--for us it's after backing out of the slip and turning both motor and tiller to head out between piers. Exactly like backing out of your driveway. As soon as we gain speed up to one or two knots, motor back midships and rudder does all steering.
Also very useful to have that rotating thrust, in forward or reverse, if you ever touch bottom and have to get off in a particular direction.
Generally, I use the "steenkin' motor!" as little as possible, expecially with students, but when we do use it, we take advantage of its rotational thrust. Plus it makes the fixed-prop inboard boys wish they could do that and actually steer in reverse (just as we wish our little prop didn't jump clear of the water in a chop).