Originally Posted by bratzcpa
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.
That's how I do things. Coast in while in neutral and use the rudder.
If I didn't have the engine rudder connection, I'd have the motor locked straight. I attached a pic of the model boat I have so you can see where the outboard is. Yes, you have to practically hang upside down to shift it. The throttle of the motor is on the port side, the gear lever on the starboard. Needless to say, you don't do anything fast.
I keep the handle of the motor up so I can adjust the speed easily. I put the motor in neutral and coast in using the rudder to steer. I've got some lines rigged to catch the boat and prevent it from hitting the dock if I have to come in hot.
Mine handles like complete a** with just the outboard.