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  #11  
Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

My boat is completely uncontrollable in reverse. I've tried with another sailor and experimented in calm, flat water. Even at speed, the boat oscillates slowly between turning to port or to starboard. regardless of what we did with the rudder.

I have to walk my boat out and pray that the wind does not blow her in the wrong direction before I can get her to move forward and gain control.

Last edited by flo617; 07-15-2013 at 03:09 PM.
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  #12  
Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

As KILLARNEY said, give some throttle and then put it in neutral. Without going into the design aspect of WHY (BobP is much better at this than I will ever be) some boats just don't handle well in reverse. The prop walk is just overpowering. Key is to get the boat moving in reverse, take it out of gear, thus removing the propwalk and now you have water flowing over the rudder giving you steerage. Assuming you have room, position yourself so you can get up a head of steam and allow for the prop walk, then put it in neutral and hope you have enough momentum to steer yourself into the slip.

And yes the Bristol 32 is a gorgeous boat albeit smallish.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

BRISTOL 32 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

Is your B 32' Atomic 4 or diesel powered?

My Tartan 27' has a similar shaped hull and behaves in reverse as described here; unpredictably. So yes, similarly shaped hulls behave similarly.

I have found that if we start out by pushing the boat out of a slip and establishing a direction that when reverse is engaged the boat will likely continue in the direction it is already moving. The boat does not have to be moving fast before reverse is engaged, it just has to be moving. If you have to allow the propeller and rudder to establish the direction of movement then all bets are off which way it will pull, because it wont back up in a straight line.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

I have the same issue with my Bristol 35.5. I will have to practice in reverse gear, rev up, neutral, adjust rudder but usually the stress gets me and I end up going back into foward to correct. I badly need a parking lesson as I will soon be moving my boat to a marina instead a 2 boat private slip.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

I'm glad it's not just me... I thought there was something wrong with my boat.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Ty sailordave and Killarne. This makes sense. I know nothing. No boat bug bitten, I eill take it to heart.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Same on the Pearson 35 ... similar longer skeg keel, barn door rudder with the prop high and protected. Reverse is a mere suggestion. Although, I find that at slower speeds the boat is increasing uncontrolable/predictable in reverse. Unfortunately, slow is what is needed as you near docks. If you feel that the engine is underpowered, then I think that would add to the controlability.

I've gone to out into the open water and practiced before. After four to five years on this boat, I don't feel my "reverse" skills have improved much.
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Anyone for dropping a trolling motor on the front of the boat to use as a bow thruster? Seems like for a few hundred bucks and some creativity, you should be able to solve the problem. They seem to go cheap enough on Ebay, that it would be worth a try.
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Old 07-15-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daveinet View Post
Anyone for dropping a trolling motor on the front of the boat to use as a bow thruster? Seems like for a few hundred bucks and some creativity, you should be able to solve the problem. They seem to go cheap enough on Ebay, that it would be worth a try.
I've thought of doing just that, only off the transom. My boat, a Cal 2-27, has a longish (not deepish) fin keel and a spade rudder. And our marina has pretty narrow channels. To complicate things even further, the wind usually blows about 90˚ to our slip, from the direction we want to eventually go when leaving. When not exactly 90˚ to the slip, it blows the boat slightly back toward the dock. So, as I back out I want the stern to swing to Port, but the wind catches the bow and forces it to Port. If the wind is light, the rudder usually turns the boat fast enough to win the struggle. But once the wind pipes up a bit the effect of the rudder gets cancelled by the wind pushing the bow and I can't turn fast enough. To avoid backing into the boats on the next dock I have to stop backing and let the boat slip sideways up the channel until I get to the dock at the end and then man-handle the boat until she's pointing in the right direction. In such a situation, a trolling motor on the transom would come in very handy.
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Re: Backing up (or not)

I have a long keel contiguous with the rudder and with a cut-away forefoot; therfore, I'm among those with the least backing performance. The best stategy for me is not one answer. If it's backing out of the slip, then the answer is warping on pilings and spring lines. If it's backing into the slip, the answer is positioning close to the slip and then turning clockwise with the helm hard to starboard and "goosing" the throttle in forward and reverse. If it's backing with the bow into current then it's not reverse at all, but lightly in forward and neutral while ferrying port or starboard. If it's wind then the answer is to place the bow in a position that, while you are backing, the wind is turning the bow to your favor. Final answer,- the plan depends on the condition!
smackdaddy and Seaduction like this.
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