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post #41 of 44 Old 07-20-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Originally Posted by SunnnyD View Post
Great thread; just to chime in, I have a 22' with a little 6hp outboard hung on the transom off-center with the transom-hung rudder. When I am backing out of my slip, I have found that if I keep the tiller straight and steer with the motor (with a little help turning the boat as we hand walk it out of the slip to the end of the finger pier, I get enough steerage to get her turned in the right direction. My motor won't do much to slow the boat when I am docking, so I rarely try to use it in that capacity, but I have found that unless I want to really bring her around fast, steering with both the tiller and the motor is not needed.

My only question is this: I have a swing keel that I can crank up, and I am wondering if it makes the boat easier or harder to steer in reverse if it is up vs. down. I suppose I can try it out but it ain't broke at the moment, so why try to fix it?

Any thoughts?
I have an idea for you. This is what I did to my previous boat. Made things much simpler. Since I can cleat my tiller, that also holds the engine straight as well. Makes life much more predictable.

OK for my next thought, everyone is going to hate me, but from my experience in driving jetskis, I think the best solution is a jet pump with a reverse bucket. The reverse bucket gives you a lot of control for docking, just keep the throttle up, and control your motion with the reverse bucket. Depending on which way the bucket goes, you can pull the bow or the stern in toward the dock. Bucket control needs to be independent of throttle control.
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Last edited by Daveinet; 07-20-2013 at 12:43 AM.
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post #42 of 44 Old 07-20-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Someone out their must have a full/cutaway keel boat for a lot of years and has figured out the trick of at least predicting it's behavior.
Where are you?
Unless I get attacked by a Sharktopus, backing out of my slip at the beginning of the trip is usually the most stressful part of the voyage. My boat is heavy 30,000lbs, has a 6' full keel, an underpowered engine (36HP), and a prop in an apeture.

I no longer find her unpredictable in reverse at all. She is in fact, very predictable. The secret, I have found, is in accepting what she can and can not do, and estimating the forces that will be at work before untying.

I'll try and explain. My pivot point is located just forward of my wheel, where the mizzen mast is. That means that all windage forward of that will try and blow the bow off. In fact, there is so much forward windage, that my boat apparently heaves to with a FULL mizzen only, with the 150sqft sail and the forward part of the boat's windage being about equal. So, 40ft of boat, including my bowsprit (which is at the end of the lever) act like a unidirectional-wind-powered bow-thruster. I also know that my LH prop causes the boat to strongly prop walk to starboard. I also know that my rudder will not overcome much opposing wind, and will barely keep up with prop walk if there is no wind.

Knowing these things, and knowing that I can't overcome them, I have to work with them. Before I untie I look at my masthead wind indicator and feel the strength of the wind. I know the wind blowing the bow one way or the other will be the biggest actor. Once I know that, check for current, and account for prop walk. I kind of imagine all these vectors in my head and decide how I can affect them and make a plan.

Often the wind blows from my starboard side. This will blow the bow to port. The prop walk will compound the problem. If I "try" to overcome this in reverse with the rudder, I'll be making an insurance claim. I HAVE to accept the limitations of my craft and not pretend that if I just twist harder on the wheel she'll go.

So, I do something else, like shorten up the starboard bow line, release all others, and release it last so I start backing up crooked, and straighten out as I go. Or I use a burst of forward with starboard rudder to straighten out, then resume backing.

Basically, I know the forces that will act in opposition or unison to affect my steering, and I know and accept that the rudder is a small, not a large player in the overall plan. I imagine the vectors, make a plan, untie my lines and see if I was right.

I hope my long-winded ramble made some sense and helped somewhat....

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post #43 of 44 Old 07-20-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

I always liked to warp into the slip, but I don't know if that could work as a blanket catch all for other types of boats. I liked to pull up in the fairway parallel to the dock, cut power if it wasn't already cut, then manually work her in backwards using lines and my hands (A-30).
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post #44 of 44 Old 07-20-2013
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Re: Backing up (or not)

Regarding backing, a fin keel boat turns like a ballerina pirouetting on her toes; a full keel boat turns like a ballerina pirouetting on a flat foot. (I'm just a simple person.)
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