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  #21  
Old 02-17-2011
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Really curious as to how you know how drunk elephants behave?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
I have a boat with similar backing characteristics: backs up like a drunk elephant.

Such a boat with a right-handed prop can only go to port when power is applied when backing down. One must learn to 'back and fill' techniques and USE the prop walk characteristics of hopping the stern to port by small 'bursts' of prop rotation in reverse and then when needing to hop the stern to stb shift briefly into fwd (while still letting the momentum carry you backward) apply a short 'burst' of fowward prop, etc. When backing and filling the ruddier is IGNORED.
Some tips for backing down into a slip using only prop-walk:
1. enter the slip at angle so that the portside stern is (much) closer to the slip entrance.
2. use the outer piling (on you portside stern) to help 'wear' the boat around ... you see-saw along the piling (using for and aft 'bursts of thrust' until almost straight and MOVING astern, once straight let the boat 'idle' back into the slip and only using backing and filling to make 'major corrections' ... and with NO rudder motion.
3. never back into a slip with the starboard side of the boat closer than the portside .... boats with right handed props wont turn this way; they only turn to port when 'backing'. If you HAVE such a slip, first do a 180 in the fairway (via backing and filling), then back into the slip while 'kissing' the outer piling on the PORTSIDE wo help 'wear' the boat in.

To learn how to turn or go astern by 'backing and filling' also called 'pivot turn' do websearch: "pivot + turn" boat OR 'backing and filling" + boat. Videos or methods also available on the US Sailing website - USSailing.org.
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  #22  
Old 02-17-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
To learn how to turn or go astern by 'backing and filling' also called 'pivot turn' do websearch: "pivot turn" + boat OR 'backing and filling" + boat. Videos of these methods also available on the US Sailing website - USSailing.org.
Loved this:

Sailing Lessons, Sailboat Docking and Anchoring

Awesome little videos showing all kinds of nasty-crosswind docking situations
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  #23  
Old 02-17-2011
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Good link Zedboy. I don't have a problem docking my Catalina 27 with a fin keel, but the Morgan 33 OI I just purchased has a full keel, which should prove interesting. I haven't put the boat in the water yet, but I'm really looking forward to spring and a lot of sailing on the Chesapeake's upper reaches.

Thanks,

Gary
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Old 02-17-2011
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I may be suggesting something that will not work, but try it and maybe it will.
When I was negotiating to buy my boat (Catalina 320), I went to a boat show to see a competitive boat. The Catalina dealer had single handed a new Catalina 42 into a tricky docking arrangement at the show docks. I inquired how he was able to do it. He said that it was easy. The trick to controlling in reverse is to get the boat going. Once you get sufficient speed in reverse, the boat responds to the rudder in going backwards. just like it does going forward. It looks neat to drive in just past your slip in the traditional manner, turn away, then throw engine in reverse and back into the slip. To do this consistently, you have to know your boat well, adjust for wind, current and other variables. But you don't have to do it this way (at least not on my boat and the C42). Nearly all boats have prop walk...it has to do with the geometry of the prop, the surrounding boat and discharge stream of water (if the discharge is up and against the boat, and forward, then you get significant walk --- you get prop walk going forward, but the discharge is more into the rudder and away from the boat, and you just don't notice it as much because you correct for it with the rudder).
The dealer said, don't worry about prop walk. Well away from the dock, put the boat in reverse, increase power gradually, and get the boat moving in reverse. Gradually increase throttle and speed so that eventually the rudder takes over and controls the boat direction inspite of the prop walk. Keep the speed above this level, and just drive the boat in reverse. The dealer said that he just stood in front of the wheel and drove the zig zag course necessary to get into his slip. This is the technique that I use now. It looks a little strange because I will back down a long fairway and simply drive down, and turn into the slip going backwards. If you have a line handler forward, you can dock without even touching the pilings. If there is a crosswind sufficiently high, or going downwind, I have had to abandon this techique on occasion and dock bow first, but otherwise, it makes docking really easy. Once you start into the slip, lock the wheel brake down to prevent damage to the rudder (it can slam into the stocks if not restrained). You lock it down just enough to hold the rudder, but so you can still override the brake to control the rudder in docking. My C320 is a wing keel and is really quite maneuverable, so I'm sure that it's easier for me, but I believe many of you who say your boat won't back, it may be because you haven't tried this technique. If you try it in open water, you'll not damage anything and you'll learn if it is possible. And if your boat really won't back using this technique, then learn the back and fill technique that power boats (with small rudders) typically use. In regards to locking the wheel/rudder with brake, don't do this until you are nearly in your slip, because you loose rudder/wheel sensitivity and can't respond to wind shifts well unless you have the sensitivity. Also, many boats (mine anyway) will lay beam to the wind if you just let it go. Before you start trying to back, put the boat in this position relative to the wind. If you try to head into the wind, like you would if you are dropping your sails, the wind, the boat's natural tendency to fall off beam to wind, and prop walk will conspire to spin you around and out of control. Putting the boat in the position where it naturally wants to go, minimizes this tendency. If the boat is going too fast when you approach your slip, simply shift momentarily into forward to check your speed, but not long enough to stop the backward movement and rudder control. Also, you can shift alternately in and out of gear to control your speed. And going backwards first, if you need to abort, shift into forward and hit the trottle. You'll be surprised how well you can get out of a messed up approach. And if you do miss the approach, don't try to correct. It's going to get screwed up. Abort, go out and start again. Good luck.

Last edited by NCC320; 02-17-2011 at 06:28 PM.
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  #25  
Old 02-17-2011
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I believe your C-320 is highly maneuverable because it has a wing keel that is situated well forward of the prop. It's almost the same as my old C-27, which has a fin keep that is quite a distance from the prop. The backward thrust of the prop is pretty much wide open, therefore you are thrusting mainly against water. In Sheriff's case, the back thrust of the prop is just a few scant inches from the keel, the trailing edge of which is wide and flat. Consequently, his back thrust is slamming mainly against a flat surface, which is deflecting the thrust sideways. Only a small percentage of the thrust is propelled toward the boat's bow. Without a major modification of the keel, the problem cannot be overcome.

Cheers,

Gary
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  #26  
Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
I believe your C-320 is highly maneuverable because it has a wing keel that is situated well forward of the prop. It's almost the same as my old C-27, which has a fin keep that is quite a distance from the prop. The backward thrust of the prop is pretty much wide open, therefore you are thrusting mainly against water. In Sheriff's case, the back thrust of the prop is just a few scant inches from the keel, the trailing edge of which is wide and flat. Consequently, his back thrust is slamming mainly against a flat surface, which is deflecting the thrust sideways. Only a small percentage of the thrust is propelled toward the boat's bow. Without a major modification of the keel, the problem cannot be overcome.

Cheers,

Gary
Gary,

The complaint that I can't back my boat is a frequent complaint not limited to the Morgans discussed here. I've watched lots of people, especially those relatively new to a boat or the particular docking situation, fumbling at trying to back into a slip. I am absolutely convinced that a good many of these boats will back better than the owners think. It's just that they have never tried to do it the way that I suggested (or are embarrassed that a workable technique for their particular boat puts them doing things that look a little wierd). No doubt some of those boats really will not back without using the back and fill method. These particular Morgans may well be one such design. I'm just saying to any boat owner, regardless of brand or model, try what I suggested. It costs nothing, and some will find the boat really will back. It's just a matter of getting enough water flow past the rudder such that rudder forces can overcome the prop walk forces..

Just curious, what is a Morgan 32.5...is it the same as the Morgan 33 Out Island series? Just before Morgan stopped production (actually bought by Catalina), they produced a Morgan 32 which had more traditional lines. The 32 was a beautiful boat. And I've always liked the Out Island series also.

For what it is worth: Some 30 years ago, I kept my boat next to a Morgan 33. The owner backed into the slip, and I don't know how he did it, but I don't remember him using the back and fill technique.
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  #27  
Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCC320 View Post
Gary,

The complaint that I can't back my boat is a frequent complaint not limited to the Morgans discussed here. I've watched lots of people, especially those relatively new to a boat or the particular docking situation, fumbling at trying to back into a slip. I am absolutely convinced that a good many of these boats will back better than the owners think. It's just that they have never tried to do it the way that I suggested (or are embarrassed that a workable technique for their particular boat puts them doing things that look a little wierd). No doubt some of those boats really will not back without using the back and fill method. These particular Morgans may well be one such design. I'm just saying to any boat owner, regardless of brand or model, try what I suggested. It costs nothing, and some will find the boat really will back. It's just a matter of getting enough water flow past the rudder such that rudder forces can overcome the prop walk forces..

Just curious, what is a Morgan 32.5...is it the same as the Morgan 33 Out Island series? Just before Morgan stopped production (actually bought by Catalina), they produced a Morgan 32 which had more traditional lines. The 32 was a beautiful boat. And I've always liked the Out Island series also.

For what it is worth: Some 30 years ago, I kept my boat next to a Morgan 33. The owner backed into the slip, and I don't know how he did it, but I don't remember him using the back and fill technique.
It was telekinesis.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #28  
Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCC320 View Post
I may be suggesting something that will not work, but try it and maybe it will.
When I was negotiating to buy my boat (Catalina 320), I went to a boat show to see a competitive boat. The Catalina dealer had single handed a new Catalina 42 into a tricky docking arrangement at the show docks. I inquired how he was able to do it. He said that it was easy. The trick to controlling in reverse is to get the boat going. Once you get sufficient speed in reverse, the boat responds to the rudder in going backwards. just like it does going forward. It looks neat to drive in just past your slip in the traditional manner, turn away, then throw engine in reverse and back into the slip. To do this consistently, you have to know your boat well, adjust for wind, current and other variables. But you don't have to do it this way (at least not on my boat and the C42). Nearly all boats have prop walk...it has to do with the geometry of the prop, the surrounding boat and discharge stream of water (if the discharge is up and against the boat, and forward, then you get significant walk --- you get prop walk going forward, but the discharge is more into the rudder and away from the boat, and you just don't notice it as much because you correct for it with the rudder).
The dealer said, don't worry about prop walk. Well away from the dock, put the boat in reverse, increase power gradually, and get the boat moving in reverse. Gradually increase throttle and speed so that eventually the rudder takes over and controls the boat direction inspite of the prop walk. Keep the speed above this level, and just drive the boat in reverse. The dealer said that he just stood in front of the wheel and drove the zig zag course necessary to get into his slip. This is the technique that I use now. It looks a little strange because I will back down a long fairway and simply drive down, and turn into the slip going backwards. If you have a line handler forward, you can dock without even touching the pilings. If there is a crosswind sufficiently high, or going downwind, I have had to abandon this techique on occasion and dock bow first, but otherwise, it makes docking really easy. Once you start into the slip, lock the wheel brake down to prevent damage to the rudder (it can slam into the stocks if not restrained). You lock it down just enough to hold the rudder, but so you can still override the brake to control the rudder in docking. My C320 is a wing keel and is really quite maneuverable, so I'm sure that it's easier for me, but I believe many of you who say your boat won't back, it may be because you haven't tried this technique. If you try it in open water, you'll not damage anything and you'll learn if it is possible. And if your boat really won't back using this technique, then learn the back and fill technique that power boats (with small rudders) typically use. In regards to locking the wheel/rudder with brake, don't do this until you are nearly in your slip, because you loose rudder/wheel sensitivity and can't respond to wind shifts well unless you have the sensitivity. Also, many boats (mine anyway) will lay beam to the wind if you just let it go. Before you start trying to back, put the boat in this position relative to the wind. If you try to head into the wind, like you would if you are dropping your sails, the wind, the boat's natural tendency to fall off beam to wind, and prop walk will conspire to spin you around and out of control. Putting the boat in the position where it naturally wants to go, minimizes this tendency. If the boat is going too fast when you approach your slip, simply shift momentarily into forward to check your speed, but not long enough to stop the backward movement and rudder control. Also, you can shift alternately in and out of gear to control your speed. And going backwards first, if you need to abort, shift into forward and hit the trottle. You'll be surprised how well you can get out of a messed up approach. And if you do miss the approach, don't try to correct. It's going to get screwed up. Abort, go out and start again. Good luck.
Problem with this is that you may have to pick up a lot of speed. Fine if you are in open water. Makes me nervous though close to docks and other boats...
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  #29  
Old 02-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MastUndSchotbruch View Post
Problem with this is that you may have to pick up a lot of speed. Fine if you are in open water. Makes me nervous though close to docks and other boats...
If you get close enough to the docks, you can kill the engine and use docklines to move the boat into position.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #30  
Old 02-18-2011
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I believe there is an inherent design flaw with many older sailboats with full keels and keels that are part of the tiller assembly. These boats all seem to sail quite well, but under power, especially in reverse, their performance and maneuverability falls off dramatically. The boats that seem to perform best are those where the keel is situated a good distance from the prop. To me, this makes perfectly good sense.

Prior to 5 years ago I was strictly a powerboat guy. I've owned loads of them, both outboard and inboard powered, and even in nasty wind situations I was always able to back into a slip. With the inboard powered boats, all but two of which were single screw boats, the basics were the same as any sailboat--you had to have movement in order to obtain steerage. The difference was that there was nothing impeding water flow or propulsion of the prop. If the boat was sitting dead still, and you put the transmission in reverse, the boat would initially experience prop-walk. Within a few seconds, the prop-walk was overcome and the boat began to travel backwards--not sideways. Keep in mind that the rudders of most power boats are relatively small in comparison to sailing vessels so there was far less resistance to the water for overcoming prop walk.

Now, here I am 5 years later, When I was 65 years old, and I purchased my first sailboat. That was 5 years ago. My wife thought I had completely lost my mind, which still may be the case--the jury is still out on that one! I purchased a 1978 27-foot Catalina, a boat that needed a fair amount of work, most of which involved lots of elbow grease. The first trip I made on the boat was with Sheriff, who at the time was my sailing instructor. Back then he taught sailing at the local community college, a course that was very comprehensive and involved at least three days of sailing aboard his Catalina 30. When I got to the marina that first day, a trip of 22 miles, it was cold, drizzling and a bit windy. I was only a few yards from the slip when I put the boat in reverse and tried backing in--not a prayer. At best I would have wiped out three boats in the process. We motored out to the middle of the Susquehanna River, spent a few minutes getting the feel of the boat in reverse, and backed it into the slip just as if I had been doing it all my life. The difference was, IMO, the sailboat, for it's weight and displacement, is frequently under-powered. The engines, generally, are relatively small--just enough to get the boat away from the dock and cruise along at hull speed under ideal conditions. It doesn't have the awesome power of a powerboat that you can stop on a dime using just the prop thrust.

The boat I recently purchased and is still on the hard is a 33 Morgan Out Island, a craft that I've been searching for for more than 3 years. The reason I wanted this particular boat was not for speed. (6 knots would be considered an exceptional day aboard the 33 OI.) It wanted this boat for comfort and its live-aboard capabilities. Additionally, it has a full keel, which I've been told is best for spending time offshore. The very first thing I noticed when looking at Morgan OIs all along the U.S. east coast was how thick the keel was, and how little clearance there was between the prop and the surrounding keel/rudder assembly. I figured the turbulence factor alone would make the engine very inefficient in any direction. I guess I'll find out for sure in late April when the boat goes in the water.

Interestingly, there are several sailboats in the marina where my Catalina now lives that are powered with outboards. Some are on brackets that are situated well away from the keel. The outboard motor's cavitation plate is positioned an inch or two lower than the hull, thus there is no obstruction to propulsion in any direction. These guys merely lock their rudder in a neutral position and back the boat into the slip using nothing more than their outboard engine. Keep in mind that in order for an outboard engine to work, the cavitation plate MUST be below the hull. It the plate, which is just above the prop, is above the bottom of the hull, the prop will just sit there and spin and the boat will barely move. Kinda' like placing an electric fan in the cockpit of the sail boat on a windless day and blowing it on the sails--nothing happens.

I've looked at a couple web sites that discussed ways to improve this situation by modifying both the keel and rudder. For the life of my I've never understood the reasoning behind making a rudder with a nearly blunt leading edge. If we designed aircraft wings that way they wouldn't get off the ground. The same holds true for the trailing edge of a keel. It should be tapered to provide the least resistance to water flow. One site I looked showed how part of the keel could removed and tapered, which I believe would alleviate much of the problems associated with full keel boats and tight rudder assemblies.

Oh well, got to go to work so I can pay for the updates on the Morgan,

Gary

Last edited by travlineasy; 02-18-2011 at 12:03 PM.
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