My Boat Won't Back (in a straight or controlled line) - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 37 Old 02-19-2011
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I try to explain that the only reason I have good control is because of the higher speed. I usually end up mixing them a Margaretta and the parties kick off at the end of my dock.

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post #22 of 37 Old 02-19-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EJO View Post
Hey it must be nice that you all can back into a slip, but for what? So you can get out quicker going forward? I like watching boat traffic coming by from my cockpit(stern) much better than watching the people gawking into my cabin from land/the dock. That said I wish that I can stop my boat from going forward. No matter how much throttle I give in reverse it takes some time to stop my 12Klbs 32' boat with the 30HP A4. Maybe I should go to a 3 bladed prop?
I tend to agree with you regarding people gawking into cabin, but docking, like most things, is a compromise. In addition to being easier to board (if you have a short finger pier) and easier to depart slip, if you are a single hander, an advantage (for me anyway) is that with the stern first approach, from the helm station, I can get the initial lines on the outer piling without leaving the helm. I usually have some crosswind, so if I don't get the lines on quickly, the boat is banging against the piling or finger pier. Also in my case, the boat fits into its slip really well stern to pier, not very well with bow to pier because of hull and slip configeration. And braking by shifting to forward is a lot more effective than trying to back down a boat going forward.
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post #23 of 37 Old 02-19-2011
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With a boat and technique that results in good control in reverse, you'll often have better 'brakes' shifting to forward than reverse, esp if a folding prop is involved.

We often back into unfamiliar or tight spots for this reason, among others.

Ron

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post #24 of 37 Old 02-24-2011
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Hi all,

Great information here. I will try it this week. I just had to mention that I was bored and motoring around my harbor a couple of months ago when I figured that I would practice backing. I have a three-bladed folding MaxProp. Anyway, I motored in reverse all around my marina twice.

Got some great looks and comments from other boaters , but the experience is valuable.

Give it a try!

Cheers, Bill

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post #25 of 37 Old 02-24-2011
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Did the zig-zag thingie taking my charter boat course. We used the mooring bouys in the marina. After doing it forward, I asked the instructor if I could try it in reverse. It had a spade keel, so it was a piece of cake with no wind. A bit harder with my IP 320.
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post #26 of 37 Old 02-24-2011
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There's a world of difference between a fin keel/spade rudder boat with a Max Prop and a full keel boat with a fixed prop when backing.

My boat is a 35 footer with a 3-blade MaxProp. The elliptical keel and spade rudder make for a very maneuverable boat in reverse. The MaxProp has something to do with this, since it does not have cupped blades and has just as much thrust in reverse as in forward.

By comparison, we've chartered mostly Island Packets, from 35' to 42', over the past dozen years. These boats are relatively heavy, have a modified full keel and an attached rudder. The fixed prop is cupped. They go forward very predictably, but have less thrust and noticeable prop walk in reverse. Backing out of a slip requires that you get some way on promptly, so the rudder can get some bite to counteract the prop walk. If you are in a cross-wind/current situation, it can be dicey.
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post #27 of 37 Old 02-24-2011
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Very good thread, with lots of good suggestions. When all is said and done, I think that it boils down to:
  • the boat, and it's handling characteristics.
  • the technique used.
  • the characteristics of the propellor.
My dock buddy swears that his Ericsson 30 will not back up under any circumstances. I think that most posters on this thread would disagree with that, and I do too.

Prior to taking the Basic Instructors clinic 13 years ago, backing boats was a nightmare for me. I might get away with backing the club's Cal 20, but there was no way I could back a Catalina 27.

I managed to get through most of the clinic, right up to the final practical on a Catalina 320. To put it kindly, I was not having a good day. Then, David West, our evaluator, showed me a trick that turned me into a very happy camper. It is real simple:
  1. Put the boat in full speed reverse, UNTIL you feel the boat moving in the direction that you want.
  2. THEN throttle back to the desired speed and back up happily into the sunset!

I have never had a bad docking experience since. In fact, the wharfinger at Powell River loves us. BC members of SN may know that transient moorage at Powell River often involves rafting up in tight quarters. I will cheerfully back boats into those slips all day.

I don't want to knock the advantages of prop walk. In fact, since buying our own boat, I take full advantage of the limited prop walk that our Kiwi prop has. However, you probably won't appreciate the advantages of prop walk if backing the boat scares the crap out of you.

Meanwhile, thanks to all for an enjoyable, informative thread.

Mark

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post #28 of 37 Old 02-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailortom View Post
Did the zig-zag thingie taking my charter boat course. We used the mooring bouys in the marina. After doing it forward, I asked the instructor if I could try it in reverse. It had a spade keel, so it was a piece of cake with no wind. A bit harder with my IP 320.
When reversing remember to hand-over-hand the wheel. Otherwise it will spin uncontrollably and may cause damage to the steering mechanism.

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post #29 of 37 Old 02-25-2011
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I described a similar reverse docking procedure awhile back. For those who wonder why anyone would want to back in, some marinas have short finger docks, and some boats are difficult to board on the bow. That combination of factors can make backing in absolutely necessary. Also, docking in strong currents makes reversing direction suicidal - by the time you regain steering, you've already drifted into the dock. So you need to go backwards the whole way. I initially get funny looks when standing in front of the wheel facing backwards, but they are always followed by nods of approval when they see how effective it is:

Need advice for leaving my slip in strong currents

For those who have an outboard, a hard link makes low speed maneuvering much better because it eliminates the need to have any speed past the rudder. Here's my design:

Need advice for leaving my slip in strong currents


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post #30 of 37 Old 02-25-2011
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This makes good sense. Prop walk is generated when the prop is turning through the water faster than the boat is moving. This is why you use short bursts of throttle to generate it on purpose.

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