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  #11  
Old 06-24-2011
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Turn the wheel to starboard and leave it alone. Have your wife fend off on the starboard side of the boat. Do the rest of the work with your shift lever and throttle.

When you begin backing up the rudder is useless until you really start making way. Turning it won't do a thing while you are inching out of your slip, so forget about using it altogether.

Give the boat a burst of powert in reverse to get it going. Then kick it in forward gear for a couple seconds. This rush of water in forward will be enough to arrest the effects of your prop walk issues.

Because of the current, you are going to get pushed into that starboard finger pier. That's where your wife should fend off od whatever pilings she can push off on.

Just keep using your gear shift and throttle to inch your way out of the slip. You shouldn't be in one gear for more than a couple seconds. You'll be surprised how quickly the rudder "bites" when you give it a kick in forward gear. This will at the very least keep you from pivoting around the end of the finger pier like you described. Once you are about half way out of the slip, give it the beans in reverse, and the prop walk should let you pivot around the keel putting you in the middle of the channel.

"Slow" is the name of the game, don't rush anything. At 50', a bow thruster might not be a terrible idea (but then again that's cheating ). Best of luck!
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2011
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Your problem is that by the time the boat is halfway out of the slip the tidal force and prop walk have taken over. Plus getting your stern to turn into the current is near impossible

Walk the boat back, but maintaining control and have her held on the dock with a mid-ship and a bow line so that she is halfway out of the dock when you start to leave.

However you already have the answer...you need to leave at slack or half slack and accept the reality of buying a big boat. And most of the time you will have to back out downstream
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Phil, who gets a 55 ft boat out by walking her halfway out usually by enlisting the people in the dock next to us...They usually prefer that to being hit by my 30 ton boat!

Last edited by Yorksailor; 06-24-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2011
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Yorksailor has described how I walk my boat out of the slip.

I think also in your situation the problem is that when the current hits your stern it must push the bow to port. I think you need to find a way to keep the bow to starboard..as you back out.
You could probably manage keeping the stern to port from the cockpit with a line around a dock cleat and back to a winch and cleat on the boat.
I think the key will be keeping the bow to starboard....
You slip is wide enough to angle out of there..once you let go of the bow line the current should push your stern around and keep your bow off the starboard piling.
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  #14  
Old 06-25-2011
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OK, i'll give it a try.

First, are you sure she walks to starboard in reverse? Most boats walk to port, and maybe it's the current. Try reversing someplace away from the current or at slack to find out.

That said, I'm wondering if with the lines sort of slack, the engine in neutral, and the current running, if you turn the wheel hard over like you are trying to go to port in reverse, will the aft end of the boat swing to port? Theory is that the current will grab the rudder and pull you over. If this experiment works, try the following.

The slip is wide. Put the bow over to the starboard finger,and the stern over to the port finger. The boat is hopefully now angled to reverse directly into the current. I'm assuming 4 kts of current is way more important than any wind. Back directly into the current. Hopefully the 4 kt current will overcome any prop walk, and make the rudder immediately effective.

If this works, you'll find yourself in the fairway at an angle. I'm not sure which way is out, so that would be the next problem to overcome if I've got you swung the wrong way.

You cannot easily muscle or fend off 50 feet of sailboat, there has to be a way to finesse it. We had a 52 for 10 years before downsizing, it had a thruster but with such a current, I'm not it would have had enough umph to compensate for your current. Not an easy situation.

As we say in the Boston area, this docking situation is "wicked hard."
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Old 06-25-2011
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I tend to agree with capecodda, most boats have a RH prop which accounts for prop walk to port when in reverse. The cuurent appears to be the big factor in backing out of the slip.

If you do have a RH prop, the procedure capecodda suggests should work. Keep in mind that the rudder is useless unless you are making way. When you back out of the slip, you have to be generous with the throttle to get the rudder to react against the current.

If you do have a LH prop you can disregard reply.

Good luck.
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  #16  
Old 06-25-2011
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Looking at your situation makes it clear that you have a challenging slip. Google Earth rocks. *grin* It is compounded by the fact that you presumably want to head up current going forward to go sailing once you are out.

Can you confirm the homework assignment someone gave you above that you do indeed have a right-hand prop that walks to port when not faced with the nasty current?

There are good ideas above but I think the sheer force of the current is your biggest problem.

How about a shock and awe approach? Put the wheel over to port to get some help from the rudder once you do have flow over it and back out HARD. Full cruising rpm. The goal is to get out of the slip so you can go forward and steer before you get swept down on your neighbors. Once you are clear of the pilings, shift to forward and keep the wheel hard over until the boat comes around.

Depending on how the boat responds, you may have to adapt and back all the way past the other boats until you get to the clear area to you NE.

This is not an approach for the timid and does carry some risk, but so has your attempts to date.

Please continue to let us know how it goes.
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  #17  
Old 06-25-2011
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I imagine the tide is not always a constant speed nor from the same direction. Nearer slack tide or on an incoming tide should reduce the problem.
As the problem is stated though I don't think there is any way someone could hold it against four knots of tide.
Breaking the problem into 2 parts. You need to hold the bow in to stb, and you need to stop the stern swinging. This applies even if you could get sufficient manpower to partly walk it out.
I would run one line along the stb pier with a loop to the bow then back to the cockpit if required ie singlehanding. This will move along with the bow as you move out. On the port side I would have a similar line on the dock from half way to the end with a loop around this and back to the boat a bit aft of amidships. This will hold the stern in until you are halfway out. You could get a bit more by letting more of this line out but it would be increasingly ineffective as the angle lessens. You would also at that point need a bow line to port to stop the bow swinging around as you attempt to pivot, but I think you would have trouble getting up to speed. Anyway the shorter line could be on a bungie meaning you can let it go and not worry about it.
Once you are out you still have a problem either reversing or trying to do a 180, although the wind on the bow will help a bit. I think I would prefer to reverse in using the midship cleat. However anything with that tide would be difficult.
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  #18  
Old 06-26-2011
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The starboard prop walk is very unusual. Hopefully it is the current's effect you are feeling, not the prop walk.

I have very strong currents in my marina. What I have learned is that you cannot even think about changing direction in a cross current. You have to continue in one direction until you can align your boat directly with the current.

Before concluding that you have no rudder control in reverse, do the experiment capecodda suggested. If you've got 4 kt of current going past your rudder, you should get some response especially if you can get your boat aligned somewhat to the current by getting bow to starboard/stern to port.

If that works, you should consider backing as far as you can against the current until you get a broad enough space to pivot your boat without drifting into something. Maybe all the way past the Marine Science Institute before you try to pivot and go into forward. Alternately, you could try backing into the current past the end of your dock and turn to the right (as you face backwards) around the little peninsula where your parking lot is. At that point you should have your bow facing directly into the current and could safely put her into forward without drifting into something.

Just like an airplane, your rudder control is greatest when you're maximizing your speed relative to the current. Backing into the current might hopefully get you some rudder control (high SOW) at relatively low SOG.

I have a very different boat from yours, but I do almost almost my maneuvers in my marina in reverse. Once I'm going in one direction, I cannot change until I'm out in the open river. Fortunately I have minimal gear on my pedestal, so I can stand in front of the pedestal facing backwards and steer the wheel from that position when going in reverse.
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Last edited by TakeFive; 06-26-2011 at 12:29 AM.
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  #19  
Old 06-26-2011
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I probably shouldn't reply as I don't typically have to deal with cross current with my sailboat, but just a couple of thoughts:

First, you are probably correct as to direction of propwalk. I had a previous boat with same direction of propwalk.

It seems to me that what you want to do is to hold the stern of the boat from being swept downstream due to current and propwalk, and to keep the bow more or less centered in the dock so it doesn't get swept down on dock on down current side, and on other hand, doesnt' swing into dock on up-current side as the current begins to move the boat sideways down current as you back out. Split the effort into two functions: Wife handles bow, you handle stern and wheel. No one pushes off...the current is too high and forces are two great.

On your slip, adjacent and parallel to the slip on each side, tie a line tightly at either end of the slip, i.e. buddy lines. They can be at any convenient height. On each of these, permanently place a block with a very large shackle on the block. From each of your bow cleats, cleat off a line, run the other end through the shackle on the buddy line block and back to the cleat..cleat off the second end of each line. Since you have one bow line on either side, this is going to keep your bow centered regardless of what happens. Use a float line. I have Samson MFP double braid...has a nice hand, available on special order from marine suppiers (WM). Your wife is to stay at bow. As boat backs out of the slip, the blocks will move down the buddy lines, keeping the bow centered. As the bow moves to end of slip, your wife can cast off one end of each line and retreive them by pulling the other end onboard. The loose end should slip through the block shackle without problem (provided it is large so line can move through freely....substituting a second block connected to the first one in place of the shackle, might even be better), and bow will be free.

On the stern, run a line from the stern cleat (or perhaps amidships cleat would be better) around the outer up-current piling or cleat, back to the boat with one or two wraps around a winch to snub the line and then back to helm station. On my boat, I have added a fiddle block with camcleat to the push pit rail. Run the free end of this line (i.e. from winch) to this camcleat, or absent the camcleat, hold in your hand as you back out. The block/camcleat on the push pit rail allows you to take your hands off the line if it is necessary to stop the process momentarily to deal with some other issue). Force on this line is going to be great with the current, and rudder fighting you, in addition to the engine...hence the wraps on the winch. The winch will allow checking movement in one direction, allow slipping the line freely in the other. As you back out, you have to ease this line slowly and gradually to allow the boat to move, but at same time keeping the tension high enough to keep the boat stern from going down current. Again, use the float line. When out of the slip, let one end go and retreive the other one. I think this would work for departure.



Docking is another problem, but you seem to have that one covered. In any case, good luck.

Last edited by NCC320; 06-26-2011 at 07:13 AM.
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  #20  
Old 06-26-2011
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