Walks to Port in reverse. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 04-19-2012 Thread Starter
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Walks to Port in reverse.

I have a Catalina 25 with inboard diesel that always walks to port when in reverse. Getting out of my slip is difficult because of this. Is there anything I can do to help this condition? I thought of building a SS ring to go around the propeller arc but am not sure this will help.
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post #2 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

That is prop walk and is completely normal. It is pronounced when backing out of your slip because you are going too slow for the rudder to have significant effect on steering. Try "bumping" in and out of revers. Into reverse for a second or two to get a little reverse then into neutral, back into reverse to keep a little velocity then back into neutral. Keep hold of the rudder at all times to steer and go slow. You will find that with even very slow movement in reverse and not trying to fight the prop walk your rudder will much more responsive at a slower speed.

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post #3 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

Can you reverse in? then propwalk may help make THAT turn and leaving your slip will be, as my granddaughter says, 'easy peezy lemon squeezy'.....

The prop ring idea's a non-starter, btw....
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post #4 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

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Originally Posted by Silvio View Post
Try "bumping" in and out of reverse. Into reverse for a second or two to get a little reverse then into neutral, back into reverse to keep a little velocity then back into neutral. Keep hold of the rudder at all times to steer and go slow. You will find that with even very slow movement in reverse and not trying to fight the prop walk your rudder will much more responsive at a slower speed.
Ditto on this advice. Don't be afraid to give her some juice when in gear. Kind of like bumping a car to overcome inertia, a quick bump in reverse at higher revs will get you moving. Once motion has started, get back to neutral. Bump her back into gear for a sec or two when she starts to slow down.

Practice when you've got ideal conditions (no current or wind) just to see how she behaves with all other variables removed. That'll give you a great idea of what you'll need to do to balance things out when also fighting an adverse wind or current.
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post #5 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

I agree with silvio, excluding wind or current as a factor, bumping it in and out of Neutral will help. Just to get some movement.

If I'm alone, ( I have a dock) I will often walk my boat out of the slip until the stern is in the fairway, with the engine on and in neutral. Then I board and engage reverse. The prop walk to port is then my friend, pointing my bow down the fairway.

There's prop walk..and then there's also prop wash.. If your stern pulls to port in reverse ( right hand propeller) You can put the rudder to port to help counteract.
If you were to put the rudder over to starboard, which is instinctual, you actually make the prop walk worse because it's washing against the rudder.
( I think I have stated this correctly.)

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Last edited by Tempest; 04-19-2012 at 09:57 AM.
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

A lot of people will tend to throw the rudder hard over to try to counteract the propwalk, but this will not work.. the rudder needs flow to work.. over hard it's just drag resisting getting the boat moving in the first place.

Keep the rudder amidships until you have steerageway.
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

Once the boat is moving, put the engine in neutral and you will be able to steer. You may want to drop the port side dock lines and pull in the starboard side lines before dropping them and shifting into gear to counter the prop and give yourself more room.
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post #8 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

I love prop walk, it is my bow thruster. Use it to your advantage.


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Last edited by rockDAWG; 04-19-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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post #9 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

Completely normal....and quite amusing....there's a guy 2 slips down from me with the same boat as you....and watching him try to back out or come back in is hilarious at times. I stand by with a large pole ready to push him away from me, and other slip owners run around in a panic and shouting warnings whenever he fires up his boat. You can cut the tension with a knife as everyone stands around in fear.


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post #10 of Old 04-19-2012
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Re: Walks to Port in reverse.

I've found that the most pronounced prop walk, at least in our boat, is at or just above idle rpm. If I increase rpm there seems to be less so I usually raise the throttle initially and get the boat moving then go to neutral once I have enough way on for the rudder to be effective. We have a three blade fixed sailor prop. On our last boat we had an Autoprop which had zero prop walk and tremendous thrust, made tight quarter maneuvering a breeze.

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