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eMKay 05-20-2008 03:44 PM

Steer with rudder or outboard?
I do not have a lot of experience maneuvering around docks, I have one year of sailing and that was from a trailer. I tried practicing motoring around a bit the same way I did with my Siren, it had a 36lb thrust trolling motor with very little area under water, so I locked it in place and just steered with the rudder, worked fine for getting in and out of the marina. I tried that with my new to me O'day 192 with 5hp gas outboard and it didn't go so well, steering in more open areas was easy of course, but trying to dock I had very little control. Should I lock down the rudder and steer with the engine?

nolatom 05-20-2008 03:53 PM

Lots of variables, but simple answer is "yes". If you have to back up, use the outboard to steer with the tiller midships, and enjoy the advantage you have over all the inboard-engine sailboats, which won't steer while backing worth a crap. You can rotate your propellor thrust, they can't. You can use the tiller to reinforce the rotation of the outboard if you want, but you don't have too unless you're trying to do a really sharp turn while backing.

If going forward (or seeking to), if you have zero speed, then use the outboard to steer. Once you have a knot or two of speed, then you have water flow over the rudder, so midship the motor and steer with the rudder. If you need to make a really sharp low-speed turn, then turn the motor to help the rudder.

I teach sailing from time to time on a 25-foot sport boat with a 4-horse outboard on the transom, and that's been my experience, with the students doing most of the maneuvering.

eMKay 05-20-2008 03:57 PM

Thanks, that's very clear help, I'll try it out.

eMKay 05-20-2008 04:04 PM

...maybe I should back into my slip too, since then I would be facing the usual wind.

artbyjody 05-20-2008 04:07 PM

As Nola stated - the outboard certainly has it uses. I used it to back into my slip all the time on my C-27. I would use a combo of both the rudder and the tiller funtion of the outboard (you can make some seriously tight turns that way). However in anything but calm conditions - its best to stick to the outboard and lock the rudder in center. When sailing or motoring I would always lock the outboard and use the rudder.

eMKay 05-20-2008 04:18 PM

I was using the rudder with the outboard locked when I launched in very windy conditions on Sunday, and let's just say it's a good thing no-one else was around :)

PBzeer 05-20-2008 04:48 PM

A lot of people either buy, or make a connecting link from rudder to motor to use both. This is especially helpful in tight situations.

sailingdog 05-20-2008 05:17 PM

That's how it works on my boat... :)

Originally Posted by PBzeer (Post 317318)
A lot of people either buy, or make a connecting link from rudder to motor to use both. This is especially helpful in tight situations.

nolatom 05-20-2008 05:36 PM

Not me, I have four or five students, so I can assign one to be "engineroom" (steer, shift, and throttle outboard) and another to be "bridge" (hold the tiller midships or move it if we need it). Maybe a shorthanded crew would need more hands, but growing a third hand is part of the learning experience..

Also, how does a solid link between rudder and motor work if, once you're done with the motor, you're going to kick up the outboard to reduce drag, which is what we do on this lightweight boat? Seems to me learning to do both manually is part of the learning curve.

Later, they'll graduate to a Ranger 29 or something like that, then they'll miss being able to rotate an outboard when they're backing into, or out of, a slip ;-) Then they'll have to learn about prop-walk, a "kick ahead", and all the other stuff that helps a sailboat control its lateral movement while going astern (which latter is mostly an oxymoron)..

sailingdog 05-20-2008 06:00 PM

Most outboards don't have that much in the way of propwalk, especially if properly setup with the prop vertical. The learning curve on an inboard powered boat is often very different from that of an outboard powered boat.

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