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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > herSailNet > Have you driven backwards?
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Thread: Have you driven backwards? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-06-2007 04:20 AM
Sasha_V Over the shoulder for 99% of the time. I was crewing on a boat that ran into a semi-submerged cable and put a slice just above waterline into the bow....So we reversed "home" for close to 30 minutes under engine. For that one I turned around and faced the stern!

Sasha
10-05-2007 11:05 PM
teshannon Sailaway21,
Thanks for the info, much appreciated. I love my prop walk. Without it I could not back into my slip with the very narrow fairway I have.
10-05-2007 10:41 PM
sailaway21 I stand out on the bridge wing and give my commands to the helmsman and mate in the wheelhouse. Oops...actually i sit thwartships on my small boat and look in the most relevant direction, relieing on perripheral vision to catch the bow swing.

teshannon,
Underwater hull configuration as well as prop location dictate the amount of prop walk along with propeller pitch. With a right hand screw or wheel, the wheel throws water out and forward, against the starboard side of the hull while going astern. This, combined with the semi-vacuume of water the wheel has caused to port, by pulling the water into itself, causes the stern to walk. The shallower the water and the slower the boat is moving, the greater the prop walk.

When going ahead or turning the wheel clockwise, the prop throws the water out to port and aft, where-there is no hull to strike, as well as a rudder to flow over providing directional stability to the prop wash.

The obvious solution that minimizes the effect is an adjustable pitch propeller. By varying the pitch of the propeller, instead of propeller shaft speed, one can go ahead or astern slowly while minimizing the walking of the wheel. This set-up is fairly common on your gas turbine equipped sea-going vessels,usually upwards of 50,000 tons displacement, where the addition of a half million dollar wheel and attendant hydraulic control system is not felt to be an onerous expense.

The only really practical thing one can do to minimize prop walk on a really crabby boat is to reduce the pitch of the prop, which also will reduce the overall speed of the vessel under power, a tough trade-off. Some boats have the propeller shaft offset from the center line of the vessel, that is, not running directly fore and aft, to minimize the effect. I'm not sure that this is an area that has reached an exact science or effectiveness.

On the other hand, the vast majority of us would have the devil's own time docking without prop walk. Once one knows one's boat, and how much she walks, it can be an indispensable manoeuvering aid, at speeds where it has much more effect than the rudder alone.
10-05-2007 07:59 PM
teshannon SailorMitch,
Now that you mention it I'm curious. Why does one boat have more or less prop walk than another? Is it the shape of the hull below the waterline, keel configuration etc? I have a noticeable prop walk to port and I can't imagine how I'd back into the slip without it.
10-05-2007 07:27 PM
SailorMitch I look over my shoulder also, but you need to know VERY well how your boat handles in reverse. I find the best approach is to get some speed up then shift to neutral. The boat steers quite well then without having to fight or worry about prop walk. You can always shift back into reverse for a burst of speed if needed.

And if your boat does have noticeable prop walk, learn to use it to your advantage. My current boat doesn't have near the prop walk as my prior boat and I have come to realize how much I relied on the pronounced prop walk of my other boat.
10-05-2007 05:47 PM
PBzeer I face forward, behind the wheel, when backing in. I find it puts me in a better position to get off the boat as I come into the slip solo.
10-05-2007 05:41 PM
nolatom I used to have to back a Catalina Capri 37 into a slip. Much easier to do standing forward of the (huge) wheel and pedestal, facing backwards.

First, you're looking where you're going. Second, you can move the throttle and shift levers without reaching through the spokes while you're turning the wheel.
10-05-2007 03:29 PM
sailhagg Yes, I have backed up. I actually have backed my boat out between a double row of docked boats. The trick is to have 'way' meaning speed. If you can get your guy to sit down and be still, you can practice out on the water. My hubby doesn't like to wait to get the sails up... so I have to demand to get practice time.

If you can work on it in nice conditions it helps. You just never know when you may need to do that.

I stand backwards when I back up...but I bring her into the slip bow first. Yes, boys...I bring her in...almost always eat your hearts out! LOL
10-05-2007 12:41 PM
teshannon Faster,
That's me. I have to climb over the cockpit seats to get around the wheel. At my age that's a bit of a challenge, certainly not something I do quickly.
10-05-2007 12:02 PM
Faster I'm an "over the shoulder" guy too... Doesn't feel right to go around the wheel, and unless you have pedestal controls you will be away from the throttle/gear levers.

Many boats have setups that aren't all that easy to "step around the wheel" either.
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