SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Improved handling in reverse Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-29-2008 01:27 PM
A quote from Hal Roth on the subject . . .

From "How to Sail Around the Word," Hal Roth, talking about the first s/v Whisper:

"With her traditional hull form - a long keel and attached rudder - Whisper sailed and steered well. Her only fault was that she was almost impossible to back up with the engine, particularly in a crosswind; we learned to warp her around with lines."

From Chapter 6, Three Sailing Yachts, p. 81 in the 1st ed. (2004).

Just can't let a good thread die. What it lacks in numbers compared to the infamous solar thread, it makes up for with strong feelings and strong language!

04-21-2008 10:23 PM
bestfriend Brak, get a line attached midship. Have someone stand on the bow with that line. When the bow gets to that upwind piling, put the line around it. Turn the boat hard to starboard so it pivots on the piling. Walk the line back to midship as the boat coasts into the slip. Keep using the pilings to keep you up against the windward side of your slip and slowly move forward into the slip. Or something like that. You could even attach the lines to the pilings so they are always there and you just grab them.
04-21-2008 10:17 PM
Originally Posted by Mary51 View Post
Daydream of long, long cruises you will take. One exit from the slip, good for months or years . . .

That's what keeps me going

This is my new marina and a new slip, and my first try there. It does suck big time I think I'll try it a few more times and then ask for a new one (backed up by my neighbors crying for help).

Here is a picture of my boat in a slip (taken for other reasons, so it does not show too well) - look at the distance of the port side rear pile from the boat - it is half way in and about 1 foot away. The other side is not much better - may be 2-3' (wind was blowing from that way). Note that the pile is much further in than it looks - the boat is centercockpit.

04-21-2008 09:51 PM
Ah, the full keel sailboat in reverse . . .

rtbates said it all. You just never know where she'll go in reverse.

Things that have helped me, over 3 +- years of owning a modified full keel:

Getting some speed in reverse and putting her in neutral does work. If the wind isn't blowing. And if the sailing gods are smiling.

If I had a slip with pilings, I'd rig a line on a float to stop the boat. Can't remember what they call it, but people with slips formed by pilings use them.

Getting a better slip!!! Yours sucks. My old one sucked, but not as bad as yours. I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about trying to get into yours as described. I got on the wait list, and now I can leave and return without a coronary or a mental meltdown. (Yes, I know that statement is a dare to the sailing gods. If they exact retribution, I will report according.) I always use a spring line on a cleat to stop her.

Playing around out in the open helps. The best control I get is by alternating bursts in reverse and then steering in neutral, and bursts forward. I cannot imagine trying to use this technique without a single control. I think you're right that it would help you a lot.

Always remember, people with fin keels have NO IDEA what we're up against. Ditto power boaters with twin props.

Daydream of long, long cruises you will take. One exit from the slip, good for months or years . . .

04-21-2008 09:16 PM
brak sailaway, thank you for the write up. I may have made a mistake in using the term "dock" and this is what causes misunderstanding, though.I should have called it a slip - it is a narrow (less than 11 feet) head in slip that has wood piles on either side. I really need to watch what I type, don't I?

I actually do pretty well with regular docks, and don't have much problem either docking or leaving (in situation mentioned by PBeezer, I left a leeward dead-end dock in 20kts wind while having to turn around in confined space, all that essentially single handed, and there are no insurance claims yet Admittedly it could have been much better executed but I still figure the result is what matters).

I will be checking and re-checking prop wash asap - I really need to figure this out. I am also looking into a single-handle control. If a move from hard over to hard over while switching gears can take up to 15 seconds now, I can probably shave off at least 5 by using a better handle configuration (changing steering is not an option).

The boat is Hallberg-Rassy 35 1972 (Rasmus). She's a grand old lady with what is a modified full keel, I suppose (it starts 1/3 of the way in as a kind of a regular keel and follows all the way to the stern with a rudder attached).
04-21-2008 08:54 PM
sailaway21 brak,
Irrespective of your particular conditions and boat, which I'm not exactly clear on, what you really need to do is to get a line on the dock. If the only way to do that is to let the wind set you down on the end of the dock or you come in until your bow touches the end of the dock, you need a line secured to the dock and then you can overcome those forces that are moving you in directions you don't wish to go.

In some cases, it is necessary to lay the boat across the end of the dock, suitably fendered, and then work her around the end corner and alongside. You'll use the line as a spring line but where and how you secure it on your boat will dictate what effect you can get out of it. Once you've stopped the boat's forward momentum and taken a strain on the spring line, you can walk the stern in either direction you wish it to go by using your engine ahead and your rudder to kick the stern in the desired direction.

Certainly try the suggestion of capttb above to confirm prop rotation. Your prop can turn either way, even though your engine rotates clockwise, it just depends on how the gears are aligned within your transmission.

The DVD I linked above is an excellent source of information on just the situation you seem to be in.

Another tool to hand, admittedly a pain to use but more than doable, is your anchor. You may find it easiest to, in essence, perform a "Med-moor". In any event, you can drop your anchor and then use it to control from drifting off either end of the boat. You can even drag it from the bow, without letting it set, and use it much like a spring line to work the stern to either side while using ahead revolutions. Practise that one in open water first. (g)

I think you'll find that dvd has many good ideas and is quite good at explaining them, both with models and then an actual boat. They don't dawdle on shipping them out either; I think I ordered mine and it was on the front porch when I walked upstairs. (g)
04-21-2008 01:36 PM
brak Well, I am not keen on entering my dock in reverse either

The problem at this point is
1) entering head in when the wind is on my back or pushes me into the fairway
2) leaving dock under same conditions

Here is why reverse is important. As I was leaving (and coming back, same thing really) this time - I needed to turn to stbd (when leaving, to exit from the dock and turn to the open water, when coming back - to enter from open water and turn to my dock).
When leaving, I obviously have to use reverse When coming back, I tend to need it if wind is pushing the boat too fast, so I can slow down. Either way, once I do that - I start turning to port. So, I can't go back or slow down without turning the wrong way.

Anyway, I looked at all the comments on where the prop walk should be taking me and certainly this differs from reality, so something is wrong.
Can it be that my transmission is "reversed" (i.e. essentially the gear for forward and gear for reverse are somehow switched)? It sounds silly but I am out of ideas on this one. I will try again this weekend and watch the prop wash more, but so far this is what I've seen and behavior is well repeatable.

In confined spaces because of this I end up either having to always turn around that way, or try to turn more clockwise during forward motion than reverse takes me (which is not always pretty).
04-21-2008 12:23 PM

Why are you fighting the laws of nature? Full keel boats don't back down worth a tinker's damn. Quit fighting it. I assure you that you can not and will not win. Use reverse for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to gain enough room so you can get the pointy end heading in the direction you want to go.

I've owned a full keel Cape Dory for 5 years now and it still won't back down in a straight line... Learn how your boat handles and accept it and adapt.

I wouldn't consider backing into a slip if you put a gun to my head!! There was one occasion when I needed have my stern in the slip first. How did I get in? I came alongside slowly and tossed port and starboard stern lines to handlers on the dock who pulled me in, that's how!!
04-21-2008 11:16 AM
capttb With the boat tied to the dock, put it in reverse at idle, look over the side. If most of the propwash is on the starboard side it's RH and stern will walk to port, if wash is on port side it's LH etc.
This is a standard method to figure this out real quick on any vessel you have to handle.
04-21-2008 02:29 AM
chris_gee Yes the yanmar has a clockwise motor rotation but what is delivered to the shaft and then the prop? I don't know but what you are describing in reverse doesn't seem to fit at least to my understanding.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome