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Old 06-02-2009
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Originally Posted by billbalme View Post

Is there any merit to the thought I might somehow be stalling the rudder or is that gobledegook?

Yes - the rudder is acting as a big brake, preventing the boat from developing enough speed to get steerageway. The is especially true with a longer keel which requires more speed to get steerageway.

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Last edited by jackdale; 06-02-2009 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 06-02-2009
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I feel your pain!
I too have great difficulty in backing the boat up (same boat/prop set up).
I would agree with the idea of starting with the rudder centered, the boat aligned off center before starting (to allow for prop walk), and using neutral as much as possible. From your skewed starting position, turn the prop only long enough to be making way. Go to neutral and only use small rudder movements. I agree with previous statements that any more than half over on the rudder and it acts as a brake, not a turning device. To help with this, I marked my wheel at the center position, and don't turn it more than 3/4 turn either way. In theory you can use a quick burst of high throttle in forward (turn to port) or reverse (turn to starboard) to "spin" the boat with the prop walk without changing speed too much. I have not mastered this at all!!
Again, as others have said, practice, practice, practice.
Good luck, and if you find something that works, please share it with us.

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Old 06-11-2009
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I watched this thread with some interest. I just purchased a 1989 PS34. Just before this thread started I had watched my broker back the boat in a straight line. I was surprised he could do it. He told me the key was to put the rudder all the way to starboard before putting it in reverse.

I finally closed and last weekend got to play with it. I found that it works as long as you use very low RPM. I found I could back in a straight line if I first put the rudder all the way to starboard, then put it in reverse at about 1200 RPM. If I gave it too much RPM, it walked to port substantially.

I have a two-blade fixed prop, so that might have an impact.
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Old 09-30-2009
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backing a crealock

I agree with all the input. The first thing you need to learn about backing a Crealock, is where to put those 16" round "crash" bumpers.
And, don't be afraid to use them!
When you do get some travel going in reverse, you need to apply the rudder turn slowly, picking up speed on your turn as you begin to feel it bite. You are right in thinking you prob. stalled your rudder by turning too much too soon.
And the advise to learn to back these boats, in calm water, with soft objects as references and most important; when you don't have to. Rested.

One of our trainers insteaded that you learn to back up, by watching the bow.
He would have us start backing, watching the bow move as we slowly started turning the wheel. Works.
The other thing he had us do, was to get into a wide docking area, dead stop. Turn the wheel full starboard, fwd throttle>reverse>fwd>reverse. Using the prop wash to spin the boat in place. Stop, wheel full Port, repeat process and learn how to use your prop wash. (More bumpers)
If you have the time and money, going to an outfit like San Juan Sailing Yacht training, and telling them you want 6 lessons in dock handling is worth every penny.
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Old 10-03-2009
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Since you've revived this thread Lansdowne . . .
I don't have a lot of experience in difficult backing situations, but my slip is oriented such that we usually have a crosswind (often 10kts or so). Where some of my neighbors struggle backing out when the wind is up (one of them even needing to let the wind blow them off the wrong way, then doing a 180), my PSC '34 with MaxProp does quite well. Based on the previous posts here, I suspect that my MaxProp (with its blades that reverse their orientation when backing) may be helping significantly. I know its not my great skills since much more experienced sailors struggle a lot more than I am in the cross wind. I normally give it a blast to get the boat moving (sometimes initially fending off with a boat pole though), then shift into neutral and coast out.
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Old 10-14-2009
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I know exactly what you're talking about. There are a lot of good comments here. The ones that I've figured out are the most important are small rudder movements, good throttle control, and good shifting. You are absolutely right that you are stalling out the rudder when it's hard over.

I've found that keeping the rudder centered up, then going with 1/4 to 1/2 rudder, followed by a burst of throttle, say 1600-1800 RPM, then backing down to a high idle, or going to neutral. This gets a quick shot of flow across the rudder for corrections, but not so much that you start going every which way. It also seems to me that about the time you are noticeably turning, get the rudder back to center, once she starts going she doesn't want to stop. I think of the prop/rudder in terms of a bow thruster and give it little gooses here and there.

All that said, my batting average is probably 40-60% on getting where I want to go on the first shot.

Ryan Roberts
S/V ARGO - Pacific Seacraft 37 Hull No. 309
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