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  #1  
Old 10-30-2010
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Backing a Melges 32

Watched a fleet of Melges 32's race in September. When they returned under power, they were backing into tight berthing spots like Valets parking Ferraris! When I noticed the first one approaching two other boats in reverse at high speed, I thought "oh...this is going to be good!". He shot between them with about 6 inches on each side, cut in and parked behind one of them. Then I saw one after another perform similarly. How can they back with that kind of precision? I'm pretty good at backing my boat, but if I tried that maneuver at that speed, I'd own one, if not both of the other boats and possibly the dock! I realize the the Melges is a LOT lighter, and has a relatively flat bottom. However, they still have masts that are influenced by the wind, keels influenced by the current, a tiller, rudder and (I assume) prop walk. How day do dat?

Last edited by L124C; 10-30-2010 at 01:06 PM. Reason: Mis spelling
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Old 10-30-2010
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Lots and lots of practice. I sailed with a gentleman who did that with a Beneteau 38. He just spent so much time on his boat that he knew how it handled exactly over the years. Same applies to folks who sail their boats constantly. You just learn or so I'm told.

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Old 10-30-2010
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Pretty well any short-chord fin keel/spade rudder boat will handle well in reverse, and steerage and control is best with some speed on. You just need to be sure you have good brakes(!) or a light enough boat to stop it if you need to.

Most of the boats we've owned have 'backed' well.. and in the days we had folding props we preferred to back into new-to-us situations because we had confidence in being able to maneuver, and we knew we could stop fairly quickly in 'forward' gear.

It does take practice, but it also takes the right shape of boat.
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Old 11-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
It does take practice, but it also takes the right shape of boat.
Yeah... I think there is something special about these boats. I mean, I have no doubt these guys knew what they were doing (after all..they are pro, semi pro racers). However, with 15 knots of wind on the beam, they had no doubt about how these boats were going to respond in very tight quarters, doing about 10 knots in reverse. No fenders, No one fending off, and racing hulls inches away on both sides. You can "practice" all you want on my boat. However, a prudent Skipper will require more tolerance than that in those conditions (or risk becoming a pinball)! I asked one Megles crew member about it, and he told me about what is basically an outboard motor that drops down almost midships, which is interesting in itself. He said it's not a Saildrive and I don't think it articulates. Maybe I'll post at Sailing Anarchy. I'll bet someone can enlighten me there! Probably nothing new to the racers. I obviously don't spend much time on the circuit!

Last edited by L124C; 11-07-2010 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 11-07-2010
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Probably a combination of the hull shape, the prop/rudder balancing, and the experience of the owners. If they race twice a week, or 3x a week, and back into their slots 2-3x per week...that experience counts. And since they're racing one-design, if ONE guy backs in smartly, that's a challenge to everyone else in the fleet to do it better.
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Old 11-07-2010
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... not to mention very low wetted surface and a 3400 lb or so displacement. With high aspect foils, it critical to maintain flow, so slow in a crosswind isn't your friend.
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Old 11-07-2010
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They are also light weight boats so if you screw up your crew can fend OFF.
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Old 11-08-2010
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These were impromptu, guest slips, with 15 boats parked where 5 would have been berthed normally. Several were single handing (while parking) so there was no one to fend off (I think they were going too fast to fend off anyway). All of which is what drew my attention to begin with. I'll report back what I learn from SA.

Last edited by L124C; 11-08-2010 at 03:01 AM.
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