Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 32 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

If the rudder is attached to the keel (as on a B32) you'll ALWAYS have little or no control while backing. The control surface (rudder) of the foil (keel) is on the wrong (leading) edge to have any real effect. A control surface changes the lift generated by a foil. When going forward, as you turn the rudder to port the starboard side of the keel develops more lift. This causes the aft end of the boat to swing to starboard, and the forward end to swing to port. However, when backing, at any but the very smallest rudder angle, the edge of the rudder will "trip" the boundary layer and cause turbulent flow all along one side of the keel. The more the rudder angle, the more turbulent the flow. Hence, the unpredictable results you experience.

Spade rudders are foils unto themselves. As they turn the "angle of attack" of the foil changes and differential lift is produced at all but the highest rudder angles. A rudder on a very narrow skeg will also work, but not as well as a completely unattached (spade) rudder.
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post #12 of 32 Old 08-20-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

I must confess that I absolutely love the look of the old Bristol and Pearson boats; makes my heart go pitter patter. But I didn't buy one for two big reasons: they don't move very well in light air and are tender; and, I was frankly very afraid of having to back one up every time I left the dock. I was on an old Pearson with some friends, and the skipper was white knuckled and sweaty as we prepared to back out of his slip. Just looking at him made me nervous. He was able to use a combination of prop walk, small rudder movements and plain luck to get us out, but he was clearly tense about the whole thing. His demeanor did a 180 once we were in forward gear. He confided in me that every time he left the dock was challenge and that there were days when the wind was blowing from the wrong direction that he just wouldn't even try. That experience left quite an impression on me, so much so that despite the fact that I well and truly love the look of the old Carl Alberg and Philip Rhodes designs, I will likely never own one. On the flip side, I was walking the bulkhead in Wickford, RI one day, and there was a guy jockying his full keel boat back and forth, waiting for space at the fuel dock. He was moving his boat a few feet this way or that like he had bow and stern thrusters. On top of that, this guy was so non-chalant about the whole thing; he looked bored. So it can be done.
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post #13 of 32 Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

What you need is a long stick. A couple of people with long sticks works even better.
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post #14 of 32 Old 09-18-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

My Yankee Dolphin 24 with full keel and outboard in a well a full two feet aft of the rudder makes for some interesting backward movement as well. To counter this, I wrap a line around the middle cleat of the dock and as I back straight out I pull on the line which in turn pulls the stern toward the dock and flings the bow out in to the channel. Once I'm straight with the channel I reel in the line, put the motor in forward, and go. This way I do not rely on the angle of my propeller or the angle of my useless rudder. I modified this technique from this video:
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post #15 of 32 Old 10-21-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

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Originally Posted by Seaduction View Post
Strange phenomenon, indeed! I don't think anyone here has trouble backing up their sailboat.
You're being sarcastic right? My Allmand 31 does the EXACT same thing and I too must "launch" myself off the finger pier.

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post #16 of 32 Old 10-21-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

Mine backs OK, as long as I want to turn the stern to port. Thankfully, that's the way I need to turn if I'm headed out!

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post #17 of 32 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

I had a Catalina 27 before my Bristol32. The backing characteristics are very different. I have certainly learned with the Bristol that the bow will blow down very easily due to the underwater planes being aft. I don't think there is a boater out there that doesn't consider wind, current and their boats handling habits before coming to a mooring be it a dock or buoy.

Recently my wife and I visited a national park site that required a boat ride on a fairly substantial boat. As we approached the dock we asked ourselves what is this skipper thinking. We were approaching perpendicular to the dock. You know what I'm going to say and that is that the skipper knew what he was doing and brought us along side using prop walk, and deftly handled spring lines. We just stood there amazed at the skillful handling that only repetition can provide.
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post #18 of 32 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

MarkSF,

I guess we all have times when we control our boats without actually steering. The back and fill maneuver comes to mind. Some call that seamanship.

I have a Bristol 32 and can relate to the backing thing.

Jim
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post #19 of 32 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

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Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
It's really not random. This simple equation describes the dynamics:

Its fair to say that a lot of Sailnetters understand "backing up" sailboats
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post #20 of 32 Old 12-17-2013
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Re: Why the Bristol 32 backs so poorly

I walk mine out the finger, start the turn by hand and push the bow out from the stays and pull my self on board with the engine in revers.

I was at Ft Adams when the Americas Cup Cats were out playing on that small course. And we had a south wind, all the spectator boats were stern to the wind and holdings steady. A good 15k wind and 2 foot waves. I had no trouble holding an exact spot with the rest of the boats, go figure.

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