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Old 03-30-2001
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Backing Up a Pearson 323

Okay, okay. I know there''s a trick to this... I have a Pearson 323, w/inboard gas Atomic 4. I''m having the darndest time backing into the slip. Last time I tried, I circled 5 times - either overshooting or stopping too short. (Comical sight, too.) The stern seems to want to pull to port as I''m making way astern and this is complicated further because my slip is on the starboard side as I enter the marina. Know any "tricks?" Or is it all skill? I really hate to tie up, bow to. THANKS!
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Old 03-30-2001
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Backing Up a Pearson 323

It''s a tad bit of skill..... and once you learn it you wont want to be without a prop that has plenty of prop walk.
Suggest that you practice a bit by simply and SLOWLY backing down and holding the rudder cocked to starboard.. at about 30-40 degrees and see how far you can get in a straight line - by backing and filling SOLELY with (sometimes rapid) changes in engine RPM and without touching the wheel/tiller. Then practice doing 360s (in both directions - Counter-Clock-Wise and then CW without touching the wheel or tiller - just shifting from reverse to forward and giving the ''bursts'' of rpm. In forward the stern will kick to starboard and in reverse the stern will kick to port. Keep practicing the 360s so you get it down to be totally turning inside of just a little bit more of a single boat length.
On an Atomic4, as with most other engines, you must completely idle down between going forward and going in reverse with the transmission. Dont be afraid to "gun" it if you feel you need to. The less you "burst" of rpm, the less the ''prop walk'' effect.
In berthing my old Pearson stern first - was to simply "pirouette a 360" in front of the slip, using the prop walk to bring the stern around towards the port side... (usually worked best if I quickly idled down with the stern somewhat to 45 degrees out of line with the slip, with the center of the keel aligned (but not parallel with) the slip etc. and let inertia (with a very little bit of an idling prop) carry me stern first into the slip.
Backing and filling with the prop involves "bursts" of engine revs. to get where you''re going. With an Atomic 4, just be sure that the engine is warm before you give her a little ''burst'' of rpm to "kick the stern over" to save the valve springs, and not score the cylinder walls, etc.
Once you get the "handle" of ''backing and filling'' without using the rudder, then use the rudder in combination of ''backing and filling'' to flawlessly back up, slide up to just-kiss-a-dock, leave a dock without pushing off, do a 360 within a boat length, etc. Pearsons generally respond well to backing and filling, especially if you have a fixed prop.
Gee, I wish I had my old Pearson back again, I really miss that prop walk.
Hope this helps. :-)
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Old 04-02-2001
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Backing Up a Pearson 323

Rich:
Awesome! Plenty helpful stuff. I''ll start practicing right away (marina is still quiet and has low traffic ''cause of winter). Looking forward to the season and I love my Pearson! Just the right amount of fiberglass and teak for my tastes. Roomy, too.
Regards, Bob
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