I'm having a terrible time manuevering my full-keel offset prop H-28. She sails beautifully - but when going slow- under power or sail- she's a beast!
I went out for a sail today in Fisher's Island sound- wind was out of the west - I had difficulty getting back on my mooring under sail- so I turned on the engine- then handling got really difficult. Wont turn!
When I first launched her I had her put in a slip to rig the sails- trying to back out of the slip and head down the lane to get out to the mooring was a horror show- even with the help of a very experienced sailor.
Any one have experience or advice to share?
Anyone want to come teach me how to handle her?
Amy, unfortunately I'm a little too far away, but I'm sure there are plenty of people closer who could help.
It's a matter of getting to know your boat and that might take some time. At slow (manoevering) speeds you'll find the rudder is merely a suggestion of where you want to go - not the actual direction-control device you might think it is - but with a combination of rudder, engine revs, speed and a rope or two to pull you in the right direction, you should be okay under light conditions.
First off, prop-walk. You'll need it to get in and out of a slip. It's a matter of putting the engine in gear, at idle, and watching which way the stern goes in forward and reverse. Remember that and increase/decrease revs to turn the boat as you back out. With an offset prop, you'll probably find she goes astern better one way than the other - work with it.
Second, sails. Backing the headsail will help you turn the boat in anything more than light winds. Do that to help steer the boat. Sail balance is critical.
Third, turning circle. Your boat isn't as maneuverable as many others so make sure you have plenty of room to turn. Don't try to cut corners - it doesn't work. If you're coming into a dock, shift into neutral early and steer in using just the forward momentum of the boat. Use the engine only at the last moment, remembering which way the stern will go when you do.
These are all techniques the old salts needed that aren't required so much on "modern" boats that turn on a dime, but once you get a handle on it hopefully you'll enjoy the challenge of "real" seapersonship!