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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 06-26-2012
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Beastly boat to manuever

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
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Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

I drive an 80 foot tug pushing a 300 foot barge at work. After that, any boat smaller get's real EZ. Try getting some helm time on larger vessels and go back to it. doubt it's the boat that's being sluggish. You are probably not used to how she handles. You will be surprised if you can drive around a bigger boat and go back to it how EZ it will be. Same with cars. You ever drive around a big pick up and then hop in a civic or something?
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Last edited by Capt.aaron; 06-26-2012 at 11:18 PM.
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Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

Amy,

Full keels are notorious for large turning radiuses. There isn't much that can be done to correct this, except for time spent driving.

However there are a few things to keep in mind.

1) full keels are prone to stalling the rudder. This is particularly true at low speeds. In open water, say near a deep water mark, practice turning at slow speeds. As soon as the rudder stalls though the turning radios will suffer, so move the rudder back to midship and see how far over you can go before she stalls.

2) low speed under power typically is going to force you to deal with prop walk. Until there is enough water flowing under the hull for the keel to bite, the prop actually pushes the boat to the side, almost as much as it pushes it forward or back. Learning to use this to your advantage is important, but very tricky. Assuming you have a fixed prop this is particularly problematic in reverse.

Take it slow, and practice in open water. Back when I first started driving, my dad took me out and had me do approaches to a fender. Bow to, stern to, both sides to, and then turning drills, trying to turn the boat in its own leingth using nothing but the prop walk.

It can be done, but takes practice, and a lot of time driving.
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Old 06-27-2012
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

Quote:
Originally Posted by amyspins View Post
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
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!
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Old 06-27-2012
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

Great advice from the above.

My 'apprenticeship' on a lugger, first yacht, a 'clansman' - long keel, now a peterson - longish keel. So I fully concur with above. In reverse, an engine is just a brake - rudder is useless.

Use prop walk, of which you must have in abundance with the offset. Do you have a 3blade or a 2 blade? = 3 blade is better but a bit more drag and not worth the expence to change.

Practice and practice and then, realise that every time you enter into the slip, it is different to the last.

Welcome to the club- I put fenders out both sides and enter the slip --> very slow.
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

Thanks All! Looks like I'll be out in the harbor on low wind days - going in circles backwards! -

I appreciate the advice - Capt Aaron- after watching me try to get the sailboat out of the slip - I don't think any of the big power boat owners in the marina are going to offer me time at the helm!!

I'll just practice practice practice! Thanks

Amy
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

Quote:
Originally Posted by amyspins View Post
Thanks All! Looks like I'll be out in the harbor on low wind days - going in circles backwards! -

I appreciate the advice - Capt Aaron- after watching me try to get the sailboat out of the slip - I don't think any of the big power boat owners in the marina are going to offer me time at the helm!!

I'll just practice practice practice! Thanks

Amy
Practice will make perfect for sure. But don't be afraid to ask someone. You may be surprised. The guy with the big boat that is good at driveing it will probably enjoy showing you what he know's. My family has a 40 foot single screw dive boat wih a lot of windage. after driving that around I found whipping little sailboats around was a lot easier. When I get off the tug, the dive boat is real easy to whip around. What ever you do, it's the repitition that will be key. You'll get it.
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Old 06-27-2012
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

You mean a good old H-28 with a stern-hung rudder, like this?:

Google Image Result for http://h28oldsite.blogsite.org/images/ketch2.jpg

So with an offset prob, you'll get effective rudder-based steering with a "kick ahead" on the throttle on only one side, the side the prop's on, right?

So you do have more maneuvering problems in reverse (or in forward when you have little hull speed and rudder flow) than the 'average bear', no?

I think you're right--practice, practice. And if there's a direction she "just won't swing" in close quarters or crosswind and where dock lines are near, use one of them, and a fendered piling of dock corner if you have one, as a spring line to induce swing.
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

NolaTom -

That's the boat - mine is a fiberglass sloop - not the ketch - but otherwise it's the same boat.

I'll work on your advice!

Thanks!
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Re: Beastly boat to manuever

Quote:
Originally Posted by St Anna View Post
Use prop walk, of which you must have in abundance with the offset. Do you have a 3blade or a 2 blade? = 3 blade is better but a bit more drag and not worth the expence to change.
If you already have the boat pulled for something, you can likely buy a used three bladed fixed prop for nothing, or very close to nothing. Heck I will sell you my old 12" for shipping costs.

Most used boat yards have piles of them, collect a few tons of the bronze, then take it to a recycling yard in quantity. So selling it as a prop is just bonus. I would walk from anything more than $20 though.
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