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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Setup:
You are going down a narrow fairway and decide you want to turn around.
You are driving a 28 to 50' sailboat, inboard, right hand prop, with wheel.

Are the following steps optimal, what else, options?

  1. Slow to idle and steerage
  2. Move to the port side of the fairway
  3. Look for a smaller boat or opening on the starboard side so you have more room
  4. Turn wheel hard right
  5. Give short burst in forward 1 - 3 seconds of 1/4 to 1/3 throttle then idle
  6. When close enough to the starboard side put in reverse and apply 1/4 to 1/3
  7. As soon as the boat stops forward motion shift to forward apply 1/4 to 1/3

If you have not completed the turn and are ready to center the helm repeat 6-7 as needed.

Anything to do differently if:

  • Wind is from the stern on the initial approach.
  • The boat has barn door rudder and cut away forefoot like the Bristol 32
 

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This is totally going to depend on the boat. Ours could turn full circle within a boatlength or two, so for me it's slow down, grab hold somewhere and put the helm over hard... end of story.

Long fin/skeg/full keel different story, I'm sure...
 

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If the wind is on the stern, forcing the bow up into the wind will be tough.

I would just crank the wheel over. I will turn in 1.5 boat lengths.

Full keel / cut away forefoot; keep your speed up. You will lose steerageway at low speeds. (I know)
 

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On a side note.

When we are teaching boat handling, we take first the students out into an area with lots of room and do "wheelies" in forward and reverse - while watching the turning radius.
 

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Taking the operatives word here: 1. 'narrow', 2 a right hand prop ....
the most efficient will be while carrying forward motion (momentum), go to (fast) hard-over turn to starboard while reversing the transmission and applying power until at near 180°.

Doesnt matter if fin or full keel or a tugboat or an ocean liner, etc. as backing down while going forward with the engine in reverse is the fastest and most efficient way to "pivot" a boat; the key element is right handed or left handed prop, thus knowing which way the stern will 'go' when in put into reverse while the boat is going forward.
 

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Taking the operatives word here: 1. 'narrow', 2 a right hand prop ....
the most efficient will be while carrying forward motion (momentum), go to (fast) hard-over turn to starboard while reversing the transmission and applying power until at near 180°.

Doesnt matter if fin or full keel or a tugboat or an ocean liner, etc. as backing down while going forward with the engine in reverse is the fastest and most efficient way to "pivot" a boat; the key element is right handed or left handed prop, thus knowing which way the stern will 'go' when in put into reverse while the boat is going forward.
Those are my sentiments as well. If you keep the momentum up enough you can toss it back in forward and swing her on the rest of the way. In a sailboat, the slower you go the less steerage you have with your rudder (water moving over it an all that jazz) If you do lose the momentum, I find in that small space you are really only going to get response from the rudder hard over in forward or the propwalk in reverse. I will only go between a straight to only slightly turned rudder (the direction of the prop walk) and walk a little in reverse, then crank her over and give a good burst in forward to swing it. Also every boat I buy I take out in open space and just see how it acts, hammer on it a bit.
 

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Also every boat I buy I take out in open space and just see how it acts, hammer on it a bit.
The 'operative word' here is dont be TIMID with the application of the throttle .... 'hammer' it.

If you watch what the 'watermen' do during docking, etc. contests during festivals, etc., they apply so much 'hammer' that their single screw boats literally 'jump' about to change direction, etc. Short but intensive bursts of HIGH power / HIGH rpm is what it takes. Takes some practice to get it 'right', a developed 'art'.
 

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Even if you are a charter skipper (maybe especially if you are one) hopping from boat to boat you should know your boat's pivot points, limits and abilities. The best way is to do a buoy bounce on a calm day - and then on a windy day. Simply maneuver around a fender or something and learn your boat.

I've got a MaxProp - hence no prop wash to use as an aid therefore the only thing that really matters is wind/current.
One thing I do know, with my 2/3 keel is to do it fast, do it bold, and have someone on the bow with a long stick and a fender.

Depending on circumstances I'd probably just put it in reverse and back out. I've got a rather powerful reverse thing with the rotating blades and knowing that I tend to be bold (e.g. I can stop pretty fast when I whip all 44 ponies).

Now for the chuckles part -

Head down the fairway 10 (depending on your pivot point/stern kick) feet away from one side at full speed. Cleat your bow anchor at 1.5 boat lengths and throw your it as far to the center of the fairway as you can.
Kill the engine and as soon as you feel the anchor bite turn hard towards it, once past 180 degrees have your bowman start reeling in the rode, snatch it off the bottom on the way by.

Someone let me know if that works.
 

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I have fin keel boat and I can just about pivot/rotate the boat on the keel. Using a combination of reverse full left rudder and forward full right rudder it's easy but takes practice at first. Things to remember, the rudder doesn't do anything to turn the boat unless it has water flow. So, in reverse it won't turn the boat unless the boat is moving backward. Once moving backward turning the rudder hard swings the bow pretty quick. Once the bow has turned 90 degrees kick it in forward and spin the rudder. The engine now generates the flow across the rudder without generating a lot of forward motion and now the bow swings very quickly. When done right, you'll impress people who think sailboats don't maneuver well. Yes , wind and current will effect how well this works. With a keel hung rudder it won't be quite as responsive but it will work.

John
 

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Turning around and driving bow first out of the fairway shows good seamanship. However, if I think wind or current or width are a serious issue, I have no problem backing out. In the OP scenario, that would require staring from the opposite side of the fairway, as prop walk is going to pull the stern while steerage is regained.

Or, install a bow thruster. 😊
 

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Hmm, to complete a turn in place, stop the boat, set hard right rudder and leave the wheel alone, apply short bursts of forward interspersed with a short burst of reverse, and if you mix them properly the boat will largely rotate in place. This is a common skipper checkout exercise.
 

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"1 a : a navigable part of a river, bay, or harbor "

I don't know, "fairway" was never used on me. But it would seem that "narrow fairway" is a contradiction in terms.

Some boats will spin on a dime, others need three boatlengths to come about.

Extra points if you remember a sailing class where you were literally taught to sail in reverse, and you just gobsmack the peanut gallery by sailing back the way you came, in reverse. (G)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hmm, to complete a turn in place, stop the boat, set hard right rudder and leave the wheel alone, apply short bursts of forward interspersed with a short burst of reverse, and if you mix them properly the boat will largely rotate in place. This is a common skipper checkout exercise.
Now that is interesting. What I like about this technique is that it is low speed and very controlled. You are not comming down the fairway at speed.

Does it work with wind from the stern.

Does is work with a Bristol 32 hull shape.

What about wind from astern and a Bristol 32.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
If the wind is on the stern, forcing the bow up into the wind will be tough.

I would just crank the wheel over. I will turn in 1.5 boat lengths.

Full keel / cut away forefoot; keep your speed up. You will lose steerageway at low speeds. (I know)
Yes I know too!!!

Last fall I tried this maneuver and the boat went down the fairway beam too until I fetched up against some pilings. I was effectively alone so had some fending to to until I could warp it around.

I was obviously too slow and the boat stopped after about 90 and I couldn't give it enough forward power and way for the bow to come up before I ran out of room.

I am concerned about going too fast and hitting something on the side.

How about:

Moderate speed
Idle, Neutral, Reverse
Helm hard over
Big burst of throttle in reverse until the boat almost stops
Then idle, neutral, forward and other boot of power.

Hopefully by then the 180 is complete and I can steer normally.

In your experience (sounds like you have had some experience in this kind of boat) would the stop, hard-over, forward and reverse work with the Bristol.

I have a lot more experience driving fin keel balanced rudder boats and frankly I thought I knew what I was doing until I started working the the B32 and the Almond 31.

So I'm looking for experience with people who have had these boats or once similar to them as they handle vastly different at least to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just for thread completeness I would like to add a couple of handling characteristics of the Bristol 32 and I suspect any full keel, cut away for-foot, barn door rudder.

In reverse even at low speeds the wheel can easily be ripped out out your hand.
The pressures on the rudder overwhelms the steering advantage. I had some success in putting on the wheel brake to help keep the wheel from slamming to the stop.

It is my opinion that steering in reverse may be possible if you keep the helm straight or nearly straight. Just like if you have a trailer with a long tongue the angle of the rudder is vastly over emphasized to the bow.

But because you will have to go really slow because of the problem holding the wheel and have to keep the rudder close to straight, any sideways force by current or wind will push your bow not touching the stern which will turn the boat. You will try to compensate by turning the helm when then makes the helm harder to hold and probably will not affect the bow anyway and if it does it will make it swing wildly.

My experience was in significant wind and current and only a few times so those of you who really know these boats please feel free to comment.
 

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david - suggest you go to the USSailing website and look up 'pivot turn' (video), lots of other internet sites that also show and describe the pivot turn in detail.
To do a 180° while underway, the pivot turn is done with the boat 'moving'.

For a B32 or any other RH-propped boat, simply hold the rudder hard-over to starboard while doing the pivot turn; as, once committed, the rudder does not move.
 

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When you're making the pivot turn as described by sailingfool, the boat turns when you give it a burst in forward gear. When you give it a burst in reverse, the boat doesn't turn very much. The main purpose of the burst in reverse is primarily to keep the boat "in place" while you do the turning maneuver. What you are doing is turning (in forward) and then backing, and then turning again, until the boat is pointed in the direction that you wish. If you are doing the turning maneuver in a place where a crosswind or a current is affecting it, you might need to apply a stronger burst of throttle to overcome the wind or current. In an extreme situation, you might have do deal with the problem as they did in the days before auxiliary engines - you might have to wait for the wind or current to turn favorable.
 

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The 'operative word' here is dont be TIMID with the application of the throttle .... 'hammer' it.

If you watch what the 'watermen' do during docking, etc. contests during festivals, etc., they apply so much 'hammer' that their single screw boats literally 'jump' about to change direction, etc. Short but intensive bursts of HIGH power / HIGH rpm is what it takes. Takes some practice to get it 'right', a developed 'art'.
THIS


MedSailor
 

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I think sailingfool describes the operation perfectly. On a boat with any kind of prop walk the boat most certainly will pivot to some extent in reverse, and also move slightly sideways. Easy to do in light winds; you could sit in one place and turn 360 dgrees if you wanted. Might be a little abusive to the drivetrain. However, as the wind from astern increases there comes a point when the engine just plain lacks enough power to force the bow around into the wind. This is when the prudent skipper works with the forces of nature instead of against them, and backs up the channel.
 
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