SailNet Community banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK, so I'm not very good at this - but I'm also willing to take some advice...

Toodle-oo! went back in the water today :D and the moanoever required reversing off the truck and backing about 150 feet between two piers about a boatlength and a half wide. It was a little intimidating since the wind was strong - 20 kts, gusting 25. It was almost behind me - on the port side... probably about 200 - 210 degrees apparent.

So I come off the truck and the boat starts reversing towards port - and I have full starboard rudder on. I tried going with strong throttle and with very little throttle. It felt as if no matter what I did with the throttle, she kept coming to port. Three times I had to go forward to realign the boat with the jettys.

No drama, didn't hit anything, but I'd really like to know what I should have done differently in order to come straight out under those conditions.

Thanks for any and all advice.:)

Bill

s/v Toodle-oo!
 

·
One of None
Joined
·
8,045 Posts
I try to allow time (and space) for the inertia of the boat. it's rare that a sailboat engine can just start reversing the boat without some lag time. Once moving in reverse the rudder will work, Again.. when it's time to go forward there is that same lag and wait for the engine to overcome the inertia of the boat. Hope this helps. strong winds can really complicate things as your finding out.
 

·
Senior Member
Joined
·
19,489 Posts
Yes, you do need to have the patience to keep the rudder amidships until you have steerage way on - putting the rudder hard over early acts like a brake and amplifies the propwalk effect.

You don't say what kind of (37'?) boat it is, but there are many popular designs out there that simply will not back up in a straight line no matter what you do.. if you have one of those then you're stuck with the kind of situation you had just now.

You may have been better off to try and spin the boat around as soon as you could - but presumably there was no room to do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Bill:
I presume you have a Crealock 37.

I agree with what Denise and Faster have posted.

1) Patience - need to get some steerageway and water flowing past the rudder for it to do its work

2) Fixed Prop? - There is a fellow sailor on our dock who is much more seasoned than me and also owns a C37. He has a fixed 3 blade prop vs. our Max-Prop. He swears he can't get his boat to back out straight and has learned to work around it. I have read that one advantage to the Max Prop is less prop walk.

3) Wind @ 210 degrees - that would tend to blow off your bow to starboard and exacerbate your prop walk, I think. That probably didn't help things.

I think that some of the design characteristics which make the C37 desirable in other situations make it tough for us in close quarters maneuvering. One could always trade in for a fin keel / spade rudder / flat bottom boat with a bow thruster.... nah.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
404 Posts
I have the same problem on my Morgan 323. The prop is in an aperature and then the aperature frame runs right into the rudder shoe and full skeg so its like it is a full keel design for reversing. Needless to say it does not back up straight for the life of me. As soon as put it in reverse the stern just walks to port and the wheel does absolutely nothing.

I have learned to live with it though and just take extra time to plan any docking meneavure before hand. For instance if I want to back my boat into a slip instead of lining it up straight and then hitting reverse, I point the bow 45 degrees to the left so when I reverse it the prop walk lines the boat into the slip. Then to fine tune the angle I do short bursts of switching it into forward gear and then back into reverse as again the wheel does nothing.

Overtime you will learn how your boat responds to this type of thing so you will know exactly how to line it up, how far to position it and at which point the boat rotates and which point it starts to actually move backwards. Couple that with the wind and tide.....

It is just something you have to accept and do your best with it. The most annoying thing I find is not the fact that my boat doesn't back up but the fact that other people on both spade rudder light disp sailboats and power boats, don't understand what we go through. I was going to kill my friend the other day as he was on the dock yelling instructions to me as I was trying to back my boat into a slip. "Just turn the wheel hard over" he keeps yelling. I honestly wanted to punch him because he is yelling like I'm an idiot mean while his stink pot as a bow thruster!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
404 Posts
Also one thing you will have to learn to accept is that you will not be able to get into every dock / slip at the angle or position you want to or sometimes not even at all! For example this past weekend my gf and I sailed across the Sound to Milford, CT and the dock master over there has every single boat pull in bow forward since each slip has a full length finger pier / side dock.

Our slip was all the way at the end of the creek on our port side as we were coming down the channel. At this point of the creek the channel was only 15 yards wide and there was maybe 25 yards of the stream left before it ran into rocks and a small bridge. So I knew if I pulled my boat in bow forward, then the next day when I went to go reverse, the stern would walk to port and no matter what I could do it would point the bow towards the bridge and the end of the creek. I would be screwed because there is no room to meanevuer and no way for me to turn my boat around and since it does not back up straight I wouldn't be able to back out because the boat woud just keep turning until it eventually backed into other boats.

So long story short I simply backed my boat in and made leaving the next day so much easier. Again the annoying part was not doing this, but having to explain to the dock master and every other A-hole on the dock why I was doing it and then listen to them try and give me a lesson on docking like I'm an idiot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all...

The boat is a Crealock 37 - with fixed prop.

I guess the mistake was turning the rudder too quickly? Even though I had quite a lot of speed going backwards, and when I dropped the throttle, she still kept coming to port while rudder was hard to starboard... Did I stall the rudder or something?

Anyway, no damage done - just would like to have managed it a little more elegantly. I need to practice this stuff - I've never yet had the "opportunity" to back in between pilings - hoping to this season!

Thanks again,

Bill
s/v Toodle-oo!
Crealock 37 #148


If it wasn't blowing so hard, I'd have turned the boat around - but those piers were both solid rock - not very forgiving!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
Dear Bill, I've seen my friend in a PSC 34 back into some amazing spaces with great control. When I asked "How did you do that?" his reply was that early on in his ownership he backed the boat all the way through a fairly crowded harbor, around mooring balls, boats, floats, and who knows what else. I plan on following that example though I might use lobster pot buoys rather than Hinkleys!
Jay
PS 37, Kenlanu, # 171
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,647 Posts
Use neutral...... after gaining momentum moving backwards shift into neutral. Be prepared to shift back into reverse when you have lost your reverse momentum.
Using this method, I find that I have much more contol of the boat and that once in neutral, all effects of prop walk are eliminated.
Not all boats act the same, and I can not speak specifically about the PS, I have no idea if your boat will act the same, but I have to believe that this will give you more control. Strong winds are a pain to deal with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I did actually use neutral for a while - maybe not long enough...

Is there any merit to the thought I might somehow be stalling the rudder or is that gobledegook?

Jay: Not sure what's worse - hitting Hinkleys or getting trapped in lobster pot bouys! Shall give it a go when up in Maine this summer...


Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,378 Posts
Is there any merit to the thought I might somehow be stalling the rudder or is that gobledegook?

Bill
Yes - the rudder is acting as a big brake, preventing the boat from developing enough speed to get steerageway. The is especially true with a longer keel which requires more speed to get steerageway.

Jack
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Bill,
I feel your pain!
I too have great difficulty in backing the boat up (same boat/prop set up).
I would agree with the idea of starting with the rudder centered, the boat aligned off center before starting (to allow for prop walk), and using neutral as much as possible. From your skewed starting position, turn the prop only long enough to be making way. Go to neutral and only use small rudder movements. I agree with previous statements that any more than half over on the rudder and it acts as a brake, not a turning device. To help with this, I marked my wheel at the center position, and don't turn it more than 3/4 turn either way. In theory you can use a quick burst of high throttle in forward (turn to port) or reverse (turn to starboard) to "spin" the boat with the prop walk without changing speed too much. I have not mastered this at all!!
Again, as others have said, practice, practice, practice.
Good luck, and if you find something that works, please share it with us.

Paul
PSC37
 

·
Not Finished Yet
Joined
·
829 Posts
I watched this thread with some interest. I just purchased a 1989 PS34. Just before this thread started I had watched my broker back the boat in a straight line. I was surprised he could do it. He told me the key was to put the rudder all the way to starboard before putting it in reverse.

I finally closed and last weekend got to play with it. I found that it works as long as you use very low RPM. I found I could back in a straight line if I first put the rudder all the way to starboard, then put it in reverse at about 1200 RPM. If I gave it too much RPM, it walked to port substantially.

I have a two-blade fixed prop, so that might have an impact.
 

·
Wing n' Wing
Joined
·
49 Posts
backing a crealock

I agree with all the input. The first thing you need to learn about backing a Crealock, is where to put those 16" round "crash" bumpers.
And, don't be afraid to use them!
When you do get some travel going in reverse, you need to apply the rudder turn slowly, picking up speed on your turn as you begin to feel it bite. You are right in thinking you prob. stalled your rudder by turning too much too soon.
And the advise to learn to back these boats, in calm water, with soft objects as references and most important; when you don't have to. Rested.

One of our trainers insteaded that you learn to back up, by watching the bow.
He would have us start backing, watching the bow move as we slowly started turning the wheel. Works.
The other thing he had us do, was to get into a wide docking area, dead stop. Turn the wheel full starboard, fwd throttle>reverse>fwd>reverse. Using the prop wash to spin the boat in place. Stop, wheel full Port, repeat process and learn how to use your prop wash. (More bumpers)
If you have the time and money, going to an outfit like San Juan Sailing Yacht training, and telling them you want 6 lessons in dock handling is worth every penny.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
277 Posts
Since you've revived this thread Lansdowne . . .
I don't have a lot of experience in difficult backing situations, but my slip is oriented such that we usually have a crosswind (often 10kts or so). Where some of my neighbors struggle backing out when the wind is up (one of them even needing to let the wind blow them off the wrong way, then doing a 180), my PSC '34 with MaxProp does quite well. Based on the previous posts here, I suspect that my MaxProp (with its blades that reverse their orientation when backing) may be helping significantly. I know its not my great skills since much more experienced sailors struggle a lot more than I am in the cross wind. I normally give it a blast to get the boat moving (sometimes initially fending off with a boat pole though), then shift into neutral and coast out.
 

·
S/V Argo-Pacific Seacraft
Joined
·
142 Posts
Bill,

I know exactly what you're talking about. There are a lot of good comments here. The ones that I've figured out are the most important are small rudder movements, good throttle control, and good shifting. You are absolutely right that you are stalling out the rudder when it's hard over.

I've found that keeping the rudder centered up, then going with 1/4 to 1/2 rudder, followed by a burst of throttle, say 1600-1800 RPM, then backing down to a high idle, or going to neutral. This gets a quick shot of flow across the rudder for corrections, but not so much that you start going every which way. It also seems to me that about the time you are noticeably turning, get the rudder back to center, once she starts going she doesn't want to stop. I think of the prop/rudder in terms of a bow thruster and give it little gooses here and there.

All that said, my batting average is probably 40-60% on getting where I want to go on the first shot.


Ryan
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top