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Old 23-10-2011, 09:09   #1
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Challenge: Backing in

Our slip is the next to the last one down our row and is a left turn to pull bow in. The boats behind me are just 50 feet away. I have been going in head first because I tried backing in once and there just isn't enough room to get enough speed for any kind of steerage way. My wife isn't in any shape to pull lines for backing in. ANy ideas how to do it? The boat is a Ranger 29. I thought about pulling head in, tossing a line somehow attached to a rear cleat onto a piling at the port bow then backing out and pivoting around on that then backing straight in but not sure if it will work in any kind of wind?

The reason I want to back in is to make it easier on my wife getting on and off the boat. She has MS and can't take long steps to the dock and I can't really put a board across the way it's situated bow in.
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Old 23-10-2011, 09:33   #2
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Re: backing in

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Originally Posted by rrranch View Post
Our slip is the next to the last one down our row and is a left turn to pull bow in. The boats behind me are just 50 feet away. I have been going in head first because I tried backing in once and there just isn't enough room to get enough speed for any kind of steerage way. My wife isn't in any shape to pull lines for backing in. ANy ideas how to do it? The boat is a Ranger 29. I thought about pulling head in, tossing a line somehow attached to a rear cleat onto a piling at the port bow then backing out and pivoting around on that then backing straight in but not sure if it will work in any kind of wind?

The reason I want to back in is to make it easier on my wife getting on and off the boat. She has MS and can't take long steps to the dock and I can't really put a board across the way it's situated bow in.

You don't have to do it in one turn. You can do "parallel parking" maneuvers where you come closer and closer each time, back and forth. I have to pull my boat out that way in high wind.

If the rudder is really fighting you -- do you have a tree-blade or a two-blade prop? A two-blade prop should make the boat easier to maneuver in reverse.

I also have a line that runs the entire line of my slip, with a carabiner in the middle. If you can get the stern in, you grab that line and pull it to you. You should be able to pull a 29' Ranger in just by yourself. Then you have some fort of thing on your toe rail in the right place. You clip the carabiner to that, and it acts as an instang for and aft spring line. the boat isn't going anywhere and you can take your time tying up.

I have mild coordination problems, but I have to bring my boat in bow first or she goes aground in the slip -- sloping slip bottom. I had my lifelines reconfigured so that on the dock side it opens at the bow. I can also open it amidships for use in other slips. My boat rides in the slip at a slight angle, but I can get on and off her safely.

Maybe some of these things will work for you, or give you other ideas, but I really recommend that double-ended spring line. With that you can rapidly secure your boat under just about any conditions.
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Old 23-10-2011, 09:45   #3
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Re: backing in

Our boat has a 2 blade prop. I have only owned it a month and not sure what type but it sucks putting power on in reverse. I adjusted the transmission and it is working right but that prop just seems to take forever engaging reverse. I'm thinking it's a feathering type of some sort or variable pitch. I'll find out next week when I clean it.
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Old 23-10-2011, 09:57   #4
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Re: backing in

I was doing it a couple of years ago with my boat, most of the time on my own. It's 41.5 ft, the slip would be on my starboard side once I backed in and the boat doesn't have a bow thruster so it was not possible if the wind was across my starboard beam with any force. I would get a long bow line and stern spring line ready ahead of time. I would start as close as I could get to the dock that was perpendicular to my slip and ease forward until my stern was even with the neighbors boat. Prop walk and the rudder would bring the stern to port and as soon as I could step off with a spring line and the bow line and walk the boat in. I got caught a couple of times when the wind took off with my bow before I could step off so it was a judgement call as to whether I could do it.
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Old 23-10-2011, 17:14   #5
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Re: backing in

It's amazing how much effect the wind has on us trying to dock. It's even more amazing I don't remember it from the navy. I stood all the bridge watches, including officer of the deck on a Frigate which is almost 400 feet long and only one engine and rudder. Long and lean just like a sailboat with a lot of sail area on the superstructure. I remember having a little bit of trouble a couple times mooring unassisted but nothing like this. I guess having 20-30 line handlers on deck makes a big difference. Now it's just me doing it all.
Last week I was joking with a friend about installing a bow thruster. He said I'd get laughed at but if it saves my gel coat I don't mind. I told him I was going to get the biggest remote controlled trolling motor I could find and mount it on the bow. I was only half kidding. Wish I could afford it.
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Old 23-10-2011, 17:47   #6
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Re: backing in

A cross wind is tough when you're in reverse. I put Honeysuckle into a slip a couple of weeks ago while being pushed by a skiff tied to my starboard. That was an experience. I had one guy on the bow to keep us from running anyone over and one on the dock to catch us. Funniest part was when we got in and everyone was yelling full reverse at the top of our lungs Not the easiest way to do it but still better then backing in when you alone
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Old 23-10-2011, 18:09   #7
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Re: backing in

Ranch, how is it easier for your wife to move between dock and boat if you are berthed "backwards"? All sailboats I've mounted/dismounted have been from midship, including my powerboat. In my area of the marina, there is only one sailboat berthed with stern in (against the prevailing wind!).



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Old 23-10-2011, 18:29   #8
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Re: backing in

Our dock is kinda short. If I back in I have a longer straighter section of deck next to it to put a board across. We've been trying with me helping her in and I don't mind at all but she just isn't very sure footed. She's dropped my wallet, our steamer pot and my keys so far and almost gone swimming herself once. It's just not worth it. With the stern of the boat along the dock it will be much easier for her to just step right into the cockpit.
Also I tie the boat loosely at all 4 corners and use spring lines on both sides. We are down there almost every week but live 500 miles away so I like to be prepared incase a storm came up while we are gone. It's got room to move about a foot in either direction so it doesn't hit the pilings and to allow for the tide and she gets aboard so slow that it moves out from under her sometimes. I'm scared she will go in the water sometime when I'm not there. I just have to make it as easy as possible for her.

The dock only comes to about the cabin door on our boat. We do have a grab rail there that can be moved to either side but still. It would just be easier for her backed in.
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Old 23-10-2011, 19:07   #9
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Re: backing in

I don't know if this is relevant or not, when I had my old Hunter 30 I found that if I backed up before entering the fairway I could control the boat in reverse as well as going forward. It was just the first 50 feet or so that gave me trouble. So if I wanted to back into my slip, I just started backing before entering the fairway and steered directly into the slip.

My current slip neighbor has a 40' something. Heck, he does the same thing only he backs into his slip at almost 5 knots and just before hitting the dock, shifts to forward. He does a remarkable job backing in.

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Old 23-10-2011, 19:09   #10
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Re: backing in

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Originally Posted by rrranch View Post
Our boat has a 2 blade prop. I have only owned it a month and not sure what type but it sucks putting power on in reverse. I adjusted the transmission and it is working right but that prop just seems to take forever engaging reverse. I'm thinking it's a feathering type of some sort or variable pitch. I'll find out next week when I clean it.

I would suggest you just practice with it some, some place where you have plenty of room, and I think you'll find you'll get used to how the boat backs up. If you have a full keel it still won't back up beautifully. I have a fin keel which makes it easier.
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Old 23-10-2011, 19:16   #11
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Re: backing in

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Originally Posted by foggysail View Post
I don't know if this is relevant or not, when I had my old Hunter 30 I found that if I backed up before entering the fairway I could control the boat in reverse as well as going forward. It was just the first 50 feet or so that gave me trouble. So if I wanted to back into my slip, I just started backing before entering the fairway and steered directly into the slip.

My current slip neighbor has a 40' something. Heck, he does the same thing only he backs into his slip at almost 5 knots and just before hitting the dock, shifts to forward. He does a remarkable job backing in.

Foggy
I can see that. You get some water moving across your rudder. Another trick I've found is to give the throttle a burst to get water moving across the rudder.
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Old 23-10-2011, 19:19   #12
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Re: backing in

Quote:
Originally Posted by foggysail View Post
I don't know if this is relevant or not, when I had my old Hunter 30 I found that if I backed up before entering the fairway I could control the boat in reverse as well as going forward. It was just the first 50 feet or so that gave me trouble. So if I wanted to back into my slip, I just started backing before entering the fairway and steered directly into the slip.

My current slip neighbor has a 40' something. Heck, he does the same thing only he backs into his slip at almost 5 knots and just before hitting the dock, shifts to forward. He does a remarkable job backing in.

Foggy
I haven't personally tired it but several people on our dock do this and it always seems to work great. I'm wondering why I never heard of it before.
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Old 23-10-2011, 19:44   #13
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Re: backing in

That's what the guy teaching us to sail said to do. I might have to give it a try next time. I should have plenty of power forward to stop the boat if things go wrong.
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Old 23-10-2011, 20:11   #14
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I have to back in so that we face SE winds in winter I have three prop I do need my 1st mate to step off mid ship and tie on then I get off with stern line by this time 1st mate gets bow line I do have pole ready to fend off boat on my port side CS 40 is fun to back up just need to have plan and adjust when things go wrong
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Old 25-10-2011, 10:13   #15
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Re: Backing in

We usually have the wind dead on the bow where we park. I'm not sure if that is a normal thing but it seems like everytime I take the boat out I don't even have to use reverse to back out. One time our sailing instructor even sailed us right out by backing the jib then raising the main to get us moving forward. Boy is he good. I don't think I'll try it anytime soon. It does give the other sailors a good show though.
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