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Old 06-09-2015, 19:07   #31
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Absolutely on the slow. A perfect landing is stopping the boat with the dock line but the reality is when blowing 25 and a six knot current that doesn't work. Maybe a good time to anchor.
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Old 07-09-2015, 23:12   #32
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Well, I did go out and practice learning how the boat handles. It's very strange. Reverse is crazy.

I wanted to see which way it prop walked. I have been told most go to port. At first after coming to a stop, then engaging reverse, with the tiller centered, I started swing the stern to starboard. It's actually just drove around in circles like that. It was very hard to change. But after that, reversing, it was a little more controllable and I couldn't get it to repeat its starboard walk performance. So at this point I vote it doesn't prop walk.

Who knows though, there are currents from tide changes and wind, although it was pretty much slack and the wind was dead, lol. I just don't know!

I set myself up by a channel marker then, and practiced what in a car would be a three point turn. The marker was so I knew where I was.

It went well and I got back in my slip without incident.
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Old 07-09-2015, 23:30   #33
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Prop walk is most evident when you don't have clear movement of water over the rudder. So, if the boat is stationary, and there is no current or wind to confuse things, putting the boat in reverse with the rudder centred as you did will usually quickly demonstrate the direction of prop-walk if it is present.


Once the boat starts to actually move backwards through the water it gets a LOT harder to know what, if any, prop-walk effect you are experiencing. This is because once the boat is actually moving, the rudder starts to be able to do its job, either holding the boat in a straight(ish) line or deflecting the stern one way or the other. Also, once moving all sorts of other factors such as air movement and residual rotational momentum make it hard to figure out what is causing which movement.


But here's something to try that might help you understand how your prop walk might affect your docking technique:


In calm water, preferably with little or no wind, try getting the boat moving forwards under light engine power, maybe two or three knots, once it is moving in a perfectly straight line, hold the helm in position, put the engine in neutral, give the gearbox a moment, then put engine in reverse with a moderate amount of throttle. What you will probably find is that the stern moves to one side or the other as the boat slows, depending on the nature of your prop walk. And given the shape of your boat, I reckon it is going to move pretty positively one way or the other, I don't think you will have trouble spotting it.


Then, depending on whether you subscribe to the fast or slow approach to your pen philosophy, you will be able to factor in that prop walk as part of your solution.


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Old 08-09-2015, 00:13   #34
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

The easiest way to determine the prop walk is to simply look at the water. Best way is with the boat tied up in the slip. Put it in reverse. You will probably see a lot of water being ejected sideways, in line with the prop. If a lot more water is going to starboard, than to port, it is easy to figure out that you have port prop walk in reverse, and why.
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Old 08-09-2015, 00:24   #35
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

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The easiest way to determine the prop walk is to simply look at the water. Best way is with the boat tied up in the slip. Put it in reverse. You will probably see a lot of water being ejected sideways, in line with the prop. If a lot more water is going to starboard, than to port, it is easy to figure out that you have port prop walk in reverse, and why.
Depends on the shape of the boat I reckon. Ours shoots water out sideways on both sides when in reverse, as it has to escape the rather blunt keel face. Just a bit more to starboard than port, the only way to detect the difference on ours is to see which way the boat moves.

I suspect on a modern flat bottom boat with the prop well clear of the keel it would be easier to tell using this technique.
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Old 08-09-2015, 00:47   #36
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Ok, ill try again of course. It was fun. I probably looked like an idiot doing figure eights backwards for a half hour but whatever. At least I got into the slip.

Thank goodness I have finger piers on both sides and big fairways. Thank you harbor gods. I seriously would be screwed otherwise. It should be a rule that marinas have to be like this.

Like Sausalito Mark? I couldn't get into that place.

Is it possible because of the max prop I don't have prop walk? It's basically just random and uncontrollable in reverse. It goes whichever random way it wants, regardless of if the tiller it port or SB and spins in circles.

The thing I learned is how to spin in circles almost in place going forward. Like the advice given in this thread was very helpful. Short but powerful burst of spee forward, and pushing the title the way I want to turn, that does make the boat turn the way I want it to. Then short powerful burst in reverse so I don't actually go forward, the. More forward bursts.

I think after today I could,turn around in my fairway if I overshot the harbor and try again, u line before when I didn't know what to do, plus I got a better feel for the boat.
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Old 08-09-2015, 00:57   #37
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Didn't go all the way to Sausalito, just down the channel a bit.

I actually like the prop walk now I'm used it it. It is a very useful tool if you use it to your advantage, rather than fight it.
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:26   #38
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Practice, practice, practice! (Ideally away from other boats - or anything else to hit!).

The good news is that you seem to have certainties to play with. If she only goes straight at slow speed in reverse then only turn going forward - at the price of a 12 point turn! Works for me.

For turning going forward you simply have to learn what speed she needs. And sounds like that faster than currently seems comfortable. But practice (and success!) will breed confidence.

Also fenders give confidence, a gallic shrug also useful for the less than perfect dockings....plus knowing when your answer to a docking is "no".
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:31   #39
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post

I set myself up by a channel marker then, and practiced what in a car would be a three point turn. The marker was so I knew where I was.
I didn't read the entire thread before my last post......that way of practising is IMO the best way for the reason you stated. Plus less to hit!

Can do a lifetime of dockings in a few hours.
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:53   #40
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

These difficulties are why time and schedule are your enemies. As DOJ says sometimes the answer is NO. For some boats, (mine being one) a tight slip, a narrow fairway and adverse wind or current or both reduces the probability of a successful outcome to the degree that its unwise to attempt the landing. Some places and conditions will not allow escape if things go poorly. Conditions that afford one chance which if missed leads to a collision prompt me to anchor and wait. The standard should be "never in doubt". Certainly there are tricks and techniques that help but each has it's limit. That means you need time...always an issue in a scheduled world. A full keel boat is a joy to me but the "shrug" after a less than perfect landing happens more often than on a fin keel boat.
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:20   #41
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

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These difficulties are why time and schedule are your enemies. As DOJ says sometimes the answer is NO. For some boats, (mine being one) a tight slip, a narrow fairway and adverse wind or current or both reduces the probability of a successful outcome to the degree that its unwise to attempt the landing. Some places and conditions will not allow escape if things go poorly. Conditions that afford one chance which if missed leads to a collision prompt me to anchor and wait. The standard should be "never in doubt". Certainly there are tricks and techniques that help but each has it's limit. That means you need time...always an issue in a scheduled world. A full keel boat is a joy to me but the "shrug" after a less than perfect landing happens more often than on a fin keel boat.
I wouldn't say full keel boats have smaller docking weather windows than fin Keeler's.

Greater lateral resistance and more weight make them less susceptible to gusts and more predictable in strong currents.

I've yet to encounter conditions so severe I couldn't get my heavy displacement boat alongside. I've had to take two or three tries on very windy days if dealing with a wind blowing off the dock, but never needed to anchor.

I think with practise, the characteristics of a heavy boat will start to shine through, I personally prefer docking a heavier boat in dicey conditions. What I don't like in windy conditions is my centre cockpit because its such a long hike to my mooring lines.

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Old 08-09-2015, 11:22   #42
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Most boats have right hand props ie: prop turns clockwise in forward which will kick the stern to starboard. In reverse it is the opposite. All boats have prop walk. It is just a matter of degree.
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Old 08-09-2015, 12:45   #43
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

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Another option is to learn how to use spring lines to maneuver the boat in a slip. I use one to leave if the wind is unfavorable. Not so good at using them upon returning, but am trying to learn. (Harder when single handed then when leaving.) It is amazing what one can do with a line when used the right way.
I have used the spring into the dock with success but am having a tough time understanding how to use it getting out singlehanded. I am on the starboard side of a double slip with an inevitable crosswind from the starboard. My boat walks to port on reversing and the bow wants to blow down into my neighbour as soon as I start back and nothing seems to stop it except getting a great push out of the dock or someone holding the bow up for me as I start out. I have a very small basin to spin in to the point that backing in is tough too. This will be my next real skill as there is almost always a crosswind. In light breezes I can do it but if I have a heavy breeze fending off my neighbour is the only chance I have and that doesn't work singlehanded.

How do I rig the spring to help in this case?
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Old 08-09-2015, 16:18   #44
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Given what you describe my first question would be to ask if you can reverse into the pen because from you description of the pen layout and your prop walk reversing in would suit the conditions.




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Old 08-09-2015, 16:24   #45
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Re: Trouble getting in and out of slip

Failing that I'd use a midship line to a ring on a line run the length of the pen. This should hold the boat mostly parallel with the pen as you reverse. You need the line to be long enough that you can easily release it from the cockpit ( or very near by) but not long enough to foul the prop if/ when it lands in the water. So just loop if from the midships cleat down to the ring (or block) on the line then back up to the cockpit. As you reach the end of travel of the ring release the end from the cockpit and pull the line back on board as soon as practical.


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