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Old 18-03-2010, 04:10   #1
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How to Maneuver with Only One Motor

Hi all,

As it happens i suffered a mecanical breakdown on my SB motor (Volvo Penta) so i can only use the BB motor.
As i am en route, dont realy have time now to get it fixed (need a new flexible coupling disk...) so i find that once out in the open, i can just handle fine my Sailing Cat (40ft FP) (motor sailing), but when it comes to tying up to mooring, or slip, boy, that is something else... i find it very complicated.. to manouvre the Cat is very tricky especialy w low speeds (common when you are close to the mooring or slip...). Is there somebody that has experience and can teach a few tricks... or is this just one of this have to deal with things...
Thanks and best rgds

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Old 18-03-2010, 08:04   #2
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There are few things more aggravating than a cat with one dead engine. When it happened to us we were on our way to a boatyard located up a series of narrow canals.
To finally get to the dock itself against a slight breeze my lady splashed the dinghy and pushed the cat sideways while I controlled the angle with the one good engine.
My sympathies.

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Old 18-03-2010, 11:48   #3
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I find whenever I need to stop, treat the boat as if has NO reverse. Work against the wind or current if you can. If you have to turn around turn toward the dead engine for the tightest circle. Plan you stop and moves WAY ahead.

I just took our cat to a new place to be hauled, a 70 mile trip down the Chesapeake. With no main or jib onboard after the winter guess what happens, lost a prop on the Port saildrive(that's good for another thread) . Fortunately I did have the spinaker on board , so I hoisted it and we did the trip in 9 hrs. great day with a following wind.

Docking in a narrow creek to a too short of dock with green hand pn board as help. My wife met us at the dock and helped from there. I was about to pull along side anothe cat but my wife spotted the short dock we could get right on. I had to do a last second decison to make a 360 to maneuver back to the short dock. Just go SLOW and take it very easy generally, working against any current or wind.

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Old 18-03-2010, 12:06   #4
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I find it is best to pretend I am dead-stick...

... and coast in. Come up with a plan that requires no engine and can be done very slowly.

For example, I might come straight into a side tie, use the engine only for braking, and turn the boat in with lines. In a regular slip, I pull in instead of back in. If the wind is strong and the space is tight, anchor-out until you have enough help and can get the tender rigged as a tug (opposite side as the good engine).

I have done all 3. Not pretty, but didn't hit anything. Just slow.
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:14   #5
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At low speeds the pwer from your engine will severley overcome your rudder/steering ability. The trick is to have way on and then coast while steering. Allow significant differential angle before applying power either ahead or astern.

Ex: If using port engine only while approaching a mooring either do as SeaKing says or, if you find your speed a touch toohigh as you approach the mooring, then approach ten feet or so to the right of it. As you back the port engine to slow down, it will pull the bows to the left towards the mooring. If the port bow was just about to hit the mooring, then you'd have the whole width of the boat to catch the ball between the hulls.

Ultimately, coast to steer, power to torque yourself as desired. Plan ahead. Oh, and practice this once and a while. It will happen sooner or later.
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:43   #6
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Lash the dink to the dead-engine side like tug. With good communication between helm and dink you will have no problem. No worries!

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Old 19-03-2010, 05:27   #7
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Assuming your anchor is deployed from the crossbeam, AND the water depth is relatively shallow, you can also lower the anchor until it just reaches the bottom. This will control the bows and you can then use your engine against this pivot point to better control your approach. You will just drag the anchor into the slip as you go in bow first.

Called a "poor man's tug." On a cat you may have problems if the water depth is too great as the anchor chain will get under a hull as you maneuver.

This is probably a trick used on windy days or against a current when you MUST get in.

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Old 19-03-2010, 10:54   #8
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Due to my previous engines' predeliction to consume their engine lift lanyards and hoist themselves up to the fully retracted position with four tight wraps between the prop and the lower leg, I've had a lot of practice at this. I think the best approach is to practice in a safe area, just to get the feel. Do everything slow. Anticipate the boat's reaction to changes in power. start the boat turning away from the remaining engine before hitting reverse. A short burst of power may slow your forward momentum better then a longer low throttle reverse because the boat has an inherent tendancy to track straight, especially if you have minikeels. If you have boards that are easy to raise and lower, (and enough water depth) you could drop the oppposite board when you reverse one engine. Maybe you could drop a bucket on a rope off the other stern.

Accelerating seems to require the opposite approach. From a dead stop, apply a little throttle to get a little way one, then pull back to idle and steer to correct you heading plus a little. Add a little gas until the boat starts turning in an undesirable direction, retard the throttle, and steer to correct. Rinse. Repeat. Eventually you will get up enough speed to use as much throttle as you want and steer a heading. Realize you will be using more fuel.

The PDQ 36 seems to diverge less backing up, but it is harder to steer accurately. If winds are blowing from the working engine side, I had to back down first, then hit a good bit of throttle forward to get under way, or back all the way around to put the wind on the dead engine.

I wish I had a very small sail on my jackstay, that would be self tacking, for just this problem. Peer approval comes from sailing into a slip. The good news is that my new engines have tilt motors, and the engine lanyards (what was left of them) have retired.

The key was always to anticipate the boat's reaction on a single engine, and aim to compensate in advance. I did make some nice landings (when no one was looking) and actually maneuvered into a circle raft without creating a new fiberglass project, to an audience of dozens of critics! Thank god for fat fenders.
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Old 19-03-2010, 11:35   #9
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Sandy gave a pretty good synopsis. You can use your momentum with rudders to maneuver when you have space around you. In close quarters, I'd add just one thing--prop walk. If you goose the throttle hard while in gear then immediately idle it you get a pretty good kick from prop walk. If you're in a forward gear, you also get a prop wash kick. For example, if your starboard motor is down and you've got clockwise rotation on the port motor, turning towards your starboard side is easy in forward or reverse. Say you need to go forward left. You might (might) be able to cut the wheel hard left and use prop wash and walk to kick the stern right. Backing you fight prop wash that wants to push your stern to stbd, so your only option is to cavitate your blade by momentarily running the rpm's high and relying on prop walk to kick the stern left. Don't put a lot of way on! These maneuvers depend a lot on the mass of your props, your underwarer hull form, and your displacement. In short, play around while you're not near anything.

When you are near a dock, spring lines are key. Put as little way on as possible because it is far easier to turn the boat with one engine than it is to stop it. Take it slow and get help into the slip.

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Old 19-03-2010, 12:48   #10
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Another thing I learned years ago is that it's alright to blow-off and aproach ...

... and circle around and come by a second time. Often I pass an unfamiliar docking situation, if there is a lot of wind of tide running, without any intention of making on the first go. I just slow way down and feel the forces.

With one engine this is even more true. you want to know what the wind and tide are going to do, because you arn't going to be able to fight it.
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Old 19-03-2010, 12:54   #11
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Pretend you own a monohull :-)

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