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Old 01-12-2014, 03:16   #46
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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Originally Posted by GrowleyMonster View Post
There is basically only one situation where you have to steer while backing, and that is backing into a slip. Usually debris, etc is not much of an issue, nor is pinning the rudder, when only making a knot or two of sternway. If your tiller gets away from you, a short blip ahead will get you sorted out.

Backing out of a slip generally only requires a good shove, and no power at all, for boats under 10 tons or so. Nearly all sailboats can steer somewhat while making sternway with the prop not turning. Side force only exists while the prop is actually turning.
Growley Monster,
I'm going to disagree with you, not because I don't doubt what works for you works for you. I'm disagreeing because a lot of people genuinely struggle with boat handling and I want people reading this to know there are correct ship handling techniques and there are some techniques that don't work as well for every one.
Sailboats don't steer well in reverse, nor do power boats for that matter. There are a few reasons for this, but I'm going to stick to the basics.
1) The rudder and hull shape aren't designed for steering in reverse.
2) You can't vector your thrust in reverse because your thrust isn't flowing over the rudder.
For people steering backwards into their slips, the only way to get a sailboat turning in reverse with their rudder is to have adequate water flow over the surface. This means backing up fast. If there's any kind of wind or current it means very fast, several knots. I don't know a lot of beginner boat handlers that should be backing there $100000 yachts into 18' wide slips at three knots.
However, any novice backing at a knot or two can point their stern using forward thrust and rudder, centre the rudder, then continue backing until they need to re point their sterns.
Another advantage of having your rudder centred while backing is when you do put her in forward to repoint your stern, the helm movement is never more then half your total range, which is much faster than a hard over to hard over maneuver, particularly on larger hydraulic systems.
In terms of Shoving off from dock, I would recommend leaving dock under the control of your engine. It's a lot easier to maintain control than to recover it from scratch. Some people may find the use of spring lines useful if they have a partner helping them out and I encourage that because it shows prudence and planning. Shoving off isn't a good technique in much more than a laser.
Obviously unpowered sailboats that need to sail away from dock will need to use this technique, but the people who own those boats aren't looking for boat handling tips on this thread.
Unless you have a jet drive, outdrive, harbour master or twin screws steering in reverse just doesn't work very well. When you're leaving a wall you don't back your boat away? You turn towards the wall, shot of forward to kick the stern out, then back away, repeat as necessary. Same principle applies for backing in most circumstances.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:30   #47
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

I'll add my 2 cents here.

We back into our slip. WE have very limted room (slip is 11 meters long, canal from end of slip to other side is 14 meters) just to make things more entertaining, a cross canal comes right into where our slip is so we usually have some type of eddying currents and there is a large building that throws constant wind gusts of vary speeds at us.

Even with our bow thruster, this can be stressful. The secret IS speed, even with our fin keel/spade rudder boat. We turn the boat in to starboard, meaning we have to negate the propwalk effect. And just to add to the fun, we end up doing it singlehanded since the other person is on shore opening and closing a bridge that runs across our canal.

Fun? you betcha!



And practice, practice practice.
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:53   #48
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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I'll add my 2 cents here.

We back into our slip. WE have very limted room (slip is 11 meters long, canal from end of slip to other side is 14 meters) just to make things more entertaining, a cross canal comes right into where our slip is so we usually have some type of eddying currents and there is a large building that throws constant wind gusts of vary speeds at us.

Even with our bow thruster, this can be stressful. The secret IS speed, even with our fin keel/spade rudder boat. We turn the boat in to starboard, meaning we have to negate the propwalk effect. And just to add to the fun, we end up doing it singlehanded since the other person is on shore opening and closing a bridge that runs across our canal.

Fun? you betcha!



And practice, practice practice.
Sounds like a challenging dock, especially if the current is tidal and reverses four times a day.
I would venture to say though, if your coming in hot, making a burn off to starboard, slamming her into reverse and backing no more than 35 feet (based on the space available and length of your boat), you're not controlling your direction in reverse with your rudder. You need to be aggressive with your throttle resulting in bubbles around your rudder, not clean waterflow. I would hazard to guess you are changing your attitude with the thruster, not the rudder.
And yes, I frequently operate in strong currents, high winds and confined waters and appreciate the value of the directional stability that comes with speed, but that in no way influences my belief that rudders work better with a shot of forward.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:26   #49
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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Sounds like a challenging dock, especially if the current is tidal and reverses four times a day.
I would venture to say though, if your coming in hot, making a burn off to starboard, slamming her into reverse and backing no more than 35 feet (based on the space available and length of your boat), you're not controlling your direction in reverse with your rudder. You need to be aggressive with your throttle resulting in bubbles around your rudder, not clean waterflow. I would hazard to guess you are changing your attitude with the thruster, not the rudder.
And yes, I frequently operate in strong currents, high winds and confined waters and appreciate the value of the directional stability that comes with speed, but that in no way influences my belief that rudders work better with a shot of forward.
We're in the BAltic, so no tides, just currents. We go by the slip, get her into reverse and get say 1-2 knots on her in reverse, then make the turn into the slip, and give her a long shot of the bow thruster. That gets the boat set straight into the slip and we can let her just slide the rest of the way in.

Did take quite a bit of practice to learn that LOL
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:30   #50
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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You know, what's good about this thread is how everybody's saying it's doable, requires practice, and is a skill one can acquire. Good on ya, guys.
... Or maybe us full keel boat owners are HOPING that is the case.

Just sayin.

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Old 01-12-2014, 05:08   #51
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

If somebody is struggling to handle their full keel boat I have a great outing suggestion.
Go down to your local commercial port and look at the assist and ice breaking tugs. Look for one of the older ones, they're usually narrower and 60-70 ft or so. Those ones are the single screw jobs. They handle just like a full keel sailboat (or so I've heard ).
The commercial guys not only handle the boats well, but are warping 400' barges and 600' ships in confined harbours and strong winds. You can see when they need to turn their load, their stern squats down in the water, big puff of black smoke. Their stern squats because they're applying forward throttle and rudder.
I'm not suggestingvthat you need to be as skilled as a tug captain to operate your full keel boat. They are however using appropriate techniques that you can learn and take advantage of.
If they can warp a 400' barge in 500' with there under powered 70' tug. You can use the same techniques to dock your 35' glass boat.

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Old 01-12-2014, 05:25   #52
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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. You can see when they need to turn their load, their stern squats down in the water, big puff of black smoke.
I feel better about my technique now. I do much the same thing, but without the big cloud of black smoke.

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Old 01-12-2014, 08:54   #53
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

Nothing can replace practice in a place where you are not running the risk of hitting other vessels or docks. You can take a couple of buoys with weights that reach the bottom and practice your approaches, backing etc... from different angles and wind directions. Once you learn how your vessel is going to respond under different conditions and you get a feel for it, then when docking you will have the confidence you need, and the judgment to wait when conditions are against you. Mostly the more time you spend maneuvering your vessel the better at it you should become.
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Old 01-12-2014, 09:40   #54
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
Growley Monster,
I'm going to disagree with you, not because I don't doubt what works for you works for you. I'm disagreeing because a lot of people genuinely struggle with boat handling and I want people reading this to know there are correct ship handling techniques and there are some techniques that don't work as well for every one.
Sailboats don't steer well in reverse, nor do power boats for that matter. There are a few reasons for this, but I'm going to stick to the basics.
1) The rudder and hull shape aren't designed for steering in reverse.
2) You can't vector your thrust in reverse because your thrust isn't flowing over the rudder.
For people steering backwards into their slips, the only way to get a sailboat turning in reverse with their rudder is to have adequate water flow over the surface. This means backing up fast. If there's any kind of wind or current it means very fast, several knots. I don't know a lot of beginner boat handlers that should be backing there $100000 yachts into 18' wide slips at three knots.
However, any novice backing at a knot or two can point their stern using forward thrust and rudder, centre the rudder, then continue backing until they need to re point their sterns.
Another advantage of having your rudder centred while backing is when you do put her in forward to repoint your stern, the helm movement is never more then half your total range, which is much faster than a hard over to hard over maneuver, particularly on larger hydraulic systems.
In terms of Shoving off from dock, I would recommend leaving dock under the control of your engine. It's a lot easier to maintain control than to recover it from scratch. Some people may find the use of spring lines useful if they have a partner helping them out and I encourage that because it shows prudence and planning. Shoving off isn't a good technique in much more than a laser.
Obviously unpowered sailboats that need to sail away from dock will need to use this technique, but the people who own those boats aren't looking for boat handling tips on this thread.
Unless you have a jet drive, outdrive, harbour master or twin screws steering in reverse just doesn't work very well. When you're leaving a wall you don't back your boat away? You turn towards the wall, shot of forward to kick the stern out, then back away, repeat as necessary. Same principle applies for backing in most circumstances.
Actually, I backed away from a wall just a couple days ago. Wind <5kt over the stern, docked starboard side to, right hand prop. Someone actually asked if I had twin screws, or a bow thruster, because my movement was an almost perfect lateral crab away from the wall. Of course the electric drive helped, because there is no minimum idle speed.

Not saying the classic spring maneuver isn't a good one. It is extremely effective. But I am often or I should say mostly singlehanded, and I dislike scrambling back and forth between the bow and helm. I am more likely, actually, to back against an after spring than come ahead against a forward spring, because I can work the line from the cockpit while I tend throttle and rudder. Depends on circumstances. Sometimes a judicious shove from the appropriate spot in the appropriate direction is the most valuable tool at my disposal. Sometimes the rudder is more useful while making sternway with the prop stopped. More than one way to skin a cat, and being familiar and practiced with them all makes one a better boat handler.
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Old 01-12-2014, 15:28   #55
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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Hi all,

I am eagerly researching my first sailboat and I would love to find something in the 30 foot neighborhood that I can learn on as I live aboard and eventually progress from inter-coastal day sailor, into salty trans-Atlantic passage-maker. With that imagery in mind, I would like to know your opinions on the ability of a Full Keeled mono hull sailboat (i.e. Alberg 30) to maneuver safely while backing in and out of a slip in a crowded marina.

I am debating as to whether I should find a Fin Keeled boat with a skeg hung rudder for the control in tight quarters now, or a full keeled boat for blue-water stability in the future.

Ideally, I would buy a Contessa 32 and have the best of both worlds, but that is outside of my $20,000 USD price range.

So please let me know if you think I will have issues backing an Alberg 30, or if it is manageable enough that I can get a solid boat that will suit me well for the next 10 years as my skills progress?

I greatly appreciate your input and look forward to seeing you all on the waters of North Carolina!

Dave
Growley Monster, my posts are not intended to tell you your boat handling techniques are wrong for you. The OP asked if he could handle an Alberg 30. I don't personally own an Alberg, but my brother does. I'm trying to explain to him, and some of the other interested 3000 or so viewers of this post, that with proper technique, that is fairly easily learned, if you're willing to listen to knowledgeable people, you can make a full keel sailboat do whatever you need it to do.
Am I a fairly knowledgeable person? Hard to say. This year I've made about 1500 docks, I've departed from dock roughly the same number of times. Have I been operating the boat myself all 3000 of those times? No, but as Captain probably about 70% of the time. the other 30% of the time I'm providing ship handling instruction to mates.
Mentally I need to be several steps ahead of my mate, so I can correct their mistakes before they become problems. Now I haven't smoked the dock once this year, so I'm either knowledgeable or very lucky.
All I'm trying to do is share my knowledge with other boaters, who may be struggling with, or intimidated by full keel boats.
I want them to know it can be done safely.
I want to share with them how to do it safely.
I admittedly am not familiar with your Cal 27-2, but my google works fine, so I looked it up on sailboat data. It isn't even a full keel boat? Or even a heavy fin keel boat?
If the OP is still reading, it is hard to find a better boat on a small budget than an Alberg 30. Excellent boats.
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Old 01-12-2014, 20:13   #56
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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Growley Monster, my posts are not intended to tell you your boat handling techniques are wrong for you. The OP asked if he could handle an Alberg 30. I don't personally own an Alberg, but my brother does. I'm trying to explain to him, and some of the other interested 3000 or so viewers of this post, that with proper technique, that is fairly easily learned, if you're willing to listen to knowledgeable people, you can make a full keel sailboat do whatever you need it to do.
Am I a fairly knowledgeable person? Hard to say. This year I've made about 1500 docks, I've departed from dock roughly the same number of times. Have I been operating the boat myself all 3000 of those times? No, but as Captain probably about 70% of the time. the other 30% of the time I'm providing ship handling instruction to mates.
Mentally I need to be several steps ahead of my mate, so I can correct their mistakes before they become problems. Now I haven't smoked the dock once this year, so I'm either knowledgeable or very lucky.
All I'm trying to do is share my knowledge with other boaters, who may be struggling with, or intimidated by full keel boats.
I want them to know it can be done safely.
I want to share with them how to do it safely.
I admittedly am not familiar with your Cal 27-2, but my google works fine, so I looked it up on sailboat data. It isn't even a full keel boat? Or even a heavy fin keel boat?
If the OP is still reading, it is hard to find a better boat on a small budget than an Alberg 30. Excellent boats.
Certainly you are knowledgeable. But I think you are seeing an argument where none is intended. And everything I have done with my current boat I have pretty much done at some point with a WetSnail or with an ex employers old backyard built friendship sloop. My point is there are a lot of ways to make maneuvering happen, without mishap, even for a full keeler, even alone, if one simply uses the gray matter and practices. I admit I did stray way too far from the original question, and I too think the Alberg is a fine boat, and the full keel is not much of a reason to be afraid of docking or undocking her.
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Old 01-12-2014, 20:41   #57
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

Cool, Growley.
I checked your profile (which I always do before responding to something I don't necessarily agree with, especially after getting into it with Estrazinger in the first few days I was posting) and I saw your profession as "seaman" which definitely makes a difference to me.
I don't know if you do the same, but if you did you saw a photo of me, standing with a little guy on my boat. That is me taking Desmond Tutu for a boat ride. So somebody has checked me out and thinks I know what I'm doing.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:10   #58
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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Cool, Growley.
I checked your profile (which I always do before responding to something I don't necessarily agree with, especially after getting into it with Estrazinger in the first few days I was posting) and I saw your profession as "seaman" which definitely makes a difference to me.
I don't know if you do the same, but if you did you saw a photo of me, standing with a little guy on my boat. That is me taking Desmond Tutu for a boat ride. So somebody has checked me out and thinks I know what I'm doing.
Ha cool! Nah, I really don't put much into my own profile so I guess I don't think to check other folks profile much. Should do that more.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:24   #59
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

i can turn my formosa 180 in slightly less than her loa. not pivot, turn.
i used to be able to pivot my ericson in her own length, full 180 degree pivot.. was fun.
many men i know cannot do that.
ditto the formosa.
just takes a lil practice.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:44   #60
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Re: Maneuverability of a Full Keel Sailboat when backing

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I think the myth about full keel boats comes from the fact that many new sailboat owners and old sailboat owners with bad habits want to drive their benhuntalinas like Toyota Tercels. They want to drive into their parking spot, apply the parking break and walk away.
Full keel boats necessitate that you drive your boat like a boat.
The process for my boat coming into my regular dock is.
-Come through the marina in forward at idle or a little more.
-when my bow is Abeam my finger dock to port, put the wheel hard over to starboard, engine in neutral.
-when my boat is parallel to my dock, rudder midships, engine in reverse.
- this is the part where you treat your boat like a boat and not your 3 series.
-if your too far to port, wheel hard over to starboard, burst of forward throttle until your stern kicks, but don't make headway.
If you're too far to starboard- do the opposite.
- to properly turn any boat in reverse you do it with bursts of forward throttle and appropriate wheel.
-a note on "prop walk" or transverse thrust. All boats are equipped with stern thrusters. They're called propellers. A short burst astern to thrust one way and a short burst forward to thrust the other way.
-if you need to turn short round, back and fill, using a combination of transverse thrust and appropriate rudder movements.
-prop walk is not your enemy, it's your friend. Thats how captain Ron pulled off his docking at the margarita bar on the Wanderer. He knew how his boat handled and he used those characteristics to his advantage. Watch the clip and you'll see a perfect example of why prop walk is a good thing

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I learned a new word from this thread:

benhuntalinas ! Awesome.

Btw, I have a full keel boat with an outboard. I can put it anywhere,anytime in the docking arena but I do have to stand up.
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