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Old 18-03-2013, 15:07   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
You could warp your way in if there is a convenient piling. Pull past the piling. Line from a stern cleat to the piling. Length has to be correct. Back down slowly and the boat will pin against the pile and spin around it.
We were having a heck of a time backing in on our full keel IP, until Captain Jeff of the http://www.thesailingacademy.com/ showed this to method to us. It took off 90% of the stress.

It does take practice - regardless of the method. We backed in over a dozen times. I was thinking the neighbors would be making sport - but they stopped over to congratulate us on being smart enough to get someone to show you how.

Something we all appreciate when we see the near speed boat approach taken to docking on a weekend, by someone who "knows what they are doing!". Usually, followed by boat hooking the neighbor or the obligatory curse about how the crew was too slow to put a fender out.
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Old 18-03-2013, 15:17   #32
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

Practice, practice, practice. Then plan to abort and try again.
The boat plays a huge role in your success too. I can nail the slip every time in a fin keel spade rudder, but have about a 75% success rate on our boat (full keel with barn door rudder). With a boat like ours I've even backed into the slip when I had full intention to nose in but the wind/water/mud bottom wouldn't let me turn the way I wanted.
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Old 18-03-2013, 15:41   #33
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

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I generally prefer not to back in due to boat design, slip layout, and privacy. When I must, I usually back all the way in, starting in reverse from the beginning rather turning around at the slip. I also turn around and face astern like I'm driving forward. This usually makes maneuvering easier, and makes it clear to anyone watching what I'm doing. I've found that I need a little more momentum to to steer properly in reverse than going ahead.

This is a fin keel/spade rudder, so it might be a little different for you.
+1. I have found it much easier and safer on lighter fin keel boats to start reversing from open water and reverse all the way into the berth. You need to have a good hold on the wheel, if it gets away from you it quickly spins hard over with a bang. You also need a reasonable speed to maintain control. Getting the speed right is probably the hardest part. Too fast is dangerous and unseamanlike. Too slow and the wind catches the bow while the rudder stops being effective and it's all over.

If you are forced to stop or slow down, or otherwise stuff it up it is often better to head back out and try again rather than fight the propwalk again while the wind catches the bow.

This is a very useful skill to have, some places it's the only possible way to get in and then out again, and other times it is the safest way because you have an instant escape if needed.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:42   #34
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

Great post by Snowpetrel, so it is. And by Heinous.

Another thing about backing: if it's breezy, most boats will happily poke their bum up into the wind and you can hold them there at idle. In lighter conditions, you may have to alternate between short bursts idling in reverse and longer periods in neutral, to hold station.

In either case it can be a lot harder jiggling on the spot with the bow into the wind: it may even be impossible. This can be a major issue in crowded marinas, when you often have to wait for a clear runway.

So it pays to think ahead when it's breezy: which narrow fairways am I likely to be held up in? and which end of those fairways is closer to upwind? It might pay to travel in whichever direction means the stern is to windward in those sectors.
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Old 19-03-2013, 15:55   #35
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Snowpetrel and Andrew are dead right. I think many a newish sailor may subconciously think that backing down a fairway or slipway is indicative of imexperience or lack of seamenship and feels they must go "bow in" to every situation to "show skills".

It is actually the opposite. You can tell a seasoned sailor by the fact they recognize the inherent problems with a boat with regards to the location of propulsion and steerage and the effect windage has on a boat.

Sailors with experience love to watch a sailor bring a boat backwards down a slipway and then use the wind, propwalk and boat characteristics to smoothly and effortlessly bring the boat home.

One shouldnt be fixed on bow in or stern in when docking as weather and current will dictate what is appropriate.

One shouldnt let ego dictate docking either, as ego is the sailors enemy and gets one, and those around you, hurt.
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Old 19-03-2013, 16:06   #36
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

i say don't bother backing in unless you like bouncing off pilings and ripping up your gelcoat
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Old 21-03-2013, 06:55   #37
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

The key is to always "look cool." Seriously--this is the advice I have given to hundreds of clients as their professional boating instructor. Everything else is commentary. Have the crew ready. Have someone stand by with a fender--untied of course. Use the propwalk as your friend. I present the side of boat (usually port) that it will pull to and approach the slip very close 95-10')-and give heavy reverse to pivot as the stern swings to the slip opening. Wheel to the right--quick forward thrust to reposition ...wheel to center and reverse slowly....Always remember it is easier to go from reverse to forward than vice verse. You can always be going too fast--rarely too slowly.... Look Cool

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Old 21-03-2013, 07:06   #38
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

I was once launched from a Travelift backwards into a long narrow marina channel, with boats in slips lining both sides and the wind screaming up the channel. It was so narrow that I couldn't actually turn around in my length, so I had to back out for several hundred yards down this gauntlet of boats and obstructions, and it was just after being plopped in the water--they were a busy yard and said I had to leave immediately and there was nowhere to tie up. I started my engine while still in the slings and then just went. Luckily that boat backed well and I made it all the way down the channel, with several turns and then I kept backing right out into the bay and took off. Glad I had the boat all ready to go.
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Old 21-03-2013, 07:17   #39
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

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Originally Posted by Kettlewell View Post
I was once launched from a Travelift backwards into a long narrow marina channel, with boats in slips lining both sides and the wind screaming up the channel. It was so narrow that I couldn't actually turn around in my length, so I had to back out for several hundred yards down this gauntlet of boats and obstructions, and it was just after being plopped in the water--they were a busy yard and said I had to leave immediately and there was nowhere to tie up. I started my engine while still in the slings and then just went. Luckily that boat backed well and I made it all the way down the channel, with several turns and then I kept backing right out into the bay and took off. Glad I had the boat all ready to go.
Actually this is very good advice. We've had to back Capri out of a tight harbour with screaming winds, down the slip, across the middle harbour and out the entrance into open water. It was much easier and safer than to try to turn the boat. Once we got her moving - just go.
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Old 21-03-2013, 08:11   #40
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

1. Right hand prop backs to port. Allow for this and let it help you.

2. Most boats, and practically all fin keels, will steer with the prop out of gear while making sternway, even at very low speed, barring wind and current factors.

3. Some boats will steer going astern even with the prop in gear above a certain speed. You should practice this in open water. It will still want to go to port with the rudder amidships, though and compensation will be needed.

4. Easy does it. Use only as much power as you need. Who cares if docking takes 20 minutes or 2 minutes?

5. With a crew, you can have them fend off with boathooks. A tennis ball over the end wont leave marks on other boat hulls.

6. If it is your usual slip, pre measure a docking spring line. Make it fast to your midship cleat and as your stern clears the end piling, get that springline on it and back down against it. Works best on the port side of course but you can run one from each side, too. Anyway, at idle astern, that spring should hold you nicely while you pass your other mooring lines.

8. Crew is a great help the first few times you do this. They can fend off, as well as help pull or push you into position. Or you can drop one off at the pierhead to walk your sternlines in so you can use them to warp in.

9. When docking alongside my boat, I would be more favorably impressed by you docking safely than stylishly. Dont worry if your technique doesnt have a grand prix flair... just gitter done, and done safely.

10. If conditions are not favorable, consider your other options, and dock the way you want after things settle down.
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Old 21-03-2013, 08:13   #41
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

I always back into my slip because it is a step from the floating dock to my stern entry. I have prop walk to port, so I come into the slipway on the starboard side of the slipway and plan on my stern stopping at the midpoint of the slip just past mine. I put in reverse with cross rudder to back as straight back as possible. Once stabilized and moving in reverse backwards, I use power, prop walk and rudder to gradually steer in a curve right into my slip. 90% of the time, I don't touch the sides and when straight back in the slip, I change to forward gear and stop the boat just shy of the dock with forward power. It takes speed to steer the boat and you can't be timid when powering in. Most people have problems because they go too slow and can't steer. You have to have water moving over the rudder to steer, doesn't matter which direction you are going. If you are worried about dinging your hull, get some fenders and line both sides of your slip, the you will have the confidence you need to do this. It is not hard at all.

When beginning this procedure, just go further down the slipway, reverse and give yourself plenty of time moving backward under control before reaching your turn point to your slip. You wil ultimately learn the best point to start reversing. It is no different than going in bow in. If you are timid with power and not moving going bow in, you will have the same problem controlling your boat docking. Most docking problems come from too little speed, not too much.
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Old 21-03-2013, 08:33   #42
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

I disagree with J Clark who says that most problems come from too little speed not too much---that is usually only true in these cases:

A. Strong current
B. Strong wind
or so slow that....
C. lack of steerageway.

Most dockings are done with little wind or current. That's a fact. But when they become a factor, you will need to move faster and use more power. That's a fact too Novices will be fearful of using power and of really driving the boat when there is strong wind or current. The trick is to use them as your helper and not as your hinderer, but in general, I will repeat--it is almost always better to be going slower rather than faster.
Generally, if you are moving, there is always some steerageway. True in forward-not as much in reverse. It is easier to handle a screwup or avert a mishap when going slow than when going fast. It is easier and faster to accelerate than it is to decelerate. Thus I wrote previously that it is easy to go too fast and much harder to very be going too slow. A collision at one knot is preferred over a collision at 2 or 3....but if the choice is between certain collision due to wind or current, then use power and speed to avert that of course, but even then, be careful...easy does it... not too fast!

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Old 21-03-2013, 09:41   #43
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

I always back in. Walk through transom, makes for easy on and off. To make it easy, requires lots of practice. I showed a friend how to back his boat the first month that he had it. We went out in the bay and backed up for about an hour, learned how the boat responded and what it took to get it into a specific spot. Now, he always backs in as well.
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Old 21-03-2013, 13:29   #44
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

Granted mine is a potter, has 5hp outboard. I swivel the outboard 180 and power in slowly. Have finger piers on both sides its easy.

Had an Ericson, that I never got the hang of backing in. Picked up a crewman who was a retired captain in the Israeli navy. He backed her up straight for 100 yards in Puerta Plata DR. So Insisted he stay aboard for the rest of the trip to Florida despite his desire to fly to Argentina.
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Old 23-03-2013, 07:57   #45
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Re: Backing into a slip - tips, tricks, recommendations?

I have one word for all yachts and that is BOWTHRUSTER, its magic!!!
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