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Old 11-09-2018, 08:18   #1
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Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

How do you do slow-speed, close quarters maneuvering in a vessel that has twin rudders, a sail drive, and no bow thruster? (Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'm curious.)

I'm looking at several BVI charter boats and that's their configuration.

My own boat does NOT have a bow thruster, but I frequently use prop-wash and prop-walk to maneuver in tight quarters, either to get into the slip, on/off a T-head, or pick up a mooring ball.

I'm under the impression that sail drive have relatively little prop-walk and prop wash must be much less effective because the prop is so far from the twin rudders.

Do you just have to rely on speed and get water moving over the rudders?

Since they're on BVI charter boats, I'm guessing it must not be an issue?
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Old 11-09-2018, 09:32   #2
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

It's a good question and I hope someone with experience answers it.

I've never tried it, but my uninformed approach to docking a boat configured thus would be... have enough speed to steer and hopefully enough power to stop before the crunching sounds start. 👍
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Old 12-09-2018, 00:50   #3
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

Do anything tricky in reverse!
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Old 13-09-2018, 10:23   #4
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

Also interested in any responses from operators of similar configurations. 19 times out of 20 I would not think it an issue for me but with a strong easterly across my slip I sometimes miss my line and I always use prop wash to help spin her back to the angle I want to get back to the dock. I am in a small short slip in a very narrow fairway so I cannot just back up and take another run!
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Old 13-09-2018, 11:01   #5
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

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Originally Posted by JiminVA View Post
How do you do slow-speed, close quarters maneuvering in a vessel that has twin rudders, a sail drive, and no bow thruster? (Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I'm curious.)

I'm looking at several BVI charter boats and that's their configuration.

My own boat does NOT have a bow thruster, but I frequently use prop-wash and prop-walk to maneuver in tight quarters, either to get into the slip, on/off a T-head, or pick up a mooring ball.

I'm under the impression that sail drive have relatively little prop-walk and prop wash must be much less effective because the prop is so far from the twin rudders.

Do you just have to rely on speed and get water moving over the rudders?

Since they're on BVI charter boats, I'm guessing it must not be an issue?
Not exactly spot on, but my boat has similar issues. The prop is far forward of the (single) rudder. Prop wash has little steering effect, and prop walk, though present, is minimal compared to other boats. Now... I do have a powerful bow thruster. I try as much as possible to not use it because someday I'll want it, and for some reason it will not be there for me, and practice makes perfect.

There are some things that--without the bow thruster--I just can not do. You need way on to turn, there is no way around it. You can't do a back-and-fill. If you miss your turn, a back-up plan is important to have. Some of these boats are actually rather nimble, and steer at low speeds. The only way to know, it to try.
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Old 13-09-2018, 11:30   #6
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

I admit to being far from an expert but have had to learn....Twin rudder boats are definitely more manouverable in reverse - you will see IMOCA 60s and their like being driven around that way in close quarters - and if you miss your turn, you can bail out forwards as long as you aren’t in a narrow fairway. I found the biggest problem was actually getting out of a slip forwards until I realized that I had to use a line somewhere amidship to pivot because I could not use prop wash to kick the stern around once I cleared the slip. It was a bit of a learning curve moving from single rudder to twin.....

Easiest approach is to back toward whichever of wind or current is the dominant force for your configuration and if that is across your destination then back into the wind or current as you approach your turn. The bow will come around pretty quickly when you make your turn and there is less chance of losing it past the direction you are aiming to park - get a spring line on ASAP and you should be golden.

All that being said, it is rare for charter operators in the BVI to let you dock their boat - they prefer to do it themselves - and I am not sure that there are many places I would want to stay that was not either on a ball or on the hook but I am sure there are some. That may be why it is not a big deal?
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Old 14-09-2018, 10:56   #7
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

With twin rudders and sail drive, I'm assuming this is a cat and you have twin engines, is that correct? If that's the case you use your transmissions and throttles more than the wheel. With twins, you can walk them sideways a bit with one engine in forward, one in reverse, and the wheel hard over toward the forward engine.
Obviously if this is a pocket cat with one engine, this does not apply.
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Old 14-09-2018, 11:06   #8
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

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With twin rudders and sail drive, I'm assuming this is a cat and you have twin engines, is that correct? If that's the case you use your transmissions and throttles more than the wheel. With twins, you can walk them sideways a bit with one engine in forward, one in reverse, and the wheel hard over toward the forward engine.
Obviously if this is a pocket cat with one engine, this does not apply.
LLizzard, sorry I should have been more explicit that I'm talking about a mono with a single engine. A cat, as you point out, would be no problem. I love maneuvering with twin engines.

Lots of "pizza pie" shaped modern monohulls being built with this configuration. I'm just hoping someone tell me how to maneuver in tight quarters other than just powering up, move water over the rudder, and reverse hard to stop.
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Old 14-09-2018, 11:06   #9
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

BVI charters use moorings almost exclusively. Nearly every harbor has moorings with almost no space remaining for anchoring. You will also not likely dock except for fuel. Most of the fuel docks are friendly. I would not be too worried.
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Old 14-09-2018, 11:27   #10
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

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BVI charters use moorings almost exclusively. Nearly every harbor has moorings with almost no space remaining for anchoring. You will also not likely dock except for fuel. Most of the fuel docks are friendly. I would not be too worried.
Nicholson58, thanks for the encouragement. Given the stories I've heard about "credit card captains" I figure (hope) that I'm at least as competent as the average BVI charterer so I'm not too worried.

I am genuinely curious with my question, however. I figure that many of these types of boats (single saildrive monohulls with twin rudders) purchased by private individuals (i.e., not for charter) may have bow thrusters. But the charter boats don't.
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Old 14-09-2018, 12:55   #11
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

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Lots of "pizza pie" shaped modern monohulls being built with this configuration. I'm just hoping someone tell me how to maneuver in tight quarters other than just powering up, move water over the rudder, and reverse hard to stop.
I am sorry to say that, given that you have excluded a bow thruster from the equation, the fluid mechanics dictates that the only way of diverting a twin rudder boat without prop walk from a straight line is to have water flowing over the rudders. As I said earlier, the answer is to travel in reverse and use forward gear to stop.

Aside from the benefit that the bit most in danger of hitting something is nearer you so your judgement of distance is better, these types of boats are much easier to maneuver in reverse. There will be some slips that you cannot enter without extra help as a result of the relative lack of flexibility that prop wash on a single rudder provides but this is no different to accepting that there are anchorages you cannot use because your draft is too deep.
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Old 14-09-2018, 13:09   #12
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Re: Close quarters maneuvering with twin rudders?

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Originally Posted by JiminVA View Post
Nicholson58, thanks for the encouragement. Given the stories I've heard about "credit card captains" I figure (hope) that I'm at least as competent as the average BVI charterer so I'm not too worried.

I am genuinely curious with my question, however. I figure that many of these types of boats (single saildrive monohulls with twin rudders) purchased by private individuals (i.e., not for charter) may have bow thrusters. But the charter boats don't.
I expect the charters may have considered that many renters might damage the things and that situations where they might be useful are rare. Most charters are also relatively light weight so fenders and line handlers can push you around. We also have no thruster. This seems to shock other boaters and line handlers too. We always make a point if the need to dock occurs to announce the fact before hand. 58 LOA, 40 tons. We plan our cruising to avoid docking. We anchor out always. Last season, November, we fueled in Trinidad, $2.40/gal, 400 gallons and returned after six months with 175 on board we made no fuel stops.
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