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Old 15-06-2015, 06:57   #16
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Re: Difficulty backing up

As suggested, get out in open water and practice the suggested techniques first. Practice "blasting" to gain steerage in reverse, correcting course using a blast of forward and rudder angle to direct the prop wash, also just drive around in reverse for while to get comfortable with how your boat handles. I have students do repeated figure 8's in reverse and forward to get familiar with boats. Practicing the transition between reverse and forward way is important too.

Be sure and maintain a good grip on the wheel when backing because if water flow pressure becomes unbalanced in favor of one side or the other of the rudder it can slam it over to one side. Not only totally screws up you course and stalls the rudder, but also hard on the steering gear.

Whenever possible, use prop walk to your advantage rather than fighting it by backing to port. If its possible to approach your slip by backing to port you may find that you can just walk it right in using nothing but prop walk or prop walk with an occassional forward blast to correct course.

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Old 15-06-2015, 07:18   #17
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Originally Posted by umphrey1012 View Post
New boat owner here and having some difficulty backing up my 27' Hunter into my slip. I don't have a ton of experience, which is definitely part of the problem, but I'm running into an issue where the prop walk pulls me left a lot before I ever can get steerage, which makes it hard to hit my slip. I almost want to just back the whole way into the marina! I've only really handled another boat under power (a 35' during my ASA course) and it pulled to the left on backing up but definitely got steerage relatively quickly.

Are there any tricks to help with this? I'm generally keeping it in idle when backing up but should I give it a bit more power to get it going back more quickly or will that just pull me more to the side? I'm trying out different techniques getting into the marina, but people get nervous when the see me keep turning around in the fairway, I have no idea why...
Things to consider:
1) Sailboats generally dont back worth a damn. So practice lots.
2) Don't fight propwalk. Work with it. It's your magic rudder but it only works one way.
3) practice backing in open water

Another trick I use on our Liberty 458 with a maxprop and lots of propwalk is this:

1) using the steer, gear, throttle procedure i place rudder dead ahead before reversing.
2) after applying a burst of reverse i'll throttle down to let the flow over the rudder lose its turbulence. If i have enough room i can then steer in reverse.
3) if i dont have enough room i'll alternate reverse and forward to regain steerage.

Here's the dilemma:

When reversing in our boat under power the flow over the rudder is not laminar. It's turbulent and the rudder is effectively stalling. And you know what happens in an aircraft with a stalled wing. We often lose our depth reading at the same time. The turbulence is significant when you first start reversing.

Bursts of forward clean up this flow and allow us to regain control.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app

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Old 15-06-2015, 07:21   #18
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Re: Difficulty backing up

what everyone already said PLUS:
new boat owners do not realize that boats do no tbehave same as do cars.
practie as recommended and figure out what the boat you own does.
no, sailboats do NOT do reverse in any kind fashion. you WILL learn that...
enjoy your boat. it willbe funner when you have its idiosynchrosies down
just remember, you willNOT be doing 3 point turns in a fairway.
you willNOT be reversing like a car or truck. more like an amoeba. or pushing a rope uphill......
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Old 15-06-2015, 10:58   #19
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Originally Posted by umphrey1012 View Post
Good to know that backing the whole way in wouldn't necessarily make me look completely crazy, will keep this in mind as an option.
Seriously, I get compliments all the time when backing up like this. It's super easy once you get that momentum going and you have an escape plan if things go sideways. But I don't just creep along so keep a good grip on the wheel (or tiller, if that's your case) because there's a lot of pressure on the rudder to turn hard aside. Ask me how I learned this
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Old 15-06-2015, 11:21   #20
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Lots of good advice here so I won't belittle the point too much but there's a good video on docking technique you will find helpful. Practice the clockwise turnaround away from the marina using some floats/fenders in the water as markers and you'll be fine in most situations. I too use short blasts of power in docking.

Although I have yet to try it the Halpern MK III Docker sounds interesting.

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