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Old 14-06-2015, 16:21   #1
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Difficulty backing up

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...
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Old 14-06-2015, 16:59   #2
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Every boat is different. Even with like hulls, the choice of engine and prop, or how a boat is loaded and trimmed could have an effect on the way it handles. Your best bet is to find an open bit of flat water and try out different approaches (idle, lots of throttle, etc) to find out what works best. You might just have to learn the size of arc your boat makes going astern, and line yourself up with the slip taking that arc into account. Do the same on a windy day to see if weathercocking or paddlewheel is the stronger effect.
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Old 14-06-2015, 17:10   #3
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Give it a blast in reverse then neutral, no prop walk in neutral. Repeat until enough speed for steerage. Practice, you'll be a pro in no time.


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Old 14-06-2015, 17:10   #4
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Yes more power . Only the force of the water on the rudder is what steers the boat . 'Blasting' is what many single screw boat drivers call it . Water must be going past the rudder . Practice moving your stern without gaining way . Turn the rudder , give it a lot of power for one or two seconds and the stern will become manageable. Easier to do than to explain ! .
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Old 14-06-2015, 17:13   #5
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Quote:
Originally Posted by umphrey1012 View Post
.....
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...
When you say idle, do you mean "idle in gear" or "idle in neutral".

Try using a short small amount of power just to get boat moving astern and then shifting back to neutral. Keep using only short bursts of power if sternway drops off and always return to neutral after each burst.

Don't use to much rudder movement, it is easy to stall the rudder in reverse and then it becomes ineffective.
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Old 14-06-2015, 18:27   #6
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Re: Difficulty backing up

What goat said. There's a bunch of YouTube videos on backing boats up that might be helpful. One thing I can add is when you first start backing up into the slip come in at a slight angle that your walk will straighten out. Edit not just goat, everyone gave you good advice.
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Old 14-06-2015, 19:27   #7
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Re: Difficulty backing up

And as a last resort - dock bow in and use lines and your hands to turn the boat around from the dock.

I do this when docking single handed under sail. This makes it easier to depart under sail.
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Old 14-06-2015, 19:57   #8
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Practice backing up. Outside of the fairway in clear water, first. Good luck, we've all been there.
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Old 14-06-2015, 20:00   #9
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Re: Difficulty backing up

...it's not a volvo.. you need to practice... first out the marina, then, on the marina.. it's just a trick...
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Old 14-06-2015, 20:09   #10
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Here is the secret: build up experience. You know the stern will walk sideways so anticipate: if the stern walks to port, while still going forward, steer hard port just before putting the engine in reverse, bring rudder midships and give a big 5 second blast of reverse. It should pull te stern to where you need it and start flow over the rudder to steer. Next time you know if you need to anticipate by steering more to port before reversing, you know if you gained enough speed for steering in reverse etc. and after 10 times you can do it with your eyes shut
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Old 14-06-2015, 20:25   #11
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Lots Osgood advice hear. My approach is generally not to try to steer the boat in reverse (gear). As mentioned, goose it in reverse to get flow moving over the rudder and you can try to steer in reverse. If you are not happy with results, place your rudder as if steering in throttle, and house it ahead. You will have instant flow over your rudder that you can use to point your stern. Then carry on in reverse.

So back, when she starts to wonder, appropriate rudder order, goose ahead, point your stern, then continue backing.

Sent from my SGH-I547C using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 15-06-2015, 00:38   #12
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Mine is a two-blade, fixed prop with a strong reverse walk to starboard. If I don't have a lot of room to maneuver, I give it a blast in forward with the wheel turned hard to starboard and then quickly reverse the wheel to port and give it a blast in reverse. It can still get hairy until the prop bites. What I prefer to do is turn around at the beginning of my fairway (it's about 15 slips to my spot) and get a running go at it. This way, I turn around facing the wheel backwards and just drive it like a car all the way before making a sharp left turn into the slip and then stopping with a blast in forward. Never had a problem yet and it's usually blowing 25 knots. Once the boat gets going, there is tons of stability in reverse and much better visibility. Since I single-hand, I've also recently put a fender across the end of the slip to make leaving easier. Now when there's a lot of wind, I can put the boat in reverse so it stays put while I'm releasing the lines. Then, it's a quick shot out of there. Of course, this is usually in an upwind slip. I haven't yet mastered this in a strong beam wind
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Old 15-06-2015, 06:41   #13
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Re: Difficulty backing up

Thanks for all the helpful info everyone. I think my main problem has been that I've been trying to keep in idle in reverse instead of giving it a blast of power which leads to me mainly just walking to port and not getting any steerage. Lots of new tricks to try out.
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Old 15-06-2015, 07:46   #14
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Re: Difficulty backing up

If you don't have enough room to gain the required velocity to provide steerage you may find it works best to back all the way in. I do that anytime the I have even a little wind from the south. Idora is double ended with a stern hung rudder so backing into the slip is not desirable in most cases, nevertheless its often necessary to back down the fairway and spin her to starboard using the prop walk and a modest amount of forward thrust to start the pivot. I mostly single hand so its essential to have the lines ready and move quickly before the wind sends her onto the neighbors. There are times and conditions that sometimes render it imprudent to attempt my own slip so we end up at a safer and more convenient location until conditions improve. Nothing is worse (or more expensive) than 23,000 lbs of out of control ingrid mashing into things.
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Old 15-06-2015, 07:53   #15
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Re: Difficulty backing up

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Originally Posted by IdoraKeeper View Post
If you don't have enough room to gain the required velocity to provide steerage you may find it works best to back all the way in. I do that anytime the I have even a little wind from the south. Idora is double ended with a stern hung rudder so backing into the slip is not desirable in most cases, nevertheless its often necessary to back down the fairway and spin her to starboard using the prop walk and a modest amount of forward thrust to start the pivot. I mostly single hand so its essential to have the lines ready and move quickly before the wind sends her onto the neighbors. There are times and conditions that sometimes render it imprudent to attempt my own slip so we end up at a safer and more convenient location until conditions improve. Nothing is worse (or more expensive) than 23,000 lbs of out of control ingrid mashing into things.
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.
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