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Old 07-05-2013, 09:38   #16
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

My thoughts are first, can you steer the outboard? I have an out board on my cat and keep it steerable for tight work. Second, I've never had an outboard that had prop-walk, so I doubt that's an issue (I could be wrong, only 3 examples on sailboats in my personal experience). Also, I always found my monohul steered best in reverse with power OFF. SO...power in R to get moving, cut power, steer, more power in spurts as needed. And yes, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!

And also as mentioned above, if you can, fix the engine or replace. If you can pull off $1500 for a new engine all the stress of engine issues goes away. There is nothing more disconcerting when in the marina than an unreliable engine, and nothing more reassuring as a reliable one. PS electric start makes me very happy :-)
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:34   #17
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

A lot of good advise above. What you should know is that OB in a well is bad news all around don't do that on your next boat. Next motor behind rudder is not so good either maybe better for reverse? Different boats may vary in their ability to handle close quarter control and it sounds like yours may be a challenge at best. Practice learn your particular boats quirks and be more careful when you buy your next boat.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:42   #18
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
Can you reverse the tiller a full 360 degrees? If so, reverse it 180 degrees before backing out.
Not with a full keel.......
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:51   #19
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

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It is an outboard engine, a 6hp Johnson sea horse. It sits in a well, offset left, and the rudder turns in front of the prop. I have to back out and turn to port. Nobody at our club docks stern to, so I'm not sure I can do that. The old owner said he always walked the boat out because of the poor reverse.

AHA -- an outboard! Been there, done that, have the psychological scars to prove it! I call it PDSD -- Post-Docking Stress Disorder!

Here's what I learned. It depens on how your prop and rudder interplay, but in reverse, my prop REALLY wanted to make my rudder turn, and unfortunately my rudder COULD turn 360. So you have to use BOTH the rudder AND the outboard to back up. Unless you're an orangutan, and you didn't mention that in your OP, your arms aren't long enough for that.

So get a piece of PVC pipe the right diameter, and jam it on to the tiller of your outboard, and steer with BOTH -- outboard AND rudder. Go in the direction the prop wants to turn you and work it out. Maybe there's a nearby empty slip you can back into , and then come out forward the way you want.

When you're in reverse, don't count on one speed. Go slow, and "goose" the outboard as you need, maybe even every few seconds, as you're turning, to maintain turning speed.

Practice this on the water first if you can (depends on what the water is like where you are -- if there's a strong current or significant waves, it will be of less value than if you can do it in a more sheltered place.

OR, do it with an extra person on your boat with a boat hook "just in case," fenders out "just in case," and a couple of friends on the dock ready to fend you off of the sea wall or dock as needed.

That may not work on your boat, but it worked on mine.

By "goosing" spurts of speed in reverse, you minimize the prop walk. On my boat (and she was a skinny thing) I needed to use both outboard and tiller for tight turns.

Also, go as far to the other side of the fairway as you can to make your turn, and then using both turns and a "goose," make it a tight turn. I actually had someone on the dock telling me when to goose it, because I had lost all my nerve. Every time I think of this guy I think of him as "Goose it" Ron!
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:59   #20
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

Ocelot -
You might want to post your location under your avatar. Could be somebody nearby to give you a hand in figuring it out.
Same goes for the type of boat.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:03   #21
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

Full keel boats are great in open ocean and a bitch in close quartering maneuvers... I used to drive a 52 foot full keel boat with prevailing winds in the marina coming from the starboard bow, which was the way I had to go after leaving the slip.

You said you have to turn to port when you leave the slip, so I assume you mean backing the stern to port or left in you picture.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to attach a long spring line to your port quarter cleat and then loop it (half turn) around the dock cleat on the end of the dock. Take the running end of the line to the cockpit and take a turn around the winch.

As you back out, pay the line out until the bow is clear of the dock and the boat next to you. Then stop feeding the spring and take up several turns on the spring and turn you wheel in the direction of your turn. The spring line will tension and force the bow over.

Once you have turned sufficiently to motor forward, release the spring from the winch and pull it back to the boat...

I know you have a small vessel, but knowing how to use your spring lines on a full keel boat will save you butt down the line. You might want to consider hiring a sailing instructor to help you learn this on your own boat.

Good luck!
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:04   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocelot View Post
Confession: New sailor, no experience with boats over 12 foot.

My boat is a full keel 23' Southcoast. Steering in reverse is near impossible, and the motor is finicky. I am having trouble both leaving and arriving at the slip. I currently only have 3 dock lines. I am willing to buy spring lines, but not sure what length based on my situation.

What is the best way to leave the slip in the illustration below? Again assuming I would buy spring lines. Today, when trying to back out, my boat weathercocked and left me facing the direction opposite the way I wanted to go. I ended up backing down the fairway and turning out once I was in forward. I have NO control in reverse. I also seem to have trouble docking.

Thanks for the help!
Good job on the picture.

My first marina had narrow fairways and my neighbor had a full keel. His slip was just like yours but with a stand alone piling in between the fingers. He would back into the slip, warping off his aft port cleat and leave warping off his aft starboard starboard.

As a rule dock lines should be as long as your boat, springs 80% of your length. That said all mine are 30 ft. I have 2 sets of 5. One for travel and a second permanently tied at my slip. When I come and go I just throw the eye over my cleats, save adjusting them every time I tie up.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:19   #23
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

OK, It sounds like you have an outboard motor. This can be tough. Wind direction? In general, get the boat moving just a little (put in gear then out of gear) with helm neutral (centered) then turn a little. Then nudge a little more with the engine in gear again. (out of gear again. As you gain momentum in reverse you may be able to steer some. every boat is different, most with outboard are the very toughest.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:22   #24
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

My second comment on is that you can easily set up a double spring line that serves as a one-clip docking ine.

You need a line as long as the space between your aft and forward tie-offs, presumably a piling aft and a cleat forward. Then you need enough extra line to tie it securely at the piling (a bowline works well, making a loop), and a cleat hitch at the front, PLUS enough for a figure 8 loop. You also need a reasonably large carabiner -- stainless steel, get a marine one.

You decide where you want to quickly secure your boat. If you have a perforated rail, you pick a perforation -- put a zip tie through it to mark it so you always use the same one, or the base of a stanchion. Then you determine where to put the figure 8 loop in the line so the two ends can reach the piling and the cleat. Before making that figure 8 loop, you put the carabiner on the line so it hangs from the loop. Then you secure the line at both ends, and test it -- if you clip it on the boat, will it keep the bow from hitting what's in front of it? Leave extra space for tidal changes if necessary.

NOW, when you bring the boat in, you just use the boat hook, grab that line, and clip it where it goes, and bingo -- in one move, your boat is secured. It can't go forward and hit anything, and it can't drift back out of the slip -- no matter what the wind is doing. It will also keep it from blowing too far from the dock if the wind is coming across the beam.

So you can bring your boat in, stop it WELL before you're all the way in, and use that line to pull the boat forward. You can use it to move the boat backwards or forwards as needed until that carabiner is in the right place. Then clip it on, and the boat is safe. You can set the rest of the lines at your leisure.

All you really have to do is get the bow into the slip, and then grab that line. There's absolutely nothing wrong with using these mechanical aids. It's far better than banging your boat on a seawall.

You still have to learn to dock the boat under power eventually, because you'll take trips and have to dock her in slips without your glorious docking line.

If you're using a stanchion base as your temporary clip-off point, you can take it off after you've secured your spring lines, and yes you really do need spring lines. You want them to be as long as possible. You can mark your spring lines with zip ties to show you where to cleat them off, and you'll know you have it right every time. In fact, once you've sorted out where you want all your lines tied off on the boat, you can mark all of them with zip ties.


First, you determine wh
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Old 07-05-2013, 14:04   #25
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

I wouldn't give up just because it's an outboard, unless you can't steer that outboard.

Small boats with both an outboard and a rudder can be highly manoeuvrable, in my experience: you can vector the thrust with the outboard at zero speed through the water, and then take over with the rudder when you've got plenty of steerage way.

Practice somewhere secluded (using Ann's balloon and brick trick, or similar), because at first you'll feel like the proverbial one-armed paperhanger.

A bulletproof solution which might be used to extricate a big boat in the situation you describe, in the absence of any ability to direct the propwash or utilise sternkick, would be to set up a spring line from midships on the port side to the inland cleat on the dock, to be eased off as the boat is motored aft.

A long warp, previously set up from partway between the bow and midships on the starboard side, would have been led to the bow outside everything, then back along the port side all the way to the dock-end cleat.

As the boat motored aft, this would be periodically trimmed in (ideally taken to a self-tailing winch, perhaps via a sheet block amidships).

The port side spring (having been doubled around the cleat) would be retrieved as the boat dropped back into the fairway. Tightening the stbd warp simultaneously would bring the boat to lie alongside the end of the dock, using the warp now as a spring, bow to wind, ready to make way.

This would very much be overkill on a small yacht (i reckon) unless you were forced to leave, shorthanded, in a gale. However the principles might be worth pondering: generally people who know and understand the plan can carry out the same functions as springs and warps if the winds are light.
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Old 07-05-2013, 14:12   #26
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

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Not with a full keel.......
Oh gosh! I thought he said he had a Santana 23. Don't know how I got that out of a Southcoast 23.

Maybe the best strategy would be to trade the Southcoast for a Santana?
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Old 07-05-2013, 14:17   #27
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

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Originally Posted by jeremiason View Post
You said you have to turn to port when you leave the slip, so I assume you mean backing the stern to port or left in you picture.

You might want to consider hiring a sailing instructor to help you learn this on your own boat.

Good luck!
I assumed the OP meant he had to turn the bow to port to sail/motor down the finger. Interesting how two people can read the same text and come away with opposite interpretations.

Agree that a private lesson might be the best way to deal with the issue. Certainly couldn't hurt.
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Old 07-05-2013, 15:23   #28
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

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Originally Posted by ElGatoGordo View Post
My thoughts are first, can you steer the outboard? I have an out board on my cat and keep it steerable for tight work. Second, I've never had an outboard that had prop-walk, so I doubt that's an issue (I could be wrong, only 3 examples on sailboats in my personal experience). Also, I always found my monohul steered best in reverse with power OFF. SO...power in R to get moving, cut power, steer, more power in spurts as needed. And yes, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!!

And also as mentioned above, if you can, fix the engine or replace. If you can pull off $1500 for a new engine all the stress of engine issues goes away. There is nothing more disconcerting when in the marina than an unreliable engine, and nothing more reassuring as a reliable one. PS electric start makes me very happy :-)

My hp 4/stroke Nissan had prop walk on my 25' sailboat.

As I said before, I steered with both the motor and the tiller for tight turns by using PVC pipe for an extension on the outboard.

You're not going to get electric start with a 6 hp unless they've changed things since I bought mine about 3 years ago, but having a new motor was BLISS. A good motor will start on the first pull, and mine pulled easily enough that a 10 year old could have done it, so it was no biggie to me.
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Old 07-05-2013, 15:47   #29
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Re: Trouble docking and leaving

I'm sorry. Where I said "Also, go as far to the other side of the fairway as you can to make your turn, and then using both turns and a "goose," make it a tight turn.."

I meant using both TILLERS and a "goose," or burst of speed.
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Old 08-05-2013, 08:28   #30
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pirate Re: Trouble docking and leaving

It may seem tasteless to post this... but trouble docking with dodgey engine is more common than you think..
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