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Old 18-12-2017, 10:30   #16
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

It can be an advantage, you need to learn how to use it. Too long to post here and it's been posted many times.
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Old 18-12-2017, 10:42   #17
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

I had same problem with my Baba 35. Because I sail solo much of the time, I fixed issue with a bow thruster. Works great. Replaced my Volvo engine that had a left handed prop with a Beta with a right handed prop. Now the prop walk moves the boat in the right direction as I leave the slip, so I seldom use the bow thruster. Go figure.
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Old 18-12-2017, 10:52   #18
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

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Yesterday I helped a friend of a friend move their new (secondhand) sail boat to a new location. I have experience of different sailboats from small to large. As the new owner is somewhat a novice I had them practice manoeuvring under power for docking purposes. It's a 35 Endurance sailboat with a powerful inboard. Not sure of the prop but from the surface it looks like a three blade non-folding. There was no current at the time and no wind so a good opportunity to practice.

Going forward under power the boat is easily handled, and stops and turns to port or starboard easily and surprisingly tightly despite its long keel. In reverse it's a nightmare! I also tried and couldn't get it to behave. We did not dare take it into its allocated berth at the marina as we weren't confident we would make it safely.

Irrespective of the rudder direction, the boat will only turn to starboard when reversing. With the rudder to starboard the boat turns to starboard in a tight circle. With the rudder to port the boat still turns to starboard albeit not as tight a circle! With the rudder square it still turns to starboard.

We tried reversing slowly, we tried reversing quickly, we tried reversing from a standstill, we tried reversing slowly then quickly, then tried quickly to slowly. We tried with the rudder only slightly to port and also hard to port. We tried with the wheel sterring, and then we tried with the emergency steering which is a tiller directly to the rudder stock. It is not possible to get the boat to reverse in a straight line or turn it to port when reversing. It only ever reverses to starboard.

I've heard of prop walk but wouldn't this be excessive? Could the prop be damaged or the wrong size/pitch?

Or is there a trick which I need to learn?
The trick is to plan on going to starboard.
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Old 18-12-2017, 11:52   #19
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

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Originally Posted by carlheintz View Post
Great posts with lots of good recommendations. I have the same thing with my Catalina 30.... and I always suspected it was the 3 blade prop....

Have any of you tried replacing a 3 blade with a 2 blade and seen any difference?

Prop walk is annoying in my circumstance because I am usually handling the lines while the Admiral is on the helm... and prop walk is a grand mystery to her... besides with the wheel, she never knows exactly what the position of the rudder is. So she has asked me to install an indicator so she can see where the rudder is.

But maybe I just need to get one of those awesomely expensive but beautiful autoprops and then I'd sail even faster!
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Old 18-12-2017, 11:53   #20
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

Had to chuckle but in sympathy when reading the OP. For years I had to use a spring line leaving our slip since the Morgan 46 is LH and we had to make the stern go to port when backing out, also trying to force the bow to starboard into the usual 15 to 20 knot summer winds here.

I can assure all that gunning the engine hard in reverse for a "few" seconds on large heavy cruising boats, probably will not get her moving fast enough in reverse to get steerage.
My boat needs a couple of boat lengths in reverse to get under control. By that time I am on the other side of the fairway and depending on the situation, can be heading the wrong way
Hence the spring line, which was a doubled polypro floating line run from the port stern cleat through the cleat base on the end of the port dock finger and back to the port quarter. After easing out of the slip in reverse we then backed hard on it to swing the bow to starboard to align us with the fairway. Then quickly cast off one end of the line and pull it all onboard.

Finally got a bow thruster.
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Old 18-12-2017, 13:01   #21
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

It's all been said above, except: Don't bother to fight a serious prop-walk. You WILL lose. It's just like "martial arts". You use the opponent's power to your advantage :-)!

My prop is R/H so my stern walks to port. I have to come in fifteen boat lengths or so in a narrow "fairway" with my pontoon on stbd and a log "breakwater" on my port. Distance twixt them is 1 1/2 boat lengths. I come in forward and tuck my bow into my slip till the cutwater nearly touches the pontoon. Then I engage reverse with full port helm and let the prop pull me out again with the stern going to port thanks to the walk. Three feet from the logs astern I lay the helm to stbd and the clutch in fwd. Then I goose 'er for a second or two, so the propwash on the rudder drives the stern further to port before she picks up headway. The with the helm a spoke to stbd, I select reverse, and goose 'er again. By then I've essentially done a pirouette and I'm positioned head to the pontoon with 30º of so twixt pontoon and centreline. Then it's just a matter of jiggling back and forth until she lies parallel to the pontoon six inches off.

Nothing to it really, because a hooman bean can always outsmart a ship. But don't fight 'er ;-)!

TP
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Old 18-12-2017, 15:04   #22
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

As a last resort, check the rudder is not physically to stbd when you think it is midships.
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Old 18-12-2017, 19:26   #23
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

As the advice above, position to compensate beforehand, then a burst to get up speed, then coast with rudder steering.
With mine I find that after the first burst I can leave it in reverse idling which keeps the way up without interfering with rudder steering.
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Old 18-12-2017, 20:55   #24
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

I've learned to love prop walk. Full keel, barn door rudder. Other issue is the wind controls the bow. On the Rose, it takes full lock to starboard in reverse with engine in neutral and lots of way on, to get a gentle curve, more like a wiff to starboard. Prop walk is to port (with v-drive). I've gotten really really good at turning the boat 360 to port.

Sometimes with prop walk and with winds pushing the bow starboard, you just have to let the boat turn port.
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Old 18-12-2017, 21:10   #25
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

A way to 'see' prop walk is to — while the boat is tied up in the slip — put her in reverse, you will see turbulence in the water mostly on one side. Put her in forward, and then check the other side... The turbulence being the water from the prop pushing the stern away.
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Old 18-12-2017, 22:40   #26
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

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Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
It's all been said above, except: Don't bother to fight a serious prop-walk. You WILL lose. It's just like "martial arts". You use the opponent's power to your advantage :-)!

My prop is R/H so my stern walks to port. I have to come in fifteen boat lengths or so in a narrow "fairway" with my pontoon on stbd and a log "breakwater" on my port. Distance twixt them is 1 1/2 boat lengths. I come in forward and tuck my bow into my slip till the cutwater nearly touches the pontoon. Then I engage reverse with full port helm and let the prop pull me out again with the stern going to port thanks to the walk. Three feet from the logs astern I lay the helm to stbd and the clutch in fwd. Then I goose 'er for a second or two, so the propwash on the rudder drives the stern further to port before she picks up headway. The with the helm a spoke to stbd, I select reverse, and goose 'er again. By then I've essentially done a pirouette and I'm positioned head to the pontoon with 30º of so twixt pontoon and centreline. Then it's just a matter of jiggling back and forth until she lies parallel to the pontoon six inches off.

Nothing to it really, because a hooman bean can always outsmart a ship. But don't fight 'er ;-)!

TP
As I read this you may have omitted the most important detail. Which way do you have to turn to put boat in final docking position? If your last turn must be to starboard, you have a relatively easy time of it. If last turn to port it gets tricky.

I'm my previous marina where I berthed for 15 years, we had nearly the worst possible scenario for entering our slip. LH prop, final turn into slip was to starboard. Heavy boat hard to turn and shoal draft keel making for side slip when turning, crosswind slip with strong wind (near airport in San Francisco) on starboard side. Could only get boat to turn about 70 degrees before the bow would enter the slip and then need to back down so we could reduce forward motion to zero before the boat would fetch up hard against the port finger of the dock a bit forward of the chainplates. Lots of fenders there, and bump and grind our clumsy way into the slip.

When gunning in reverse to stop the boat, LH wash would straighten out our required right hand turn, even while we still had forward way on. But on the rare occasion when no crosswind, we managed a clean turn all the way in, just a few times.
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Old 19-12-2017, 08:37   #27
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

If it hasn't been mentioned already, search YouTube for "Maryland School of Sailing". They have some good video and a seminar on the subject. There used to be a more comprehensive video that demonstrated the use of a waterman's spring and ferry drift that I can no longer find but these were very useful in boning up on boat handling before I picked up our boat earlier this year.
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Old 19-12-2017, 15:00   #28
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

Prop walk gets worse (or better depending on your manouver at the time) if there is any growth on the prop. A clean prop reduces it.
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Old 19-12-2017, 15:46   #29
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

I hate to think how I would maneuver a long keel boat if it had no prop walk. You would have no steerage without a long run in reverse to get it moving.
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Old 19-12-2017, 16:15   #30
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Re: Boat only reverses to starboard - why and is this normal on some boats?

Google and or YouTube ‘back and fill’ if you can master this, it will help greatly. RH prop = clockwise/ LH = counter clockwise.
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