Jules

Do Some Boats Just Suck In Reverse?

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I was talking to a neighbor who owns an Allied Seawind ketch.  He said, in reverse, it's only good for about 20'.  After that you have no control. 

We have an Aloha 32 and no matter how I've tried to control it in reverse, I experience the same thing as my neighbor. 

I operated my dad's 45 footer for years and it was easy to control in reverse.  Add to that several years on a 35 footer and no problems.  Are some boats just poor in reverse?

This is our boat
DWG-aloha_32_drawing-underbody.jpg.841dfe3edc705c843179a1944567a8f5.jpg

This our neighbor's boat
2144717098_DWG-seawind_ketch_mki_drawing-underbody.jpg.020da1832b0bbcdfe7d4efb289687d17.jpg

This is my dad's except his was a shoal keel
DWG-columbia_45_drawing-underbody.jpg.7db0076d55b5edf38608fb07269f0b3c.jpg

This the 35 footer I helmed for a few years
DWG-HunterLegend35-underbody.jpg.64630f0dc64d7c586875c17e8c8fe901.jpg

 

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If you turn around at the helm and face aft, you will be going forward, and the problem goes away. 

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Assuming you understand prop walk?  (Angle of prop shaft plus the forces of prop action cause it. Then compounded by rudder being "in front of" prop as boat reverses.)  So there are plenty of variables: prop shaft angle, prop, rudder position in relation to prop, shape of rudder, etc.  These can cause differences in how boats reverse.

The bit about "good for about 20 feet" doesn't make sense. Because the rudder is in front of the prop in reverse, it takes a moment or two to gain control of reverse. Sounds like your neighbor never gets to the point of controlling the Seawind?

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Our boat had the original rudder which was undersized. Didn't steer well at speed, and when docking had a little response going in, but backing out the boat wandered wherever it wanted to. Installed new modern larger rudder, and the boat goes in and out of a dock well.

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While some boats may suck in reverse, put a vacuum cleaner in reverse and it blows.

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I was thinking same thing Israel was, "20 feet means never in control ever." All of his points matter. Details are all important here. Prop itself has big effect. Is the shaft offset to one side? The rudder section affects it too. Fat rudders can end up with reversed steering effect depending on how they stall. The sharp trailing edge tends to induce very early stall in reverse.

The initial 20 feet is thrust + prop walk. The rudder cannot get much grip in the first feet because boat isn't moving fast enough.

 

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Most of the shitty in reverse thing is due to a full keel and prop walk combination. Full keel boats do not track straight in reverse.

Takes a lot of practice to understand how each one reacts with various amounts of throttle, or bursts or any variation of backing method. 

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Yes.

I had a boat with a very long fin and spade rudder that absolutely would not back to starboard under any circumstances.

I'm surprised about your Aloha - I've never been on a "short" fin keel boat that wouldn't steer in reverse.

Re: the 20' thing - have you tried goosing it to get some way on and then putting it in neutral? That will minimize the effect of prop walk.

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As has already been said here, many things can effect a boats ability to go "backwards".  Prop, rudder, keel, shaft angles (down and offset).  Full keeled boats with attached rudders generally are most challenging.  Spade rudder boats are generally less challenging.  Deep rudder, deep skinny keeled, saildrive boats are generally easiest.  Generally.

For Jules I have 2 questions.  First when you say "after 20 feet" you have no control, are you saying that you have no control because the forces on the rudder are so strong that you have a hard time moving controlling it?  Depending on balance point of the rudder, on some boats, once you get going "fast enough" in reverse, there can be large forces on the rudder/tiller/helm making the boat hard to control.  

At the risk of sounding insulting (don't mean to be) have you taken the boat out into the harbor/open area on a no/low wind day and practiced driving around in reverse to find out what works/what doesn't?  If you always trying to reverse in close quarters near a dock, it adds to the challenge/stress, and makes learning what works/doesn't work harder and longer.  I'd go out one day, and spend some time driving around backwards.  I'd start with Sloop Jon's suggestion of getting some speed on (say 2 knots to start, then build from there) in reverse, then putting it in neutral and seeing how the boat handles...with engine in neutral, you've largely eliminated prop walk, and by starting at low speeds, will figure out at what speed rudder becomes effective at the low end, and at what speed rudder becomes hard to control at the higher end.

Once you have a good feel for what works and what doesn't, then you can use that knowledge to plan your approaches in reverse...even in the case of Sloop Jons, the boat that would not back to starboard...you just have to plan/know the boat is going to go to port to some degree and compensate with approach/departure angles, and even with lines (spring lines) to help add forces to get the boat to go the way you want.

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Yes some boats just suck in reverse.  Mine is terrible, heavy displacement, whale bottom Ted Hood centerboarder.  Big pull to stbd when I put it in reverse (left hand screw), and no rudder control in reverse no matter how much speed I have.  I've taken it out in open water, no chop and no wind, and it will not respond to the rudder no matter how much speed in reverse I get.

I've gotten used to maneuvering so that when I put it in reverse, I know the stern will pull to stbd, and I live with it.  Also if there's wind, I know the bow will get pushed readily by the wind and try to use that to advantage when possible.

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21 minutes ago, Crash said:

once you get going "fast enough" in reverse, there can be large forces on the rudder/tiller/helm

which makes it probably worth reminding ourselves that for the most part, it's not a good idea to put the rudder hard-over when you put the boat in reverse. You can potentially damage your rudder/post that way.

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have a spade rudder with a folding prop. can only steer in reverse when its at speed, otherwise its straight back.

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When backing out of my slip my boat (full keel) tends to want to move her stern straight into the wind (which makes a ton of sense). Anticipating this, along with knowing the direction of your boat's prop walk, helps and it can typically be compensated by a push from the dock or casting off lines in the right order (I typically sail solo). 

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Bruce is here

He can ( and will ) tell you aaaaallllllllll about it

 

I've driven 1986 Bene 38s and 42s that had the problem.

I'd give it plenty of wick then bung it in neutral - prop walk zero and the boat would steer under way.  When you slow down - repeat the process

 

My brother's Peterson 44 is a cow to handle.  Some boats are...

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Reversing long keel boats is an art that few master.

I would not have guessed that your boat is hard to control in reverse. In my experience, shallow fin keels are OK as long as you accept that the turning radius is a bit wide.

I find that most boat have a sweet speed in reverse where the rudder has enough bite and the helm is light enough to be precise.

 

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Yup, some do.

The secret is "flow".  If there's enough water flowing past the foils, you'll have some control.  If not... no.

On my boat, prop-walk is king until I hit about 1.5 knots in reverse, then it steers just fine.

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Rudder stall is a problem with any shape rudder going backwards.  Especially thin ones.

Had a deep fin keel boat with a narrow blade that you could completely spin the rudder 180° and steer with absolute precision.  And spin on its axis.  What a joy to motor into a marina fairway, pop it into neutral, spin a 270° and back into a slip.  Touch of forward and step off the boat.  A joy to park.

Now I've got an even deeper fin keel with a narrower thin blade and only 45° of rudder angle either side. The rudder grabs, stalls out in reverse almost instantaneously and generally is unhelpful.   

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4 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Yes.

I had a boat with a very long fin and spade rudder that absolutely would not back to starboard under any circumstances.

I'm surprised about your Aloha - I've never been on a "short" fin keel boat that wouldn't steer in reverse.

Re: the 20' thing - have you tried goosing it to get some way on and then putting it in neutral? That will minimize the effect of prop walk.

Goosing it only makes things worse.  I've tried everything from gently turning the wheel at idle speed, to gunning it with the rudder straight.  The boat just ignored "the rules" and went wherever it wanted.  Sometimes it moves port, other times starboard.  It's nuts.

The 20' thing was how my neighbor described his Allied Seawind.  Up until we bought the Aloha, I only knew about adjusting to propwalk.  I thought maybe I was missing something but nothing I tried mattered.  Then when my neighbor says his boat sucks in reverse, I started wondering if there really was such a thing.  Now I know.

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My boat is barely controllable in reverse, and I've done the "calm day, open water" testing to confirm it.  The boat's a fin keel full length skeg mounted huge rudder with slightly offset prop shaft so you can remove the shaft past the skeg.  The engine is underpowered 18hp vs. the more typical 30-35hp for the boat's displacement.  Running a MaxProp so thrust is the same forward vs. reverse.  No detectable prop walk.

Here's how I accommodate:

  • The MaxProp is a monster in reverse; I can slam the engine into full reverse at hull speed and stop within two boat lengths, although water shoots up the cockpit drains which is unpleasant.
  • I can carefully go straight backwards at near idle speed if I don't move the rudder more than a few degrees off centerline for corrections.  Any faster and rudder movement (tiller steering) slams the tiller to its stops and maybe busts you in the face while the boat does a pirouette.
  • From a dead stop I can hold the rudder against its starboard  stop and force a powerful backwards right turn which can be opposed by brief bursts of forward power. Useful.   With the rudder against its port stop it's a crap shoot which way the boat will turn, if at all.  It's complicated.
  • So getting into my slip if I desire a stern to tieup  involves use of favorable wind and current direction, even tricks like sliding into a vacant slip across the fairway, then backing/drifting down into my slip under marginal control. Best is to drop off a crew and then throw a heaving line to him in your slip so he can pull you into your slip.
  • If my slip is strongly upwind I'll say f*ck it,  enter the slip bow first, then manually reverse the boat using long dock lines and re-tie up stern to when conditions are calmer.

So a boat that cannot be controlled in reverse is a cripple?  Nay, a big skeg mounted rudder with no helmsman on a well balanced boat means in pleasant conditions when beating upwind you can let go of the tiller, go below and get some coffee and come up on deck still holding course.  Offwind under autopilot the loads are so small the autopilot is just cruising to maintain course.

Here's an example of my foil configuration, although not a MaxProp:

1024px-Skeg_and_rudder.thumb.jpg.02fb79414f2989a3c2df7d367ed3decc.jpg

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50 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Now I've got an even deeper fin keel with a narrower thin blade and only 45° of rudder angle either side. The rudder grabs, stalls out in reverse almost instantaneously and generally is unhelpful.   

This is a common mistake. To much rudder and it just stalls and does bugger all. Hold tight, as this what it wants to do, and give it a small angle.

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1 hour ago, Panoramix said:

Reversing long keel boats is an art that few master.

I would not have guessed that your boat is hard to control in reverse. In my experience, shallow fin keels are OK as long as you accept that the turning radius is a bit wide.

I find that most boat have a sweet speed in reverse where the rudder has enough bite and the helm is light enough to be precise.

We took the boat from Titusville through the Okeechobee Waterway to bring her home.  We overnighted at the Ft. Myers Marina on the 2nd to last day.  They told us to pull stern into the slip.  There was about a 15 knot wind tangent to the slip.  I knew it would be tricky but I had done trickier docking before. 

After about 5 tries I spun it around and went bow in to the slip.  A dockhand was there to watch the whole thing.  My SO looks at him and says, "We just bought the boat."  He says, "Yeah, I can tell."  I was about ready to yell at him, "If you think you can do it, here!" and offer him the helm. 

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55 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

Had a deep fin keel boat with a narrow blade that you could completely spin the rudder 180° and steer with absolute precision.  And spin on its axis.  What a joy to motor into a marina fairway, pop it into neutral, spin a 270° and back into a slip.  Touch of forward and step off the boat.  A joy to park.

We did one of those 2 hour sails on Narragansett Bay, out of Newport.  The boat was a 47' sloop.  I volunteered to help and they gave me the wheel.  No one else wanted it so I did the whole two hours.  I was really surprised how well that thing responded under sail.  We came in a bit early so the guys said to sail through the harbor, like driving through a parking lot filled with cars, with your sails up.  That boat was amazing!  Didn't back it in but I never forgot how responsive it was.

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Offshore Sailing School had a Moorings 50 some years ago. It had a really pitchy prop and extreme prop walk. The idea was to set up off line, get up a little speed and then put it in neutral to steer in, as others have mentioned.

However, let me repeat the part about the dangers of reverse. We did not teach to stand on the other side of the wheel. Stand to one side. The bow makes a big arc in a turn. Keep an eye on it, as pilings that were thought to be far enough away are not so much when turning in reverse. 

I was near the bow on backing practice with a client when she for some reason had sped up. "Slow it down and don't let go of the wheel," I hollered back. "What?" she said with both hands  cupped to her ears. The rudder spun the wheel so fast to the stop that the chain's fusible link broke.  The emergency tiller worked, but only with lines to the winches for help. 

Clients helped put on a new link. Part of the training. Was easy to reinstall. Found out why the next day when she took the helm again. Put the helm to starboard and the boat went to port. Ooops. Needed to add a figure eight loop to the chain. Harder to install that way.  Dave Ellis

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We had the boat at a neighbors while our dock was dredged.  When we brought it back this afternoon I figured it was a good chance to see what I could make the boat do in reverse.  We're in a canal, the breeze is very light.

I started in reverse and the bow started turning to starboard.  Then the turn stopped and it started backing straight.  Maybe there was hope.  Then it started turning the other way.  I experimented with the wheel and no matter what I did, it just kept turning. 

I played with it another 10 minutes or so but could not get any kind of controlled response.  But I'm not giving up!

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Some boats are a dream to drive in reverse, some are a nightmare.

As has been said, build up speed then slip it into neutral and glide in reverse. This helps with the prop walk but does nothing to help with the rudder trying to slam hard to one side should you lose your firm grip.

Also, as has been said, practice. Become familiar with the changing characteristics of your particular boat. Once you know with certainty what kind of control you will have, you can plan your actions to take advantage of the boat's characteristics.

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3 hours ago, Left Shift said:

Rudder stall is a problem with any shape rudder going backwards.  Especially thin ones.

Had a deep fin keel boat with a narrow blade that you could completely spin the rudder 180° and steer with absolute precision.  And spin on its axis.  What a joy to motor into a marina fairway, pop it into neutral, spin a 270° and back into a slip.  Touch of forward and step off the boat.  A joy to park.

Now I've got an even deeper fin keel with a narrower thin blade and only 45° of rudder angle either side. The rudder grabs, stalls out in reverse almost instantaneously and generally is unhelpful.   

Dear oh dear must I school you again? A rudder without a flow over it is just a stick in the water. With most boat having the prop in front over the rudder they have steerage as soon as they engage forward - the flow over the rudder makes it work even before the the boat has started to move forward. In reverse the prop wash goes the other way so the rudder will not steer the boat until it has established sufficient flow over it. The fastest way to establish flow is to keep the rudder straight- not jamming it hard over the way you want the boat to go. A thin spade rudder will establish flow quicker that a fat one. To understand why long keel boats with keel hung rudders are such pigs in reverse simply get a hinge and hold at the angle that the rudder would be on a long keel boat. Now get a ice cream stick and hold it vertically. See the difference?  (You may need to ask your mom to help you with these dangerous experiments.) in reverse the flow over a keel hung rudder is immediately redirected back along the keel after it passes over the rudder. 

All your talk about ‘stalling’ is just horseshit. Keep the fucking thing straight and you will establish flow. If you want to stop the prop walk simply go into neutral. The boat will have some way on and the rudder will start to work. I have taught literally thousands of people on every kind of yacht imaginable boat handling under power. You should try reversing a twin rudder pogo in a 20 knot cross wind. Even better when the rudders are slightly toed. Flow is the key and 5-6 knots in reverse works best. You need a firm grip and big balls. As you only have one of these you should stick to the shit box you have now. 

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3 minutes ago, LB 15 said:

Dear oh dear must I school you again? A rudder without a flow over it is just a stick in the water. With most boat having the prop in front over the rudder they have steerage as soon as they engage forward - the flow over the rudder makes it work even before the the boat has started to move forward. In reverse the prop wash goes the other way so the rudder will not steer the boat until it has established sufficient flow over it. The fastest way to establish flow is to keep the rudder straight- not jamming it hard over the way you want the boat to go. A thin spade rudder will establish flow quicker that a fat one. To understand why long keel boats with keel hung rudders are such pigs in reverse simply get a hinge and hold at the angle that the rudder would be on a long keel boat. Now get a ice cream stick and hold it vertically. See the difference?  (You may need to ask your mom to help you with these dangerous experiments.) in reverse the flow over a keel hung rudder is immediately redirected back along the keel after it passes over the rudder. 

All your talk about ‘stalling’ is just horseshit. Keep the fucking thing straight and you will establish flow. If you want to stop the prop walk simply go into neutral. The boat will have some way on and the rudder will start to work. I have taught literally thousands of people on every kind of yacht imaginable boat handling under power. You should try reversing a twin rudder pogo in a 20 knot cross wind. Even better when the rudders are slightly toed. Flow is the key and 5-6 knots in reverse works best. You need a firm grip and big balls. As you only have one of these you should stick to the shit box you have now. 

I just knew I'd hear from you.  Just the kind of post to get a full blown, bragging essay out of you.

When you stop looking like Dizzy Gillespie with blown out cheeks from tooting on your own horn, you might not scare the children.  

You might be surprised at the shitbox I currently sail and manage, against all odds, to wedge into its slip.  

 

 

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30 minutes ago, Left Shift said:

I just knew I'd hear from you.  Just the kind of post to get a full blown, bragging essay out of you.

When you stop looking like Dizzy Gillespie with blown out cheeks from tooting on your own horn, you might not scare the children.  

You might be surprised at the shitbox I currently sail and manage, against all odds, to wedge into its slip.  

 

 

And I just knew you would bite, the last paragraph about what a hero you are was an unexpected bonus however. So show the pics cupcakes.

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I feel rejected. LB 15 never favors me with such loving poetic attention.

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1 hour ago, LB 15 said:

Keep the fucking thing straight and you will establish flow.

This is what I was thinking today.  I brought the boat to a dead stop.  Rudder straight.  Then I eased it in reverse trying to slowly get that flow.  The boat begins to turn.  Then it stops and stats going straight.  So I figure I've got it.  Then, without turning the wheel at all, it starts turning the other way.

So I make a gentle turn to straighten it out again.  The boat maintains its turn.  A little more rudder turn.  No change.  Back the other way, No change.  The boat is going about 2-3 knots during this entire exercise.  When I gunned it a bit, still no change.  It just kept turning, regardless of what I did with the rudder.

I'm picturing the prop pushing water against the keel and this somehow affecting the direction.  But it makes no sense that while the boat is moving backward that the rudder seems useless.

When I have more time I'm going to keep experimenting.  I agree with your flow theory but what I've experienced so far flies in the face of that.

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1 hour ago, Jules said:

This is what I was thinking today.  I brought the boat to a dead stop.  Rudder straight.  Then I eased it in reverse trying to slowly get that flow.  The boat begins to turn.  Then it stops and stats going straight.  So I figure I've got it.  Then, without turning the wheel at all, it starts turning the other way.

So I make a gentle turn to straighten it out again.  The boat maintains its turn.  A little more rudder turn.  No change.  Back the other way, No change.  The boat is going about 2-3 knots during this entire exercise.  When I gunned it a bit, still no change.  It just kept turning, regardless of what I did with the rudder.

I'm picturing the prop pushing water against the keel and this somehow affecting the direction.  But it makes no sense that while the boat is moving backward that the rudder seems useless.

When I have more time I'm going to keep experimenting.  I agree with your flow theory but what I've experienced so far flies in the face of that.

If you go into neutral (stop the prop driving) the rudder will start to work. I am guessing your boat is long keel/keel hung rudder boat? 

In which case yes there are so many variables that they do seem to have a mind of there own. Try it in open water on a calm(ish) day. Watch how the boat reacts until you can steer it backwards. Do it starting with the wind on various points. This should give you an understanding of what is and isn’t possible in berthing situations. There are simply things you can’t do in that kind of boat that you can on a fin keel. 

 

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1 hour ago, El Boracho said:

I feel rejected. LB 15 never favors me with such loving poetic attention.

Don’t feel rejected mate.

Left foot is applying for the ‘ Randumb memorial scholarship in leftist hysteria and stupidity’. I will say, his application to date has been outstanding!

i am just helping with his bid.

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9 hours ago, bgytr said:

Yes some boats just suck in reverse.  Mine is terrible, heavy displacement, whale bottom Ted Hood centerboarder.  Big pull to stbd when I put it in reverse (left hand screw), and no rudder control in reverse no matter how much speed I have.  I've taken it out in open water, no chop and no wind, and it will not respond to the rudder no matter how much speed in reverse I get.

I've gotten used to maneuvering so that when I put it in reverse, I know the stern will pull to stbd, and I live with it.  Also if there's wind, I know the bow will get pushed readily by the wind and try to use that to advantage when possible.

yeah the prop pushes it to starboard and that's the only thing steering it. my v-drive does same thing so i am adding a stern thruster.

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2 hours ago, El Boracho said:

I feel rejected. LB 15 never favors me with such loving poetic attention.

Piss him off.

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Boats that are hard to steer in reverse may be modulated by a prop change. The fixed 3 blade in aperture was nasty to try to reverse with, the Max Prop has much more thrust and hence flow and works better. 

The tactic of goosing throttle in reverse, and dropping speed or using neutral and then steering works well in most circumstances, Getting the stern started

going the way you want it to, with a tailwind is a good strategy as well

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I love it when posters are drinking....hard. Then opine with..............

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it's not just yachts that are terrible in reverse, Many single engine Motorboats are too.

Sitting on the quay of the sailing club, drink in hands watching the tourists who've had 15 minutes Boating instruction, trying to reverse into the pub's moorings, is good entertainment, especially with the tide coming in or out and or there's a cross wind.

It's almost as good as watching them trying get off the other alongside moorings against the wind...

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8 hours ago, LB 15 said:

And I just knew you would bite, the last paragraph about what a hero you are was an unexpected bonus however. So show the pics cupcakes.

Since you asked soooo nicely.  Here ya go.

 

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9 hours ago, LB 15 said:

If you go into neutral (stop the prop driving) the rudder will start to work. I am guessing your boat is long keel/keel hung rudder boat? 

In which case yes there are so many variables that they do seem to have a mind of there own. Try it in open water on a calm(ish) day. Watch how the boat reacts until you can steer it backwards. Do it starting with the wind on various points. This should give you an understanding of what is and isn’t possible in berthing situations. There are simply things you can’t do in that kind of boat that you can on a fin keel.

The one thing I didn't consider was tidal flow.  The last experiment was in a canal.  I either have to do it in open water or during slack tide.  I'm still "not of a tidal awareness" yet - where I think of it when out on the boat.  The Great Lakes is still in my blood.  

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My answer to the OP's question "Are some boats just poor in reverse?" is short, sweet and similar to other replies - Yup. With trial, error, and a fair amount of practice, you can usually figure out how to get the crankiest of the lot to sort of get where you need to go in reverse (using techniques above), but you get a good cross current running and/or a stiff breeze abeam, and it can quickly turn into a train wreak. Always fun when crew and bystanders are calling out "tips."

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Regarding full keeled boats: yes they are very hard to control in reverse.

On the other hand, they can quite easily be spun around within their own length, by putting the helm hard over and alternating between short burst forwards and reverse. Using the propwash will swing the stern round in reverse, and the flow over the rudder will give an extra push in forward gear.

This way you can very often avoid the need to go any distance in reverse.

Obviously, wind and tide will have their say in this, but generally this approach works very well

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Lots of good stuff here.

Don't assume you can get your boat into any space, either way round, in any condition of wind and tide, with only ninja helm and throttle control.

Some things are just not meant to be.

Seamanship is judging if courses of action are achievable or wise, before the crash.

 

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3 hours ago, Jules said:

The one thing I didn't consider was tidal flow.  The last experiment was in a canal.  I either have to do it in open water or during slack tide.  I'm still "not of a tidal awareness" yet - where I think of it when out on the boat.  The Great Lakes is still in my blood.  

Not always possible, but one of the best moves I ever learned was to STOP the boat before maneuvering into dock. Get a cross transit, bring the boat to a total and complete stop relative to ground (and dock), wind current etc etc doing whatever they do.

This has saved me from embarassment many a time when there was deceptive current, or wind against current with uncertain effect (usually tries to spin the boat).

And yes, some boats just SUCK trying to reverse. This is why some practice is necessary. It should be part of the fun.

FB- Doug

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12 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Not always possible, but one of the best moves I ever learned was to STOP the boat before maneuvering into dock. Get a cross transit, bring the boat to a total and complete stop relative to ground (and dock), wind current etc etc doing whatever they do.

This has saved me from embarassment many a time when there was deceptive current, or wind against current with uncertain effect (usually tries to spin the boat).

And yes, some boats just SUCK trying to reverse. This is why some practice is necessary. It should be part of the fun.

FB- Doug

I've been in almost every harbor on the Lake Michigan shores, along the inside of the Green Bay peninsula, and in some harbors in the North Channel.  All of them with slips had full length docks.  You could choose bow in or stern in and it didn't matter for exiting the boat. 

On our trip across Florida, every harbor we stayed at had short docks, necessitating pulling in stern first if you didn't want to have to go forward and step over the lifelines to step onto the dock.  And with the tides, that can get a little hairy.  Suddenly, backing into a slip is a necessary skill.

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6 hours ago, alphafb552 said:

Regarding full keeled boats: yes they are very hard to control in reverse.

On the other hand, they can quite easily be spun around within their own length, by putting the helm hard over and alternating between short burst forwards and reverse. Using the propwash will swing the stern round in reverse, and the flow over the rudder will give an extra push in forward gear.

This way you can very often avoid the need to go any distance in reverse.

Obviously, wind and tide will have their say in this, but generally this approach works very well

This can be done somewhat dynamically; much like a "hand brake" turn.

At a reasonable speed (~ 2kts for Lioness) start a hard turn, to get the mass rotating,  then put on significant power in reverse, and she pivots at a point farther forward than the usual carving turn. 

Somewhat like drifting a schoolbus, the physics make sense but the feeling is terrifying .  

First learned observing the Hinckley Staff bringing B-40's into their dock, and "the faster you start, the sharper the pivot up to a point"

don't try this with a fixed blade or folding prop that sucks in reverse or may get stuck partway open... 

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On 1/28/2020 at 9:36 AM, Israel Hands said:

Assuming you understand prop walk?  (Angle of prop shaft plus the forces of prop action cause it. Then compounded by rudder being "in front of" prop as boat reverses.)  So there are plenty of variables: prop shaft angle, prop, rudder position in relation to prop, shape of rudder, etc.  These can cause differences in how boats reverse.

The bit about "good for about 20 feet" doesn't make sense. Because the rudder is in front of the prop in reverse, it takes a moment or two to gain control of reverse. Sounds like your neighbor never gets to the point of controlling the Seawind?

Exactly.  On any inboard boat, there are two ways to reverse.  If you have the space and there isn't much wind, put it lightly in reverse and let it build momentum slow to minimize prop walk.  If there IS wind, you absolutely gun it in reverse till you get some momentum, and immediately throttle way down.  You'll get back steerage to correct the walk, then you can bring it up to speed again.  It's all about getting that momentum so that your underwater surfaces start doing some good.

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7 hours ago, alphafb552 said:

 

On the other hand, they can quite easily be spun around within their own length, by putting the helm hard over and alternating between short burst forwards and reverse. Using the propwash will swing the stern round in reverse, and the flow over the rudder will give an extra push in forward gear.

 

Oh yeah.  Taking a old IOR 40 out the Huron river for a Mackinac race, one of the bridge operators decided to play spoil sport and dropped his drawbridge.  With a whole fleet of boats sitting there, our old pig started to do the spin.  I just said hell with it and spun her in place using the method you're talking about.  By the time we'd done the 360, the bridge was opening again.

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38 minutes ago, Grrr... said:

Exactly.  On any inboard boat, there are two ways to reverse.  If you have the space and there isn't much wind, put it lightly in reverse and let it build momentum slow to minimize prop walk.  If there IS wind, you absolutely gun it in reverse till you get some momentum, and immediately throttle way down.  You'll get back steerage to correct the walk, then you can bring it up to speed again.  It's all about getting that momentum so that your underwater surfaces start doing some good.

And knowing what kind of screwball direction your boat is going to go in the transition while gaining enough sternway

FB- Doug

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For a time I was sailing out of a club accessed by antique launches (originally steam powered) – think long keel with rudder hung off the end of the keel.

These launches were run by professionals who’d been at it for years and did nothing else all day but do a 10 minute run every fifteen minutes. They seemed very skilled at the manoeuvres. They would back off the dock sometimes turning to starboard and sometimes turning to port so clearly adept at what the circumstances called for. One day I asked one of them what made them choose to back to one side or the other. The answer was something to the effect of “the boat decides and we try to make it look like that was what we wanted”.

Since then I’ve felt less embarrassed with my inept manoeuvres astern with a full keel boat and above all I try to generate the impression that the boat is responding to my will when in fact it’s the other way round.

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On 1/29/2020 at 10:12 AM, Left Shift said:

I just knew I'd hear from you.  Just the kind of post to get a full blown, bragging essay out of you.

When you stop looking like Dizzy Gillespie with blown out cheeks from tooting on your own horn, you might not scare the children.  

You might be surprised at the shitbox I currently sail and manage, against all odds, to wedge into its slip.  

 

 

Sorry, but now I have a picture in my head of cricketer Dizzy Gillespie; the skinny, mullet-haired, aboriginal, fast bowler trying to play a horn, lols

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21 hours ago, Weyalan said:

Sorry, but now I have a picture in my head of cricketer Dizzy Gillespie; the skinny, mullet-haired, aboriginal, fast bowler trying to play a horn, lols

His probable namesake...one hell of a jazz trumpeter.  Bell angled up so he could hear himself better.

Dizzy Gillespie.jpeg

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Yeah, I do actually know who the original Dizzy is, but the image of the latter Dizzy with a trumpet tickled my fancy, was all

 

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On 1/28/2020 at 9:09 AM, Jules said:

Are some boats just poor in reverse?

Yes.                                                       :)

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11 hours ago, Snaggletooth said:

Yes.                                                       :)

I applaud the brevity and the clarity

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18 hours ago, Snaggletooth said:

Yes.                                                       :)

Didn't you mean to say "yass".

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On 1/30/2020 at 12:37 PM, Left Shift said:

His probable namesake...one hell of a jazz trumpeter.  Bell angled up so he could hear himself better.

Dizzy Gillespie.jpeg

Nope,  he had a trumpet get bent in an accident and later had ones made because he liked the sound, not because he could hear it better.

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Sometimes 270 is easier than 90 the wrong way.

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On 1/30/2020 at 7:37 AM, Weyalan said:

Sorry, but now I have a picture in my head of cricketer Dizzy Gillespie; the skinny, mullet-haired, aboriginal, fast bowler trying to play a horn, lols

Is Dizzy a Boung? I never knew that. He is a great commentator.

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13 hours ago, LB 15 said:

Is Dizzy a Boung? I never knew that. He is a great commentator.

Jason Gillespie is a descendant on his father's side of the Kamilaroi people, according to Wikipedia anyway.

I think he was a great cricketer, a very, very good coach and a decent commentator, and seems like a decent bloke as well. He'd be one of the very few who scored 200 not out and was then dropped and never played again for his country!

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On 2/4/2020 at 4:46 AM, LB 15 said:

Is Dizzy a Boung? I never knew that. He is a great commentator.

Seriously?

I know you pride yourself on making contentious remarks, but this crosses a line. I now have to find the ignore.

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Some boats suck in reverse, some in neutral and some in forward. Many suck the life and spirit out of you and many, perhaps most,  suck your wallet dry like a vengeful ex-spouse.

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On 1/28/2020 at 9:09 AM, Jules said:

I was talking to a neighbor who owns an Allied Seawind ketch.  He said, in reverse, it's only good for about 20'.  After that you have no control. 

We have an Aloha 32 and no matter how I've tried to control it in reverse, I experience the same thing as my neighbor. 

I operated my dad's 45 footer for years and it was easy to control in reverse.  Add to that several years on a 35 footer and no problems.  Are some boats just poor in reverse?

This is our boat
DWG-aloha_32_drawing-underbody.jpg.841dfe3edc705c843179a1944567a8f5.jpg

This our neighbor's boat
2144717098_DWG-seawind_ketch_mki_drawing-underbody.jpg.020da1832b0bbcdfe7d4efb289687d17.jpg

This is my dad's except his was a shoal keel
DWG-columbia_45_drawing-underbody.jpg.7db0076d55b5edf38608fb07269f0b3c.jpg

This the 35 footer I helmed for a few years
DWG-HunterLegend35-underbody.jpg.64630f0dc64d7c586875c17e8c8fe901.jpg

 

Late to this thread, but having delivered a bunch of boats, some do utterly suck in reverse. Best one ever was a Cabo 36 fishing boat with twin Cat diesels, I would cruise through the whole marina backwards into the slip for fun :D

Some were so poor I only ever used reverse for the last pivot into the slip.

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My modified fin keel and skeg hung rudder boat used to reverse like a dream. Since loaded up for cruising and dropping a couple of extra inches at the waterline it now won't reverse a damn until it hits about 3 knots. I was surprised at this.

But the award for the boat that will never, ever reverse even close to the direction you want to go no matter what goes hands down to the Albin Vega.

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I had an Aloha 34 with a Volvo Penta Saildrive.  It had a 2 blade fixed prop that walked hard to starboard in reverse. I found if you gave it a good burst to get going then back off to control the speed it would go anywhere i wanted it to.  You have to get the flow going over the foils. 

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On 1/29/2020 at 12:37 PM, alphafb552 said:

Regarding full keeled boats: yes they are very hard to control in reverse.

On the other hand, they can quite easily be spun around within their own length, by putting the helm hard over and alternating between short burst forwards and reverse. Using the propwash will swing the stern round in reverse, and the flow over the rudder will give an extra push in forward gear.

This way you can very often avoid the need to go any distance in reverse.

Obviously, wind and tide will have their say in this, but generally this approach works very well

ah yes, ye olde "3 point turn" as old Harry from across channel would name it ... took me some time to get to grips with it, but once I got the hang of it could  do a 360 degrees turn with my Contessa 26 right between two pontoons,pretty narrow,  some guys ogling me with these eyes like "eeek, is that one daft ? he's going to hit something"

 

but guys, when complaining about reverse problems on sailing yots, consider this ...couple of months ago had the worst backing moment ever ... on a 6.5 meter Bayliner stinkpot !!! the thing has a 275hp 6cylinder motor, power galore but in reverse no control whatsoever, first it was backed in the box by a guy who does this as a job, it worked but he also had to do it in 2 times, next it took me 3 trials to back it in somehow, took me some 20 minutes . When I commented to the owner I really felt lousy about it, worst backing in job ever for me, his reply was : "if it can make you feel better, you've done far better and far quicker than I have ever done, takes me at best 5 trials and 45 minutes". There is another Bayliner on my pontoon, asked the owner if he had same problem ? "if you would say a small highpowered motorboat sucks in reverse, that would be the understatement of the year"

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On 2/6/2020 at 10:43 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

Late to this thread, but having delivered a bunch of boats, some do utterly suck in reverse. Best one ever was a Cabo 36 fishing boat with twin Cat diesels, I would cruise through the whole marina backwards into the slip for fun :D

Some were so poor I only ever used reverse for the last pivot into the slip.

Spent several months in a marina full of Vikings, they really like the full astern thing.

 

Jules I would give up on the full control astern and find a happy compromise.  Usually a couple boat lengths is the most you need for what ever reason. So many variables hard to do more than lots of trial and error.  With our old rudder and prop there were some wierd combinations that would get it to track in some conditions, hard over etc, but not consistent. Had to deliver a boat like your neighbors and it had absolutely no control whatever astern. I would guess the lack of a skeg is the big difference between your boat and your dads.

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Yup she goes in reverse, where does she go don’t ask me I am just the one hanging onto the tiller.

Transom hung raking rudder cut away forefoot the reverse manoeuvre was like a microcosm of life, complex testing and occasionally sorry correction rarely ecstatic.

858D638D-9C81-49E2-980C-0096ED71AA3C.thumb.jpeg.b11d336804e6949926d56feeecf5d62c.jpeg

 

 

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Ah yes, reversing full keel boats is like erections, where you get older.  It does not always work, but when it does, its soooooo nice

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The in-laws used to own a beautiful 1947 ketch. Full keel with offset prop that no one in the family could back.

One day in frustration, the missus and I took her out into the bay and spent an hour or so taking turns driving in reverse. By the end of that we were sweet - although turned a few heads.

Basically, as already mentioned - fang it to get some speed up - into neutral - steer away.

Also, prop walk can be your friend ... use it to your advantage like a one way "stern thruster"

Hmmm, "stern thruster", that's gonna illicit some smart comments :) 

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I watched a freighter run aground once. They backed off and ended up almost running aground again in reverse, their ship was turning a pretty tight circle backwards! :lol:

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On 1/29/2020 at 8:04 AM, wal' said:

Bruce is here

He can ( and will ) tell you aaaaallllllllll about it

 

I've driven 1986 Bene 38s and 42s that had the problem.

I'd give it plenty of wick then bung it in neutral - prop walk zero and the boat would steer under way.  When you slow down - repeat the process

 

My brother's Peterson 44 is a cow to handle.  Some boats are...

your brothers a cow to manage as well

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It's ok.  He's down in the Sounds.  They can look after him

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