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Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed.

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When we had a full keel, wind and prop walk were more predictable in reverse at slow speed than the rudder.  Once we got some decent speed in reverse, the rudder became a bit more useful, but not much.  It’s the nature of it I guess.  We slowly learned to just not panic and use a lot of forward throttle blips to kick the ass around.

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1 hour ago, Harry Black said:

Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed.

It's actually about ten tons, IIRC.

You got plenty of good advice over the in the main sailing forum, folk were even polite... most of 'em... comparatively. There's really not much else anybody can add. Maybe go down to the Harry Potter Store and buy a Wand Of Maneuvering?

FB- Doug

 

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What Calling Elvis said is definitely true for every full keel boat I've backed out of a slip...Morris Frances & Annie, NorSea 28, BCC, Union 36, Tayana 37, etc. A couple things that help:  Have a crew member walk the boat out at the stays and push off from the dock when stepping on the boat; learn how to balance the prop walk & boat speed in reverse to get the most out of each. You will find the max maneuverability point for each approach with practice. 

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1 hour ago, Calling Elvis said:

When we had a full keel, wind and prop walk were more predictable in reverse at slow speed than the rudder.  Once we got some decent speed in reverse, the rudder became a bit more useful, but not much.  It’s the nature of it I guess.  We slowly learned to just not panic and use a lot of forward throttle blips to kick the ass around.

^^^^^ that's pretty much what we do with our IP.  

Backing up in full keel boats is like elections when you get old.  It's really nice when it works as you wish

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Just now, py26129 said:

^^^^^ that's pretty much what we do with our IP.  

Backing up in full keel boats is like erections when you get old.  It's really nice when it works as you wish

Slightly modified.

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Those boats weren't designed to pull in and out of slips.  They were designed to pull up alongside harbor walls, tie up to a bollard, and dry out between tides.  If you had told Colin Archer "I'd like her to be able to back out of a tight slip in a crowded marina buzzing with jet skis", he would have looked at you like you had two heads, even if he knew what a Jet Ski was.

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4 hours ago, Harry Black said:

Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed.

You're going to have to figure out a way to shift her using dock lines and boat hooks, and once you get it figured out, it'll work.  But it will take time.  And if the wind is coming from the other direction you'll need a plan for that.  In short, she's your boat and you need to learn "her little ways" as the old timers said with pain in their eyes.  Her immense weight and the basic inability to easily back a full keel boat like that make it doubly hard.  But when it's blowing 40 knots you'll put your first reef in as your boat heels over 5 degrees.  Not really, but sort of. 

Moving a boat like that is like when I used to back my big Belgian mare into her stall after a day of logging.  You put both hands against her shoulder, push with all your might, and wait until she decides to change her mind.

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Harry, 

This is some crazy shit, but I met an old guy (~70ish) at Berkeley Marina today while walking. He has an Alajuela 38 that he single hands from time to time. He set up a Torqueedo electric motor on the bow sprit with some homemade extension brackets and a wired remote control. He uses it as a bow thruster to get out of the slip. Once underway he puts the tiller pilot in control for a bit and pulls up the Torqueedo. I watched him pull off the maneuver like a pro before continuing on with my walk. 

Like I said...some crazy shit, but he sure seems to enjoy single handing his boat.

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On 10/9/2021 at 4:37 PM, Calling Elvis said:

Imagine how many boating marriages would’ve been saved if the Wand of Maneuvering was purchased instead of the much more sought after cold plate!  

I believe those Wands of Maneuvering are also known as "bow thrusters."

On backing out of slips though just use a spring line from an aft cleat to the corner of the dock.  Either run it from teh boat to the dock and back to the boat so you can slip it when you complete your turn, or throw it onto the dock when you're done with it (use floating line so it isn't a hazard if you miss).  It sounds stupid and fiddly until you try it.

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41 minutes ago, Kolibri said:

Harry, 

This is some crazy shit, but I met an old guy (~70ish) at Berkeley Marina today while walking. He has an Alajuela 38 that he single hands from time to time. He set up a Torqueedo electric motor on the bow sprit with some homemade extension brackets and a wired remote control. He uses it as a bow thruster to get out of the slip. Once underway he puts the tiller pilot in control for a bit and pulls up the Torqueedo. I watched him pull off the maneuver like a pro before continuing on with my walk. 

Like I said...some crazy shit, but he sure seems to enjoy single handing his boat.

now ya shoulda took a pic of the setup!

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1 minute ago, chester said:

now ya shoulda took a pic of the setup!

Yeah...I should have, but I was having too much fun telling my daughter about it via phone as I watch the maneuver. Aging UC Berkeley electrical engineering professors are a riot! The dude was super smooth and precise! 

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I believe that backing a Westsail out without harming any paint serves as "proof of work" for slowcoin. You also get at least one properly random bit for free. Useful for all your underway cryptography needs.

If adding a torqueedo or similar for harbor maneuvering I might consider mounting it on the rudder with the throttle remotely located control on the boat's tiller and some kind of lift/tilt mechanism.  "One stick to rule all veering" as the druids say (isn't that what they say?). 

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If you are going to mount electric thrusters on a Westsail 32, may as well mount them permanently on all four corners. They will greatly assist with docking and won't slow the boat down perceptibly.

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On 10/9/2021 at 4:10 PM, Harry Black said:

Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed.

Fess up, Harry. Did you buy one despite all of our warnings?

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10 minutes ago, Bull City said:

Fess up, Harry. Did you buy one despite all of our warnings?

Of course. You could see it coming from his first post. He wanted confirmation, not information.

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37 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

Of course. You could see it coming from his first post. He wanted confirmation, not information.

And if that makes him happy, good for him. 

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36 minutes ago, py26129 said:

And if that makes him happy, good for him. 

Amen, brother.

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On 10/9/2021 at 1:10 PM, Harry Black said:

Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed.

I used to have a Freya 39. It is not quite a full keel boat. They call it full keel with cutaway forefoot. It is probably a bit more maneuverable than a westsail 32. It had little or no prop-walk.

What I learned about that boat is that the rudder was not effective in reverse at low speed.

I also noticed that when backing, the boat would always try to turn so that stern was into the wind. In other words, the bow would always rotate to point downwind. Actually all sailboats do this. But when the wind direction is favorable, you can use this. Just back out into the fairway, kill your momentum and let the boat slowly rotate in the direction you want, then drive away in forward.

If the wind is blowing the wrong way for this, but it is not too strong, then someone can probably pull the bow in the right direction with a dock line to get the stern going the way you want.

Also, you can just back out strait with a good amount of reverse throttle. Maybe full throttle, at least for a few seconds. The boat will start to turn the wrong way. Then, while still moving backwards, turn the wheel hard over, and give a burst of forward full throttle. The boat will instantly start to turn in the desired direction, even though it is going backwards. The forward throttle will not instantly kill the reverse motion, but it WILL instantly start the boat to turning the way you want. Unless the wind is very strong, this will probably give you enough control to get the bow pointed into the wind.

If the wind is very strong, it might be safer/better/easier to turn the boat around using lines and fenders and boat hooks etc and drive out of the slip in forward. In these conditions, you may need full throttle to swing the bow into a strong headwind.

I would say the one thing these boats have going for them when it comes to maneuvering is a large three-bladed prop right in front of the rudder. This gives them the ability to shoot the prop wash off to one side or the other. Since this is the only advantage they have, you should become proficient at using it.

Final thing is that if you learn how to use spring lines and fenders effectively, you can do all kinds of maneuvering under power. Just about anything you could possibly want to do.

 

Good luck!

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The downeast-style fishing boats I've worked on are all full keeled and have similar handling limitations as I imagine you are facing, although somewhat ameliorated by several hundred horsepower. They will not steer in reverse in any meaningful capacity. Getting enough speed in reverse to meaningfully use the rudder in a harbor is usually impossible or a foolish test of your insurability.

 

Align the stern roughly where you want to go with short periods in forward gear and assume you won't be able to realign it unless you put the boat in forward gear again. Even if you go faster in reverse you probably will only be able to use the rudder to steer with the propwalk, not against it, so using forward gear to align yourself is the only way. This is the same for entering or leaving the dock, and I find that short, more powerful bursts in forward are way more effective than long, slow ones (although don't shift so rapidly you blow up your transmission).

 

If the boat is still turning when you put it in reverse it will still keep turning in that direction as you build way until the keel "bites", which can be used to your advantage or detriment. For example, if the wind is pushing your bow to port while backing into the dock, start a turn to starboard to get the bow moving against the wind before shifting into reverse. It takes knowledge of your boat and the effects of wind or tide on it to time this right so that you straighten out just exactly as you're entering the dock. But if the wind is pushing your bow around and you try to back straight up it's never gonna work. 

 

Lastly: you get infinite tries to get it right! As someone else said, a Westsail was never designed to maneuver nicely around a crowded marina with finger docks. Spend an afternoon exploring all the ways you can fail to dock it without worry of what others think. You're building skills and so long as you're not hitting other boats you're not hurting anyone. Depending on the arrangement of your slip and the wind direction, there may be times when it's impossible to smoothly dock your boat without using a spring line, rubbing against a piling, or fending off, especially if solo. Big fenders deployed well before you get into the harbor is often the best solution!

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16 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Of course. You could see it coming from his first post. He wanted confirmation, not information.

It’s not totally clear.  His original post said, “Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed”

Which makes it sound as if he already owns the boat and is looking for information.  If he deigns to re-enter this thread, perhaps we’ll learn the answer to the burning questions...

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3 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

It’s not totally clear.  His original post said, “Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed”

Which makes it sound as if he already owns the boat and is looking for information.  If he deigns to re-enter this thread, perhaps we’ll learn the answer to the burning questions...

Well, the thread is titled Westsail 32 in reverse. Of course he could be "asking for a friend."

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4 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

It’s not totally clear.  His original post said, “Does anybody have any helpful hints as to how I can back up my boat in reverse and have the stern turn to the right so that I can then shift into forward and turn to the left? It’s literally a ton of weight to turn at very low speed”

Which makes it sound as if he already owns the boat and is looking for information.  If he deigns to re-enter this thread, perhaps we’ll learn the answer to the burning questions...

I was referring to his original thread, which is where he asked about buying a Westsail 32 to use in light air on the Great Lakes. I suspect he had already more or less committed at that point.

 

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4 hours ago, Autonomous said:

That leaves kedging, right?

Hey! That was mean!

This is supposed to be CRUISING Anarchy, the kinder, gentler, kittens and free candy, section of Sailing Anarchy. Mean hurtful sarcastic posts like this one belong over in the regular section.

After we get done laughing........

FB- Doug

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Most long keel traditional boats that do charter have a RIB in tow for a reason... They use it as a small tug to rotate the boat by pushing either the bow or the stern. I think that really, there are just 2 safe options, learn to manoeuvre on lines (very relax way of doing it when you know how to do it) or use the dinghy as a mini tug. OK, there is a 3rd option, use the boat as long keel boats used to be operated, that means drying her on a beach, stopping along quays or anchoring....

If it was me, I would learn to use lines and avoid marinas...

d59deae7f4d952974bcb742f73487003.jpg

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49 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

Or rowing.  A light slim lakeboat like that should row nicely.

O-oh! If anything will bring the OP back, that will.

So, we're pretty much all the way down into slagging and mockery, now? I want to make sure before I lose any brownie points ;)

FB- Doug

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Aside from sailing, motoring in reverse, and kedging, there are other possibilities: staying permanently moored, motoring forward, and drifting, all of which can be done on a lake in light air in a Westsail 32.

Poor Harry.

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7 hours ago, Panoramix said:

Most long keel traditional boats that do charter have a RIB in tow for a reason... They use it as a small tug to rotate the boat by pushing either the bow or the stern. I think that really, there are just 2 safe options, learn to manoeuvre on lines (very relax way of doing it when you know how to do it) or use the dinghy as a mini tug. OK, there is a 3rd option, use the boat as long keel boats used to be operated, that means drying her on a beach, stopping along quays or anchoring....

If it was me, I would learn to use lines and avoid marinas...

d59deae7f4d952974bcb742f73487003.jpg

Dear God but that's a beautiful boat.

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2 hours ago, Steam Flyer said:

O-oh! If anything will bring the OP back, that will.

So, we're pretty much all the way down into slagging and mockery, now? I want to make sure before I lose any brownie points ;)

 

2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

It’s no wonder the OP has no interest in returning...

In this particular case, I think that the peanut gallery gave fair warning of its view of the compatibility of boat and sailing area ... and has been quite gentle in its throwing of said peanuts

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

 

In this particular case, I think that the peanut gallery gave fair warning of its view of the compatibility of boat and sailing area ... and has been quite gentle in its throwing of said peanuts

Well, I don’t get gratuitous, anonymous heckling.  I just find it boorish.

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3 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Well, I don’t get gratuitous, anonymous heckling.  I just find it boorish.

I actually agree with you. That is why I attempted to share my experience (such as it is) in driving a long keeled sailboat under power in an earlier comment. But the kedge comment got me thinking about all the different ways to propel a boat. And I couldn't resist piling on with the fan boat comment. I have nothing but good wishes for the OP, though.

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