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Old 06-17-2016, 09:20 AM   #1
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Backing

Not new to boating but very new to a trawler. With wind on my bow, I can't back her any where without the bow swinging around. SO, start again and same results. Give up and go in bow first. Is this the curse of a single screw trawler?Archie Bricker REMEDY
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:36 AM   #2
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Read up on backing,docking, using "prop walk" to your advantage and filling, give it a try. A bow thruster is a big help, I have one and use it. Go to a commercial fishing dock
Watch those guys, many will be single engine no thruster, there are good books an articles on the net.
Good luck
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Old 06-17-2016, 09:43 AM   #3
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We have viewed some of these videos from the Maryland school of sailing.
The techniques are the same for single engine trawlers. Loads of good info from them.
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCEMS7GT52N5KgxHdPUVv-Ag
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:12 AM   #4
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I'm new to trawlers, too. But ours is twin engine. Years of experience in sailboats has taught me that there's no dishonor in docking when you've not pasted anything, going into a slip forward or backing. Neither our Morgan 27 nor our LeComte NE 38 had any sort of manners in reverse, neither knew the effects of propwalk, both had relatively high bows a long way from the center of lateral resistance that they'd swing around.

Practice, practice, practice...and ignore the dock lizards.
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Old 06-17-2016, 10:19 AM   #5
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In many situations where the wind or current is strong enough, whether one screw or two, letting the bow get a tiny bit out of either of the major players and it is tough to recover.

Often single screw, you have to make many small adjustments even just backing 50 feet into a slip.

So the answer really is, no trick , just enough experience and practice to see you are starting to lose it and recover quickly enough.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:29 AM   #6
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DH: sailboats with separate rudders will back very well. The key is to get some sped then you have all the control you need.
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Old 06-17-2016, 11:38 AM   #7
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In wind or current when backing the bow will want to fall off or down wind. A key is to time and angle your backing to allow that to happen as you line up for the dock.


having some speed is necessary it is impossible to control a stopped boat.
When away from the dock try backing at some speed and see if you can get the bow to follow and see if the rudder has any control when you ease off the power to reduce prop walk.


remember those carnival rides that spun in a circle while you steered with a rudder in front? The same can happen with enough speed and a large enough rudder.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:17 PM   #8
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Arthur, I sympathize with your plight. I am new to powerboats and after a couple of months I still don't back the boat well at all. My sailboat was easier. As others have said, get to know your boat and how it behaves. In some situations, I am convinced that backing into a slip will simply not be worth it.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:28 PM   #9
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Arthur, I sympathize with your plight. I am new to powerboats and after a couple of months I still don't back the boat well at all. My sailboat was easier. As others have said, get to know your boat and how it behaves. In some situations, I am convinced that backing into a slip will simply not be worth it.
Good point....

I don't back in anymore as my boat loads from the side and had a dingy aft that gets used even in marinas. I can back pretty well, but just not a priority anymore.

I don't have a sitting area aft, and if I did, I might still pull in for a bit more privacy.

The best of both worlds is full length floating finger piers on both sides...unfortunately not as common as I would like.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:32 PM   #10
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First and foremost...you cannot fight the wind.
So take advantage of it.
You know by the wind which way the bow will go. So, plan ahead and let the wind do that bit of steering for you.
You may have to turn ahead of your slip or after your slip depending on wind direction.
And practice, practice, practice.
And after that practice a little more and you'll be as good as anyone.
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Old 06-17-2016, 12:34 PM   #11
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Single screw backing takes an understanding of the mechanics of prop walk, the technique of "back and fill", and practice. More often than not, I find myself backing in a curve, intentionally. This is to take advantage of the prop walk and offset wind and water flow. If you fixate on backing straight in, it will actually be more difficult.

Practice, practice, and practice some more. Practice a couple of times before you go out each day, not at the end of the day when you're ready to quit. Also it's good to practice in slips other than yours so that you will be proficient in other situations. See lots of people that can stick their own slip every time but get in trouble turning the other way when backing into a different slip.

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Old 06-17-2016, 12:42 PM   #12
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Good point....

I don't back in anymore as my boat loads from the side and had a dingy aft that gets used even in marinas. I can back pretty well, but just not a priority anymore.

I don't have a sitting area aft, and if I did, I might still pull in for a bit more privacy.

The best of both worlds is full length floating finger piers on both sides...unfortunately not as common as I would like.
Very true. I am fortunate that I have fingers on both sides. Plus, the view off the stern out into the harbor and Mt. Rainier in the background can't be beat. So we like to be bow in in our home slip for the view and privacy. It is such a nice location that we will go down to the boat and just enjoy it in place.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:05 PM   #13
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Good points all around.
Ted sed..."Practice a couple of times before you go out each day, not at the end of the day when you're (tired, cranky and) ready to quit." Great advice for anyone.

Don't know the lay of the land where you are but given that conditions change from day to day, even hour to hour you can never practice too much.

And don't forget you have spring lines for a reason. If applicable to your slip, use them early and often.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:48 PM   #14
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As others have said, practice, get instruction, use spring lines (using a running spring can be very helpful) and use the wind and current as your bow thruster.
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Old 06-17-2016, 01:57 PM   #15
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Archie, what make model trawler do you have? With practice, practice, practice you will be able to do it. Sailboats are easier to handle in a cross wind because the keel slows the sideways drift and the large rudder steers well even at low speeds. But using short burst of forward thrust you can make the stern move left and or right. Once you have the stern moving to the side you wish it to go, spin the wheel hard to that side and back on it. You may have to back and fill several times to get into the slip. And as others have said there is no shame in going bow in when you need it. Yes I also have a thruster, but since I grew up in boats and never had one, I try not to use it.
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Old 06-17-2016, 02:50 PM   #16
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Bayview, Adequate speed for backing was my opinion as well; y'gotta' get water flowing past the rudder, and you don't have nearly as much w/o prop wash. Both our sailboats had (still have) big spade rudders. The Morgan 27 sails beautifully, like a big dinghy. The NE 38 sails beautifully, too. However, the NE 38 requires active steering going forward. Neither would back reliably. Interestingly, the NE 38's waterline length is 26', same as the Morgan 27.

Now, our Flying Dutchman, a 20' racing, planing dinghy, is delightfully responsive in either direction.

Happily, with twins, I need not worry too much about the itty-bitty powerboat rudders at low speed forward or reverse.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:39 PM   #17
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"I always go backwards when I'm backing up." -- Rooster Cogburn.

I enter forward and exit backward. Mostly use the bow thruster when backing to steer: "back and fill" is tiresome. Have the good fortune of fingers on both sides.

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Old 06-17-2016, 05:22 PM   #18
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DH I had a Catalena with spade rudder. Once you got it moving in reverse you could back that rascal anywhere you wanted . Prop was had nothing to do with it in reverse.
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Old 06-17-2016, 06:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
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DH I had a Catalena with spade rudder. Once you got it moving in reverse you could back that rascal anywhere you wanted . Prop was had nothing to do with it in reverse.
I'll second that. On a return trip from Victoria to Seattle, the wind gave out about No Point. We dropped the sails on our Cat 36 and started motoring. By the time we got north of Kingston, the transmission quit working. So we turned the boat around and motored in reverse the last 12 miles to home. No worries! 5.5 knots is better than dead stop.
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Old 06-17-2016, 08:38 PM   #20
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You can practise reversing and overcoming forces affecting the boat by approaching a mooring ball/buoy as target, that way there is nothing hard or expensive to hit if it all goes pear shaped. Choose one without a pennant in the water or your propshaft may embrace it. Approach the buoy from a variety of directions to get different effects of tide and wind. In early self training stages,you can do a brief extra practice shortly before docking, to "get your eye in".
You may speed up the whole learning process by getting a handling coach, often you have the skills but have trouble choosing the right one to employ, or putting them together in combination, at close quarters.
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