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Old 06-07-2013, 06:08 PM   #41
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Island Eagle is 60 feet and about 100,000 pounds. She has a single screw and no bowthruster. While I have never taken her out single-handed, I have been out many times with just two of us, and have never had a problem.

Here's a point that is often overlooked.

When you have a small boat, say a 25 footer, you can do pretty well everything using muscle power. If you need to fend off from the dock, you can stick you foot out. Your arms are fine for lifting the anchor.

When you go up to a 35 or 40 footer, your muscles are still sort of useful. In a pinch you could haul the anchor by hand. Two or three dockmates hauling on the lines can get you into a slip.

But when you get you get up to a boat that weighs as much as a house, muscle power doesn't do much. In fact, if you count on using muscle power you will most probably injure yourself.

Instead, you have to make the boat do the work. Using spring lines for docking and undocking. Using current and wind to get you alongside the dock. Becoming very, very proficient at backing and filling. Learning how to use the inertia of the boat -- unlike a small boat, you really can stop and take a few minutes to figure out a complex docking problem and the boat won't blow away like a paper bag. And lord help anyone who tries to use muscle power to move a 100,000 pound weight -- if it's moving away, it will pull you in the drink, and if it's moving towards you, well, imagine your arm or leg run over by the largest bulldozer you have ever seen. Not a nice thought.

What I'm saying here is that handling a bigger boat is not necessarily harder physically, but it's often harder mentally.

The only exception to this that I've noticed is the actual steering. I have manual hydraulic steering, and a rudder that's roughly 3 X 5 feet. It's 8 turns lock-to-lock. The wheel is about 48" tip-to-tip. After 5 minutes backing and filling, your arms are tired!

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Old 06-08-2013, 12:20 AM   #42
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Island Eagle is 60 feet and about 100,000 pounds. She has a single screw and no bowthruster. While I have never taken her out single-handed, I have been out many times with just two of us, and have never had a problem.

Here's a point that is often overlooked.

When you have a small boat, say a 25 footer, you can do pretty well everything using muscle power. If you need to fend off from the dock, you can stick you foot out. Your arms are fine for lifting the anchor.

When you go up to a 35 or 40 footer, your muscles are still sort of useful. In a pinch you could haul the anchor by hand. Two or three dockmates hauling on the lines can get you into a slip.

But when you get you get up to a boat that weighs as much as a house, muscle power doesn't do much. In fact, if you count on using muscle power you will most probably injure yourself.

Instead, you have to make the boat do the work. Using spring lines for docking and undocking. Using current and wind to get you alongside the dock. Becoming very, very proficient at backing and filling. Learning how to use the inertia of the boat -- unlike a small boat, you really can stop and take a few minutes to figure out a complex docking problem and the boat won't blow away like a paper bag. And lord help anyone who tries to use muscle power to move a 100,000 pound weight -- if it's moving away, it will pull you in the drink, and if it's moving towards you, well, imagine your arm or leg run over by the largest bulldozer you have ever seen. Not a nice thought.

What I'm saying here is that handling a bigger boat is not necessarily harder physically, but it's often harder mentally.

The only exception to this that I've noticed is the actual steering. I have manual hydraulic steering, and a rudder that's roughly 3 X 5 feet. It's 8 turns lock-to-lock. The wheel is about 48" tip-to-tip. After 5 minutes backing and filling, your arms are tired!

Scott Welch
Island Eagle
Intersting point.
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Old 06-08-2013, 12:41 AM   #43
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After 5 minutes backing and filling, your arms are tired!
Just curious....why would your arms be tired? Most people that I know put the helm hard over to either side and back and fill without moving the helm.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:11 AM   #44
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Just curious....why would your arms be tired? Most people that I know put the helm hard over to either side and back and fill without moving the helm.
IslandEagle had only a single screw and no bowthruster. His manueverability comes from working basically three tools: (1) large rudder (2) huge prop which creates side slip (3) dockline handling.

My boat was similar to his but had cable steering and a 42 inch wheel and I can sympathize with how tired your arms getting throwing the wheel back and forth.

A humble bow to you Scott. That's real seamanship!
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Old 06-08-2013, 02:42 AM   #45
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Just curious....why would your arms be tired? Most people that I know put the helm hard over to either side and back and fill without moving the helm.
I only started doing this recently.
Didn't know if it was a correct technique or not but i found the rudder position in reverse made little to no difference so I thought why bother.
much much easier, quicker and safer as you just have one thing to do, shift from fwd to reverse.
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Old 06-08-2013, 06:22 AM   #46
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Backing and filling may require flopping the rudder in some situations when the rudder becomes more effective than the propwalk.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:39 PM   #47
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Just curious....why would your arms be tired? Most people that I know put the helm hard over to either side and back and fill without moving the helm.
You're right, and I probably don't have to... habit, I guess.

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Old 06-08-2013, 01:42 PM   #48
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My boat was similar to his but had cable steering and a 42 inch wheel and I can sympathize with how tired your arms getting throwing the wheel back and forth.
When I bought the boat it had mechanical steering through a series of shafts, universals (6!), right-angle drives (5!!!) and sprockets. It was incredibly stiff, and had no rudder angle indicator. Upgrading to hydraulic was definitely a major improvement. Do you still have the cable steering?

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Old 06-08-2013, 01:47 PM   #49
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Backing and filling may require flopping the rudder in some situations when the rudder becomes more effective than the propwalk.
I have zero propwalk, the 50 foot long keel sees to that. But as soon as I start making way in reverse, the rudder definitely does have some effect.

One thing that interesting is that by far the best way to steer in reverse is to use forward thrust. This method was taught to me by Tad Roberts, and it works like this: if you are making way astern and you want to turn the stern to port, you put the rudder hard over to starboard and give a blip of forward. This will kick the stern to port. Using this technique you can easily counter crosswinds if you have to back down a long channel. I was a bit nervous the first time I tried, but it works like a charm.

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Old 06-08-2013, 02:28 PM   #50
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You're right, and I probably don't have to... habit, I guess.
I know all about habits...I quit smoking real cigarettes last december and am still groping for my lighter. (I now puff on the E-Cigs and love it!)
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:02 PM   #51
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Find having a rudder indicator quite handy!

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:21 PM   #52
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Find having a rudder indicator quite handy!
Notice the exact same one front and centre:
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:26 AM   #53
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Biggest Ive done was a Ferretti 880 RPH due to two selfinflicted seasick deckies, mooring stern-to in Palma Royal Yacht Club - not so pretty, but no scratches (thank god for aftdeck controls) Poured myself a double Scotch after that adventure, pondering over what the insurance guys thoughts would have been had it not gone well..
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:04 PM   #54
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Notice the exact same one front and centre:
Are any of the plethra of binoculars I see, stabilized?
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:41 PM   #55
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Are any of the plethra of binoculars I see, stabilized?
Nope. I keep one set with the diopter set for my glasses and the other set for no glasses, and the small set is for the kids.

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Old 06-10-2013, 11:49 AM   #56
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When I bought the boat it had mechanical steering through a series of shafts, universals (6!), right-angle drives (5!!!) and sprockets. It was incredibly stiff, and had no rudder angle indicator. Upgrading to hydraulic was definitely a major improvement. Do you still have the cable steering?

Scott Welch
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I have sold the boat but I never gave any thought to changing the steering. I really liked the mechanical steering. It wasn't as stiff as what yours sounds like but I had an aft pilothouse, not fore like yours, so the run was shorter. Steering was extremely reliable. Over a 40 year period I know of no failures at all, and the boat sailed from the East Coast to Australia and back. It was galvanized cable, greased and there was never a threat of slipping off the quadrants or anything. My steering wheel's king spoke never slipped (like hydraulics would) and the rudder angle indicator was a simple cable with a ball on it. Dead nuts accurate and reliable.
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:35 PM   #57
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Hi,
I single hand our Nordhavn 62, which is actually 69' LOA and 78 tons fully loaded. She has hydraulic 25HP (10") bow & stern thrusters, and turns out to be the easiest vessel I've had to maneuver. My 36' sailboat and 50' twin screw go-fast boat were harder to finesse around the dock. I work at sea, and it seems the bigger the boat, the easier the vessel is to handle - but only because they are set up that way. So,,,,what I've come to realize is that LOA really has nothing to do with it, it all depends how the boat is set-up.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:02 PM   #58
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Hi,
I single hand our Nordhavn 62, which is actually 69' LOA and 78 tons fully loaded. She has hydraulic 25HP (10") bow & stern thrusters, and turns out to be the easiest vessel I've had to maneuver. My 36' sailboat and 50' twin screw go-fast boat were harder to finesse around the dock. I work at sea, and it seems the bigger the boat, the easier the vessel is to handle - but only because they are set up that way. So,,,,what I've come to realize is that LOA really has nothing to do with it, it all depends how the boat is set-up.
Absolutely...as I posted in post #4
"size matters less than talent, equipment, destinations and routes plus what schedule you are willing to keep/break."

plus the bigger they are...and the less hands or equipment you have...you are only a fool to take them into places they don't belong under certain prevailing conditions or at all.
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:40 AM   #59
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Hi,
I single hand our Nordhavn 62, which is actually 69' LOA and 78 tons fully loaded. She has hydraulic 25HP (10") bow & stern thrusters, and turns out to be the easiest vessel I've had to maneuver. My 36' sailboat and 50' twin screw go-fast boat were harder to finesse around the dock. I work at sea, and it seems the bigger the boat, the easier the vessel is to handle - but only because they are set up that way. So,,,,what I've come to realize is that LOA really has nothing to do with it, it all depends how the boat is set-up.
Good news on my behalf! Im aiming at a 55-70 footer trawler to singlehand and as You said, whence its set up correctly ( and hopefully dependently) things should be just fine - I always tend to do most docking "chores" myself anyway. Good selfinsurance boost!!
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:44 PM   #60
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Skills versus Equipment

This is an excellent thread but IMO I think it is better to emphasize boat handling skills (seamanship) over sophisticated equipment.

I knew a Seattle tug captain who would put his 100' tug wherever it needed to be. It was swinging a 16' prop and had no thrusters or anything. He used the sterns "prop walk" to his advantage. Of course he did have deckhands to toss a spring line, but there is a point to learn here.

I think if Jonza or GalaxyGirl found themselves in a 70' single diesel trawler, deep in the draft without too much windage, with nothing more than a good bow thruster, then they would (with practice) be self-sufficient in docking in probably 95% of the situations they would find themselves in. The other 5% might be times where it's better to either anchor out and wait for heavy weather to subside, or perhaps radio the dockmaster for some assistance.

A heavy trawler doesn't drift too fast so there would be time to race down to the bow and toss a few lines before heading back to the bridge.
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