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Old 10-17-2021, 12:09 PM   #21
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For a rudder indicator, I finally noticed that my autopilot provided that info while in standby mode. Only took a few months before I noticed that. Duh.

Knowing when the rudder is amidship is usually the important info. My stern walks to starboard in reverse so I much prefer a starboard tie. As I approach the dock I can bump reverse and then wait as the stern swings in towards the dock. The boat pivots around a spot just about where I'm standing at the helm. Because I'm going slow, the rudder doesn't have nearly as much effect as does the prop walk. Even when I have a little way on (in nuetral) and the rudder set such that I would normally turn to starboard, the effect of a little reverse prop walk overcomes that and pulls the stern to starboard. And because I'm going so slow, the effect of the prop walk in twisting the boat "lasts longer" than the rudder trying to twist the boat the other way after I go back to nuetral. It is possible to do a weird feeling crab walk, but only to starboard for my boat. Port ties aren't generally as graceful. I constantly warn my line-handler/wife that no heroics are allowed.

The part that feels the most awkward for me is remembering that I'm really up front seeing less than half the picture. The stern is swinging around on a different arc. It's like parking a bus.
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Old 10-17-2021, 12:27 PM   #22
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Thanks guys. Have a lot of relearning to do. Finding my brain is used to 35 years of sail and it just gets in the way. Unlearning is harder than learning so frustrating right now. I’m a total newbie. Find the remoteness of electric helm and hydraulics hard as well. No feel. Totally dependent on your eyes and instruments to know what’s going on.
Keep track of previous moves that require change for docking or leaving with power compared to sail. For instance I could approach a dock at 90* and lay a sailboat alongside. Now 30*-45* to land a power boat.
That ability to turn on a dime is gone. What else?
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:11 PM   #23
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Having starboard propwalk, when backing out of the berth, I swing the stern slightly to port using the bow thruster (preferred), or push off, or use starboard rudder with small burst of forward throttle.
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:37 PM   #24
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Practicing slow speed maneuvering with our new to us Nordic Tug 42. Totally different than a sailboat with a high aspect fin keel. Doesn’t pivot on the keel.Have found with a SD hull and nearly no shaft angle back and fill is just about the same to port or starboard. Found you really need a very brief burst of rpms and water flow across the rudder to get it to turn. Very unlike a high aspect balanced large spade rudder on a sailboat. So learning to give a very brief burst of throttle and right back to neutral. Prop walk is negligible. Other than sportfish with exposed running gear or non saildrive sailboats have come to think there isn’t enough prop walk on most recreational power craft to be very helpful or a major concern.

With my NP 43, there is definitely prop walk. The prop isn't in a tunnel, but is well protected behind the keel and over the shoe. There are times when the prop walk is annoying, and other times it is very useful.


The absence of an effective rudder and the change in the rotational point of the boat, was one of the hardest things to get used to coming from a lifetime of sailboats.
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Old 10-17-2021, 03:47 PM   #25
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With many of us coming over from sailing, I have to ask why the very small ineffectual rudder? Is it to reduce drag? I never had any concerns movinng my sailboats wherever I wanted and now have to rely on bow and stern thrusters. Not saying I want a 6' by 4' rudder on my curent boat, but it seems minimal to me. In a following sea, my autopilot is doing a lot of work to stay on course.
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Old 10-17-2021, 04:17 PM   #26
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I don't remember a following sea and AP not struggling on the sailboat.
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Old 10-17-2021, 05:24 PM   #27
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There has to be flow over the rudder for it to steer. Either from the prop or from the boat moving relative to the water when you’re surfing without the engine running. In really big seas will fall off waves at a sufficient angle to maintain that flow. Usually that regains steerage.
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Old 10-19-2021, 06:50 AM   #28
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With many of us coming over from sailing, I have to ask why the very small ineffectual rudder? Is it to reduce drag? I never had any concerns movinng my sailboats wherever I wanted and now have to rely on bow and stern thrusters. Not saying I want a 6' by 4' rudder on my curent boat, but it seems minimal to me. In a following sea, my autopilot is doing a lot of work to stay on course.

Smaller rudders are for less drag, but some powerboats go too far with it, particularly if they're meant to go fast.

The Mainship pilots I've seen on the hard appear to have a reasonable amount of rudder, but some others like the 350/390 and 400 seem under-ruddered, at least in single engine configuration (rudder only slightly bigger than mine, but they have 1 vs my 2).

Many of the Sea Ray types have downright tiny rudders (dock neighbor has a Sea Ray basically the same size as my boat, his rudders are less than half the size). And yes, he complains of sluggish steering at low speeds.
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Old 10-19-2021, 10:09 AM   #29
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Here is what mine looks like on my pilot, seems a little small to me
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Old 10-19-2021, 10:29 AM   #30
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Here is what mine looks like on my pilot, seems a little small to me
That definitely looks smaller than the setups on earlier year Mainship Pilots that I've seen. More in line with the size on the other Mainship trawlers. The ones I've seen had the prop right behind the keel with a shoe extending all the way to the rudder, more like a typical downeast.
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Old 10-19-2021, 10:46 AM   #31
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Though sailboats can go at trawler speed most of the time they are trying to get there. Small rudders are enough to deflect direction of travel at speed. Sailboats also use the large rudder at an angle of travel which aids in lift much like a plane wing along with a deep fin. At slower speed the large rudder is more responsive to steering which sail needs more. Larger rudder on power will not necessarily make much difference at slower speed, but will be a drag at cruise. IMO
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Old 10-19-2021, 11:30 AM   #32
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The move from sail boat to power boat can, at first, be "surprising". When we picked up our new to us NT in Anacortes to bring her back to Canada, we had no experience handling a power boat of this size (even though the sailboat was basically the same size). My first docking attempt (at Deer Harbour) was "adventurous" to say the least. Turning radius, getting her alongside were both very different. The slip we were assigned required a sharp turn to starboard, bow in. This would have been very easy with the sailboat.

To me, the biggest things I learned through trial and error, a lesson with a large yacht Captain, and reading, are speed through the water, prop wash and walk, and an almost lack of steerage at slow speeds (in neutral).

We found that to turn in the smallest radius, first stop the boat (or very close to stopped), turn the rudder to the position necessary (usually hard over), and apply forward gear (often only at idle speed). If a sharper turn is needed, apply a very short burst of higher rpm. Forward momentum can be controlled by the duration of the burst (or forward application) and/or applying reverse gear to slow or stop. Sometimes we used a technique we called "ouching" that involved multiple (2 or 3) very short bursts in forward gear (starting from a stopped position) with the rudder hard over (first thing) followed by reverse to control forward motion. These "bursts" can basically "kick" the stern over in the direction of the turn a fair bit without producing much if any forward motion.

Our NT definitely turns more easily (certainly backs and fills) easier to port but it can be done to starboard as well. Our boat had moderate prop walk to starboard...... much more than our saildrive powered sailboat that had almost no prop walk.
Our NT could be backed in a relatively straight line, but it required "adjustments" along the way. EG. use reverse gear to get way on then shift to neutral (it backs straight in neutral which negates prop walk). To compensate for any unwanted sideways drift due to the prop walk (so for us to compensate for stern movement towards the starboard) turn the rudder to starboard and give a short burst in forward to "kick" the stern over to port without slowing reverse way appreciably. This "dance" ( a small "Z" pattern) in and out of reverse and using forward to adjust as needed, continues as long as needed to obtain a more or less straight path in reverse. Obviously the bow thruster can also be used to "steer" the bow where needed.
The main point is take the time to experiment under calm conditions and learn how your boat responds to various inputs. Maybe take a boat handling lesson from a "pro"?
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Old 10-20-2021, 02:29 PM   #33
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Your lower helm and helm door are to Stbd. If the boat back to Port I would be supremely annoyed. My Mainship backs to Stbd. If it backed to port I would have the direction reversed at the gear set, making it reverse to Stbd.
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Old 10-20-2021, 03:38 PM   #34
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Your lower helm and helm door are to Stbd. If the boat back to Port I would be supremely annoyed. My Mainship backs to Stbd. If it backed to port I would have the direction reversed at the gear set, making it reverse to Stbd.
But what if the finger for your slip is on your port as it is for me? I'm always stern in port tie up at my home slip.
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Old 10-21-2021, 12:33 AM   #35
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Your lower helm and helm door are to Stbd. If the boat back to Port I would be supremely annoyed. My Mainship backs to Stbd. If it backed to port I would have the direction reversed at the gear set, making it reverse to Stbd.


My aft cockpit door is to starboard. Right hand drive causes my boat to walk to port in reverse. Furthermore, I back out of my slip to starboard, so the prop walk in reverse works against that. It can be a nuisance at times, but it works most of the time.

However, last week I took the boat to the pump out dock to pump out the holding tank. In my little harbor the current on an incoming tide causes the current to circle around the harbor counter clockwise. This, combined with a stronger than usual wind out fo the South, had both the current and the wind set me away from the dock.

The approach is a bit awkward because of the surrounding boats/docks. It took me 3 attempts before we were able to get a spring over a cleat and use it to bring the boat alongside the dock.

IF my boat backed to stbd, it would have been easier. Of course if I was a better boat handler, it would have been easier as well.
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Old 10-21-2021, 04:14 AM   #36
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Practice a bit until you get the hang of it.


The first ten years are the worst......................
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Old 10-22-2021, 12:58 PM   #37
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Prop Walk on Mainship 34

I have a 2007 Mainship 34 and have never noticed any prop walk. Mine has front and rear thrusters which operate quite differently, with the rear of the boat moving faster than the bow as the stern is flatter and seems to slide over easier.
Good luck learning how to maneuver in slow speeds. i find the Mainship to be very easy to control.
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Old 10-22-2021, 01:03 PM   #38
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My propwalk is a bit frustrating - I have a right hand prop, which means the boat tends to rotate clockwise in reverse. The helm and door are on the starboard side, so I naturally want to dock on the starboard side. Problem is when I come in to the dock and put the boat in reverse it pulls the stern away from the dock instead of towards it. Fortunately I have bow and stern thrusters but I hate to over-rely on those, especially on a windy day. I've had the boat 2 seasons and I still find this very challenging and frustrating - any advice?
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Old 10-22-2021, 01:12 PM   #39
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Frustrating prop walk

My simple recommendation is to rely on your stern thruster. That’s why they equipped the Mainship with bow and stern thrusters, to make it easier to dock them. I never resist using them, but I do resist using them for more than 5 seconds at a time, giving them a chance to stay cool.
While they won’t win against a strong breeze, which you will need some good seamanship or help on the dock to overcome, they do make life a lot easier.
hope that helps
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Old 10-22-2021, 02:21 PM   #40
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We spent 50+ years on a sailboat and there most certainly is a difference in the way they handle compared to a trawler.
Reading the various replies, one thing is clear - handling your boat at slow speeds depends on your time at the helm and practice.
Our IG32 has a single LH 23x16 prop and a rudder area of approx 4 sq.ft. Prop walk is to starboard so yes - preferred dock is bow in - starboard lay.
We have, on a few occasions when visiting or taking on fuel or pump out, had to land on our "blind side", and thanks to my "line handler", EarTec, and good communication, we have been able to do so without too many problems.
Yes we have used "back and fill" and turned in our own length more than once.
That said, there were three times this season that our landing was not that graceful due to a cross-wind and gust at the most critical moment.

Our stern thruster arrives tomorrow for our first winter project.
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