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Old 10-06-2021, 02:54 PM   #1
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Prop Walk

I have a new to me 2005 Mainship 34 Trawler and would like to practice prop walk maneuvers without relying on the bow thruster. Q: Is my prop left-handed or right-handed? Also, is there much noticeable prop walk with these vessels? Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2021, 03:14 PM   #2
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Put it in reverse and you'll know which way the stern will walk in reverse.
You can do this tied in your slip/berth or out in more open water.
Try at idle first.
Then give it a little power and you'll be amazed at how you can control the walk and use it to your advantage.
It's easier than you think.
Have fun.
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Old 10-06-2021, 03:47 PM   #3
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Just look at the shaft inside the boat and have someone bump it into FORWARD then back to neutral. If the shaft turns clockwise when viewed from the stern, it’s right handed rotation. Opposite equals left handed.
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Old 10-06-2021, 03:51 PM   #4
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As was mentioned, if your boat has noticeable prop walk, you should be able to tell as soon as you put the boat in gear. My boatís stern definitely moves to port in reverse. Center your helm and put it in reverse and see if your boat starts to back to port or starboard. If it does neither, then you donít have enough prop walk to worry about or use.
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Old 10-06-2021, 08:00 PM   #5
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The single engine 34 will be right handed but the tunnel will negate just about any prop walk.
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Old 10-06-2021, 10:55 PM   #6
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The single engine 34 will be right handed but the tunnel will negate just about any prop walk.
Thank you. What does the "tunnel" refer to?
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Old 10-06-2021, 11:38 PM   #7
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The prop tunnel. The prop is partially recessed into the hull. Just give it a try and see what it does. Give it a burst in reverse with the rudder straight and see if it goes to port or starboard or neither. Just don’t do it near the dock until you get a feel for it.
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Old 10-07-2021, 02:50 AM   #8
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Prop walk will be most noticible when the boat is moving forward slowly and gear in reverse. As the vessel comes to a stop, the prop will bite and move the stern. A light 2-3 second "burp" of RPM (200 added rpm or so) as the boat slows will often exacerbate rhe prop walk.

Two exercises to practice are back and fill - used to make a u-turn in a fairway. Series of forward and reverse thrusts with helm hard over. Maintaining rotation momentum is what you're looking for.

Second is coming into a side tie such as a fuel dock. Find an open side tie and a calm day to practice. Pick a point on the dock where you want your bow to end up (usually a cleat) and aim behind that point 1/4 boat length. Approach that point at a 30-45 degree angle at slow speed - idle forward, maybe in/out of forward/neutral to keep speed down. When you're 1 boat length away from dock, put helm hard over and put gear in reverse, and use reverse thrust to modulate speed. Goal is for boat to glide sideways and gently press on its fenders as it comes to a stop.

Not everything is possible with a single and no thruster. Discretion is the better part of Valor.

Good luck

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Old 10-16-2021, 04:11 PM   #9
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My 34T single (with the prop in a half-tunnel) has no noticeable prop walk in reverse. In forward at idle, it will turn to port slightly more sharply than to starboard, but I don't know if that has any relevance to prop rotation.
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Old 10-16-2021, 04:40 PM   #10
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Sorry, but I have tried and think prop walk is overated. (Granted I also have a prop tunnel so maybe it's differnt for others) Yes it exists and yes you can make a u turn if the conditions are right. But fighting a strong current and/or wind, better to rely on trusters. It's helpful to know and learn about prop walk, but it's not the best solution in all situations. If it's you only solution, you better not navigate in challenging conditions.

Cargo ships rely on thrusters called tug boats.
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:39 PM   #11
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while making use of propwalk, much prefer using bow thruster rather than forwarding/reversing drive train to turn around to avoid overworking transmission and shaft.
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Old 10-16-2021, 07:40 PM   #12
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....
Cargo ships rely on thrusters called tug boats.
Cruise ships rely on thrusters.
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Old 10-17-2021, 09:12 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 10-17-2021, 09:15 AM   #14
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Prop systems on many large vessels alias. Tug use is disappearing.
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Old 10-17-2021, 09:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hippocampus View Post
Practicing slow speed maneuvering with our new to us Nordic Tug 42. Totally different than a sailboat with a high aspect fin keel. Doesnít 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 isnít enough prop walk on most recreational power craft to be very helpful or a major concern.
The effect of prop walk is very boat dependent. With some boats it is pronounced enough that you can use it to advantage or if you aren't aware of it it can bite you in close quarters. I think it better to simply keep prop walk in mind. Most boats will turn in a tigherer radius one way than the other when backing and filling.

Do learn you boat's pivot point. Often but not always 1/3 the water line from the bow. Do learn your boat's turning radius at various engine speeds.

Regarding the need for water flow over the rudder. Yes, that is very important. One way to take advantage of that is to have a bit of stern way on then swing the rudder over and give the short burst of ahead. You can leave it in ahead longer while the boat stops the stern way while turning at the same time.

I have found with a lot of boats windage is a key factor to learn to handle and even use to your advantage. Many boats when backing the bow will fall down wind. With enough room or clever backing and filling you can end up stern into the wind. This can be very useful in the right situations.

Don't fight the boat or wind. If backing out into the fair way or turning the "wrong" way favors the boat and conditions then use it.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:02 AM   #16
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The effect of prop walk is very boat dependent. With some boats it is pronounced enough that you can use it to advantage or if you aren't aware of it it can bite you in close quarters. I think it better to simply keep prop walk in mind. Most boats will turn in a tigherer radius one way than the other when backing and filling.

Do learn you boat's pivot point. Often but not always 1/3 the water line from the bow. Do learn your boat's turning radius at various engine speeds.

Regarding the need for water flow over the rudder. Yes, that is very important. One way to take advantage of that is to have a bit of stern way on then swing the rudder over and give the short burst of ahead. You can leave it in ahead longer while the boat stops the stern way while turning at the same time.

I have found with a lot of boats windage is a key factor to learn to handle and even use to your advantage. Many boats when backing the bow will fall down wind. With enough room or clever backing and filling you can end up stern into the wind. This can be very useful in the right situations.

Don't fight the boat or wind. If backing out into the fair way or turning the "wrong" way favors the boat and conditions then use it.
Agreed. The pivot point is often further forward on inboard powerboats compared to sail. To some extent, you almost place the bow and maneuver the stern around it.

Amount of prop walk varies widely depending on the boat and prop in question. And you'll usually feel it more when you engage the gear that's opposite of the direction you're moving. Put the boat in reverse while moving forward and you may have enough prop walk to start a turn as you stop. But backing from a stop may not give much.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:20 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:24 AM   #18
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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. Iím 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 whatís going on.
After a while you start to get a gut feel for now much steering input to give with the hydraulics. Even with no rudder position indicator. The upside is that if you need your hands for other stuff, you can take your hand off the wheel and know that the rudder will stay right where you left it.
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Old 10-17-2021, 10:50 AM   #19
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Totally dependent on your eyes and instruments to know whatís going on.
Watching the effect of any change in gear, throttle or direction is the critical piece. Seems you have already figured this out.

Once you know what to expect, in your own circumstances, of any addition or subtraction of thrust, change in direction of thrust, will lead to immediate predictability and reliability.

Much more eyes than instruments, though without rudder feedback, you need a rudder indicator. Hearing can replace tachometers, gear lever position is sometimes needed, always available by feel rather than eyes. You can maintain a constant watch (eyes only use) for the movement of your boat relative to the docks, boats, shorelines, while knowing what the engines and rudders are doing from other cues that are available to hands and ears.
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Old 10-17-2021, 11:52 AM   #20
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The single engine 34 will be right handed but the tunnel will negate just about any prop walk.
On my AT, I park bow in. When I wish to depart, I swing the rudder about 30 degrees to port, at idle, it will back straight.
Of course, that degrees to port may have to 'modified' depending on wind and current.
Practice a bit and you will not only surprise yourself but also impress the "observers".
One further point, you should center the hyd stabilizers before backing up.
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