Tips for steering in reverse

Home Forums Other Clever Ideas Tips for steering in reverse

This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Margriet & Erik Theunissen Margriet & Erik Theunissen 2 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
Author Posts
Author Posts
September 15, 2018 at 21:47 #26403
John Tyler
John Tyler
Participant

Any special tips re reversing into a berth? Most owners seem to think it is tricky, without a bow thruster, especially in any side wind.

eg-1 Go slowly seems sensible.

eg-2 Power on then off to avoid prop walk.

eg-3 fenders on both sides especilly near stern.

eg-4 Change of prop. See here for Rainshadow‘s change of prop & its improved steerage in reverse: http://svrainshadow.com/?p=827%5D

Any more?

 

September 18, 2018 at 04:40 #26404
Moderator
Moderator
Keymaster

I would not recommend going slowly. I did that once, and the wind blew me away promptly. I only escaped disaster by really gunning the engine and getting some speed. I used prop wash to spin the boat to achieve the correct direction.

By “prop wash” I mean, 1) turn the rudder hard over in the direction you want to go. 2) Immediately put the engine in forward and rev the engine. 3) Watch your bow start to swing, and slow the engine and adjust the rudder only after you are going in the correct direction. Keep enough speed to maintain steering control with your rudder.

Of course, you were asking about reversing into a slip. In that case, head in reverse with enough speed for steerage (with a very firm grip on the helm so the rudder doesn’t get slammed over by the water flowing backwards past it). When your reverse direction starts to go wrong, go to forward gear and use prop wash to get your alignment again, and then try reversing again.

Recall the original owners manual says:

Steering Boat in Astern
As a general principle, the stern will tend to pull to Port due to the paddle wheel effect, but in a wind or tide the effect of the propeller is likely to be considerably less strong than the effect on the boat of the wind or the tide. In general it is not worth trying to control the boat accurately in astern without expecting to use ahead gear quite frequently for correction.

Another gem from the original manual – which is essentially what I was saying about ‘prop wash’:

Turning at Rest
The Nicholson 38 is very maneuverable in tight circumstances and the procedure for turning the boat in these conditions is as follows. Put the wheel hard over in the direction of turn required and put the boat into hard ahead. As the boat builds up a good swing in this direction, put her hard astern in order to check any headway and to just start her coming astern again. Do not attempt to reverse the wheel while doing this as it will have very little effect and will merely tend to confuse you. As soon as the swing of the bows slows down, go ahead again hard to maintain the swing. Continue to carry out this backwards and forwards motion until headed in the right direction. Always remember, if in doubt, turn away from the wind as the wind will tend to blow the bow off and if the wind is not a major factor, always turn to port if you have a choice.

Marilyn

September 28, 2018 at 21:22 #26421
Czarina Blue
Czarina Blue
Participant

My advice is : always go bow first. Since I tried bow first, I never go in reverse ever again ( I mean not into a marina berth). Bows to everytime. Gives you more privacy too.

October 2, 2018 at 22:39 #26431
Margriet & Erik Theunissen
Margriet & Erik Theunissen
Participant

HiJohn

Totally agree with Marilyn and Czarina blue

If possible, avoid reversing, most of the time you will be at the mercy of the gods. If you really have to, follow the advice of the manual, initiate your turn by going  ahead and then go in reverse.

In general, I would say the Nic 38 needs a firm hand in manoeuvring. Going slow and giving your Nic short and soft bursts of throttle will often result in her drifting off without any control. Try to make a simple plan, do your manoeuvre in max 2 or three stages (swing forward, backward, forward) and use a generous amount of throttle whilst turning.

But also, just accept that you will never be cruising along backwards through a busy harbour like more modern keeled boats can. I find it almost impossible to maintain a straight line in reverse for more than 10 meters, especially if there is any wind. Working with lines/ropes to get the boat in or out of a berth is probably your best option.

Regards,

Erik

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.