Tricky reversing

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Tricky reversing

Postby Merihelmi » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:35 pm

I think my HR is a little bit tricky to handle when leaving the harbor. I have a 3 blade folding prop, and have tested different methods to go reverse straight without going starboard. Any nice recommendations?

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Antti_DD » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:51 am

Hi, this is a good question! First of all, I have experience only on 2-bladed folding prop, so it is a bit difficult to say how much it affects on the reversing qualities compared to 3-bladed or fixed prop. However, in general I believe that we all can agree that HR29 is a bit tricky to handle when going astern. I tend to keep the tiller pretty much centered and apply quite a lot of thrust to get the boat moving backwards as straight as possible. I think that it also helps to not to rely on steering too much (or at all) when reversing. Speaking of leaving the berth in crosswind, here is a one tip that I heard (from a British sailor) a few years ago and found it very useful (maybe you all know this already). First, I put the engine on reverse gear and apply about 1000-1500 RPMs depending on the wind, and only after that cast off the bowline. This makes the boat leave in a much straighter line than first casting off and then switching on to the reverse.

I think that the biggest difficulty is turning the boat in tight places in which there is not enough space to get the boat moving astern fast enough to gain steering and the boat starts rotating. I must confess that after four years I still have difficulties in predicting in which way the boat starts turning when reversing. I guess that it is a combination of prop walk and wind, and perhaps the strength and direction of the wind plays even bigger role than prop walk in this boat? At least, I haven't yet found too much consistency in which way the boat rotates in different conditions. Maybe others have taken more methodical and thorough approach to this? It would be interesting to hear your maneuvering strategies.
Antti Laine, Forum Administrator
HR 29 # 483 "Dolphin Dance"
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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Merihelmi » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:26 pm

Hi Antti
Thanks for the answer. I look forward hearing also from other owners if they have any good recommendations. It would be great to be able to handle such a beautiful boat in a beautiful way also in the harbors and try to avoid chaos :)

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Martijn » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:51 pm

I fully agree that our beloved HR29 is not praised for it's astern handling. I’ll try to share my quick and dirty method supported by a sketch.
First off all I need to emphasize that this maneuvering trick is best to apply if your berth has two high standing bollards at the stern position of your boat. It is particularly handy when going out single handed, is super effective but does not apply for the mooring beauty contest :o

My boat is docked at a tight berth with a small pass which offers minimal space to maneuver. From standstill HR29 will only start responding to the rudder at half ships length (app 5 meter) and is for that matter not overdoing it as well. So for the first 5 meters you are actually surrendered to the whims of wind, waves and current. I’m often sailing single handed and have experimented with different methods. This is how I found out that I didn't want to keep any delegating mooring lines/springs attached to the shore, the risk of entanglement is always present and I don't want to be to far away from the controls.

Preparation; Place a horizontal fender in the middle of the ship at the position and side where you will later grab the bollard.
For example; The ship is docked in a berth bow facing shore. You want to leave the harbor west and therefore need to move the stern backwards in eastern direction. Leave the berth slowly at app. 1.000 RPM's and put the tiller is the proper positions. Move yourself just before mid ship on deck while the ship is slowly running backwards. Watch the bollard closing in on the side and grab a hold of it. You will notice the ship tends to move towards the bollard and touch it, that's why you placed the fender. By doing so you will immediately notice the ship starts to turn. Keep hold of the bollards until the proper position is reached. Please check the drawing and according description for detail;

1 Start motor and release the mooring lines
2 Reverse the engine at 1.000 RPM’s with tiller pushed to port, thus backwards navigating to starboard
3 Now move yourself on the starboard deck and hold onto the bollard. Notice the ships stern immidiately turns to starboard and bow to port. Use a horizontal fender for protection. (the rubbing strake is also doing the job but wears the bollard down and your yard will probably charge you for it
4 Hold this position until the ship has turned about 20 degrees. Watch the angle because the bow is still inside the berth and should be able to clear the port bollard
5 Now quickly get back to the throttle and kick in reverse so the ship keeps following the course
6 Eventually it moves the ship in a 90 degree position from which you can sail away out of the harbor forward

This tactic is also achievable with a spring or using a hitch but when the bollards are high enough just use your hands, it does not require a lot of strength although it could feel a bit awkward to exercise it the first time. This method never failed me once and let you experience a good sense of control.
Attachments
Undocking astern.jpg
Undocking astern.jpg (38.33 KiB) Viewed 1723 times
Example horizontal fender.jpg
Example horizontal fender.jpg (34.77 KiB) Viewed 1723 times
Last edited by Martijn on Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Merihelmi » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:22 pm

Thanks Martijn

Your good illustrative explanation will be of help. My real goal is to have my Merihelmi to go straight reverse to reach outside the bollard and then go starboard (without getting stuck in the neighbors bollard chain). The bollard is in some distance from the astern.

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Martijn » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:00 pm

Did you try to neutralize the wheel effect by compensating with the rudder? What happens when you do? Why would you try to run straight backwards and when you are free from the last bollard then turn to starboard? Can you please elaborate a bit more so I fully understand the problem and try to help? :)

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Merihelmi » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:34 pm

Hi Martijn
I have a big Najad on my starboard side in the harbor and need to get a boat distance away from my bollard before i can go out from the harbor. Probably a little hard to explain. Anyway I need to go astern straight with my boat to avoid to get trapped in the chains holding the bollards. When the wind comes from astern/starboard its the most challenging. If I can neutralize the wheel it could help. I am sure I will learn more how the boat behaves in different conditions as times go, but of course its nice to hear your experiences.

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby klausethomsen » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:17 pm

If you are not alone on the boat, one way go straight out from the bridge is to have a person on the bow with a long line which he or she graduately let go while the boat goes astern. With a longer line it works also when you are on your own. I suppose you knew this already, but since no one has mentioned it, I thought I should.

Kind regards, Klaus

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Dan » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:13 pm

Hi Merihelmi,
If you are in a really tight spot and want to reverse dead straight I would use rope. Two ropes on either side of the boat. Run the ropes through the stern cleats and around the stern bollards. Prop in reverse and then steer the boat by paying out the rope on either side. Once the bow is clear from the aft bollards you can let go of the rope facing the side you want to go and then the boat will pivot around the one still attached. As soon as you are clear of the bollards and facing the direction you want to go, let go and retrive the remaining rope and floor it! If you are alone and the wind is favorable, use one rope on the opposite side to were you want to go.

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Re: Tricky reversing

Postby Martijn » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:07 am

The solutions for delegating using lines are great when you indeed have company. When you go out single handed I prefer, if possible, to have the ship free from those supporting lines. When it comes to neutralizing wheel effect I guess there is not much you can do with the current set up but maybe you can check out the propellers topic. I've dropped a question on the wheel effect of a Kiwi composite 3 blade prop for you.

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