View Full Version : Starboard Prop

07-05-2005, 02:31 PM

I'm in the process of purchasing a GS 44 CC. I did the seal trial and I noticed a that the engine props to starboard while reversing (Perking 4-154).

I have sailed boats all my life but never owned anything bigger than a 30 feet. As a result my only experience docking is on a 30 feet or less sailboats, so I'm a bit concerned about docking this almost 45 feet monster :) I guess practice makes good...

Anyways, the questions I have are:

- This engine props to starboard, so what's your trick to make it go to port in reverse? Do you run it forward with the wheel lock to starboard to get the stern out first (assuming you are in a starboard slip)? (in smaller boats I just push the boat away with my feet)

- If you have a choice of slip in your marina (I do), would you choose starboard or port? and why?

- Any docking advise particular to this vessel would be appreciated.


07-05-2005, 07:44 PM

It appears you are experiencing "prop walk". A rudder performs by the flow of water across it. This happens easier in forward because the propeller wash is forced behind across the rudder.

However in reverse the propeller wash is forced towards the bow of the boat. The only way you will get a flow of water across the rudder is by backward movement of the boat. The key is "backward movement". Many times a skipper will try to back out of a slip very slowly (minimal flow across the rudder) and the boat will "walk sidways" either right or left depending on if you have a right hand or left hand prop.

To over come this many skippers will give a short burst of reverse and shift to neutral. This may be needed several times. This will get the boat moving backwards so the rudder now has control of direction. The reason to shift into neutral is to eliminate the sideways prop walk that will turn you boat sideways.

In tight spots you can use this to your advantage to turn your boat in a small radius. Also keep in mind wind and current will also effect where you may or may not want to head.

Having own a Catalina before with a fin keel and spade rudder, I was amazed with our gulfstar, with half keel and skeg hung rudder, how much longer it takes to turn. Not good on round the bouy races but great on longer distance sailing.

Hope this helps, happy sailing!! -- Scotty