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reversing

hi
can you suggest why my 34 ft springer wont steer at all in reverse. wouldn't have expected it to but i saw video of a pro n/boat handling school saying and showing that it is commonly done
all that happens is that stern moves very slightly to one side due to rotation of the prop regardless of rudder
thanks

Asked by: mb  | 10.20am, Sunday 24 November


WW says:

Reversing a narrowboat is a tricky business as any boater will tell you, with many things conspiring to prevent the boat going in a straight line; As you say the rotation of the propeller exerts a turning force on the boat when in reverse; this is because the rotating cone of water produced by the propeller pushes against one side of the hull, either the left or the right depending on the "hand" of the propeller. In deep water this is the sole factor, but variations in the water depth will affect the water flow and steer the boat which is very apparent on canals.
A little experimentation away from the bank will determine the "steer" in reverse from the propeller rotation. Angling the rudder at about 45 degrees to counteract this will help but the real trick is to correct small movements before they get to the point that a burst of forward thrust is needed to get the boat orientated correctly again. It often helps to start reversing with the boat stationary rather than still moving forwards and to be bold in the use of the engine power. Otherwise a friend on the bow with a boat pole acting as bow thruster!

Rupert Smedley  | 6.06PM, Sunday 24 November

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