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Effect of drive position on prop wash

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  • Effect of drive position on prop wash

    I'm trying to turn the boat (single stern drive, prop turning clockwise) 90 degrees to port into my slip with the bow first. As fas as I understand the prop walk after turning to port in forward will turn to port, but since it is rather tight I need to make the turn without moving much. Is it correct that prop wash will swing my stern to port, hence ruining the first prop walk effect? What is the effect of the drive position on prop wash? Can I decrease this effect by steering to starboard before reversing?

  • #2
    I think I get the gist of your question. Simplified answer - if you have to make a hard right or left turn and don't have much room to do it, you might have to go back and forth from forward to reverse to forward. Example - if you are making a hard right, turn hard right in forward briefly, once the boat starts to move quickly turn to the left while going into reverse gear, this (depending on conditions) will usually help to "pull" the stern in the direction you want it to go ultimately aligning your boat with your slip.
    Like I say, you might have to do this a few times so you can get a straight shot into the slip.

    Or if you happen to have a bow mount trolling motor use it as a bow thruster to help align yourself with your slip.


    • #3
      I forgot something. For ultimate steering control and accuracy if you will, the drive should be fully down if possible.


      • #4
        Good answer, TyeeMan. Moleps, you'll also learn to use wind and current to help you position the boat the way you want to go. If you're going in bow first, point the bow into the wind if you can. As you begin your turn, the wind will help push the bow around almost as much as your steering will. Sometimes, it's better to go past your slip, turn the boat around and approach it with the bow heading into the wind. Honestly, bow-in docking is about the easiest to master, so you'll get it before long.

        My .02
        John and Linda
        Long Island, NY
        Escapade III
        1992 Carver 26 Command Bridge
        Twin Merc Alpha 4.3 'Gen +'


        • #5
          By drive position I assume you are referring to side to side and not up and down. So yes, by turning the drive you are changing the position of the prop and therefore the direction of any generated prop walk effect and for this reason prop walk has much less impact on stern drive and outboard vessels. Don't forget that your stern drive will steer in reverse from a dead stop where an inboard cannot (unless you have a flanking rudder).

          edit: I was so slow in responding that you already got some great advice before I hit post.
          Last edited by gddavid; July 27th, 2016, 01:22 PM.


          • #6
            Alright-thx for the advice. Somewhere I believe I read something about turning 'the boat on a dime', but that for a right turning propeller the forward-reverse-forward technique is of less help in turning the boat to port in confined spaces. But then given your advice for a stendrive I guess I can rotate 90 degrees to port with the following sequence:
            1)turn steering to port in forward,
            2)turn to starboard and reverse,
            3)before I again turn hard to port in forward.

            The turning to port thing I believe I've read somewhere - does it only apply to inboard engines with a rudder?


            • #7
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              Does this maneuver really work for longside docking both port and starboard (Excerpt from link below)? Does it apply to sterndrives as well?

              "Pull your boat parallel to and a few feet from the dock. Yes, parallel, not angled into it. Next, put your helm all the way
              away from
              Last edited by moleps; August 12th, 2016, 11:54 AM.