twin rudders and steering

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david.claassen's picture
Totally agree with Mike. It's

Totally agree with Mike. It's a doddle to come into a mooring with wind or tide holding you on, or even a wind on the nose. I do a lot of single handed moorings and have a lot more trouble with a wind off the stern. Coming in whilst being blown off the pontoon requires a faster approach. There are times when the best option is to fender both sides, let her get (gently) blown against your neighbour, then bring her over from the dock. Mid cleats or having a line fastened to bow and stern cleats are very handy as well.

David Claassen

"Logan's Run"

2006 26M

I would firstly like to offer

I would firstly like to offer humble apologies to David as my response was based on thinking he was suggesting no keel down was best but I misread his comment and he was saying exactly the opposite - apologies again.

There is rightly agreement that having some or all keel down is essential.

I think the discussion needs to be opened out as at the moment it is all about how to steer a boat which is the easy bit. The 3 factors which are most important in my view are:

1. Wind strength and direction

2. Current speed and direction

3. Available pontoon length

Only by assessing all those in advance is there any chance of getting it right. Having a single set method will never work. The key is to make a decision quickly but a trial approach (where possible) and then a 'go-around' increases the time to assess and decide.

As an example, in a strong wind blowing directly onto a pontoon, 'normal' methods of approaching at 30 degrees and then giving a blast astern will work fine albeit probably at the expense of the gel coat up forward. Trying to do the same in a strong wind blowing off the pontoon in a Mac will rarely work - in this case the only way to get alongside under control is to back up to the pontoon, drop off a crew member from the stern with bow and stern line and immediately secure the stern line. There is then plenty of time to get the bow onto the pontoon either under engine or using warps.


I laid a length of old

I laid a length of old mooring warp alongside my pontoon which gives us something for tne boathook to grab hold of, either from the cockpit or bow. Given the high freeboard (and my short legs), being able to grip onto something is a positive and gives me time to get more organised. Of course getting near enough to the pontoon is an effort in dirty weather and Chris's advice is very wise.

I had a lot of fun trying to moor, Greek Style, a 45 foot Bavaria in a crowded Gaios, Paxos in high winds and rain and ended up dropping anchor outside the harbour. While we were ashore the storm strengthened and it was dangerous to use our tender to get back so hired a water taxi which picked up the tender and after a wet and bumpy ride we got back to our boat for a lumpy night.

Keep safe and good sailing

Simon Armitage

Sowenna 26M

A very interesting thread.

A very interesting thread.

My 26X's close quarters manoeuvring has been improved greatly by the addition of porpoise 'wings' to the outboard and a large rudder that is actually attached to the engine and projects behind the propeller. This arrangement means that there is wash over the added rudder whenever the prop is turning. Mine cost £150, but it could easily be fabricated at home. Details of mine at I'll try to remember to take a pic and post it here.

Spent an idyllic afternoon on and around the Hamble today. All systems seem 'go' after the Winter lay off with only a few niggles to sort (famous last words)......

Very best wishes to all,


Why do I keep getting

Why do I keep getting postings with no added content ?

rick.jones's picture
Hi David

Hi David

Are you talking about the emails notifying you of new content? The first link takes you to the start of the topic (so always the same). Further down, the link under "Replies" takes you to the new comment.

If there's been a lot of activity, one email can contain links to more than one item.

Does that help? Let me know if not.

Rick Jones (Treasurer) 1994 Mac 19 "White Lightning", Isle of Wight

Sometimes the forums can play

Sometimes the forums can play tricks on you....I'm puzzled that quite often I post something but it doesn't show up....Maybe there are so many embarrassing predictive text errors that it is auto exited out!

Anyway, earlier I posted that it seemed to me that if depth allowed always have foils fully down when manojvering at slow speed. In marinas etc. If anything I would expect that if half up, the hinging centre board of the x would cause the pivot point to be more to stern and also lengthened making it less effective.

Remember that tidal generally trumps wind for causing muckups.

The only exception to this is when you want to make use of shallow draft and allow the whole boat to swing out of pontoon such as when using bow spring followed by reverse pivot method to get off against adverse wind and/or tide.

Generally short bursts of power forward or a stern allow best turning with less directional travel and alternating fore and aft with quick reversing of outboard direction can allow thrust to cancel out and boat to spin on the spot.

Two other useful tips I learned from power boat course are Ferry Gliding , and utilising a gentle side wind to blow boat onto the pontoon ( sometimes small pivot adjustments required).

Always take time to plan it and never wing it. Bravado breaks boats!

Lastly, go slow and don't be afraid to land crew onto pontoon or other boats so they can take lines etc. All decent yachtmen will also want to help , if only to save their boats!

Hope this helps., Roly

Hi everyone   This is one of

Hi everyone This is one of the most interesting threads i've seen and i can confirm after a couple of early visits into trees when trying powerboat turns on the river bure, that full plate and rudders down is the only way to do tight turns in a 26x. Our mooring is in a 28ft wide dyke off the main river, with 2 90' turns, so manouvering without hitting the neighbours is a social necessity. We also have to get into very tight spaces on various moorings around the broads so any advice regards this is gratefully accepted. Getting in is normally OK, using David's method of coasting in and a burst of reverse engine with the steering spun to pull the stern in, or even Chris's reverse in and jump off with the bow rope already back to the cockpit if single handed. But one comment from Roly has intrigued me, because getting off from a lee mooring has been really difficult when there are 10' wide cruisers moored both sides, as the wind just pushes the bow back in. So we now haul the boat head to wind manually using the windward stern line, then power straight off the mooring.

So Roly, what do you mean by ' The only exception to this is when you want to make use of shallow draft and allow the whole boat to swing out of pontoon such as when using bow spring followed by reverse pivot method to get off against adverse wind and/or tide.' I'm assuming this is to use both stern mooring ropes to pull the boat stern on to the pontoon/mooring as i said above, and therefore head to wind, and in that case you want as least underwater resistance as possible?. But i don't understand the bow spring bit? Anyway, any more info gratefully received, especially if its less hard work!