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no empty slips. You have two choices, starboard and goose the engine, 2000-
back out the way you came or spin the 2500 RPM for 2-3 seconds (I judge
boat around. when to end the goosing by feeling the
The tools used in a spin are boat, when it starts to react to the prop
primarily steering and prop wash but wash and gains spin momentum I pull
prop walk, wind and current must be the throttle back). Then go directly into
taken into account since this maneuver reverse, again just above idle. Be patient,
is almost always done in a tight space. if the boat is still spinning just wait and
Here are several exercises, starting let it. However, you will likely have to
with the basics and then adding in repeat these steps at least once more to
complexity. Like the previous exercises, complete a full turn around. It will take
these are best done in an open area a bit of practice to learn what works
and in calm conditions (at least to for your boat. For example, boats with
start with). Let’s assume the boat has smaller engines will need to be goosed
a right-handed prop and a fin keel. If longer than boats with larger engines.
your boat has a full keel this maneuver And the amount of reverse needed will
can most likely be done but it will likely depend some on how much forward
require more speed and/or applying momentum the boat has gained during
more power. the goose.
The first exercise is a basic spin A common variation is to start with
done with only steering. Bring the the boat moving at about 1 knot. This
boat up to 2 knots, then cut the wheel is not enough speed to finish a spin so
over hard (all the way over and done we will need to help it out. You can do
quickly) while leaving the engine in so by goosing the engine as you are
forward at idle. The idea is to turn the cutting the wheel over. This is our basic
boat completely around and go back the prop wash maneuver and it should add
way you came from. As you complete spin momentum without adding much
the turn look over at the water where forward speed. And, of course, you
you started the turn, how far away is can then go into reverse if you need to
it? Most boats should complete this shorten the turn radius.
type of turn in 1.5 to 2 boat lengths; There are other factors that need to
so on a 30 foot boat where you started be discussed. The first is positioning; if
should be 45 to 60 feet away. you are doing a spin move in an aisle
Next, let’s see if we can cut this way you will need to start from one
down to below 1.5 boat lengths. To side and turn toward the other. Most
do so you need to make the turn to of the time, assuming a starboard turn,
starboard. Start with the same setup – you would want to start from the left
boat speed at 2 knots and cut the wheel hand side of the isle. Be sure to leave
over hard. But this time, instead of enough room for your stern to swing
leaving the engine in forward, shift it on the left side. But this can change if
into reverse and rev it up just a little (to wind or current are coming from the
around 1000 RPM). Leave it in reverse port side. In that case, you would want
until the turn is a bit over halfway to turn into the wind or current and not
done, then as the turn is finishing, shift use reverse. The wind or current should
back to forward. For this to work well slow forward momentum so reverse
the shift into reverse needs to be done will not likely be needed; besides, using
smoothly but almost at the same time reverse would cause prop walk and kill
as cutting the wheel over. You should the spin. As the wind speed increases
see a noticeable shortening of the you will need to put more power into
turning radius compared to the first the turn to get the bow through the
exercise. Do you see why we needed to wind. But once the bow is across the
make this turn to starboard? When we wind it will help finish the turn.
turn to starboard and put the engine in One last but important point, if
reverse the prop walk helps the turn, there is a strong wind coming over
if we had turned to port the prop walk your stern it may be best to just back
would have slowed or killed the spin. out and skip the spin idea.
Try one to port to see what happens. This concludes the series on close-
Starting a turn at 2 knots is not quarters maneuvering. I hope it has
always practical so let’s try a spin from been helpful.
a dead stop. Turn the wheel hard to 48° N
48° No r t h , Ma r c h 2010 Pa g e 41
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