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Well-known member
Apr 18, 2006
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I own a 1997 2520 sport cabin with a volvo penta 5.7l i/o. i find it very difficult to maneuver this boat in tight slip situations or windy conditions. It seems to really get pushed by any wind and skid on turning also. The turning radius is huge. I have tried to turn this boat in reverse on a windy day and it will not turn, but continue to reverse at an angle. All this makes things rough docking in skinny slip areas. Has anone else run into this? Comments and suggestions would be appreciated.
I imagine that a single I/O is slightly tougher than a single outboard.

That being said I find it tough as well on windy days! My slip, and the canal that it is in , is narrow.

Some tips:

1) Always go slow. If your approach is wrong for that day's wind/current, then start over, and ignore anyone who is looking at you.

2) If you are trying to ease into a U-shaped slip, assuming you have set up right, try using one of the outer pilings as a pivot to reverse in.

3) I also find that having fore-aft lines on each side of the slip between the pilings is real helpful in pulling into the slip once you have your boat a third way in. See this photo for an illustration:


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There are probably differences in our drives so this might not work for you....

I can turn my boat around almost as if it is spinning on center... for ex: hard port reverse.... hard starboard foward..... back to reverse and hard port..... It takes a lot of shifting and some fast wheel action but it is one of my favorite manuvers to perform when there is a a crowd at the boat ramp.

When going slow into a head wind if you turn slightly off course the wind will push the bow and before you know it you are 90 degrees off course... the solution to this is to back into tight areas when there is a strong head wind.

Cross winds are the hardest especially if there is a current that is unknown. If you've every flown a plane you can appreciate "crabbing" and yaw.... For ex:

I have a 15 mph wind from the west and I'm going north and the dock/ runway is in a north-south (00) orientation I'm approaching the dock with a heading of about 325 but my course is due north.... I approach with enough speed to keep better control..... at the right time I give it a surge of reverse with the wheel into the wind (in this case hard port)... if everything is perfect the heading and course is due north now... I did not stop the boat with that surge of reverse and the momentum carries the boat to the dock where I hop off with lines in hand....hey... it happens sometimes!

I have a lot of experience doing things like this because I'm usually alone. Your drive might not behave the same way as my motor on a bracket....

One other thing to do if your reverse is not giving you much steering ability........ use a bump or surge of forward with the proper steering to put the stern in the right direction and then get in reverse.... that's how the work boats do it....
Have you tried trimming up your outdrive some when in reverse? You could be pushing the force against the transom somewhat instead of under it.
Do you have a duoprop or just single prop boat? I know that i/o's (like a bravo II) that turn larger single props will prop walk too..

One helpful hint is to "bump" the motor in and out of gear. I see a lot of people who put it in gear and leave it there and try to just steer into a slip. Turn the out drive in the direction you want to go in neutral then bump it in/out of gear. By bumping in and out of gear you give the boat sudden thrusts into the direction of which you want the boat to go. This generally will give you a tighter turning radius.

Also always try to dock against the wind/current. This gives you the most control over the boat as you can use the wind to slow in the direction you want to go. If you are docking with the wind/current, you lose manuverability and it is more difficult to slow down/brake. remember, never go any faster than what you would want to hit something at.
Lots of excellent tips here... :wink:

With practice, you can get an MV hull to side-slip right up to a dock, no matter what the wind. It is all a matter of application of power in the proper direction, trimming the motor up, and working the angle of the motor to your benefit.

I have a fuel dock that I frequent that almost always has some big azz hog in the way.
I've found that I can back her up and side-slip into the dock by applying minimal power, but moving the motor from 90 to 45 degrees back-and-forth in a see-saw motion. This is one place where the 14 degrees of deadrise really helps you slip sideways! :)

Don't be afraid of working the transmission fore and aft as in a 3 (or more)-point turn. Once you realize that you don't have to maneuver in one arc, you'll have the whole process licked.

Good luck!
I have a 2530 with Volvo 5.7 L Duoprop.

Wind and the boat can be difficult. What usually is the kicker is wind, the boat and current.

Wind and boat orientation gets fixed by starting over versus forcing a bad situation. Wind, boat, and current require jockeying and help usually.

The boat won't turn on a dime. You have to either spin the wheel and shift and then when you are real close shift a lot. I decide within about 5 or 10 feet of whatever I am close to (the finger of the slip or the boats on either side) whether to call it off. I've been sideways against someone's bow pulpit before.

I've been on a slip for about 4 years now.

My fourth factor the past two years and I am not in the water yet this year is I don't have much water in front of the slip at low tide as there is a brook washing mud into what's left of dredged area.

Lastly, don't let people in the boat that are supposed to help, make it difficult for you by blocking your view and don't let them grab something you don't want them to grab. Don't be afraid even if someone on a finger has grabbed one of your lines to tell them to let go and try it over again.

If it works, I'll show you two photos from 2004 of it in a slip, I don't have a good one from last year.

Sorry, haven't attached photos before. Here is a try again.



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