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How did you learn?

First boat and learning to drive a boat. I'm finding it nerve wracking! Current and wind make the boat feel like it's on ice. A single screw diesel with no bow thruster means I'm kicking forward or reverse then neutral immediately.

Any tips from the veterans? How did you learn to maneuver in close quarters?

Thanks in advance.

Art
2013 290 ec - Volvo Penta D4/DP

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    TonyWalkerTonyWalker Member Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    edited July 2013
    Art,  I bet a 270 owner or two will give you some tips.  One particularly good 270 close quarters operator that I know of is "Tiki Hut".  All of my docking experience is self taught and yours can be too with some good information.  Twins with counter rotating props make things a bit more straight forward than with a single engine.  But you will learn and in time you will get "almost" comfortable.  You will first experience this at your home dock because that is where you will dock most often.  You will learn to use momentum and short power bursts to your advantage. The wind can be your friend too once you get the hang of analyzing each situation.  And another friend is wood pilings  I had a wood piling located on the far side of the boat from the dock spring me right to the dock when I sort of bounced off if it.  It made me look like an expert but it was more luck. But I now know how effective such a tactic can be.   It will all come together with time.
     
    Tony
    Salt Shaker 342
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    Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2013

    Experience. That helps a lot right? Do you have a dock area near you that is not used heavily at certain times? If so, do a whole bunch of touch and goes. My wife is learning to drive our EC 310 and that is what she is doing. It builds her confidence every time. She'll soon be trying in stronger and stronger winds. I'll be practicing too - first using the sticks with the Axius off then using just one engine in case I have an engine fail. I'll  practice it with starboard and then port. Pick a time at a dock when it isn't too busy and try a bunch of dockings or at least approaches. I started my wife out in open water using a landmark as a point of reference. She went, back, forward, sideways and turned circles. It was fun. You'll keep getting better. Here are some of my docking rules; never approach a dock faster than you want to hit it. If you don't like the way you are approaching a slip or a dock back off/try again. You'll look smart. Don't give a $$$$ what anyone on the dock thinks, take your time and don't feel rushed.Chances are half of them have never driven a boat and the other half have creamed a dock at some point in thier learning curve. So - don't pay attention to them and you won't become one of them. P.S. there are a lot of great guys/gals at the docks who will help you get in in a wind. Before you approach tell your first mate (and everyone else on the boat) what to do. I have everyone except the Admiral (wife) sit down and shut up. The Admiral and I have discussed  ahead of time how we'll come into whatever dock/slip it is. SHE tells the guys on the dock what to do so no one ties off a line too soon etc. Hope this helps a bit. You'll be fine! MT

    Post edited by Michael T on
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    212rowboat212rowboat Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭✭
    There are two types of boaters.. those that have hit the dock, and those that haven't yet.... I'm no expert, but I know enough to know experience can't be replaced with anything but experience, and experiencing every condition is going to be tough without more than a few hours at the helm..

    I took an anti terrorist evasive driving course some years ago.. I thought I was a good driver until I took that course.. I tried my level best to fail it, in hopes they would send me back.. no such luck.. but anyway, the first day was classroom study of "vehicle dynamics", or the things that inertia does to a vehicles four contact patches, suspension, braking, ect... I'm willing to bet good money there are online resources to study boat dynamics, too.. a matter of fact, I think I'll find some and study them myself..

    Here is a funny anecdote... Well, sorta funny.. a buddy blew his engine a few weeks ago, and just replaced his outboard with a counter rotational outboard he found cheap... As in real cheap for a good motor- 300hp yamaha $3k... He is a very experienced boater, especially with that boat (22' dual console)... He had issues with it because he wasn't accustomed to maneuvering at idle with a counter screw... His dynamics were different.. he adjusted his trim tabs, and even did something or another with the anti cavitation thingy thing.. he's got it now, but he'll offer up he's gotta think about it now, where it was second nature...

    You'll get there.. just remember slow is smooth, smooth is fast.. also remember, though, popping the throttle hard at times can save you, too..
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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hey Miami, Congrats on the new boat, and thanks Tony. These guys are giving you great advice and I fully appreciate the challenges of docking your 270 with only one engine and a warehouse sized free-board up front. Wind is a pain with this boat and I've been humbled a few times. Once after 3 attempts at an approach I just completely bailed on a lunch dock at an awesome spot due to the crosswind and tight traffic rather than risk the boat. Don't feel bad if you need to wait for a better day to get to that certain dock.

    If it's your home dock, then like others have said practice, practice, practice in all conditions. Try to study up on the use of a mid-ship dock line. It's a great help with this boat. 

    Prep your lines and fenders long before you get inside a tight spot and keep your docking pole ready. With everything thought out you can concentrate on your approach confident that you're ready. If you need to bump from forward to reverse make a conscious effort to pause and consider which way the outdrive is aimed before you bump it into gear. Lastly slow is important but some headway is needed or this boat just slides all over the place. Man I wish it had a keel. 

    Remain calm, don't shout at the crew and above all remember that it's an 8000lb boat with momentum so NEVER let them use their arms/legs to fend off the dock or solid objects.

    Hope that helps. Be safe and it'll come together. Mike
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    TonyWalkerTonyWalker Member Posts: 744 ✭✭✭
    I forgot all about this.  In the beginning I was always in a panic because I was wheeling nonsensically trying to get the boat to behave in close quarters.  I found an item at West Marine (cheap too) that sticks on the hub of the steering wheel.  This little item tells you at a glance what direction and how much the out drive is angled.  It is operated by gravity.  Once I found this and put it on the steering wheel, my abilities multiplied instantly.  Just knowing where the out drives are pointed with a glance down made a huge difference for me.  I recommend this device highly.   Tony Salt Shaker 342
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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Tony, so thats your secret ;) .I want one of those OD direction indicators. My brain starts to swim when it gets complicated in a tough dockage with a crosswind and no bow thruster. You have all the cool stuff. We'll talk. Safe travels till then. Mike
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What a great legacy and it sounds like youre sharing what they shared with you. Sort of paying it forward. For that, we are all grateful.

    Hope you leave time to get out on the water. Thanks for bringing your depth and insight for these increasingly complicated systems.
    Mike :)>-
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    raybo3raybo3 Administrator Posts: 5,469 admin
    Al Great story........
    2002 342 Fiesta Vee PC Point Of Pines YC Revere MA. popyc.org     raybo3@live.com
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    brianluckbrianluck Member Posts: 174 ✭✭✭
    Reading all these makes me glad I've got two engines. My experience with single engine boats is small and rocky my docking never went smooth and my lack of experience was obvious
    1994 300fv "General Madness"
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    mvnmvn Member, Moderator Posts: 744 mod

    I moved up from a 12' aluminum with a 9.8 to a 24' Grew with a single OMC I/O in my late teens.  My dad refused to pilot the "ship" so I always had to operate in tight quarters with what seemed like hurricane force winds all time.  And to make matters worse, all of the stick boats had their masts sticking out into the channels before getting them raised in the spring.  I learned pretty quickly that situational awareness is paramount to your success.  Use the wind to your advantage and take it slowwwww.  I did have a drive position indicator on the steering wheel and it did help in the beginning.

    I realize that my current 226 is not big by any stretch and it has a fairly low freeboard but wind and current still has an effect.  I still operate it as if it was a larger boat and the Admiral is always chirping to hurry things up when docking but I ignore the noise and take it slow.  There's no reason to be in a hurry unless the conditions dictate otherwise.

    Mark

    Good,  fast,  cheap.... pick two. 
    2019 MTX20 Extreme

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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Darn stick boats. .... :D
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Mark, that's my number one rule - .never approach a dock faster than you want to hit it. Coming in slow and easy looks cool anyway. I remember when the shift modules had a neutral "detente" on them when you shifted from forward to reverse and vv. It was often a solenoid switch on a roller arm that dropped the engine revs dramatically - almost to stall - to facilitate the gear change. Depending on the weather the settings etc. this dropped rpm shift could cause a stall. No big deal as you could shift to neutral and re start BUT A lot of guys would come roaring up to a dock slam shift to reverse "for show" the neutral shift detente would cause a stall and they would cream the dock before they could re-start. To be honest they actually did create "a show" as it made for some laughs around the cottage camp fires that night. As my grandfather used to say you'll leave far less paint on the wood if you approach the dock with respect. MT
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    mvnmvn Member, Moderator Posts: 744 mod

    BTW, the guys at Powerboat Television have a series of DVD's on boat handling techniques.  They are very good and I highly recommend them.

    http://webstore.lifestyleintegrated.com/collections/boat-handling-101

    Mark

    Good,  fast,  cheap.... pick two. 
    2019 MTX20 Extreme

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    craigswardmtbcraigswardmtb Member Posts: 1,015 ✭✭✭
    I had a 270 prior to this year and that thing with a bow thruster was sometimes harder to dock than my 360. Not to make u feel better. ;-). My best advice is go slow enough to feel still in control; use very short bursts for corrections; keep the biminis and canvas down in windy conditions if possible as this boat gets blown around easy; and practice practice before you put yourself in crowded hectic situations. Lastly keep in mind that everyone struggles with docking to some degree, so just disregard the noise and concentrate on what u r doing.
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    MiamiAGMiamiAG Member Posts: 210 ✭✭
    Appreciate everyone's input and willingness to share. I've purchased the West Marine indicator and that has helped tremendously.

    I've also hired a very experienced captain to sit at the helm with me and practice going out of the slip and back in from all sorts of different angles. I'm hoping this gives me the confidence to do it by myself soon. Can't beat practice with a knowledgeable hand next to you giving you instruction.
    2013 290 ec - Volvo Penta D4/DP
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    MiamiAGMiamiAG Member Posts: 210 ✭✭
    Forgot to mention, if anyone is reading this and they have a diesel in the 290, you're in for a treat as it idles at 700 rpm and has a fully electronic system. It bucks like a race horse at the gate when you put it in gear. It's a great ride but in close quarters, your heart beats that much faster.
    2013 290 ec - Volvo Penta D4/DP
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    vquadvquad Member Posts: 116 ✭✭✭
    photo Pictures007.jpg

    2007 rinker 270

    "Julie Ann"

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    vquadvquad Member Posts: 116 ✭✭✭
    yah...its cheating...I know... :D

    2007 rinker 270

    "Julie Ann"

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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not fair. Its a twin engine 270. :D
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Speed is the #1 important factor. Do you know you need 200' or more of water to slow a boat down if there's NO wind?

    So before I get to my slip, and I mean waaaaay before, I put it in neutral and coast to a stop. You can test how much distance your boat needs to stop by coasting and then putting in neutral in an open space.

    Once I am  going slow enough, I can virtually pivot on point, and head into my slip.

    Things are a little more complicated with some current and wind. As I enter my marina, I answer these questions:

    - have I elliminated all distractions (visual = phone, audio = radio)

    - are my fenders and lines out?

    - do my dock assistants know what "I" want them to do (not what they think they should do)? Communicate.

    - what direction is the wind and current? How will this change my course as I approach myslip. What do I need to do to compensate?

    - can I call someone on the dock to help?

    All these questions should be answered before you need to put the boat into neutral to slow down in time for entering your slip.  So I normally mark something where I know I must put the boat in neutral and I ensure my game plan is understood by everyone on board before I reach this mark (like a certain boat, or slip #).

    As others stated above, nothing can replace experience - but having a game plan helps - which is what you do when you have experience!

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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