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I need a crash course in motorboat operation.


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I've been asked to deliver a friends first motorboat. It's a 1961 Brownell Bassboat. I helped select it for my friends (and clients). I really like it for a first boat on the bay. It looks safe, able and perfect for taking a handful of people to explore a new world to friends. 

I was first looking at glass boats. Then a woodie that belongs on Golden Pond caught his eye. Face it, some people have an eye for pretty boats.

But the CC looked half restored, suited for more protected waters, original 40's engine, a potential project. These people don't need a project: I manage their projects so I know I don't need a CC project. 

He (middle generation of a large family) instantly fell in love with the function and utility of the Brownell 24. I fell in love with the lines thinking this is the type of powerboat that will teach. 

The Brownell has had a proper wooden boat restoration. It's being fitted with a new engine right now. It's a bare maintenance boat for wood.  

I jumped all that, owner maintenance, I know enough about wood to know what I don't know, and have connected owner and our local world class wooden boat yard at the hip. They'll take care of the 'new' 60 year old boat. It's one of their boats now. 

But I'm a sailor that hasn't run a powerboat, much, since I was a teenager (my folks had an 16' Lyman). From the little info available on this boat it looks like it will like to cruise at around 10-12 knots(?) I'm familiar with the Big Kaboom factor of the gasoline engine and have been explaining that to my clients (they're very intelligent and cautious people). 

 

What else would you (Accnick and anyone), advise me to look for, avoid doing etc.

 

25 NM delivery: It's looks like a 3 hour tour from dock to dock. The new owner (40 something) is going with me and my wife, Mary Ann...

 

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It won't be THAT hard to run, but here are some tips:

Unlike a fin-keel sailboat, you do not have a pivot point in the center of the boat and the rudder is very small compared to a sailboat. Take some time to get used to the turning radius and where the boat pivots. You will find at low speeds with no throttle you won't get the rudder response you are used to either, if you come up a fairway and try and turn 90 degrees into a slip with no throttle, you will likely go wide. Little blips of power will be your friend. Learn which way the stern goes in reverse. Port is the more likely way, but it could be starboard. Assuming it is port, port side docking will work well, you come in at say a 30 degree angle to the dock slowly and right before you touch back down hard and that will stop the boat and suck the stern in to the dock.

As for fuel and range, I cannot imagine the boat cannot go 25 miles. As with most planing boats, your best MPG is right off idle below hull speed and next best is fully on plane with a lot of the hull out of the water. Worst is usually at the transition point with the stern way down leaving a huge wake.

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Most powerboats have very small rudders, and do not steer in as positive a fashion as sailboats. You need to use prop wash over the rudder to move the stern around. To turn one direction or the other at slow speed, take the engine out of gear, put the helm hard over for the direction you want to turn, then give a quick, short burst ahead and pull back to neutral. Repeat as necessary

The boat will turn better in one direction or the other due to the natural prop walk, depending on whether it is a right-hand or left-hand rotating prop. Once you figure that out, it will determine how you make approaches to either a dock or a mooring. If you try to make the boat do things she doesn't have a natural tendency to do, it can end in tears.

Practice by picking up a mooring in calm conditions, preferably one not surrounded by other boats in close proximity.

In my case, I have a big five-blade prop turned by 420 hp.  Approaching a mooring from upwind in tight quarters,  I leave the mooring to port at slow speed,  out of gear, and when I'm about a boat length downwind of the mooring, put the helm hard to port, give a two-second burst ahead, take it out of gear, and with the rudder still hard over, give a short burst astern, then out of gear. 

Repeat as necessary.

The similar short bursts ahead and astern pretty much hold the boat in position but kick the stern around, so that the boat turns almost 180 degrees in her own length.

Once headed upwind towards the mooring, approach as you would with your sailboat. Prop wash over the rudder is your friend with a powerboat, more than with a sailboat, although the principles are the same.

Of course, I also have a big two-prop bow thruster to bail me out if I screw it up, but I consider the approach a failure if I have to use it. I have used it in anger a few times in strong wind and tide conditions, when it is worth its weight in gold.

I have a friend who is a great lifelong sailor. She now has a big, beautiful powerboat with bow and stern thrusters. I can tell when she is in the harbor just by the constant sound of those two thrusters at work.

You want to say "pretend your thrusters don't work, and learn to handle your boat accordingly."

You'll do just fine.

If doing a delivery, try to leave early in the morning before the breeze comes up, and do it when there is a relatively benign forecast. It does take some time to develop confidence in the boat's capability. The Brownell is a nice design, and was built to fish in the rough waters near the mouth of Buzzards Bay. She should be a capable little boat.

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Excellent stuff so far. The only thing I have to add, your sailor's sense of the wind will be a help when maneuvering at low speed. If your course is generally into the wind, the bow will want to swing away, downwind, harder & faster than a sailboat's would. Conversely (or perversely) if your course is downwind-ish, it will be difficult... especially in whichever direction you get no help from prop walk... to bring the bow up toward the wind.

I also second the advice to pretend your bow thruster doesn't work. Because 1- it builds a much better sense of what the boat will/won't do, and 2- at some point the bow thruster will quit working.

Good looking boat!

FB- Doug

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2 hours ago, Kris Cringle said:

I've been asked to deliver a friends first motorboat. It's a 1961 Brownell Bassboat.[...] I'm familiar with the Big Kaboom factor of the gasoline engine and have been explaining that to my clients (they're very intelligent and cautious people). 

Nice.

The "big kaboom" is more about maintenance and less about running the blower although running the blower is good discipline and you should.  The more important things, don't run the boat with a known fuel leak, don't use parts that aren't ignition protected, and keep the wiring neat and tidy with proper splices and terminations.  The spectacular explosions involve the guy who keeps meaning to fix the needle valve on the carb and saves money by using an automotive rather than marine starter (much cheaper but not ignition protected).

 

Quote

What else would you (Accnick and anyone), advise me to look for, avoid doing etc.

Well, you'll do fine and probably know what you need to know.  From a teaching aspect there are several things that matter more/only on power rather than sail:

  • Wake awareness, effect on shoreline, kayaks, canoes, etc.
  • Emergency stop procedure.  Varies a little from boat to boat but usually a hard turn to either side with throttle to neutral after the turn is started.  Scary for passengers if done correctly.  Ideally something you'd figure out by yourself and then teach after they're comfortable with handling
  • Short form colregs: stay out of the way of oar and sail, turn to starboard for boats coming from starboard or meeting head-on, pass on either side
  • Courtesy regarding people fishing, awareness of lines extending back often 100', perceived negative effect of mobo noise on fishing

I would carry an anchor and an emergency paddle on a boat like that particularly for a delivery after engine work.  Surprisingly many don't have a usable anchor.  You can't paddle across the lake but with a long paddle you can choose which part of the lee shore you hit, avoid a rock, and get to shore on a totally windless morning.

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More colreg advice, powerboaters only know 2 rules:

1. Sailboats have right-of-way. They hate this rule and may ignore it, but they know it exists.

2. Bigger boats have right-of-way. Good friggin luck getting any larger powerboat to give way :rolleyes:

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Another thing is the windage. The bow may blow off, but the whole thing will blow sideways faster than a sailboat, there is nothing below the water to prevent it. Therefore, always favor the upwind side of a fairway, more than you might on a sailboat. It is easy to get it to go downwind, and can be very difficult to get it to go upwind. 

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3 minutes ago, DDW said:

Another thing is the windage. The bow may blow off, but the whole thing will blow sideways faster than a sailboat, there is nothing below the water to prevent it. Therefore, always favor the upwind side of a fairway, more than you might on a sailboat. It is easy to get it to go downwind, and can be very difficult to get it to go upwind. 

Another thing along these lines: it's not as easy to "coast" out of gear with a powerboat. Unless they are quite large, they don't carry way and stay steerable when out of gear in the same way a displacement sailboat will.

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Good grief, I guess it has been 25 years since I drove a power boat bigger than my dinghy.  But I see other people doing it every day and it doesn’t look too hard:  Open a beer. Slam the throttle all the way up. Turn around to chat with the people seated behind you.  

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^^ And, most of them do not idle slowly. My sailboat will idle at 2 - 3 knots, nice approach speed. My powerboat idles as 4-5 knots, pretty fast to approach a slip or mooring.  So you are bumping it in and out of gear to keep the speed under control.

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3 minutes ago, toddster said:

Good grief, I guess it has been 25 years since I drove a power boat bigger than my dinghy.  But I see other people doing it every day and it doesn’t look too hard:  Open a beer. Slam the throttle all the way up. Turn around to chat with the people seated behind you.  

just don't be this guy, and you'll be fine

 

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4 minutes ago, accnick said:

Another thing along these lines: it's not as easy to "coast" out of gear with a powerboat. Unless they are quite large, they don't carry way and stay steerable when out of gear in the same way a displacement sailboat will.

That Brownell boat is an Eldredge-McInnis design. They knew how to design sturdy, seaworthy boats, both power and sail.

In my old neck of the woods, we used to call these "Cuttyhunk boats." Anyone who has sailed or fished for stripers in the waters around Cuttyhunk and the mouth of Buzzards Bay knows you need a good boat to be there in comfort and safety.

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15 minutes ago, DDW said:

Another thing is the windage. The bow may blow off, but the whole thing will blow sideways faster than a sailboat, there is nothing below the water to prevent it. Therefore, always favor the upwind side of a fairway, more than you might on a sailboat. It is easy to get it to go downwind, and can be very difficult to get it to go upwind. 

That boat won't be too bad, but those big 3-story motor-yacht-McMansion things SUCK. I had to pull one up to the gas dock fast and do a hard stop close to the dock, at slow speeds it was blowing about 5 knots sideways :o

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4 minutes ago, DDW said:

^^ And, most of them do not idle slowly. My sailboat will idle at 2 - 3 knots, nice approach speed. My powerboat idles as 4-5 knots, pretty fast to approach a slip or mooring.  So you are bumping it in and out of gear to keep the speed under control.

My Wilbur 34 idles at 5.5 knots. I've had some interesting discussions about operating speeds with a few folks on their boats. 

It's in and out of gear constantly maneuvering in harbor.

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2 minutes ago, accnick said:

My Wilbur 34 idles at 5.5 knots. I've had some interesting discussions about operating speeds with a few folks on their boats. 

It's in and out of gear constantly maneuvering in harbor.

This is why trolling valves were invented. One big monster with twin V-12 diesels I was moving did something like 7 knots *at idle*.

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2 hours ago, cyclone said:

If you need something visual, OffCenterHarbor.com has an excellent video series on power boat handling.

That is a really good series on boat handling, and a brilliant website. Definitely worth the subscription price. (I even have the t-shirt.)

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4 hours ago, Raz'r said:

just don't be this guy, and you'll be fine

 

Bunch of effing morons on that boat, from the driver on down. Nothing to hold onto, unless you're the Bimbo with the Bangle  in her Bellybutton. 

And she's not even bothering to hold onto the right thing.

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14 minutes ago, accnick said:

Bunch of effing morons on that boat, from the driver on down. Nothing to hold onto, unless you're the Bimbo with the Bangle  in her Bellybutton. 

And she's not even bothering to hold onto the right thing.

Not to celebrate in other's discomfort, watching the dude in blue hurl at the end was satisfying.

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7 hours ago, 2airishuman said:

The "big kaboom" is more about maintenance and less about running the blower although running the blower is good discipline and you should.

Was sitting on a dock about 100 yards from the fuel dock once when the small powerboat on the fuel dock blew up. One dead, one injured on the boat, two injured on the dock. Not much left of the boat. Survivor said the dead guy started the engine after fueling without using the blower. 1975. Haven't forgotten that - we felt the blast and the heat at 100 yards.

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I usually smell the blower outlet if easy, especially if maintenance is questionable 

If you get in a tight spot with wind pushing you, you can hang off the props in reverse to weather as a safe position 

Sometimes it makes more sense to back down a fairway than to enter bow first 

 

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5 hours ago, toddster said:

Good grief, I guess it has been 25 years since I drove a power boat bigger than my dinghy.  But I see other people doing it every day and it doesn’t look too hard:  Open a beer. Slam the throttle all the way up. Turn around to chat with the people seated behind you.  

^^ This and play some loud music, Country, 1812 Overture, whatever, just loud.

Beautiful boat BTW.

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1 hour ago, CapDave said:

Was sitting on a dock about 100 yards from the fuel dock once when the small powerboat on the fuel dock blew up. One dead, one injured on the boat, two injured on the dock. Not much left of the boat. Survivor said the dead guy started the engine after fueling without using the blower. 1975. Haven't forgotten that - we felt the blast and the heat at 100 yards.

Happened here last year, only this was a 35'er or so. The fuel attendant escaped, hitting the emergency shutoff on her way outta Dodge. We were coming into harbour, so we sat on an empty mooring for a few hours watching the whole thing play out. There was nothing much left after the dock burned out.

Ptorm1g.jpg

 

 

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FWIW, I just sea trialed a Tripp 22 this morning.  It’s the exact same boat, just 2 feet shorter….. bass boat windshield, cuddy cabin, inboard, dual controls w/tiller, etc.  With a 175 hp diesel it tops out 18-19 kts, cruise 16.  The Brownell with a 235 hp gas will cruise significantly higher than 12, I’d guess.

Soft bilge semi-planing boat will (likely) be rolly in a beam sea, so keep that in mind.  Some outboard version of the hull type suffer from being squirrelly in a following sea, but from what I can tell (not much) from the brokerage photos there’s  a decent keel to keep that from happening.  Still, speed to match seas would be also something to keep in mind.  With the helm to stbd it almost certainly has a left hand prop, so docking to stbd side would be optimal, as would turning to the left.

I’ll be teaching my uncle to drive the Tripp one harbor to the south of you, assuming the sale goes through, so if you’d like some pointers in person I can swing by no biggie.

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When faced with an unfamiliar boat, I try to find a lonely part of the harbor and do circles, back up, crash stop...sidle up to buoys....see how it reacts, how it lies to the breeze.

Sometimes I get questioned what exactly I'm doing....but still less embarrassing than finding out when I get to the dock.  

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Most sailboats will take a decent amount of weather and give options.  You really need to plan your trip around a decent wx window on a small power boat.  Very important to factor fuel consumption in regards to this, it's a big scale.  Nothing to fret over but it is a little different planning.  You can take advantage of much smaller windows or run away much quicker from weather but you will have much less stability and your range will be much more effected by a wx change.

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3 hours ago, Elegua said:

When faced with an unfamiliar boat, I try to find a lonely part of the harbor and do circles, back up, crash stop...sidle up to buoys....see how it reacts, how it lies to the breeze.

Sometimes I get questioned what exactly I'm doing....but still less embarrassing than finding out when I get to the dock.  

go to the top of the class.

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If you're coming from sailboats, especially something like your Alden, docking a powerboat requires a different mindset.

For the sailboat, when you slip out of gear, the boat basically will continue in the same direction at the same speed.  You have a lot of momentum, a lot of boat in the water to resist the wind, and you have a big rudder and reliable steerage without propulsion.  The name of the game is to glide into the slip or up to the dock slowly enough to stop the boat quickly, and you regulate that by switching in and out of gear.

For the powerboat, you have a small rudder, and a lot of windage compared to boat in the water.  As a result you basically have two different modes:

  • Charging ahead with good steerage when in gear.
  • drifting with little steerage or control when out of gear.

You really want to be in the first mode as much of the time as possible because it gives you the most positive control: but that means charging at a dock at 4-5 knots which takes some getting used to.  The natural reaction, which is to slow down, can make things worse.  What you don't want to do is spend extended periods out of gear, because the boat may begin to drift with the wind or turn aimlessly.  Switch in and out of gear frequently, rather than staying in one or the other for more extended periods.

If you watch the guys who do it day in day out, you'll notice that they keep the boat in gear for almost the entire maneuver, and use the reverse gear to burn off the extra speed.  Combined with spinning the helm over, this can be used to suck the stern into the dock.  I wouldn't try this without a fair bit of practice, but it makes the basic point:  when docking a sailboat, neutral is your friend.  It slows things down and usually makes the situation more manageable.  On a powerboat it reduces speed, but it can also add chaos, so use it more sparingly.

 

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Yes, motorboats have much better "brakes" than sailboats.

Also when you use the bowthruster, use it in short bursts. They burn up

My grandfather taught me that boats move two ways, and both are important to the ability to put the boat where you want it (instead where it wants to go). They move across the surface (in physics you'd call this "translation"), a linear motion that is NOT necessarily related to the direction the bow is pointing. The 2nd type of motion is rotation, they are never going perfectly straight. You must have real-time exact knowledge of the boat's motion before you can control it. My crude approximation is to keep track and get the boat rotating the way I want, and translating in the approximate direction I want, and keep it that way. When teh bow swings the wrong way, your new highest proirity is to correct that... or bail out before you get too close with no room to correct.

FB- Doug

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Fantastic advice, really. I do intend to do some ghost docking along the way in safe areas. And I've told the owner we'll need to be a week outside of the move day before we can begin to confirm the weather. They have a dock that will often require a port side to; due to the prevailing southerly winds. We'll be practicing on that. There's plenty of free space around the dock. 

 

I'm already running docking scenarios in text for him. The boat has nice stout mid ship cleats. Helm is starboard but with the shape of the boat I'm hoping it will lie nicely for a few moments, an aft and midship fender,  on that midship cleat for solo docking. Bow line run into the cockpit, etc. Nobody leaving - leaping - off the boat until that line is hitched.

 

We'll figure out a way to set the dock up for the boat to make it even easier. The operator is extremely cautious and wants to learn this skill(as do I). 

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On 5/11/2021 at 8:41 AM, kent_island_sailor said:

One big monster with twin V-12 diesels I was moving did something like 7 knots *at idle*

I was on a boat that had big Detroit V-16s with waterjets. No problem with speed, keeping the jet buckets in the neutral position.

HOWEVER the amount of cooling water coming out of the stern exhausts would push us along at 2 knots... that was a wake up call because none of us could understand why the dock lines were stretching with the jets in neutral.

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On 5/11/2021 at 4:04 PM, Ishmael said:

Happened here last year, only this was a 35'er or so. The fuel attendant escaped, hitting the emergency shutoff on her way outta Dodge. We were coming into harbour, so we sat on an empty mooring for a few hours watching the whole thing play out. There was nothing much left after the dock burned out.

Ptorm1g.jpg

 

 

Van Isle? When did that happen?

(I've missed a few things this past year...)

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20 hours ago, mcmurdo said:

Van Isle? When did that happen?

(I've missed a few things this past year...)

Sidney North Saanich, May 10, 2020. Boat exploded after or during fueling, owner killed and his wife blown into the water and rescued. The burning boat drifted all over the place until it sank, setting fire to other docks and some pilings. The fuel dock has been replaced and is operating. 

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Boats can be on collision courses from a wider arc. A faster mobo at a relative bearing of 135 deg for instance. Situation awareness needs adaptation to different circumstances. 

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The rudder and prop being the only things sticking down into the water, the bow will always blow downwind of the stern, especially with cuddy- helps when visualizing low speed approaches 

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On 5/14/2021 at 1:37 PM, Panope said:

Why do gasoline powered boats not have sniffers?

Why do propane fueled boats not have blowers?

Steve

If you mean gasoline vapor detectors, some of them do.
I have never seen a propane powered boat, but I would hope if there is such a thing it would have a bilge blower.

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:


I have never seen a propane powered boat, but I would hope if there is such a thing it would have a bilge blower.

Preferably an  ignition-protected one.

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One trick the shoreboat guys use is back the stern in close at slow speed at about a 30 deg angle, stop about a foot from the dock, loop a dock line over a cleat and back to boat cleat, go ahead slow and the boat lays right along side and stays there, pulling on the effective spring line.  You can even hop on the dock and secure more lines before shifting to neutral. Very under control and professional looking.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Outside of running out of fuel on one tank, the trip went off without a hitch. When it came time for serious docking, the transmission (paragon hydraulic rebuilt) was acting up at idle. Chattering and not engaging.

 

I had to throttle up to turn the prop. Turns out, we were down 5-6 ounces of trans. fluid. Was it low when we left (owner asking seller)? Did our boisterous (15kt headwind and 2-3' seas) delivery have something to do with it? If it was full, where did the fluid go? Nothing in the pan. No seawater in the trans. fluid. Working fine now but that has to be figured out(by yard). 

 

Sniffers: Anyone have an opinion on gas vapor sniffer alarms? The new engine and install with all new fuel hoses and systems, etc., the gasoline isn't too much of a concern. I'm teaching the new owner the blower use and system. But still, it seems an alarm might be a good idea with the remote 'potential' mishap for a family of four. In fact I think I'll have an oil and temperature alarm added as well. 

 

It cruises at 14 knots at 2900 rpms. We burned about 6 gallons an hour bucking seas and headwinds. Can't run it any higher until the break-in period is over. Although the new engine (235 hp?, larger than the last) will max out at higher rpms, I expect additional speed will be minimal as gas consumption goes up? 

 

Also, what would the general plan be for running a boat like that 25', 5,000 disp, in those conditions? It had the power to move pretty quickly but the ride was pretty rough and felt hard on the boat. I ended up at about 7-8 knots into the worst of it. 

 

Everything predicated here as to how the boat would perform was spot on. It goes into 'drift' mode very quickly around the docks. But no big surprises in handling. 

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The main thing I would like a powerboat owner to learn early on is that their boat's wake can be a menace, esp in light airs.  From onboard, it may not be immediately obvious how much of a menace the wake can be to people in small craft, but I hope that a decent powerboater would want to know how not to a be a dick.

I hope that in between all the technical training and troubleshooting, Chris found time to diplomatically convey that message.

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

The main thing I would like a powerboat owner to learn early on is that their boat's wake can be a menace, esp in light airs.  From onboard, it may not be immediately obvious how much of a menace the wake can be to people in small craft, but I hope that a decent powerboater would want to know how not to a be a dick.

I hope that in between all the technical training and troubleshooting, Chris found time to diplomatically convey that message.

^ this^

As owner (and all too seldom driver) of a motorboat that leaves a mighty wake, I have tried hard to be very careful about where that wake ends up. It's always been a sore point to me, many motor boater seem to think their wake is some kind of benefit or bestowal.

The problem is that when you're driving a motorboat, your wake is something that happens behind you. Often far behind you. Who gives a shit? People behind you are losers anyway... right?

FB- Doug

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16 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

The problem is that when you're driving a motorboat, your wake is something that happens behind you. Often far behind you. Who gives a shit? People behind you are losers anyway... right?

Sadly, that's how a lot powerboaters seem to be :(   But not all of them.  Some are very thoughtful.

Kris comes across as a thoroughly nice guy, who'd be good company, would give many shits about his impact on others, and wouldn't call people losers.  So that's why I reckon that he would be an excellent person to convey the message in a way that it might be heard ... and that any friend of his would probably be the sort of person who was receptive to it.

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4 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

Sadly, that's how a lot powerboaters seem to be :(   But not all of them.  Some are very thoughtful.

Kris comes across as a thoroughly nice guy, who'd be good company, would give many shits about his impact on others, and wouldn't call people losers.  So that's why I reckon that  he would be an excellent person to convey the message in away that it might be heard ... and that any friend of his would probably be the sort of person who was receptive to it.

Totally agree

I kinda got carried away, sorry.

It's depressing, coping with motorboat traffic here.

FB- Doug

 

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29 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

It's depressing, coping with motorboat traffic here.

I think I know how you feel, Doug.  I am lucky that these days I usually sail well away from powerboats, but anchorages can sometimes be hazardous.  As a kid I had multiple unpleasant encounters with powerboat wakes, some of which really upset me. One of them was high-grade don't-give-a-shittery from a Cork merchant prince on a gin-palace loaded with bikini-wearers; he seemed to treat everyone else as losers, and I later learnt from a friend that his attitude problem extended to abysmal sexual etiquette.

But those in-places are rare.  I guess we are lucky in Ireland that our cool and damp climate doesn't encourage the hi-speed sunbather brigade who seem to proliferate on the warmer coasts of the USA.  Most non-commercial powerboats on our west coast seem to be fishing boats, and the anglers have a closer relationship to the water.

Also, high petrol taxes help. This week's prices are €1.48/litre, which is ~US$6.78 ... so opening the throttle on huge outboards drains the pocket fast.

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Something I've always wanted to do is, instruct a new power boater about the absolute carnage his(her) wake can wreck on the world behind them. This boat drags a big wake especially at 8 - 10 knots. So rather than try to explain we finally met a sailboat going the other way on the Eggemoggin Reach, so I'd get to demonstrate the point.

 

I pointed out our big wake following us and we slowed down to walking speed long before crossing bows. We continued at no wake speed to pass the sailboat (it was under power) until well past before firing up the engine and our wake again. I kept his eye more on our moving wake's location, it's walking speed void in the middle,  as it approached the sailboat. 

 

In truth, it wasn't necessary, the sailboat was under power, 100+ yards away (the Reach is a mile wide there), but, like I said, I always wanted to do that. 

 

I think it stuck as he then asked about the culture between sail and power (obvious even at entry level). I convinced him he can by-pass all that. They are the type of people that always try to do the right thing. 

 

 

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As both sailors and powerboaters, we are acutely aware of the issues associated with wakes. We try to give both sailboats and other powerboats a wide berth when overtaking and meeting.

However, sailboats under power also need to realize that if you are being overtaken by a powerboat that is not substantially faster than you are, you may want to slow down to allow the powerboat to pass at reduced throttle to minimize the time his wake will impact on you.

If you insist on running at 7 knots while I am overtaking you at 8.5 knots, particularly in constrained waters where I cannot stay well clear of you, my wake will impact on you for longer.

This is a two-way street in some cases, but we spend as much time negotiating wakes of large, inconsiderate powerboats as most sailboats do.

Planing powerboats will often leave less wake if they stay at higher speeds when passing and meeting, but there will almost always be some wake that will impact on you.

If you can't stay several hundred yards away from all other boats, wakes are a fact of life.

A bit of courtesy and common sense goes a long way.

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18 minutes ago, Kris Cringle said:

I think it stuck as he then asked about the culture between sail and power (obvious even at entry level). I convinced him he can by-pass all that. They are the type of people that always try to do the right thing. 

That's all wonderful to hear, Kris.  Yeah, they sound like good people ... and I'm thrilled to see that my faith in diplomatic skill was well-placed 

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1 hour ago, accnick said:

As both sailors and powerboaters, we are acutely aware of the issues associated with wakes. We try to give both sailboats and other powerboats a wide berth when overtaking and meeting.

However, sailboats under power also need to realize that if you are being overtaken by a powerboat that is not substantially faster than you are, you may want to slow down to allow the powerboat to pass at reduced throttle to minimize the time his wake will impact on you.

If you insist on running at 7 knots while I am overtaking you at 8.5 knots, particularly in constrained waters where I cannot stay well clear of you, my wake will impact on you for longer.

This is a two-way street in some cases, but we spend as much time negotiating wakes of large, inconsiderate powerboats as most sailboats do.

Planing powerboats will often leave less wake if they stay at higher speeds when passing and meeting, but there will almost always be some wake that will impact on you.

If you can't stay several hundred yards away from all other boats, wakes are a fact of life.

A bit of courtesy and common sense goes a long way.

Then there is the ICW pass. The powerboat stays at full speed and passes very close. You cut in right at their stern and go over only one big wave instead of 20. It works quite well, but one never knows for sure if the guy aiming to miss you by 5 feet at 25 knots is a professional delivery skipper doing the pass or a drunk trying to run you over :o 

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19 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Then there is the ICW pass. The powerboat stays at full speed and passes very close. You cut in right at their stern and go over only one big wave instead of 20. It works quite well, but one never knows for sure if the guy aiming to miss you by 5 feet at 25 knots is a professional delivery skipper doing the pass or a drunk trying to run you over :o 

The other problem with this is that "one wave" is a severe one, and can roll even heavy boats right on their beam ends. That's kind of a Sea Ray pass.

Better is when both boats understand how to pass, the motorboat hold speed right up to the slower boats (maybe a trawler, not always a sailboat)stern, then slows to a minimum-wake speed. The other boat, which must be skippered by a watchful, intelligent, and cooperative pilot, slows even more at the same moment.

The motorboat makes the pass in short order, close aboard, and then pulls directly in front of the other boat. Once the other boat is inside the "V" of her wake, she accelerates away freely, not disturbing anything but wildlife and shore structure.

- DSK

 

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I go straight over the one big wave, no rolling.

All that said, when I had my ski boat I discovered that big powerboats were far more of a danger to little powerboats than they ever would be to sailboats. Hitting a big wake in a light boat at 30-40-50 knots can hurt and Big Motor Yacht Guy in his mind is NEVER EVER the give-way boat to an 18 foot powerboat.

I think I have a photo someplace of my boat going over a wake with the entire boat and prop a foot or two clear of the water. A single engine boat without contra-rotating props will tend to twist when the hull clears the water but the prop is still in, usually onto the port side I think.

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I go straight over the one big wave, no rolling.

All that said, when I had my ski boat I discovered that big powerboats were far more of a danger to little powerboats than they ever would be to sailboats. Hitting a big wake in a light boat at 30-40-50 knots can hurt and Big Motor Yacht Guy in his mind is NEVER EVER the give-way boat to an 18 foot powerboat.

I think I have a photo someplace of my boat going over a wake with the entire boat and prop a foot or two clear of the water. A single engine boat without contra-rotating props will tend to twist when the hull clears the water but the prop is still in, usually onto the port side I think.

Are you talking about passing or overtaking?

FB- Doug

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4 hours ago, Mark Set said:

every time i watch this video i always think, at what point do they look like theyre having fun? The look miserable the whole time.

tbf, a landlubber looking at the crew of a sailboat going upwind in a blow would probably think that it look like a much fun as being inside a clothes-washing machine

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I'll toss in that all powerboats are different, and like sailboats, all have their quirks.

When I first started to drive a powerboat I was left with the impression that I was running a frying pan with a motor.

I really missed the keel.

Once I figured out the trick of "sucking" in the stern with the helm all the way over in reverse at the last minute it was like a ray of sunshine on my lousy docking prowess.  Admittedly this trick is with an outboard, but it sure works really well.

Not intuitive at all, but give it a go. 

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On 6/14/2021 at 10:39 AM, Steam Flyer said:

Are you talking about passing or overtaking?

FB- Doug

If head on, you cut right behind the powerboat where it is still just one big wake and cross at near 90 degrees to the wake. Actually more or less the same when being overtaken. The idea is you get ONE wave then get into the flat area between the wakes.

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5 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

If head on, you cut right behind the powerboat where it is still just one big wake and cross at near 90 degrees to the wake. Actually more or less the same when being overtaken. The idea is you get ONE wave then get into the flat area between the wakes.

That's how we treat ferry wakes, from the older ferries that put up a wall of water. The new ferries are much better, amazing what 40 years of progress will do. 

You have to make sure you don't get too close, the water right behind is very ventilated and your prop can cavitate in the bubbles.

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