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Maneuvering with outdrives


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Hi All

As you may or may not have read on other threads, my maneuvering skills with the new boat leave a lot to be desired, as I am totally out of my comfort zone.

This may sound like a daft question, but it ocurred to me it may be possible to move a boat sideways with outdrives? I have tried it with very limited success and wondered if anyone else had tried it too.

To explain, it is fairly obvious that with the helm centralised, if one engine is in reverse and one forward, the boat will spin. However, if you imagine the helm being hard to port, the port engine engaged forward and the starboard engine reverse, would there be a tendancy for the boat to walk sideways? The port engine will try to turn to boat towards the bank, and the starboard engine will pull it back. I tried this when leaving the WRC yesterday, and we did seem to creep sideways a bit, but also with some forward motion, but it did need a few revs on the reverse engine. Like I say, it may sound a bit daft, so I'd be interested in other opinions.

If anyone has got any tips too on approaching and leaving moorings with twin outdrives, they would be helpful. Do you have a "trick of the trade" up your sleeve?

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Hi Mark

I am a total newbie to boating and my slow manoeuvering - also twin outdrives - was .. well .. at best "interesting".

Last week I took a private tuition day and by the end of it I felt much more in control of the boat and a lot less dreading of mooring. It was'nt cheap but well worth it - the whole family went and my teenage kids were also taught to moor.(and were annoyingly good at it).

I am sure others may agree / disagree with the above but from my recent experiance I would really reccommend a days tuition as I am sure it makes for more pleasurable boating.

regards

Wayne

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Hi Mark,

I can only echo the previous post and the helm course would be something I need to do as well, despite owning a single outdrive boat with a planing hull for the last six years.

On good days, she is fine, on bad days (wind, tide, etc) don't even go there where yours truly in concerned and it's almost like a "friend" has become your worst enemy :naughty:

Why do you thing we were the last to move at the Barbie in September......................simple and less embarrasing :lol::lol::lol:

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Welcome to the world of outdrives and planing hulls ;)

I am afraid Mark there is no substitute for practice practice but that assumes that when practising you know the moves you should be making (no sleight on you meant just a general point).

Generally Broads Cruisers are shaft driven and have a relatively small engine/prop meaning that plenty of throttle has a slow effect which can be judged in a fairly predictable manner. Your average sea boat will be higher powered and have a larger prop that 'bites' more, these are different issues to get used to but once got used to can be used to your advantage.

Personally unless you know someone experienced with outdrives that can give you a few pointers it may be worth a day of training so that you can work on this at a relativly quiet time of year. In winter marina's tend to be quiter with many boats out of the water so a great time to practice close quarter manoeuvring in relative calm.

I have no experience of outdrives save for twin outboards but Kiki has a hell of a port kick astern she just will not go astern anything like straight. Over the years I have got used to angling her stern at 45 degrees away from where I want her to go and letting the prop walk 'pull' her round. Sounds fine and do able after some practice but then throw in different strength winds/different direction current etc etc which have to be allowed for and it does take time to learn. Even then it can and does occasionally go wrong. Main thing I have learned is to do everything as slowly as conditions will allow with the minimum amount of throttle and if it goes wrong don't try to 'fight' things back right go around and start again.

Its early days so don't expect instant success you need to get to know your ship and how she reacts in differing conditions.

Glad to hear you are getting use from your new ship and look forward to sharing your experiences.

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Having an outboard, which can be considered a 'single outdrive', I fitted a 'twin blade' Rudder Safe unit, which made a vast improvement to the handling at low speeds, especially when reversing into my mooring at the marina.

I believe there is also a model for 'outdrives'.

Having said that, two outdrives means two Ruddersafe units, which is double the expense, and they are ridiculously overpriced for what they are.

Then again, isn't everthing else that's classed as boat/marine :roll:

Dave

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Hi Mark,

Used to be able to move our old boat sideways on twin outdrives but that had single props, now that the helpfull mr Volvo has come up with duo props and eradicated prop walk it is much more difficult but with lots of revs there is still a slight effect.

The best tip I can give you is use the right engine to turn left and the left engine to turn right, put the lock on before engaging gear, always look for nice people to catch ropes and if all else fails get a bow thruster.

Outdrives spin the boat round a point somewhere around 3/4 of the way down the boat so you get good control of the back and the wind has free range with the front, a twin shaft boat turns almost around it's centre so you get much more control going forwards but less ability to change direction going back.

If you practice hard enough and gain enough confidence to do it quickly then you can put it anywhere. if you are like me and don't fancy reversing into your berth at 10 knots then do it slowly, you have fenders for a reason :naughty::naughty::naughty:

Ian

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I am afraid Mark there is no substitute for practice practice but that assumes that when practising you know the moves you should be making (no sleight on you meant just a general point).

Thanks for the comments guys. Perry, you have hit the nail on the head in that I think I am going to get some tuition so at least I can be shown the techniques needed and then will know what to practice. I am finding myself trying to carry out maneuvers the same as I would have on Tranquil Breeze, and it just don't work. I'm sure given time I would suss it, but it's a lot easier to get pointers from someone who knows to shortcut the trial and error procedure :grin:

I think the biggest issue by far is how quickly things happen. Instead of the ponderous helm response and slow acceleration I have been used to, this boat reacts almost instantly to helm input and even when putting into gear at tickover. I have been caught out by bringing the boat in on one engine, putting that one in neutral, engaging the other and finding that straight away the bow is steered round just from the thrust without altering the helm position.

It's nice to have a boat that reponds so positively to what I tell it to do, I've just got to learn to speak the right language :lol:

It's nice to be totally unsuitable though :naughty:

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Hi Mark.

there are a few DVDs around on manouvering with outdrives but they all seem to be shot on windless American lakes.

you will find without wind it is very easy to manouvre the boat but due to the pronounced effect on the bow the biggest thing you need to learn is how to use your enemy to your advantage.

Jonathan sent me off to buy one of those little racing flags when I was asking him how he had got on with his Sealine 285, stick it on the front rail so at least you know where the enemy is. Makes life a lot easier.

Ian

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Hi again Mark

You are right about practising what you think is right - I was doing exactly that and reinforcing the bad habbits and wrong things to do. Also the more hashed up moorings I did the greater the cycle of dread became.

After the day's tuition I now now what and how to practice using the techniques I have been shown. I am far from perfect and I am sure mistakes will continue (hopefully to a lesser extent) but at least I dont feel scared of mooring any more and have some firm foundations to build upon.

I must admit that whilst I generally tend to agree with the RYA stance that training should be voluntary I do find it a little surpising that I was allowed to get on my boat for the first time, in quite a tight marina surrounded by expensive craft, and expected just to drive off.

best regards

Wayne

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Hi Wayne,

I think most boat owners would like to see some sort of basic standards but the problem is once you open the department in Whitehall called boat licensing then you have started the beaurocratic ball rolling and unless they can keep adding restrictions there is no prospect of promotion or fact finding tours.

The thought of being able to go to sea with no knowledge what so ever is very frightening and unfortunately every so often there is someone who does it, if they are lucky they have to be rescued by the emergency services, which puts other lives at risk but would compulsary training stop them or would they do it anyway?

Ian

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First of all get a wind flag as Ian says you will the know what the wind is going to do to the bow and can allow for it. As for training if you can find someone who is skilled at twin outdrives then this may be worth while. It is worth checking your morse controls are as free as the can be, make sure they are well greased. On my 285 I changed the gear cables to the outer holes which took some strain off the controls. As already said try to practice in the marina whilst quite and when you use drive try just a little forward or reverse then back to neutral to stop you gaining to much speed. Those dual props sure grip the water and you can be going way to fast before you know it. My berth is free at Reedham if you need somewhere to practice :naughty:

Jonathan :Stinky

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Forgot to add Mark you need to get a pair of balls preferably big ones and hang them either side of the bow. You can then approach the quay from an angle with Sharon stood on the for deck ready to lasso a cleat,mooring post, or bollard and once this line is attached you can then use power against it to bring the back end in. Very useful when you have a strong wind blowing you off. No more of this poncy stern too mooring :naughty:

Jonathan :Stinky

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Forgot to add Mark you need to get a pair of balls preferably big ones and hang them either side of the bow.

I am rapidly discovering this Jonathan! I had a large pair of balls for Tranquil Breeze, but only slender sausages on Serenity at the moment, most of which are rather flacid. I shall get a large pair of balls as soon as the weather warms up enough to go out and have a bit of a practice :lol:

On a slightly more serious note, I had a read last night of a book that Red Rover kindly passed on to me, which is the RYA course notes to accompany the Motor Cruising course. It has quite a bit of info and good tips for mooring with outdrives, so I have a bit more of an idea now. According to this book, to moor side-on, it's best to approach as normal and get a line off the fron by lassoo (as you taught us, Jonanthan), then turn the helm towards the bank and engage a bit of reverse on the outside engine. Thats basically opposite to what I was trying, so I'll have toi give that a go.

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Yes I saw those You Tube clips when I was having a search the other day its easy isn't it Mark...... flat calm little wind - what's the fuss all about :naughty:

That unsuitable boat of yours should able to move sideways in a gale from a lee shore under way so get your finger out eh :lol:

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Like I said before Mark,

There are lots of boat handling DVD's out there for outdrive boats but all of them are shot on windless days.

In Reality it does not take a lot of intelligence to work out the basics,

With the wheel centred, push 1 stick forward and 1 back the boat will turn away from the stick you pushed forward.

If you turn the wheel to the right and then push the starboard throttle forward and the port back the turn will tighten as the stern will swing out to Starboard.

If you leave the throttles where they are but turn the wheel the other way you will induce the crabbing motion you mentioned earlier although you wont get it to move truely sideways as it will still move forward slowly.

The more throttle you apply (within reason as cavitation occurs if yu over do it) the faster the turn will happen.

Things that will alter this really easy set of controls are

boat momentum, if you are already moving in a direction when you start to manouvre then you will continue to move in that direction just in varying degrees of sideways

wind, although you can swing the bow into the wind, while you are doing that the stern will be moving in the same direction that the wind is going, so you hit it with the back instead of the front. The only thing you can use to combat this is momentum so that means you have to have the courage and boat handling skills to do it while you are moving and be able to judge just how fast in which direction you need to be traveling before you start manouvering to end up in the right place.

The big problem here is that if you get it wrong you are going to hit it hard.

The best way is to moore in such a way that the wind is helping you but if you can't then adjusting your angle of attack will make it possible. with wind blowing you on you need a shallow approch but with wind blowing you off you require a much steeper angle of approch.

All the side on stuff is fairly simple and you will very quickly work it out, it is once you get in the marina and want to put the stern in first that it gets difficult. All I can really help you with there is to make sure you are putting the stern into the wind even if this means going past your berth, turning round and coming back.

As said before the only real sollution is practice, I know what I have to do but could never guartantee doing it right, if you watch the skilled it all looks so easy but in order to get that way you need to spend a lot more time than I do actually doing it and one weekend in two for 6 months of the year, a lot of which will be fairly calm, does not prepare you for a force 7 whistling down the marina. When it happens you just cross your fingers and toes and get on with it.

Ian :Stinky:Stinky

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Hi Mark,

I've had boats with outboards and for the last ten years twin inboards driving shafts. Sometimes I perform brilliant manoeuvres.....and sometimes rubbish, even after all these years. I always perform better with an audience I've noticed as it puts me on my mettle, so have to conclude that it makes me concentrate just that little bit extra so as not to make a complete pratt of myself in front of others! A lot of heads pop up on huge GPs when you're buzzing around a south coast marina in a relatively small and scruffy boat!!!

I read a book many years ago which I think was called "boat handling under power", from which I took any useful lessons, but the most fundamental for me was working out your own boat's pivot point in both forward and reverse.

Good luck, you'll soon have it licked........most of the time. :shocked

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Its’ not just the O/Ds that make handling different and sometimes a little awkward. A great deal also has to do with the type of sports cruiser that they are usually fitted to, often less well “planted†than a similar size shaft drive and usually comparatively light weight with a lot of top hamper, add all those together and it’s not really surprising they are sometimes a bit of a handful in trying conditions.

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