Are motor boats difficult to handle?

iangrant

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About a month ago I saw a man way up on a fly bridge on a 36' princess, squash his wife against the fuel jetty office as he tried to moor up to it. Gut wrenching scream, but she looked ok and hid in the cabin after that. Moving the boat back to his own pontoon berth he missed completely and drifted onto the next boat, loads of screaming and shouting. It all looks very difficult is it really that hard at low speeds. Is that why he roars up and down the harbour I wonder? (name of boat and location obviously withheld).
 

paulineb

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No more difficult than husbands. The thing is, some people buy boats and think that because they can steer them in a straight line they've cracked it. They don't think about taking boat handling lessons, which teach you how to handle your boat at close quarters, in the wind (which can cause lots of problems to a high sided motor yacht) and in difficult situations. If a new boat owner has a mooring on the river, they soon become proficient due to all the locks etc they encounter, but those who moor on the coast, only ever get close quarter experience when they are mooring - which is when you see the most howling mistakes !!

Pauline B
 
G

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Re: not that difficult...

They do fly about a bit in the wind, but with some practice it can certainly avoid the problems you saw.

However, I would imagine that in fact you witnessed an attempted combined murder/insurance job: ramming the wife/husband against the fuel pontoon would seem to be the almost perfect crime. Altho perhaps better in the dark when one cd get them to carry a candle.
 
G

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No, not in most circumstances, although wind on the beam can significantly increase the degree of difficulty in close quarter manouevres. Moving along a set course is the easy bit.
A good skipper should assess the situation beforehand, taking into account, the wind, tide flow and any other obstructions or craft, then brief the crew accordingly as to where to put fenders, have lines ready and what the intended manouevre will be. If the space is too confined to do all these things with out risk, then move to safe waters to make your preparations, before returning to the close quarters situation.

Yes, definitely, if you ignore all of the above and try to make it up as the situation unfolds, screaming and shouting commands at an unprepared crew, who you are probably scaring to death and will hate you afterwards.

The best thing is always to get some early RYA training and learn how to control your boat properly, using a variety of techniques, assess the varied conditions that you will encounter and how to brief your crew, whilst out cruising on your 'pride and joy'.

I have to say that some salesmen are clearly at fault too, because I have heard them deliberately understate what skills are required to safely pilot the Gin Palace they are selling.
At Southampton last year, I listened whilst a noted MD of repute told how he had assured a customer who had just bought his 46 ft show model, a few hours before, that he would have him handling it like a 'pro' in just a few hours.
I bit my tongue because I was drinking his champagne at the time, but it is wrong.
Cars and Motorboats have a wheel to steer forward with, beyond that the similarity rapidly ends !!

Everyone gets it wrong occasionally, but using your wife as a fender is not a technique recognised by the RYA.
 

c_j

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Using Wifey as fender

Do you think the Rya should introduce such a scheme?

Benifits being:

a) You would'nt scuff the nice blue jackets on your boats fenders.

b) Verbal positioning system so you would know exactly which part of the boat was "alongside"

c) The average wife at 5' 6" would be adequate at all states of the tide without all that positioning of fenders which all of the crew hate so much

Any more?
 
G

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I've posted this one before but it must be more than a year ago and there are new users now. Your tale reminds me of a holiday in Florida. The boss and I were in a nice hotel with a balcony overlooking a small marina on the intra coastal waterway. Anyway we are going out one day and I note a man and wife (fifties) on a carver or similar and he has the bow into the staging (no pontoons as hardly any tide) and he is busily repairing a dented pulpit. When we came back repairs were completed and he and wife have decided to take the boat out to turn her and moor stern to, between piles, as is the norm out there.

Boat has twin outdrives and is about 32-34ft with flying bridge. Skipper makes attempt no' 1 and reverses into portside pile.
2 Reverses into portside pile
3 Reverses into portside neighbour
4 Reverses into portside pile
5 Reverses into portside pile

All the time his wife is standing in cockpit clutching a boathook and there is a regular "left a bit, right a bit" dialogue between them.

Now we decide a change of tactics is called for. Clearly the current is sweeping us past the spot we are aiming for so maybe if we have a bit more speed we can be in before being carried past. Pulls out again - lines boat up and opens throttles in astern - boat is now virtually planing going astern - hit starboard side pile a glancing glow and bounces into berth space and hits walkway still doing about ten knots. Pushpit crumples and disappears leaving stern wedged under walkway. Wife meantime has stepped backwards and has fallen rather inelegantly into saloon, legs in air.

Skipper surveys scene and shouts at top of voice "GODDAMMIT MARTHA -I TOLD YOU TO FEND OFF!"

There was really nothing more to say!

Nick
 

ChrisP

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Bit more space in the berth might help. Thinking of letting the wife drive she say's she can do it better, or at least I think that's what she means when she's giving the "helpfull" tips and comments.
 

duncan

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moored up in Cowes after an exhilarating days sailing on the 'old' BS Challenge fleet (yes I do play with rags occassionally) we (the whole fleet) witnessed the berthing of the Rather famous Yacht Squadron's new'ish v.large GBanks (or equivelent) Commodores boat returning from duties fully loaded with 'hats' to the other side of the poontoon , side on. Wind gusting 6 @ 90 degrees.........
Well........lots of fun and games; bow thrusters, stern thrusters, the helm couldn't decide which toys to use, buttons to press!
Lots of focus on fenders but, like poor wife above and the office, they had missed something - they were so long that they were using more than one poontoon so the piles came into play as the boat eventually came in with an impatient rush sideways both thrusters applied at max to stop hull.......you know what happens next don't you......superstructure continues - and meets piles.

There was more experience on that boat, in probably more craft and conditions than most of us on this forum together, but things still go wrong. I also suspect that all the new toys didn't help.

Both bow thrusters applied hard in the opposite direction to travel put one hell of a tilt on this boat!
 

stewart

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I think the clue is in your last sentence. If he goes around the marina too fast he'll have problems. I've not been doing it long, but it seems pretty easy to me - just take it slowly, think ahead and it's pretty easy. I only have experience of shaft drive boats which are easier though.........
 
G

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Re: Going around, aeroplane style

My wife did he PPL a while back. It was worthwhile for me to see how they handle the berthing - or as they call it, landing.

Amongst all the pilots and instructors, there was no embarrasment whatsoever in aborting the landing, and going up in the air to have a think about it, and come back round for another go. Once, in bad weather with clouds at 300 feet ( so the runway just "appeared" below) one plane went around and went around for over an hour. No laughs, no snickering, no back slapping when it eventually arrived back, safe and sound.

So I regularly "cop out" completely in windy or difficult conditions, or if the crew isn't quite ready. I don't give a monkey's whose watching, nor if they're sniggering - and usually they aren't. It might look less than slickety slick. But I urge everyone to simply abort a berthing every so often and "go around" whenever something goes a bit wrong or even if it isn't as good as it might be - otherwise it'll get worse with a flustered crew which has lost confidence. Go out of the marina, have a chat, consider dumping it on the fuel or waiting pontoon, or in a spare berth or even in a different marina.

Our silly pride is always there, but what's the story? - "We saw this boat come in not quite make it, so they went and moored up somewhere else". Who cares? Not me.
 

c_j

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Slow is OK in slight conditions but in our Marina if you want to get out into a South Easterly then the South Easterly turn at the elbow requires a certain amount of way on the boat. I am realatively new to this having only clocked up about 100 hours but I have done the ICC and in any wind, too slow can be a problem too.

In answer to the original question I think it is only fair to say that, Yes, they are difficult to handle so get some training and practice, and don't try to practice when it is difficult, practice when it is easy to build confidence and you will find that the conditions you are prepared to cruise in alter as you confidence increases.
 

iangrant

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Re: Going around, aeroplane style

Very sensible view - do it myself on a regular basis, especially if the wind is about to blow me off the jetty!
(Oh, I need to whisper a, confession mine a sailing one)
 
G

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Re: Going around, aeroplane style

I couldn't agree more....!! Sniggering onlookers? A few seasons 'locking through' on the Thames and you forget all about the crowds, too busy watching what the boat's doing to care.

Good boat handling should be recognised as the skill of the skipper and his/her crew, no matter what the craft is. Let's spread the word !!!
 

longjohnsilver

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Re: Going around, aeroplane style

I remember reading in a boating magazine many years ago the best piece of advice I've seen and taken note of "If in doubt, go about". Never hurry anything if you feel under pressure, just give yourself time to think and observe, it can prevent a lot of unnecessary hassle.
 

longjohnsilver

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We have a Judas on our forum!

I have seen your posting on Scuttlebut about us motor boaters. Are you harbouring a secret desire to give up the old rag and stick and join in all our fun!!
 
G

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motor boats are not difficult to handle you just need to know how to control it and get used to the stearing


saz
xxx
 
G

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Re: We have a Judas on our forum!

I daren't say it up until now, but some of the maddest motorboaties (at first anyway) are ex-yotties. It may be that yachts seem not to adjust sped very much so they turn the engine to "on a fair bit" and try and deal with it. Or praps just pent-up frustration.
 

iangrant

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Re: We have a Judas on our forum!

Batting for both sides! Motor boat and Yot as you boys put it! Sadly one had to go so it will be the MB. Enormous wash at 6 kts she had!!
 
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