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View Poll Results: Which type of vessels or vessels are you reasonably competent with?
I would be reasonably competent with a sail boat. 9 16.67%
I would be reasonably competent with a power boat. 2 3.70%
I would be reasonably competent with both. 43 79.63%
I would not be competent with either. 0 0%
Voters: 54. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 21-08-2011, 11:52   #1
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What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

If you were put on a boat which you have not operated before and everything was straight forward meaning there were no real hidden mechanical things you need to know ahead of time, would you have a reasonably good chance of operating a sailboat, a powerboat, both or none? You would also have to be able to dock the boat reasonably well.

Lets say for example a 40 foot sloop and a 40 foot twin screw power boat.

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Old 21-08-2011, 12:54   #2
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Re: What Type of Boat are You Well Versed In?

I have been lucky over the years to have ridden on, worked, and commanded both types of vessels.
- - Each has unique characteristics. Sailing vessels are normally single screw and have full size rudders. Engine power is secondary to sail power primary for most of the operation. The reaction time is rather slow between input and boat reaction.
- - Twin screw power vessels/yachts/sport fishers on the other hand have rather fast reaction to power inputs and steering is more a function of the engines rather than those itty bitty little rudder blades down behind the propellers. I grew to love differential power usage of power vessels. Vessel reaction to winds and waves is quite different and can get downright uncomfortable unless you know the "sweet speeds" for each wind/wave condition.
- - So unless he was willing and had an opportunity to actually ride and learn with an experienced power vessel captain a sailboat captain could be in over his head unless the conditions are very benign. The key to success, IMHO, is recognizing that things will operate differently and not assuming that what works on one type of vessel will work on the other.
- - When it comes to docking or entering/leaving a slip things are really different and the techniques that the twin screw power yacht uses don't work for sailboats.
- - Recognition of the differences between the two vessel types is the first step to successfully operating either. But in an emergency I am sure that either a power or sail person can do a better job than somebody who has been on neither type of vessel.
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Old 21-08-2011, 13:28   #3
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Re: What Type of Boat are You Well Versed In?

is not easy to get the twin screw managed well and smoothly into a slip on a windy day. anchor on same day? did it --wasnt fun.
40 ft ketch into a windy dock-- done it --not bad. anchor--is almost easy !!!!
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Old 21-08-2011, 13:47   #4
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

How long would one have to prep before leaving the dock? I've been able to handle power boats that I was unfamiliar with, on many occasions. As I've been prepping my Cal 2-30, however, I've had to spend some time at the dock raising my mainsail and practicing reefing it. Although I had a Cal 3-30, the rig on my 2-30 is set up for racing & is quite a different animal. I wouldn't have wanted my first experience to be out in the chuck. Presently, I have no topping lift on the main, single-line reefing, a racing foil forward(tuff luff), folding prop, and so many mains'l shaping-sheets that I'm beginning to think the last owner was a dominatrix!
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Old 21-08-2011, 13:57   #5
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

Even without a bow thruster I'm comfy with fin-keeled sloops up to about 60'. Beyond that I wouldn't want to maneuver a boat into or out of a slip. Probably wouldn't want to go beyond a 50' full-keeled boat in a slip, especially if backing was a big part of the picture.

On the power side, I've handled work boats up to 50 tons, mostly dive boats, but not recently. While I'm comfortable with that sort of boat, I'd probably want to stay away from these three-story-high flybridge yachts that have become popular. I docked a buddy's 53-footer about a year ago, and that thing was a beast. Wouldn't even want to think about bringing that thing in through a cross-breeze.

I wouldn't have a clue how to dock a twin-engine catamaran. Do they have brakes on those things?
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Old 21-08-2011, 14:16   #6
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

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I wouldn't have a clue how to dock a twin-engine catamaran. Do they have brakes on those things?
IMHO twin engine cats are the easiest boats to dock. Aft engines at each corner provide incredible dexterity and braking. The entire docking is done sans rudder and with just a hand on the throttle. With just a little practice, you'll be doing full 360 degree pirouettes. Here is a good instructional:
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Old 21-08-2011, 14:59   #7
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

As a merchant marine master for 33 years, a yacht delivery captain, and a manager of several large boat yards' jumping on something strange to move it around the yards is second nature. Knowing what the under body looks like and where the rudders and props are is really all you need to know. Thrusters make it easier, but as a matter of pride you try not to use them unless you have to. Showing off, of course it is!
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Old 22-08-2011, 12:00   #8
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

Yes, probably because I own a 33 foot, low-slung old plastic racing sloop, and a 41 foot, steel, big-arsed pilothouse cutter. Very, very different handling, visibility and frankly, consequences if I get it wrong.

The windage aspect of a twin-screw motorboat would make me pretty cautious, but I've operated floating hydraulic crane barges, towboats, crash boats and overpowered Zodiac RIBs, so I'm reasonable on the throttle. I would probably employ sailboat tricks to safely dock or "undock" with the powerboat, however, like warping off, something I rarely see a powerboat attempting, even though it's a good idea with floating line and a heavy cross-wind.

Half of safe operation of low-speed, close-quarters stuff is being able to rotate imaginary 3D objects in your head and have a more or less instinctual concept of force vectors and the like. Some people can't easily do this; others can learn, but to me the reason I rarely ding the boat in close quarters is the same reason I'm pretty good at billiards, darts, archery and shooting. Not expert, but pretty good (like my poker!)
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Old 22-08-2011, 12:03   #9
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

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As a merchant marine master for 33 years, a yacht delivery captain, and a manager of several large boat yards' jumping on something strange to move it around the yards is second nature. Knowing what the under body looks like and where the rudders and props are is really all you need to know. Thrusters make it easier, but as a matter of pride you try not to use them unless you have to. Showing off, of course it is!
I totally agree with this. To me, a successful docking is one where I slip the motor into neutral five boat lengths before I turn into the slip and jump off at a snail's pace with a midship line to a cleat and stop all motion with very little grunting or pulling (Hint...bring a boat hook for the bow, which will want to keep going!)
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Old 23-08-2011, 01:18   #10
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

It is not magic and anyone with a cool and observant demeanor can master the safe handling of any size and type of vessel

Once you know how to visualize and anticipate your rate of advance and transfer on one type of vessel in varying conditions of wind and tide…. the principal remains the same

You just apply that same monitoring technique to any size and type of vessel.

Experience with a particular type just teaches you to anticipate a little earlier, but it is not necessary for safe handling, since you are constantly adjusting to the dynamics.

From handling a 400m long log tow to a Car Carrier the primary handling technique is to know whether wind or current plays the dominant part in drift rates and to feel the limitations of your propulsion and steering gear.

Same applies in sail vessels be it a hobbie cat or a 150ft square rigger, you feel the effects of nature on your vessel and set her up to use them to your advantage, keeping in mind the limitations of your rig.

The primary difference of increased tonnage is that you can more easily kill your crew rather than bruise them, when docking.

In reality, the bigger they are the easier they usually are to handle if you make yourself one with the transits of her movements
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Old 23-08-2011, 06:29   #11
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

That's all well and good in theory, but there are a large amount of "hands on" techniques learning necessary to make the jump from very small vessels to large vessels or from power yachts to sailing yachts. If there wasn't it would be necessary for schools to expend large amounts of money training with small mock ups like below.
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Old 23-08-2011, 06:45   #12
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

berthing techniques / provided the vessel is in the same approximate size group, should not be a major problem.

understanding the electronic gizmos on some vessels these days is a different matter entirely.
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Old 23-08-2011, 08:25   #13
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
That's all well and good in theory, but there are a large amount of "hands on" techniques learning necessary to make the jump from very small vessels to large vessels or from power yachts to sailing yachts. If there wasn't it would be necessary for schools to expend large amounts of money training with small mock ups like below.
The only thing really different is the visibility and power/weight ratio. If you have experience in a given type of boat, the experience is scalable.... If it weren’t schools wouldn’t use small mock-ups to teach ship handling. Now if your entire experience was say in sailing vessels, you would not be able to jump on a 250’ power vessel and expect scalability.... But say you have a bunch of experience on a 40’, single screw full displacement hull... Jumping up from that to ANY tonnage of displacement power vessel would have a very fast learning curve.

For instance, I used to work in a marine construction yard as a pup.. we had an Army bridge erection boat... about 28’ IIRC. We used it to move work floats around the yard and jobsites. When I “graduated” to full size pushboats and 150’ deck barges, it only took a couple days to get the hang of it. Taking that experience, and fast forward 20 years, I once corralled and returned a light 90’ barge back to the wall from shallow water... with a 13’ Whaler!
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Old 23-08-2011, 08:45   #14
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

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The only thing really different is the visibility and power/weight ratio. If you have experience in a given type of boat, the experience is scalable. . .
. . . Now if your entire experience was say in sailing vessels, you would not be able to jump on a 250’ power vessel and expect scalability. . .
The above, I believe, agrees with my contention that there is a lot more to "cross platform" competence than just "scalability." "Cross platform" I use to denote moving from sail powered, single screw auxiliary assisted sailboats to pure multi-engine/screw powered power yachts is not easy nor assumable without specific hands on training. The skill sets are quite different.
- - I have seen more than a few "new to the type vessel" skippers end up with their sport fisherman sideways inside a slip. It's amazing how they do that but understandable that they have little or no experience with a virtually rudderless vessel that is maneuvered by differential power. Likewise, more than a few similar transitions in the other direction have seen sailboats making interesting "V" dents in docks/bows when the skipper does not understand the different maneuvering parameters of the heavy weight to power problems of a single screw auxiliary sailboat.
- - -
P.S. I'm sort of sorry you put the word "bridge" in the description of that boat, it would have opened a humorous "straight line" opportunity . . .
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Old 23-08-2011, 09:18   #15
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Re: What Type of Boat Are You Well-Versed In ?

I spent most of my boating life operating a twin screw power boat, but was able to dock a sailboat well after only a couple of weeks.

It was very different, but many of the considerations, to dock, were the same just different in degree.
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