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Old 29-04-2017, 16:40   #1
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Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

To captains in which this may regard,

I'm a delivery captain (also private instructor) out of Florida. I've had great success with my deliveries, even in tight quarters and over shallow banks. I seem to be able to identify unnecessary risks and avoid them.

I've been boating for six years but licensed for about 14 months. When I started working as a licensed captain, it was all roughly 20 to 40 footers going around local waters that I would get calls about. Gradually I would work my way up in size, moving 49' sailboats over multiple days.

Eventually I was hired by a client to drive his 58' twin diesel McKinna. Initially it was intimidating operating a boat that size, especially in Ft Lauderdale where the river is narrow and there are plenty of bridges you must idle at until they open (and with no stern thruster). I successfully moved it out of Ft Lauderdale around the Keys and to Tampa where I've been driving it on a weekly basis for several months. The McKinna which was once intimidating is very simple to operate now.

The longest boat I have moved so far has been a 1978 Pacemaker 66' (no bow or stern thruster) from the east side of Florida through the Okeechobee WW and I had no issues. Now I have a client who is purchasing a 113' Hatteras with no stern thruster.

HERE'S THE QUESTION:

How have you handled driving bigger and bigger boats, especially going from the 60' range to the 100' range? Do you have any tips on specific techniques in operating these boats? How many deck hands do you have aboard? How do you communicate with them regarding line handling? How do you decide how much wind is too much to leave the dock? Do you often have nightmares about your 100'+ yacht losing power in a busy channel? Do you have a plan if that happens? What about techniques for sucking the stern into the dock without a stern thruster when the wind is blowing you off the dock?

Thanks for your input.
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Old 29-04-2017, 20:15   #2
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptaindeJong View Post


HERE'S THE QUESTION:

How have you handled driving bigger and bigger boats, especially going from the 60' range to the 100' range? Do you have any tips on specific techniques in operating these boats? How many deck hands do you have aboard? How do you communicate with them regarding line handling? How do you decide how much wind is too much to leave the dock? Do you often have nightmares about your 100'+ yacht losing power in a busy channel? Do you have a plan if that happens? What about techniques for sucking the stern into the dock without a stern thruster when the wind is blowing you off the dock?

Thanks for your input.
That's got to be a tough, and stressful gig. No help here, but interested as a dock master at a big marina in Georgia. I just had two big (92' and 94') boats come in here. Both were very easy to dock. One had thrusters on the bow and stern. The other not sure. One was from Nova Scotia, with owners on board and one very nice young, proficient, crew member handling the lines. Very easy for one person to dock in less than favorable winds. The other from Chicago with no thrusters if I recall. One captain and a lady throwing lines. No problem again. Winds were again in the 20 knot range, and not in a favorable direction for docking. Good luck finding your answers here. Probably not many qualified to answer.

Ralph
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Old 29-04-2017, 20:37   #3
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Former commercial masters may be your best bet.

Minaret comes to mind. Send him a PM.
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Old 30-04-2017, 02:09   #4
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptaindeJong View Post

HERE'S THE QUESTION:


Thanks for your input.
I am a 2nd Mate oceans unlimited with a 1600tn Masters with a 6000tn itc endorsement. I drive a 296' offshore support vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. I'm at work now in fact. I'm not saying it to brag, just so you know where I'm coming from. That said I'd like to try to answer your questions, granted your vessels may be quite different than mine.

How have you handled driving bigger and bigger boats, especially going from the 60' range to the 100' range? Our sailboat is 47' long with single screw, big steering wheel and one throttle/gear lever. Our work boat has two azimuth drives with Cort nozzles and two bow thrusters. These are controlled with controls that turn 360* and have a knob to control thrust. The only advice I can tell you here since it's rare for a pleasure boat to have this set up (although it's growing I imagine) is to just go slow. Don't be in a rush, you're most probably getting paid by the day so why hurry. It gives you time to think and act. Also, if you can, drive the boat without the bow thrusters even if they are there. That way when you get in a bind, you have them to their full power. Get in a bind when your using them, less so.


Do you have any tips on specific techniques in operating these boats? Learn how to twin screw on calm days at an open dock or better when it's calm offshore. Learn the boats capabilities, how long it takes to respond to idle, to stop from idle, slow down with reverse. Get intimate with the controls and how she handles. Study and learn how to walk a vessel with two wheels to a dock without the bow thrusters, this allows you to walk a boat in higher winds using the thrusters or to get you off a dock or out of a tight spot.


How many deck hands do you have aboard? Six. But only 3 on watch at a time.

How do you communicate with them regarding line handling? VHF radio. Only two with a radio and only one giving distances to the dock to keep anyone from walking on the other. If you want to tell them you heard them, don't always pick the radio up and tell them with words, it takes time and a hand from controls. Instead, just quickly double click the radio transmit button and they will hear the clicks on their end. Faster and more effective. If you have thrusters, press up to the dock and hold it there until a spring is made them come ahead or astern on it. Then make the rest off.

How do you decide how much wind is too much to leave the dock? We'll depends on the vessel and dock. Learning how to twinscrew and walk a boat will help you get off. Going back to before, if you can wait until the wind slows, then do so. Your the captian, you're ultimately responsible for the vessel and its crew. If there is a chance it could injure crew or vessel, don't proceed.

Do you often have nightmares about your 100'+ yacht losing power in a busy channel? No, but I have thought about it. We train for blackouts on desiel electric boats. But we also do our bests as handlers to not make things worse if it did happen, like excessive speed in close quarters. Keeping proper lookout and communication to other vessels. You lose power, immediately tell the other boat what's up and to give room. Then of course, toss the anchor, and get the plant back online.

Do you have a plan if that happens? Yes, see above.


What about techniques for sucking the stern into the dock without a stern thruster when the wind is blowing you off the dock? See above about walking a vessel with twin screws. With a single wheel, you must have an aft ran spring so you can turn the rudder away from the dock and wheel in slow ahead to pin the stern in.

Another thing... Relax. If your overly nervous, something isn't right and you should not be in the situation you are in. Granted things can go from normal to hairy, but stay calm and think about what you need to do.


Well I hope this helps.. I know it's a big gap between what your asking and what I'm dealing with but maybe something will apply to you. If you need more clarification or questions, don't hesitate. Best of luck with everything.

Regards,
Ronnie
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Old 30-04-2017, 02:16   #5
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

What license do you have?

I don't think a 6-pack will cover you for a 100'er. I think you may have to switch over to a tonnage based license and that requires specific amounts of experience on boats of a minimum tonnage. A 100'er can easily be over 100 tons.

Not sure if your time on even the McKinna would count towards the 100ton license requirement. I did a quick check and you need 180days on a 34+ ton vessel (or 90 on a 51+ ton). A quick google suggests the McKinna is likely running in the mid to upper 20ton range. (of course, I don't know if the numbers in the google are true displacement as defined by the CG, so it might go either way). And if the 100' boat is 105ton, you need the next category up in terms of license.

Have they changed the rules? Above a certain size, it used to be large yachts had to be towed thru the river in Ft. Lauderdale.
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Old 30-04-2017, 09:08   #6
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

100 foot is not a large vessel

Just a few basic tips.

4 important rules:

1. Slowly
2. Slowly
3. Slowly
4. Don't get something started you can't stop.

It is pretty easy if you just stay relaxed. when you are maneuvering remember things start to move slower and take longer to stop. Use your clutches and not your throttles.

I actually find larger vessels easier to handle than small boats as they are more predictable, take your time, keep an eye on the current, and always keep "SLOWLY" in mind.

M
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Old 30-04-2017, 09:15   #7
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

For some ideas on Crew Handling, watch the TV series "Below Decks".
Hilarious.

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Old 30-04-2017, 09:33   #8
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

I ran an 80' passenger ferry in Auckland NZ. Twin screw, no thrusters.

Took the job to get time on larger vessels. Like your move from 40-60 the next jump is the same, after a short while it will seem small.

I found larger easier, we only had one deck hand. Knowing how to spring a must along with figuring out how to walk her sideways. Competence and confidence with respect to your crew a must. A good deckie knows what's happening and his or her role. Your job as the leader is to ensure all are on the same page.

The advantage of ferry operation? 38 dockings a shift in all states of sea and ski. That and having almost no choice as there is a schedule ;-)

That being said-practice somewhere safe and a lot! Enjoy it! Good fun!
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Old 30-04-2017, 10:45   #9
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
100 foot is not a large vessel

Just a few basic tips.

4 important rules:

1. Slowly
2. Slowly
3. Slowly
4. Don't get something started you can't stop.

It is pretty easy if you just stay relaxed. when you are maneuvering remember things start to move slower and take longer to stop. Use your clutches and not your throttles.

I actually find larger vessels easier to handle than small boats as they are more predictable, take your time, keep an eye on the current, and always keep "SLOWLY" in mind.

M
Sounds like sound advice. Pun intended. Kidding aside it is sound advice for any vessel.
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Old 30-04-2017, 10:49   #10
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Sometimes ya gotta hit those throttles :-)

The rest of the time Captmikem is correct, clutches!
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Old 30-04-2017, 11:51   #11
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Quote:
Originally Posted by captmikem View Post
100 foot is not a large vessel

Just a few basic tips.

4 important rules:

1. Slowly
2. Slowly
3. Slowly
4. Don't get something started you can't stop.

It is pretty easy if you just stay relaxed. when you are maneuvering remember things start to move slower and take longer to stop. Use your clutches and not your throttles.

I actually find larger vessels easier to handle than small boats as they are more predictable, take your time, keep an eye on the current, and always keep "SLOWLY" in mind.

M
This guy's got it right. In the last 6 years, I've only been above idle once when docking my 83', 80 ton. And that was getting into a guest dock requiring 2 90° turns. People I see have problems are usually going too fast.
Experience is big boats and ships, mostly twins and tugs, all single.
Much of my early learning was with steam where you have a long lag time.
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Old 30-04-2017, 12:16   #12
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

I'm told that any MMC Master ticket under 100GRT is good for 6-Pack operations up to 100GRT but, of course limited to six paying passengers and no cargo or foreign operations. Comments please, I like to verify this info.
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Old 30-04-2017, 14:01   #13
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

HERE'S THE QUESTION:

How have you handled driving bigger and bigger boats, especially going from the 60' range to the 100' range? Do you have any tips on specific techniques in operating these boats? How many deck hands do you have aboard? How do you communicate with them regarding line handling? How do you decide how much wind is too much to leave the dock? Do you often have nightmares about your 100'+ yacht losing power in a busy channel? Do you have a plan if that happens? What about techniques for sucking the stern into the dock without a stern thruster when the wind is blowing you off the dock?

Thanks for your input.[/QUOTE]

The answer is simple... once you have one line ashore you are good to dock... with or without the wind away from the dock. In my view the longer the boat, the better. I operate 132' no thruster. The lines could be a spring line on the forward quarter or a stern spring. To leave the dock, a forward quarter and stern out 30 to 45 degrees, then reverse straight until able to go forward and turn. Communications with your (one) line handler... is the key. Never tie my nose too tight that I cannot manoeuver and watch the current... Good luck docking! I was just thinking of it... I do this with a single screw! on a 100 + feet you have twins! Walk it in side ways...
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Old 30-04-2017, 14:41   #14
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Re: Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

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Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
I'm told that any MMC Master ticket under 100GRT is good for 6-Pack operations up to 100GRT but, of course limited to six paying passengers and no cargo or foreign operations. Comments please, I like to verify this info.

You can go here http://www.uscg.mil/nmc/default.asp for various details.

The short version is that a tonnage license may allow you to carry more passengers for hire than a 6-pack (OUPV) license... but it also depends on the boat (uninspected = 6 pax, or inspected).

-Chris
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Old 30-04-2017, 16:15   #15
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Tips for operating a 100'+ motor yacht

Distance off shore is also different. My near coastal 50 Ton Master is good to 200 miles and 100 tons on an uninspected vessel. An OUPV is good to 100nm offshore up to 100 Ton on an uninspected. The tonnage a masters can run on inspected vessels is to their rating and up to 200 miles offshore. An OUPV cannot operate inspected vessels. Naturally the sea time needed is different, and there is additional testing.

All this may not be a factor until things go pear-shaped. Then the insurance company will look for ways not to pay.
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