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How To: Tame the Puss, err Cat

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Old 10-30-2010, 01:53 AM
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Default How To: Tame the Puss, err Cat

This thread will either be a good one or turn to mud. Hopefully the former as I am turning to this great community for advice, support, and guidance.

Disclaimer: I am a responsible adult. I am a husband, a father of two little girls, and am not ready to see the Lord Almighty in the Heavens above.

Some of yall might have seen the thread about the DCB F-29 that I just purchased at an auction. Yes, I changed my username (explanation in that thread).

http://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/g...cb-f-29-a.html

I should have it here early next week and hopefully after thoroughly checking everything over will get to take it out to the lake within a few weeks.

With that being said....Can you guys please tell me the do's and don'ts of driving a high performance catamaran (100+mph)?

I bet 100% of you guys either cringed or lol'd after reading the previous sentence. Before you keyboard warriors whip out the flamethrowers please take the time to finish reading and hear me out......

As said in my disclaimer, I am an adult. I fully understand the dangers in life, the consequences of our choices we make, and the effects that these choices make on ourselves, our family, and our friends. I'm not out to drive WFO through chop, hanging it out all the way down the lake. I'm just looking to add to my thrilling and adrenaline pumping experiences in life, just like everyone else. What sets us apart from the hot-doggers, show offs, and dumb asses, and keeps us alive and safe is: fear and knowledge.

I have the fear. I am looking for the knowledge. I do not have the funds right now, nor the time to go to a real diving school (Tres, etc.). Can't wait for the opportunity to do so, and will continue to save my pennies and time in order to make that happen some day in the future. I would bet that a large majority of people on this board hasn't had the opportunity to learn at a school. So where did they learn it? Trial and error. Friends. Their parents showed them. Mentors. Message boards like this one.....So here I am turning to you guys. I might have only been a member on this board for less than a year, but I have already seen how great of a community this is, and the breadth of knowledge is second to none on the Internet.

A little bit of background about myself to set the tone.....Like I said above, I'm married and have a couple of beautiful girls. I am an Engineer by blood, by design, and by schooling. Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated with all things mechanical, and electrical too I guess. I’m a tinkerer. I like to take stuff apart and put it back together better, or different in some instances (and not always better). I love to take on new Engineering challenges. I hate paying someone to do something, that with a little knowledge and help, I could do it just as well and have the satisfaction of doing it myself. I mean, it’s not like they were born with that ability. Plus, the Internet is chock full of knowledge. There is probably a tutorial, video, or guide to do pretty much anything and everything you could ever want to do.

I’ve had a few fast cars (relatively: Mustang GT, 300ZX), been fortunate to drive a few fast cars (Viper, Lotus, M3, GT-R), and scared myself in a few of them. Fastest I’ve ever been was about 180 in a viper with the top down. Think that is the only time that I have ever in my life said, “okay, that’s enough, we can slow down now.” The most fun car was the GT-R. Just last month I got to drive that in an epic jaunt through the mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. All I could do was to hang on for dear life. Wow, what a machine.

I’ve been boating all of my life. It’s funny how it turned out that I got a degree in Ocean Engineering when I went to A&M to get be a Mechanical Engineer. I’ve personally only owned inboard ski/wakeboard boats. I’m a Nautique guy for life and am on my 3rd one now. Whether it was in my dad’s old tri-hull Glastron, or my Grandparents 83ft Horizon I have always been hooked on anything that has to do with displacing some water. I’ve always done any and all work on these boats myself. Be it electronics, engine, mechanical, gelcoat, upholstery, etc. I have done my best to educate myself with the knowledge of the internet to tackle anything that has come up. The past year or so, I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to “play” with and work on some pretty awesome boats and cars. A few higher end (ie newer) wakeboard boats, and then these boats we all spend hours on the net researching and chatting about, performance powerboats. All of them have been Baja Outlaws. The fastest was a 2007 35’ with twin 525’s. That was a fun boat. I ran it up to about 82. Didn’t actually seem that fast though. Guess it was because it felt so enormous.

Still with me?

Now on to my request:

I don’t plan on taking this thing out to the lake, burying the throttles and looking to break any records. I would simply like to go out there and get my blood pumping a little bit. I want to do it safely. I want to come back in one piece. I want the boat to come back in one piece. You guys do too, as hopefully one of yall will be new owners of it once I get done working on it. As with all things in life, I like to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

I think that when it comes to boating, I am very safe. I am very cautious. I respect my equipment. I take care of it. Things that seem obvious to me are things like wearing life jackets, using the lanyard, no alcohol (duh), etc. Like when I’m riding on our Harley, half of the battle is being aware of your surroundings. I’m always scanning the horizon for others around and anticipating their next move. I will baby the motors and drives. Get them nice and warm before any kind of runs. I don’t plan on making any fast turns, sudden maneuvers, wave jumping, etc.
As this is more or less, “uncharted waters” (pun intended), I am looking for all advice, criticism, do’s, don’ts, anything that yall want to offer up. I’m not sure what the best way to tackle this thread is, but I had a few ideas:

1) Tell me the things that yall have screwed up doing. We all learn from our mistakes. Would shortcut the learning process if we all knew what caused them.
2) Techniques for smooth riding. For fast riding.
3) Things to be aware of like hoping at certain speeds (read a little about where you could experience hop in certain ranges). Stuff like that
4) I will know the boat inside and out before I take it to the water. The motors/drives will be sound. All fluids will be checked, etc. As much as I would love to take it straight to the lake, I want to know everything there is to know about it.

So there you have it. Sorry this was so long. I wanted to make sure that I laid out my full hand to you guys so you didn’t think I was some arrogant, ignorant, or dumb ass person that is going to mess something up or hurt someone. I am completely sincere in my request and hope that responses and the like will carry the same tone.

As said above. I have Fear for this boat. Fear is what keeps us alive. When you don’t fear something, that’s when you get sloppy. When you start overlooking things, when you push the envelope and go past them limit, and then get hurt.

As always, I really do appreciate the time, advice, and help.

Cheers!!!

Brandon

Last edited by hawaiianhopper; 10-30-2010 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:11 AM
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That's a long post....was there a question in there some where?
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Old 10-30-2010, 02:27 AM
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I know. I get carried away when I write sometimes. So maybe too much info. Sorry!

But hey, now you all know me like a best friend and like I've been on this board for years. So now yall don't have to flame too bad like I'm a newb.

Yeah, I think there was a ? in there somewhere. Just read between the lines, lol.

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Old 10-30-2010, 07:16 AM
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Get someone with cat experience to come out with you the first couple times and show you the ropes. It's better to be in the boat with someone who knows how to run a cat and watch and learn vs have someone try to explain it to you over a keyboard.
There's no substitute for seat time.

Last edited by stainless; 10-30-2010 at 07:20 AM.
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Old 10-30-2010, 07:43 AM
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First question is, where did you get your insurance?
The F-29 is a very easy boat to drive, does not have problems of most cats which is hop and leaning to the outside on turns.
I think if you can get someone near you that you know that has cat experience to drive the boat and teach you that would be the best case. I first would make sure the engine and drives/transoms are in good mechanical order, this can ruin your day or worse get you hurt. With that level of power it is possible that the drives may not be in good shape, have them gone through. I know that you work on things yourself, an experienced drive builder can buy you more time. Look at the transom/gimble and make sure there is no slop. You should not have any movement when lifting the cavitation plate. Inspect closely for hairline cracks in the ring. Retorque the gimbal ring u-bolt nuts. Drain the drive lube into a clean white bucket and look for metal shavings.
On the engines, make sure the batteries are fresh. I would procede with the assumption that all fluids are bad. Change engine oil, filter. On the Teague motors, there will be a stainless steel hose with a plug that will be clamped to the head that is the drain, similar to your Nautique. I would try to pump the old fuel out of the tanks and replace the fuel filters. I would pull the plugs and make sure there are no signs of rust. spray some fogging oil in the cylinders and turn the engines over with out the plugs. Make sure everything sounds good. Replace the plugs and make your knuckles bloody changing water pump impellers. Inspect all hoses. Pull the distributor caps on the MSD and make sure contacts look good. There will be rust on the advance clean and oil. Make sure advance springs are not gone. (Check the MSD, there is a great possibility that it will need maintainence.) Never charge batteries with cables connected will shoot MSD box.
Put in some fresh 93 and fire up engines.
Running,
Do yourself a favor before you put the boat in and use a straight edge to find neutral trim. Get in the boat and mark this on your trim indicators with some tape, pinstripe tape works well. Go out with some one that you don't intend on impressing and take your time. To get on plane tuck in drives. Gradually apply throttle, will likely only need a little to get on plane. As the boat rolls over there will be some prop cavitation. Don't advance throttle here. Once on plane about 25 or so trim the outdrives up to the neutral position. See how it feels. Ideal trim for the boat will not be too far from neutral will be just a little more than neutral. Drive around at 35 or so get the feeling of steering the boat. Will not be like your Nautique, I'm a long time Nautique owner as well.
You need to take it easy just enjoy the boat the first time and don't go over 50. Stop and raise the hatch look at the engines, check for leaks.
With a cat the no no's are negative trim when turning can cause hook and spin out. Will not stop like your Nautique, look far ahead and plan on every Sea Doo cutting right in front of you. If hitting large cruiser wake keep at neutral trim. Make wide sweeping turns. You have no business cranking it up until you become very familiar with the boat and trim. Gradually increase your speed and feel the boat drive 50, get comfortable, 60, 70, etc...... You have a very friendly hull that your not going to have to do a bunch of things like tabs and driving through hop, etc.. Just take it easy, to me the most fun of them is a nice easy 55 mph cruise on a nice day. It's not always about going fast. Good luck, you picked a winner with that hull. Eric
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Old 10-30-2010, 08:28 AM
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All can say, You may go out and drive and do so without incident,but if a mistake is made at speed because of lack of experience or knoledge, then someone may get seriously injured or killed. I have run across many who have gotten first time 29s and after they attempted to operate the vessel a few times realized that they needed some profession knowledge and skill. All you guys can tell this man to trim it here, or get a buddy to help him, but in the end if something goes wrong and its a major claim, then everyones insurance premiums go up and less companies will be involved in securing insurance for your vessel types.7 years ago all performance insurance was in jepordy as everyone over 100 or 120 MPH vessels had been cancelled. Lets not go down that road again.And if you can obtain insurance for that cat without experience, then shame on the agent and underwriter for that one. Dont learn to drive accident.
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Old 10-30-2010, 11:50 AM
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Hi Guys....thanks so much. Great stuff so far. Exactly what I was looking for.

Working on the insurance thing. I am insured through the dealer that I help buy and sell boats through. I'm checking on the coverage to see what and if this is covered. Might put the whole kibosh on it right there.

All the mechanical things are great to knows. Thanks Eric for being so thorough.

I'm getting all the service records sent to me right now. I do know that the drives are fresh and were just recently serviced. I'll be changing all the fluids and checking the ignition stuff.

Pretty much sure that I won't be doing any high speed runs. Basically will just want to take it out and experience it a little before it gets sold. One of the benefits of doing this is getting to use/play with stuff that I normally would not have the opportunity to do so. I get to understand the boats and form my own opinions about them. Helps connect with the buyer and offer an objective standpoint for how this would be the right, or wrong boat for them.

I'd love for someone to go out with me that is experienced in Cats. Will probably be in a month or so. Usually go to Lake Conroe. This time of year, there isn't that much boating still going on.

Cheers!
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:41 PM
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I would say check the boat out put the dam thing in the water and try it out. Dont push it and work your way up. Being timid is the best limiter and will keep you in check.
I teach instructors at driving schools and although I would always say getting help is the best, it shouldnt be a hold back from learning. How in the hell would anybody try anything. I mean you went 180 on the road. Dont call your ins company(: it might screw us all. I know people will say all the donts on here and like you jump in a car with no roof and let you do 180 or 80 in an Accord 6 feet from a semi truck.
I started with a cat back in the mid 90's and learned by going out and learning first hand. How fast you go is all in your hands. Please take your time and take it in steps. Know your limitations and that of the product.
As far as driving a cat they are very stable keep trimmed down and speed down until you get a better feel. Then pop the boat up and get a feel of the trim differences and how the center tab reacts.
I know I will probably get some flak but have some fun. I got my first cat back in 97. We used to run 90 with cable steering! Man things have come a long way.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poker~N~Run View Post
I would say check the boat out put the dam thing in the water and try it out. Dont push it and work your way up. Being timid is the best limiter and will keep you in check.
I teach instructors at driving schools and although I would always say getting help is the best, it shouldnt be a hold back from learning. How in the hell would anybody try anything. I mean you went 180 on the road. Dont call your ins company(: it might screw us all. I know people will say all the donts on here and like you jump in a car with no roof and let you do 180 or 80 in an Accord 6 feet from a semi truck.
I started with a cat back in the mid 90's and learned by going out and learning first hand. How fast you go is all in your hands. Please take your time and take it in steps. Know your limitations and that of the product.
As far as driving a cat they are very stable keep trimmed down and speed down until you get a better feel. Then pop the boat up and get a feel of the trim differences and how the center tab reacts.
I know I will probably get some flak but have some fun. I got my first cat back in 97. We used to run 90 with cable steering! Man things have come a long way.
Nope - I agree. I learned on mine without any help. Take it slow and easy. A cat that size is as safe as being in your mother's arms under about 80. Far safer than a vee.
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Old 10-30-2010, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stainless View Post
Get someone with cat experience to come out with you the first couple times and show you the ropes. It's better to be in the boat with someone who knows how to run a cat and watch and learn vs have someone try to explain it to you over a keyboard.
There's no substitute for seat time.
Agreed. I learned a lot this past year. Mostly from seat time and luckily I was fortunate to run it a few pros with a lot of cat racing experience
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