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Driving Advice

Old 09-02-2012, 10:21 AM
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Default Driving Advice

In light of the recent video from LOTO I was wondering if you all could spare some of your driving advice. I am pretty green to boating, 2 seasons under my belt, and am a pretty conservative operator but am always eager to make sure I am doing things correctly and safely.

I would love to take the Martin boating class but don't have the funds for that sort of thing. Are their any great books out there to read or other resources that aren't as expensive? I run on a pretty small lake where the biggest wakes come from wake-boarding boats, but still want to make sure that I am locked on.

Again, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,

Seth
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:31 AM
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There have been a few threads like this over the years. You likely won't find too much. Reason being, is there are really no set rules. The most important thing is not exceeding YOUR limits in YOUR hull.

As an example, if you take a Viper, a Vette, and a Porsche around the same corner, all with similar weight and HP; it would take very different driver inputs on each one of them to successfully navigate the turn.

Same thing with boats. NXT boats handle different than Bravo boats; same for SSM. You can make a turn in a straight bottom boat that you should never attempt in certain step bottom boats. You can do something in a side/side boat that would never work in a staggered setup. And wait until you have your first cat ride and the boat starts to lean out in a turn instead of in like a V-bottom.

I'll start with two fairly general cardinal rules:

1) Wear an igniton interrupt switch aka killswitch tether aka lanyard. If your boat does not have one, install one!

2) You don't trim the drives in on a step bottom boat before a turn, like you sometimes do on a straight bottom. Doing so on a step bottom boat will loosen up the transom and encourage a spin.

Other than that, inputs and rules can change in an instant based on conditions, passengers, cargo/weight, fuel (weight), tabs, drives, etc. etc.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Sydwayz View Post
There have been a few threads like this over the years. You likely won't find too much. Reason being, is there are really no set rules. The most important thing is not exceeding YOUR limits in YOUR hull.

As an example, if you take a Viper, a Vette, and a Porsche around the same corner, all with similar weight and HP; it would take very different driver inputs on each one of them to successfully navigate the turn.

Same thing with boats. NXT boats handle different than Bravo boats; same for SSM. You can make a turn in a straight bottom boat that you should never attempt in certain step bottom boats. You can do something in a side/side boat that would never work in a staggered setup. And wait until you have your first cat ride and the boat starts to lean out in a turn instead of in like a V-bottom.

I'll start with two fairly general cardinal rules:

1) Wear an igniton interrupt switch aka killswitch tether aka lanyard. If your boat does not have one, install one!

2) You don't trim the drives in on a step bottom boat before a turn, like you sometimes do on a straight bottom. Doing so on a step bottom boat will loosen up the transom and encourage a spin.

Other than that, inputs and rules can change in an instant based on conditions, passengers, cargo/weight, fuel (weight), tabs, drives, etc. etc.
+1 If You know someone that has been boating for a long time an You feel He has some thing to teach You. Go for a ride with Him an have Him teach You what He knows. Time behind the sticks an wheel is the best way to learn. The fact that You know Your limits an looking for help meens allot. Enjoy Your Checkmate an stay safe. Artie
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:09 AM
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I was thinking that some of our members could throw in a few helpfull pointers on here. One from Me. You never know what the other boaters will do. When passing another boater. Slow down an pass with care. You can push the sticks when Your not around other boaters. A sudden unexpected maneuver at high speeds can really be bad. Artie
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:17 AM
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Learn where "neutral" trim is on your boat, and get comfortable with being able to trim in quickly and comfortably. We boat mainly on a pretty calm river, but occasionally you'll come up on a large barge/boat wake. I often observe slower V's crossing wakes trimmed up and loose. The boats always have a tendency to fly and land badly... trim in, use some sense and things wind up a lot less hairy.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sydwayz View Post
There have been a few threads like this over the years. You likely won't find too much. Reason being, is there are really no set rules. The most important thing is not exceeding YOUR limits in YOUR hull.

As an example, if you take a Viper, a Vette, and a Porsche around the same corner, all with similar weight and HP; it would take very different driver inputs on each one of them to successfully navigate the turn.

Same thing with boats. NXT boats handle different than Bravo boats; same for SSM. You can make a turn in a straight bottom boat that you should never attempt in certain step bottom boats. You can do something in a side/side boat that would never work in a staggered setup. And wait until you have your first cat ride and the boat starts to lean out in a turn instead of in like a V-bottom.

I'll start with two fairly general cardinal rules:

1) Wear an igniton interrupt switch aka killswitch tether aka lanyard. If your boat does not have one, install one!

2) You don't trim the drives in on a step bottom boat before a turn, like you sometimes do on a straight bottom. Doing so on a step bottom boat will loosen up the transom and encourage a spin.

Other than that, inputs and rules can change in an instant based on conditions, passengers, cargo/weight, fuel (weight), tabs, drives, etc. etc.
x2

Remember that you are not an Offshore Powerboat Racer and there is no need to show-off for anybody. It's OK to hammer it down when you feel that it is safe to do so. Wearing a tether is a "must" at all times when under power because you never know if steering breaks, throttles get stuck wide open or you pass out, one just never knows. Drinking and driving don't mix, water on the water and beer on the Pier.
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Old 09-03-2012, 12:05 PM
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I’d suggest that there are several very critical variables on your boat and you need to understand their both their intended usage and actual effects. Those critical variables are:

• Steering
• Throttle
• Trim
• Tabs

Steering might sound pretty basic, but on most boats, steering is more than just the ability to change direction, it’s also directional thrust in that you’re changing the direction your propeller is both pushing water out and / or pulling water in. (And this includes left / right as well as up / down.) Steering can feel very different in a given boat at different speeds For instance, at idle, most boats react to steering input rather lazily. That same boat might have razor sharp reactions to steering inputs at higher speeds. Trim (see below) also affects steering effectiveness in that the more positive trim you add at low speeds, the less reactive the steering will be. At the same time, steering inputs at high speeds with lots of positive trim can be scary immediate. The key words to remember here are “thrust angle” and what effect that causes.

Throttle again sounds pretty basic because it allows you to change speed. But coupled with your shifter, it also gives you a braking function at low speeds. If you’ve ever watched an experienced boater “parallel park” a boat in a spot only a few feet longer than the boat itself, you’ll have seen this effect. And most boats have much more immediate reactions to throttle input at low speeds that high speeds. (So never make large throttle inputs around the docks.)

Speaking of throttle inputs, most people only think about adding throttle. There are many times when you need to constantly adjust (up and down) throttle position – especially in rough water. For instance, if you launch you boat off a wave and your prop leaves the water, you need to throttle back before reentry in order to reduce the shock on your drive – and passengers. And I’m not going to get into the finer details of throttling here other than to say the throttle is not a toggle switch.

Trim is the movement of the drives (on an I/O) up / out or down / in. Negative trim (drive trimmed all the way down / in) is used to get the boat up on plane as it helps keep the bow down and get the stern up. But, once on plane, some boats will tend to “bow steer” with full negative trim at higher speeds and negative trim also increases fuel consumption due to the larger wetted surface of the hull that it drives. There are times though when full negative trim will help “plug” the bow through rough water leading to safer and more comfortable ride though.

Positive trim can be used in shallow water to avoid damaging the prop & drive, but is more commonly used to lessen the wetted area on the hull by driving the bow up to gain speed. In some boats that are very sensitive to trim, as you trim up, it almost feels like somebody just released the brakes as the boat magically picks up speed. Some other boats (like pontoons) see almost no effect with positive trim. Too much positive trim – particularly in rough or unpredictable water – can lead to disastrous consequences where the boat gets too much air under the bow and “kites.” In fact the absolute worse consequence is the dreaded “kite, trip, stuff” scenario. (Plenty of videos on this one.) BTW: Stepped hulls require much less positive trim to attain top speed than a non-stepped hull.

Trim tabs (if your boat has them) are another misunderstood variable. Proper tab settings and usage seems to be the most misunderstood and least used variable for some odd reason. Tabs can generally be used for two purposes; getting the boat up on plane quicker and / or determining the attitude at which the boat will fly in rough water. They work by re-directing the flow of water off the bottom at the transom. With the tabs down, they force the stern up and thus the bow down. Too little tab can lead to difficulty in getting a boat on plane and / or kiting the boat in rough water. Too much tab can help get a boat on plane, but force bow steer and / or spin out (stepped bottom) in a turn.

I could go on for a couple more hours with all of the variables in a boat, but taking Tres Martin’s course is the absolute best way to go. And remember, I’ve simplified things here by talking about a single engine boat. Add another motor and there’s a whole new set of variables to think about.

The best thing you can do is learn from somebody more experienced in your own boat. Start out al lower speeds and see what each variable and combination of variables does. Do not try to go fast right away. Speed comes with experience. Experience comes from messing up. If you mess up at lower speeds, hopefully you won’t die at a higher speed.

Tom
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:34 PM
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Default Tom is on point, perfectly...

I am usually the one to make a long winded rant about whatever...

Tom hit it accurately.

But....I do wonder....

I looked at the video a lot.....a LOT....and I see one major irrefutable piece of evidence....

You can blow your drives up full on, full off, full on, full of and face plant all you want...it has nothing (or very little) to do with the outcome. Honestly, it looks as though a majority ( not all) of the on and off full was more him holding the throttles (as a means of hanging on) as the boat bucked across an opposing wake.

This makes me question the overall general knowledge of boaters everywhere. In fact, all of us.

From what I see, he hit the opposing wake.....bigger than his own displacement....at speed without deviation. To make it worse, it looks like his puts his tabs down just prior....and I mean D O W N.

Boat of larger displacement making a 30* wake to his port. If plowing, maybe 5' between ridges, and similar in height.

Running on plane, thirty degrees into a port wash.....tabs down....I think we see this repeated almost every time.

Am I the only one that takes a crossing at 90*? And slow down for a vessel with bigger displacement?
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:21 PM
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Thank you very much guys....2,500$ for the tres martin class is out of the question per the commander and chief (aka the wife)...with that being said I appreciate you guys taking the time pass on some of your knowledge!

As to the last post, I normally try and cross wakes at a 45 to 90 degree angle and on my lake there are few boats bigger than mine....however because of all the wake boarders and run abouts there are wakes coming in from all directions.

Seth
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by commandersander View Post
Am I the only one that takes a crossing at 90*? And slow down for a vessel with bigger displacement?
That is really not posible at LOTO. It is too narrow and there is too much boat traffic. On an average Saturday, I'm happy if I can hit the majority at 45* or better. If they are 4-5' then of course I try to hit them as close to 90* as possible.
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