New to v-drives

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by Gasman, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. NotHerDecision

    NotHerDecision Well-Known Member

    Jun 28, 2016
    Houston, Texas
    2001 Sea Ray 460 Sundancer
    2014 Seadoo 155 LTD
    2105 Seadoo 130 SE
    2013 Mercury Dinghy
    Cummins 6CTA 8.3L
    If you don't have it, buy the chapman piloting book. It explains in detail many maneuvers and I love it because I can go out and practice. I have even called the fuel dock on a random Tuesday at lunch and asked them if I could practice as long as no one was around. Trust me on this, the Inboards are more easily maneuvered then the IO's. You will master after just a couple days.
  2. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    Here is the biggest issue that held me back when stern-in docking.

    Being new to twin inboards, I was just bumping them in and out of gear around the docks to maneuver. Just trying to go slow in case it got a little dicey. Never used any throttle and this worked fine at slack tide when there weren't any currents or when the winds were less than 5 knots.

    However, when the wind or currents were kicking I noticed everything I did seemed late. I'd start my 90 degree to starboard and by the time I was finished she was already out of line because the current or wind pushed me down the fairway.

    After watching some of the videos on YouTube about stern in docking I noticed the experienced skippers using controlled bursts of power around the docks to arrest momentum. I went out in the gulf and practiced doing what I'd seen them do to increase my skills.

    I'd practice a hard starboard reverse to pull the bow to the right and then a quick burst of port reverse to arrest the momentum and stop the boat. After I was comfortable bumping the throttles out in the gulf it was back to the marina to test my new knowledge. The first few tries were a little sketchy but after a while I got really confident with the throttles around the docks. Now I don't even think twice about backing in even under the worst conditions.

    Keeping the boat moving is the key. If you don't give the boat time to get caught in the winds or current it's much easier putting her back in the slip. Now I try to see if I can put her away with the least amount of inputs necessary.
  3. KevinC

    KevinC Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    Long Island, NY
    2004 340 Sundancer
    1988 Proline Center Console - 90hp Mariner/Mercury
    1969 Boston Whaler
    Twin 8.1 V-drives
    Relax and take it slow. Practice it the key. Eventually your brain will catch up with the maneuvers will become second nature. I find it easiest to stand facing aft when docking with my hand at the shifters and once lined up make very small adjustments by going in and out of gear.

    If things don't line up right because of wind or current pull out and try again gauging how fast the wind or current is moving you. If you are being moved towards the dock then setup a little further out. If it is a crosswind you may need to setup up wind and let it move you as your approaching your slip.

    If you get too frustrated or anxious take your boat away from the dock for a calming ride and come back in a little while. I remember my first time was a crazy time as I kept reverting back to my I/O habits so I had a friend help that would take over when it felt like it was not working. Each time after that it was a little less worrisome and now I find it the easiest boat to dock/manuever that I ever had.

  4. Gasman

    Gasman Member

    May 30, 2015
    Great Lakes
    2001 29' sun dancer sold
    2000 340 sundancer
    Twin 5.0 mercruiser
    7.1 v-drives
    Went out today to practice docking with a fellow boater who's been boating for 40+ years to give me a few pointers.... All went good.... I just have a question for you all.... when I paid for lessons he told me never to let the boat stop moving when docking or making manuvers then today this captain had me come to a complete stop then make turns to back into my slip.... is there a right and wrong way or is it just personal preference or just depends on the situation current wind ect....
  5. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    I think he means you have to use momentum a bit when docking. If you come to a full stop then wind/current that are working against you will have a chance to mess things up. For example in my slip I am side to the main dock, but in a finger slip with another boat. (I cannot go past my slip, I am the first boat on the side dock that comes off the main dock. If the wind is blowing off the main dock, I have to come in, swing the boat sideways and then start to back in immediately before the wind pushes me off the main dock. If I tried to stop before starting to back in, the wind would blow me back away from the main dock. I have a video on Youtube that shows how I do it (but it was a calm day so doesnt show the faster approach when it is breezy).

  6. Alegria

    Alegria Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Lancaster,PA Boat: -Sue Creek, MD
    2000 410 DA
    3126 CAT
    I would tend to agree with the second captain about this one. The reason for the stop is when you want to spin the boat the prop turning in reverse is less effective so your spin/pivot will start later and will drift quite a bit. Where as if you stop and begin to pivot the boat will begin to spin quicker. There was an article in Boating magazine some years ago promoting stopping first before the spin/pivot when backing into slips.

    Boating Mag - How to Dock a Boat

    The two best things that our captain taught me when I was new to V-Drives was.

    1. As you approach get an idea of how the wind is blowing. Put the boat in neutral and "listen" to her and see how she is reacting to wind and current and use that to be aware of the factors acting on the boat

    2. Come to a stop before you want to pivot due to the prop going in reverse does not have the thrust of the prop in forward and the added momentum of having the boat in motion will slow down the spin

    3. The best advice I got on docking from the forum, was only to apply throttle to the engine in reverse, so if my spin/pivot is going off center a bit or not as quick I apply a short bit of throttle to the engine in reverse to compensate.

    The last rule of thumb I learned when I was sailing from the captain who taught us. "With the line in hand, the boat you'll land". LOL, my wife and I still repeat that one to each other when docking...
  7. JVM225

    JVM225 Well-Known Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    I'm by no means an expert at docking or close quarters maneuvering. Especially this year after moving up to a 410 from a 300.
    But, after making my approaches as slowly as possible with my rudders centered I do briefly come to a stop once in position before starting my docking maneuvers.
    As I'm becoming more comfortable with the 410 I'm applying a little throttle when needed to the engine that is in reverse when spinning or to make a correction when backing in to a transient slip someplace.
    Being a novice with this boat I avoid the steering wheel like the plaque around the docks.
    I'm also a big fan of the popping in and out of gear method to keep speed to an absolute minimum relying instead on momentum whenever possible. I do this because I firmly believe in the old adage that says don't get close to a dock faster than you are willing to hit it.
    I do have a bow thruster but haven't had to use it for backing in to a slip yet. The shifters have gotten me in to all the slips I've backed in to so far.
    I do need to use the thruster when leaving or returning to my own dock mainly because there isn't a whole lot of room for maneuvering. I tie up my roughly 45' LOA 410 port side to my 50' bulkhead which is set back about 2 feet front and rear so I have to get about parallel with it and then move sideways from several feet away. This is accomplished by a short burst of port in forward, starboard in reverse to get the stern moving in before returning them to neutral, and using the thruster to make the bow keep up with the stern. When all goes well I get a nice smooth landing.
    I do the opposite to pull away from my dock far enough to clear the old houseboat that is tied up directly in front of me.
    Hopefully the time will come when I'm able to squeeze in to my tight spot sideways without the thruster, but for now (since the boat is new to me) it's too stressful and I ain't no hero so the thruster is my security blanket.
  8. Escape22

    Escape22 Member

    May 22, 2017
    Milwaukee WI
    1986 210 SXL
    5.7 260 Merc
    What size Sea Ray is that next to you? 34-37

    nice job!
  9. Escape22

    Escape22 Member

    May 22, 2017
    Milwaukee WI
    1986 210 SXL
    5.7 260 Merc
    what size boat 34-37 next to you?
  10. Creekwood

    Creekwood Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 26, 2009
    Oakville and Georgian Bay, Ontario
    '97 330 Sundancer, Raymarine C80 suite with radar, Mercury 310 Hypalon w/8hp Yammie 2stk
    2X 454 carbs w/ vDrives
    Early 90's 350 Sundancer. Luckily he was only there for a month or so. New neighbor is a 92 310. Same beam as me. Still tight but at least our fenders don't rub as I back it in.

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