Thinking About Boats

Discussion in 'The Tiki Bar' started by Woody, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Woody

    Woody Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    Two years ago I moved up in size to a 420DA. The first season was a lot of learning about the boat. Looking out over the bow it seemed so long, so big. Prior to actually taking it out the first time I admit to being intimidated. I crawled around the boat a couple weekends checking things, did some minor fixing, ordered cases of filters, gathered up a tool kit, did a couple short test runs, and then we headed it for home….north up Lake Michigan, under the Mac bridge into Lake Huron, north up the St Mary’s river, through the Soo locks, then west on Lake Superior to the Keweenaw Peninsula.

    I had planned to split the trip up with 3 stops along the way finishing up on the 4th day. The boat was running good, I had two fuel stops already and had a feel for fuel usage so on day 3 we kept on going for home, 225 miles that day, 500 miles total trip. I never had radar or autopilot before so even though I read and re-read manuals things didn’t really fall into place until I started using them. The weather wasn’t the best, cool, some drizzle, some fog, but we had a great time.

    It’s been said many times at CSR that the handling is much improved on these larger boats with v or straight drives and even more so combined with diesel torque. Thankfully I found this to be true the very first time out.

    When I laid out the trip home I checked out the marinas I would be using on Google maps. I measured fairways, checked fuel docks and access, I pretty much knew ahead my options for approach that would be best for me and the new boat. The first time I went for fuel it was a breeze, just as I planned it,….then the attendant said a big boat is coming in, you gotta back around and I’ll fuel you on the other side. Whaaaat, I’m thinking dude this boat ain’t went backwards yet since I’ve owned it. I went from having a 100’ of dock all to myself to backing around along side the stub at the end….let’s see, straight rudders, check, don’t get nervous, fck you….phew, we made it.

    My second fuel stop went as planned also. This place had two hoses fueling both tanks at the same time so it didn’t take long. After fueling up I asked which slip they wanted me in and they said ‘just back around the end of the fuel dock’ and take one of the first two, which ever one you like. Well heck, ‘just back around’, I did it yesterday, I’m a pro now. I asked them to be on the finger in case I needed help, new boat and all. So I backed into the double well with no pilings in the middle and tied on the portside. They said I did good, they wouldn’t have known I had little experience with the boat. I didn’t tell them my original intentions were a strbd tie.

    The last day we pulled into ‘our’ marina at about 10:30pm, it was dark. First time coming into our new slip….nothing but net. I said to my wife ‘hey, how about that, dark too’, she said ‘what a man’.:lol:

    That first summer, what luxury, two heads, and all that room….who could ask for anything more. Well,…. After two seasons we still love the boat but we have the same opinion of it as we had of the 280DA, it’s a good 2 person boat. Man o’ man, how big does it have to get for that to stop.
     
  2. BlewByYou88

    BlewByYou88 Member SILVER Sponsor

    936
    Jul 24, 2010
    Arizona
    268 Sea Ray Sundancer 1988
    2X 4.3L 4bbl Mercs w/ Alphas
    When you actually need a crew....its no longer a two person boat.

     
  3. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Member

    615
    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1999 Sundancer 340
    454 Mercruiser's w/ V Drives, Westerbeke gen set
    That's a great story. And a trip I'd like to take someday around this great state! Very cool.
     
  4. FootballFan

    FootballFan Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Boatless
    Boatless
    I agree, great story.

    So much of what you said resonated with me.

    That first time on a "new to me" bigger boat does have a pucker factor.

    My second time to pull away from a side tie, heavy wind wanting to pin me to the dock. Thank goodness couple of my NC boater friends happened to be in Bald Head, pushing as I was trying to get away. Only one pier bump getting off the dock.

    That's the fun and challenge of boating.

    Mark
     
  5. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Active Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Who was that, Mark?
     
  6. FootballFan

    FootballFan Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Boatless
    Boatless
    LOL - You saw it... Remember you were running up the dock, trying to push us off. Good news was it only hit a float - left a white mark that buffed right out.

    The more impressive sight was you coming in the day before - down to one engine - I think it turned out you had a filter clog. You got that big boat turned around in the wind and to the dock with no problems. Now that made an impression on me. Not sure if you remember, probably just another day of boating for da captain...

    Mark
     
  7. bracketracer

    bracketracer Member GOLD Sponsor

    243
    Aug 23, 2016
    Wilson, NY
    2001 380DA
    Twin 454 Horizons
    Man, I know the feeling well, and don't feel bad about feeling intimidated. I stepped up from a 4-Winns 245 Sundowner (v8 I/O) to my 380DA in September last year. Same thoughts went through my mind when I first stepped up to the sticks. "Holy living F, there's no way I can deal with this bow". Few lessons from the broker, and we were out in it solo 3 days after closing. Freakout moments happened plenty of times over the next few weeks, but never shifted a stick wrong, even running the thing down 8 locks through the Welland Canal. I'm sure I'll still have plenty of freakout moments in the future, but so far, so good.
     
  8. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Active Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Wish I could forget that. Next time we went to Bald Head, my transmission linkage came off, same issue, all over the marina. Think I'm jinxed with Bald Head.
     
  9. Brett H

    Brett H Member GOLD Sponsor

    100
    Dec 12, 2009
    Lake Lanier, GA
    2004 550 Sundancer w/ MAN's - Unleashed
    Raymarine e127's; KVH HD7; Xantrex 3024 Inverter
    T-800 MAN's (D2848LE403)
    Great story. I had the same thoughts with my 410DA. Although it seemed huge initially, the teenage daughters and their friends made that boat feel really small. Especially if you wake up early and they sleep late. 1-2 kids aft, 1-2 kids on pullout couch. I don't remember inviting the friends but the daughters were much more willing to come if they could bring a friend. So, much less stress on the admiral and therefore me. I looked at the 460/48DA's, the 500/52DA's and the 550DA all while trying to find the perfect boat for 2-4-6 folks. The 500/52DA has many nice features but the 2nd state room w/ bunks is a bit tight for adults. So adults always seemed to choose the pullout couch. We were lucky enough to see each of these options most every weekend, as our friends (mostly couples) have them. Any of those options would have fit the bill for us but focused on 2nd state room that would get used prior to the couch. Never regreted choosing the 550DA although anything larger might be tough to handle if taking out alone. At the time (2012-2013), the larger boats were less in demand, so the prices were appealing. And, why make two steps if you can make one big one. To answer you question, if thinking about 2000-2009 era Sundancers, the 460/48DA is the smallest two stateroom layout that I would consider where two adult couples don't feel cramped for a long weekend. In my opinion, there is quite a bit of space for daytime socializing and nighttime privacy. My $0.02.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  10. Blkbird

    Blkbird Member

    130
    Jul 5, 2010
    Lake Lanier, GA
    1997 Sea Ray 450 Sundancer
    Twin 3126 CATS
    Brings back fond moments of butt pucker. First time I took the boat out on my own I had to pass by the Fort Lauderdale annual boat show. Every idiot with a paddle was on the water, including me, and nobody had any sense of what was around them. I especially liked the folks in the "little" boats that pulled in front of me and then dropped into neutral generally resulting in a one way mental conversation of - "Hello, I am a first time driver of a 450 and this is as slow as the diesels will idle so please get the heLL out of my way so I don't run over you on my first day".

    Made it to the marina relatively intact. Had the boat shipped to Lake Lanier and now I don't have to worry about being run over by Oprah's monster yacht. Still have those paddle carrying idiots (me) and the people in pontoon boats who want to inspect my anchor passing by in front of me while I am still underway on the lake but that's ok. I've found out how to drive my boat relatively well 60% of the time.

    And Brett's 550 is a gorgeous boat, thrice cursed because I now have boat envy.
     
  11. JVM225

    JVM225 Active Member

    Apr 8, 2008
    Farmingdale, NY
    2002 410 Sundancer, Monaco Edition.
    3126 Cats.
    Great story, and very encouraging. I closed on my 410 Sundancer last month and I'm taking delivery of it up in Connecticut in mid April. Dependng on route and conditions it will take me 6 1/2 - 8 1/2 hours to get her to my home dock. Coming from my 300 Sundancer with twin I/O's I'm almost as intimidated as I am excited.
    Not sure which I'm more nervous about: docking something that big, or navigating the very narrow channels and shallow depths around here. To make matters worse, a lot of the local towns haven't been putting buoys out in the bays in some spots until early to mid May. The last 12 miles from the inlet to my dock is going to be a real adventure. I know the water pretty well between the inlet I prefer to use and my dock and would be very comfortable doing it in my old boat, but this new one is going to be downright scary.
    I figure the trip home will be trial by fire and once there I plan to go out by myself 8 or 10 times over the next week or so before I start inviting passengers.
     
  12. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    2010 Boston Whaler 130 Super Sport,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
     
  13. hakunamatata

    hakunamatata Member

    155
    Aug 18, 2015
    Southport Marina - Kenosha WI - Lake Michigan
    410 Sundancer
    Caterpillar 3126
    Like JVM225, I closed on my 410 in November and will also be taking delivery in April, but am only stepping up from a 360. It's not the size so much as the torque on the diesels that I can't wait to experience the responsiveness on. Luckily I have a good buddy who has a 48DB and had me dock it this summer. I have driven his as well as my other buddies 51 Sundancer, but have never docked either vessel. Talking about intimidation, that is a bus with very responsive Cummins. We got into the dock channel and I did my usual spin around so my back was to the dash and I was facing the stern of the boat and after a couple of in and outs of gearl, got a feeling for the boat. Put the boat into the dock, and after I did, he asked if I even bothered to touch the thrusters or look at the rearview camera to which I responded "no, when you aren't used to having them, you don't rely on them." I wonder if I will still want to install a thruster once I get used to the responsiveness of the Cats?
     
  14. Brett H

    Brett H Member GOLD Sponsor

    100
    Dec 12, 2009
    Lake Lanier, GA
    2004 550 Sundancer w/ MAN's - Unleashed
    Raymarine e127's; KVH HD7; Xantrex 3024 Inverter
    T-800 MAN's (D2848LE403)
    The 410DA w/ Cats is very responsive, predictable and is probably the easiest boat I every docked. I didn't have a bow thruster on mine and only wished I had it once, early on when docking in a wide / short slip an basically got stuck in the middle. After that, i learned how to walk it sideways with the props. Heck, I had my 550DA for two weeks and had taken it out several times then remembered I had a bow thruster. It's all what are accustomed to and what you practice with.
     
  15. mquiet

    mquiet New Member

    941
    Aug 4, 2009
    North carolina
    1999 480 Sedan Bridge
    Caterpillar 3196
    Yes Mark, who was that. Lol


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. mquiet

    mquiet New Member

    941
    Aug 4, 2009
    North carolina
    1999 480 Sedan Bridge
    Caterpillar 3196
    These are great stories. I went from 340 to 480DB. First docking was interesting but as others said... diesel Cats just did what I asked of them when I asked.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. Woody

    Woody Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2007
    N. Wisconsin/Lk Superior
    2005 420DA
    Cummins 6CTA8.3
    Come on up:grin:
     

Share This Page

Show Sidebar