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Old 04-23-2014, 11:59 AM   #41
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BandB - I'm in complete agreement with your post.

Regarding portions I highlighted... and, these two boat features are not desired by everyone...but, the first one is mandatory for me; second one is greatly preferred!

1. Flying Bridge / 2. Twin Screw

As per both my boats pictured: Tollycraft is our current SF Bay/Delta Babbbby! Uniflite, also a very nice boat, was SF Bay only; sold her couple years ago.

Happy Boat Handling Daze! - Art
While having a flying bridge and twins is my preference too, that does not by itself insure an easy to dock boat. Also boats without bridges and with single engines can be made easy to dock. Although my caveat would be that I'd have to have at least bow thrusters on a single engine.

There are many boats now where you cannot see the stern well from the bridge, more so when there's a swim platform. Especially for stern-to docking the use of controls at the stern has become very common in larger boats.

There are also fairly simple ways to mount stern cameras.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:37 PM   #42
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This is a helmsman's skills thread. Almost nothing about cruising.

Planning and preparing is a huge part of cruising. A good balance between anchoring and overnighting in town can be important. I prefer in town a bit more.

How much of your planing do you or should you do before slipping the lines or enroute. I personally like LOTS of flexibility. Very often I don't anchor or stay at the place I had in mind in the morning. And I may change a whole section of a cruise due to weather or maintenance issues along the way. At times we meet up w others and go w them for a day or two .. or stay in town an extra day to do something special that's been discovered. Others like to keep to a plan and are more comfortable that way.

The overall length of a cruise is frequently misjudged. Many assume all will go perfectly as planned and then encounter variables that they can't cope w and be back home for somebodies wedding or back to work. I think lots of make-up time, trouble time, weather time and "I've found a more interesting way to go" time. Cruising is frequently done with an fairly open ended schedule.

Somewhere between no schedule at all and adhering perfectly to a plan made 1000 miles away is where we need to be.

But nobody will argue w halving what we'll need along the way skillfully packed aboard and to have the boat in near perfect shape.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:50 PM   #43
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This is a helmsman's skills thread. Almost nothing about cruising.

Planning and preparing is a huge part of cruising. A good balance between anchoring and overnighting in town can be important. I prefer in town a bit more.

How much of your planing do you or should you do before slipping the lines or enroute. I personally like LOTS of flexibility. Very often I don't anchor or stay at the place I had in mind in the morning. And I may change a whole section of a cruise due to weather or maintenance issues along the way. At times we meet up w others and go w them for a day or two .. or stay in town an extra day to do something special that's been discovered. Others like to keep to a plan and are more comfortable that way.

The overall length of a cruise is frequently misjudged. Many assume all will go perfectly as planned and then encounter variables that they can't cope w and be back home for somebodies wedding or back to work. I think lots of make-up time, trouble time, weather time and "I've found a more interesting way to go" time. Cruising is frequently done with an fairly open ended schedule.

Somewhere between no schedule at all and adhering perfectly to a plan made 1000 miles away is where we need to be.

But nobody will argue w halving what we'll need along the way skillfully packed aboard and to have the boat in near perfect shape.
It's all about preparation, both through training and the things you speak of. Then it's using that knowledge and sticking to wise decisions rather than a desire to be somewhere or something planned or what someone on board wants.

I think also asking for help when needed. That includes using tow resources, marinas, other boats to get current knowledge of areas that can be difficult.

In terms of major problems or disaster, it includes remaining calm, referencing your training and experience, and making decisions quickly, whether to call for help, abandon the vessel or anything else. Even just getting help to get ungrounded. But pushing pride out of the picture. Most of the major disasters at sea were preventable but then they also could have been or were minimized through quick action. Waiting an extra 30 minutes or hour to call Coast Guard can mean lives.

As to cruising skills too I'd say boating is a place for confidence but not for ego. Know what you can do and do it. But recognize the limitations of yourself, your boat, your crew.
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Old 04-23-2014, 12:55 PM   #44
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Redundancy and Contingency

You should know what you're going to do in the event of anything happening. Can't get to A, we'll go to B. Weather changes. Engine fails. Filters. Watermaker. Gen. Autopilot. Illness or injury. Anything.

Something happens and it's then not panic over what will we do. It's simply going into the planned back up plan. Everything on a boat can break. Key is knowing what you'll do when it does.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:06 PM   #45
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Actually some need to catch up...this thread IS about cruising skills...not helmsman skills...go back and read post #1.

Don quoted me from "a single engine thread" where I basically stated..."you know you are good when......"

Cruising skills make docking skills easier...they are being aware of the frontal passage that will pin you to the dock tomorrow if you don't change to the other side...maybe even the other side of the peninsula.....or the tidal current difference....ettc..etc...
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:07 PM   #46
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Now we're cruis'in.

My wife's the planner and she's extremely busy just before a cruise.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:27 PM   #47
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The only way to gain cruising skills is to go cruising.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:29 PM   #48
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Actually some need to catch up...this thread IS about cruising skills...not helmsman skills...go back and read post #1.

Don quoted me from "a single engine thread" where I basically stated..."you know you are good when......"

Cruising skills make docking skills easier...they are being aware of the frontal passage that will pin you to the dock tomorrow if you don't change to the other side...maybe even the other side of the peninsula.....or the tidal current difference....ettc..etc...
Well, actually I'd say docking is a part of cruising. It all is. From the time you start until it's all over. I would consider cruising to be the all encompassing word.

That said, I'll toss out one more. Know yourself and your guests and plan from the outside accordingly. That includes destinations and pace. Cruising should feel right, not too rushed, not boring. Just right for you. There's a skill of making the cruise pleasurable. For instance, whether to stay inside or outside depends on the individuals. My wife and I would rather deal with 3-4' conditions than shoals and bridges but for another smooth water is the key. How long is your cruising day to be. What percentage of days do you move.

And to answer, you know you are good when......

You're able to relax and enjoy and are prepared for all circumstances that arise. I think at the beginning it may be 50% pleasure and 50% apprehension or uneasiness for many. When that pleasure quotient reaches 99% you are good.
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Old 04-23-2014, 01:58 PM   #49
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[QUOTE=BandB;229354]Well, actually I'd say docking is a part of cruising. It all is. From the time you start until it's all over. I would consider cruising to be the all encompassing word.

That said, I'll toss out one more. Know yourself and your guests and plan from the outside accordingly. That includes destinations and pace. Cruising should feel right, not too rushed, not boring. Just right for you. There's a skill of making the cruise pleasurable. For instance, whether to stay inside or outside depends on the individuals. My wife and I would rather deal with 3-4' conditions than shoals and bridges but for another smooth water is the key. How long is your cruising day to be. What percentage of days do you move.

And to answer, you know you are good when......

You're able to relax and enjoy and are prepared for all circumstances that arise. I think at the beginning it may be 50% pleasure and 50% apprehension or uneasiness for many. When that pleasure quotient reaches 99% you are good.[/QUOTE]


Only a rare few ever get there...money, time, family, health, boat, skills....all hardly ever come together enough for all but the 1%.
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:00 PM   #50
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The only way to gain cruising skills is to go cruising.

Absolutely right
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Old 04-23-2014, 02:32 PM   #51
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For me, Docking in a strong wind is still the most challenging part of cruising. My skills and confidence are growing, but I still stuff things up on occasion. Luckily I have only damaged my ego so far, but I did give my dock mate a bit of a rub a few weeks ago.

My skills are constantly improving, but I go out in more challenging weather, which keeps stretching my comfort zone.
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:14 PM   #52
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[QUOTE=psneeld;229364]
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Well, actually I'd say docking is a part of cruising. It all is. From the time you start until it's all over. I would consider cruising to be the all encompassing word.

That said, I'll toss out one more. Know yourself and your guests and plan from the outside accordingly. That includes destinations and pace. Cruising should feel right, not too rushed, not boring. Just right for you. There's a skill of making the cruise pleasurable. For instance, whether to stay inside or outside depends on the individuals. My wife and I would rather deal with 3-4' conditions than shoals and bridges but for another smooth water is the key. How long is your cruising day to be. What percentage of days do you move.

And to answer, you know you are good when......

You're able to relax and enjoy and are prepared for all circumstances that arise. I think at the beginning it may be 50% pleasure and 50% apprehension or uneasiness for many. When that pleasure quotient reaches 99% you are good.[/QUOTE]


Only a rare few ever get there...money, time, family, health, boat, skills....all hardly ever come together enough for all but the 1%.
True, but you get closer and closer. You get to where it's comfortable for you. To where you don't dread docking or trying to find a good anchorage, where you respect inlets but you're use to them, and you realize if things kick up a bit from where they were this morning you can still handle it with ease.

We felt this tremendous relief after our captain had us practice is 6-8' seas. We could have easily run quickly to shore and normally would but sometimes you can't. So without straying far we were worked hard for about three hours between both of us. Seas from all different directions. After that we knew the boat was capable and we knew how to handle it. Still in that boat we don't intentionally go out in those conditions as it's no fun. We still look at forecasts. But we don't go out in fear 3-4' will turn to 6-8' before we can get in.

We're at 99% with out captain, not to that point yet alone. But working toward it and picking the time and place we're close to that. To make a day trip to Miami or West Palm to us now is far more natural than getting in the car and driving there. And probably less stressful.

As someone said you learn by doing. But having someone teaching you can facilitate learning faster. Still over time you'll know when the stress is quite manageable within your mind. Maybe your personal threshold is 80% or 90%. Still that's a lot of pleasure. But 50% isn't very pleasurable long term. Each person knows as they feel more confident. I know one person who said that grounding helped them. They'd always dreaded doing so. But they found out where they did it, the tow boats had pulled three vessels off the day before. They found out with tow insurance, they got pulled off in a timely manner. They then pulled to a marina and relaxed while a diver checked things out. And not that they wanted to do it again, they realized that in the course of human events for them, grounding was no big deal. The journey proceeded fine the morning after.
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Old 04-23-2014, 04:56 PM   #53
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Some pretty gross oversimplifications...
grounding in Maine is not "no big deal"...

6-8 in open water is Kayak weather.... 6-8's in a breaking inlet for many of us in 40 something footers ....is another story . You have to know when to not even get close enough that there's no return.

The trouble is ...that may be the only inlet for 50 miles and you have someone with a compound fracture and severe bleeding. The USCG helo is busy 100 miles away and the second recall crew is hours away....

99% comfortable????? Even the TFers with serious 50 years of cruising I doubt feel 99%...unless they are that good that the described scenario is less likely than getting struck by lightning (person not boat)...

And again...that's only seamanship...not family, money, etc...etc...

I wish you luck.
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Old 04-23-2014, 05:20 PM   #54
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Some pretty gross oversimplifications...
grounding in Maine is not "no big deal"...

6-8 in open water is Kayak weather.... 6-8's in a breaking inlet for many of us in 40 something footers ....is another story . You have to know when to not even get close enough that there's no return.

The trouble is ...that may be the only inlet for 50 miles and you have someone with a compound fracture and severe bleeding. The USCG helo is busy 100 miles away and the second recall crew is hours away....

99% comfortable????? Even the TFers with serious 50 years of cruising I doubt feel 99%...unless they are that good that the described scenario is less likely than getting struck by lightning (person not boat)...

And again...that's only seamanship...not family, money, etc...etc...

I wish you luck.
You are correct it's oversimplification and I was only referring to one case in one location. I don't consider it nothing but it was soft grounding on the ICW in Georgia.

As to 6-8 ft., obviously it's not all the same, period very critical as is the location.

Someone with the injury you described is cause for serious concern. It's also why we've taken courses in medical care on board and subscribe to a service that provides 24/7 doctors and advice. Still we would be very concerned until we got the person to professional medical care.

Note I said 99% but that was with captains with decades of experience. Never claimed that sure just depending on our own abilities. And the point wasn't the precise percentage, it was that there is some level as you move to greater comfort that you know for yourself you've made it there. I don't even know what percent comfortable I am driving to a restaurant in my car or sitting at home while it storms. I just know as I get more training, more experienced at something, do it more, I'm more confortable. And in my life I take precautions and then feel ok. Were it not for my wife reminding me I'd be less comfortable in general and finding something to worry about.

Amit Kalantri wrote "Preparation doesn't assure victory, it assures confidence."

Yes, all this oversimplifies it but I think any discussion will do that. One could write a book on the subject and still miss some of the details and nuances. The question was asked and I answered best as I could for me. May be totally different for others.
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