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Old 08-18-2015, 07:52 PM   #21
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As many others have said it really depends on your own proficiency and comfort level. With a twin engine boat like that and considering the added room and comfort as a live aboard I would have no hesitation at operating it single handed. If you worried about handling consider getting a bow thruster and/or go out and practice docking with a competent crew until you can do it on your own. It won't always be easy and you will have to consider weather but you don't have to always reverse into a slip. If the wind is not conducive to reversing in just take her bow in.

As far as the conditions of the engines go at 7000hrs as long as an engine survey and oil sample test came back ok I don't think you should anticipate any major issues.
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Old 08-18-2015, 10:14 PM   #22
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You don't "Need" a bow thruster when you have Twins. All you need is some guidance from an experienced skipper, and lots of "Practice". You'll be fine.
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Old 08-19-2015, 08:34 AM   #23
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One of the very first things I do when looking at a new-to-me boat is put my hands on the shifters at each helm and look around. Personally, I like lots of visibility. Then I evaluate how easily I can get from the helm to other parts of the boat, especially the exterior. I am kind of big and clumsy so crawling through little doors, running through rabbits' warrens, and up and down a lot of steps is not for me.

My guess is that the Gulfstar under discussion is virtually always run from the upper helm. Indeed a lot of boats of that exact style, size and vintage didn't have a lower helm. One clue of it not being used is the big deck box mounted right in front, and another the lack of a helm chair. Almost no rear visibility and poor access to the side decks another. The upper helm looks to have good visibility and at least you can see down through the stairway for a glimpse of the rear if backing into a slip (I'd also guess it mostly is docked bow-in). So if one is pretty nimble and quick it might be doable. It's also a long way to the galley and the head and the ER from there though.

Size doesn't matter, design does. As inept and clumsy as I am, I have single handed our big fat high freeboard Hatteras several times, though I really would not want to do it in a wind blowing off the dock with no one on the dock to help. While fitted with a thruster, which is nice, it is the visibility and ease of getting one's body from point A to point B quickly that matters most to me.
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Old 08-21-2015, 02:52 PM   #24
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Beans: I know a couple who lived aboard a 44 Gulfstar for three or four years and that was after 6 years aboard a Manatee 36. If you're really serious about the 44 GS, maybe you ought to talk to them.
That would be great! What would be the best way to get in touch with them?

I'm going to go look at the boat again tomorrow. This time with a flash light and no time constraints

As far as handling goes, I do plan to get formal training of some kind. I'm not going to wing it like I did with my sailboat Well, I did flip thru chapmans. . .and visibility/docking might be an issue on any aft cabin boat even if it is smaller. There seems to be ways and there are lots of good ideas here and on the net.

Lots of good advice, and I appreciate all of it! I'll follow up with if I plan to proceed or not
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Old 08-23-2015, 12:25 PM   #25
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So! It would be nice if you are trying to sell a boat. . .or anything. . .make sure the batteries are topped up or the shore power is plugged in. . .couldn't operate anything, broker said it was winterized so don't run anything (i couldn't anyways).

I basically spent about 3 hours surveying the boat myself. I will probably start a new thread about how to use what I found to come up with an offer, cost estimates to fix, is it worth it, etc. just to keep this thread on track

Ok then, so standing at the flybridge helm. . .first picture is what I see over my right shoulder (stbd aft corner), second picture my left shoulder (port aft corner). Neat thing I found on the sundeck roof while checking out the dink and davit. . .a remote helm (see third picture)! I guess I could stop the boat in the fairway climb aft and back in with this? No throttle, just gear shifts.

Assume I would always back in from the Flybridge helm position. . .do you still think it's possible? And what would you suggest to make it easier? For now, the slip in question is a fixed dock with an 8ft finger pier every other slip. I was thinking mounting some pipe painted bright orange to the pilings could help with visibility. . .

Anyways, thanks! Yalls insight is invaluable
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Old 08-23-2015, 02:17 PM   #26
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We've had Lollygag for 16 months and I had major problems handling her. It seemed funny that I had singlehanded my sailboat for long trips, including from La Paz to Long Beach, but couldn't handle this twin engine beast. Yesterday I asked my surveyor to give me a lesson so I'd quit scaring the bejeesus out of my marina mates. It took him all of twenty minutes to see what I was doing wrong and walk me through several maneuvers using the throttles and then using just the trannys. I was embarrassed to need a lesson after 30 years of boating but it cleared up a lot of things and gave me confidence to take the boat out and practice. For my money, get a lesson. If you have to pay for it, so be it, but you can probably get some help from other owners on your dock.
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Old 08-23-2015, 06:02 PM   #27
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Neat thing I found on the sundeck roof while checking out the dink and davit. . .a remote helm (see third picture)! I guess I could stop the boat in the fairway climb aft and back in with this? No throttle, just gear shifts.

Assume I would always back in from the Flybridge helm position. . .do you still think it's possible?

Depending.... I'd probably tend to use the remote station most of the time.

Some variables, though, like "what's wind and tide right now?"

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Old 08-24-2015, 10:58 AM   #28
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No throttle, just gear shifts.
Are you sure? Red and black knobs, all the other controls are set up for separate engine controls. My guess is a kind of half-assed trolling setup - that looks to be in questionable shape.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:03 AM   #29
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Neat thing I found on the sundeck roof while checking out the dink and davit. . .a remote helm (see third picture)! I guess I could stop the boat in the fairway climb aft and back in with this? No throttle, just gear shifts.
I bet you are right.
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Old 08-24-2015, 11:17 AM   #30
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I bet you are right.
Potentialy nice set up for docking
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Old 08-24-2015, 01:38 PM   #31
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I think this thread has mostly been focusing about the wrong thing, and that's the boater's ability to get the thing to a dock or into a slip single handed, or sightlines from the helm and so forth.

That's part of the story, sure. But I think the far more important thing to be considering with regards to single handing a boat is what's that boat going to be like on the day the wind's blowing the wrong way at 15 or 20 knots? Or the current is trying to carry the boat in exactly the wrong direction? Or, as often happens in our waters, both of those?

I've seen-- and probably most people on this forum have, too-- people in dinghies having a terrible time at a dock because of wind or current or both. I've been on hand when friends with a 26' Tollycraft needed three people on the boat and one on the dock to get the thing into a slip with no panic, confusion or damage.

This had zip to do with the boaters' abilities; everyone on that Tollycraft was an experienced driver of that boat. It had to do with the nasty wind they were having to deal with.

We tend to think about maneuvering or docking a boat under ideal conditions-- no wind, no current, no rain, nice sunny day. Maybe that's the norm where one boats. If it is, a person could probably single hand the Nimitz.

I could single hand our 30,000 pound, 36' cabin cruiser easily on a sales-brochure day. But I will never single hand this boat (except in an emergency) because I have long since learned what this boat can turn into when the wind and currects kick up around here. There have been times when it's come close to being too much for my wife and I to handle.

So far in 17 years we've only been defeated once and that was in our own slip when it was so windy I came in with more speed and my wife was unable to get our permanent spring on the midships cleat because the boat moved past the length of the line too soon. The line fell into the water, we were seconds from being blown onto our neighbor so I backed out fast and we went to an empty slip on another dock where the wind would blow us onto the finger, not off of it. Told the port where we were and why, they said fine, and we came back the following weekend and moved the boat back across.

So if one is contemplating buying a boat they can single hand, don't envision youself doing this on the ideal dead calm day. Envision doing it on a 15 knot, wrong-direction wind day.

People, including me, don't think 15 knots is a lot of wind. It's not when you're out on the water driving around in it. It can seem a hurricane when you're trying to get into a tight slip or space on a dock and you find youself having to manhandle the boat.

Unless, of course one is going to be boating single-handed on a lake and only on days when there is not even a puff of a breeze. Then the size of the boat becones almost irrelevent other than its inertia.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:17 PM   #32
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One of the first things I'd do is move that extra set of shifters to the back of the aft deck.
Should be fairly easy since they're on the roof now. On the aft deck, you now have ready direct access to the side decks and visibility to both through the doors, and direct view of the swim platform. Would make backing that boat into a slip a virtual snap.
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:32 PM   #33
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It's really not at all an issue of boat length, but one of the specific boat and the ability of the operator. Seeing that right now you don't go out with a S-SE breeze because you don't want to deal with returning, then your idea of getting some training is very good. Find someone who makes it look easy and hope they can show you. The person training us made it very easy but then put us through lot's of practice. You don't need a dock to practice the maneuvers and get use to how your boat can be maneuvered in the wind.

Our goal in docking is that no one needs to do anything beyond just step out with the line or hand it to someone. Someone mentioned using muscles and we do all we can to avoid that including trying again. Plus you can't muscle a boat the size you're talking about and it's dangerous to try.

Personally, I find weight to be of great benefit in docking. As boats get larger they just hold the position you're putting them in better. With a 10' RIB if you don't tie up quickly it can be blown away easily.

I'd check the aft control out carefully, looking the model of it up on line. With a less than idea view from the lower helm, they can be of tremendous benefit when short handed. Now, they like the rest take some practice. Much of it is learning to use all the new tools a boat has, whether thrusters or joysticks or twins vs. singles or remote helm controls. I've seen people who have owned a boat a long time but never "become as one with it." They just haven't practiced enough to grasp fully all they can do with the twins and the thruster or aren't comfortable using aft or side controls. A few who think they don't need this new fangled stuff. But I use everything a boat has with no apologies.

It reminds me a bit of discussions about jet boats and ribs. Many people say you can't handle them. We played around a lot, just figuring out all we could do when we got them. There are things that are more difficult, but there are things one can do easier with a jet than a prop drive.

I know we've looked silly to many practicing docking and handling maneuvers miles from any dock, but it's a great way to make mistakes with no damage done. For instance one of your challenges is backing it to the dock, which is basically backing a straight line. We did that over and over from all helm stations and we've repeated on any new boat. Plus you can just turn and practice with the wind from all different directions. You can learn in a shorter time what some do in years so that with any thing the boat does at the dock, you know what to do to correct without thinking, just automatically.
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:20 PM   #34
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One of the first things I'd do is move that extra set of shifters to the back of the aft deck.
Should be fairly easy since they're on the roof now. On the aft deck, you now have ready direct access to the side decks and visibility to both through the doors, and direct view of the swim platform. Would make backing that boat into a slip a virtual snap.
Agree and often thought I wish I had a set back there
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:47 PM   #35
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Two things that every boat handler needs to empty themselves of to successfully dock a boat, hubris and a schedule. When you have done that and find yourself in an unfavorable docking scenario you'll notice that anchor on your bow, find a place to set that and relax a bit and think about your troubles.

I always try to think about my escape options prior to final approach. Because when I do manage to cock it up royally I've no desire nor the experience level to just wing it. My take, if it's going to take 4 experienced boaters and a dock attendant to dock a 26' Anything Craft you'll do less damage anchoring in the fairway.
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Old 08-24-2015, 04:59 PM   #36
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Two things that every boat handler needs to empty themselves of to successfully dock a boat, hubris and a schedule. .
If you eliminate schedule from the mix you will knock 90 percent of the boaters off the water (which would be a good thing, I admit). Because most boaters work and when Monday rolls around they have to be back at it.

It's easy to eliminate schedules if one is retired or perhaps self-employed. But for most boaters, even the really rich ones, schedules rule the day. Kenmore Air gets a lot of business from wealthy yachters who are up in Desolation Sound or wherever and have to be back at work on Monday but the weather's mucked things up for them. So they call Kenmore to come get them and fly them back to Seattle.

So schedule cannot be ignored by many if not most boaters. I suppose one could look at the weather and if there was even a chance of adverse wind on their return day simply not go out at all. But most of the boaters I know don't do that (unless it's going to be REALLY bad), but instead go out and deal with the docking the best they can when they get back. So you need a boat you can handle or a crew that can help you handle the boat.
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Old 08-24-2015, 05:12 PM   #37
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If you know how to push and turn a shopping cart, you know how the shifters work a twin engine boat.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:01 PM   #38
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A friend, been around and on other people`s boats for years, good crew, recently hired a narrow boat in the UK for 5 days during a vacation, made a point of telling me narrow boats pivot around half way along their length. He just hadn`t done any close quarters driving before.
Reversing a boat into a slip can be practised using a mooring buoy as target, avoiding those with an attached line in the water. Approach it from different angles to experience wind from a range of directions.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:17 PM   #39
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Bruce, first order of business is to be able to see the buoy.
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Old 08-24-2015, 08:36 PM   #40
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Bruce, first order of business is to be able to see the buoy.
True George, true. To improve slip vision I took the dinghy off the swimstep after a first reverse park debacle(we just moved from swing mooring to marina), and used mooring buoy practice to improve handling. I get the vision issue with sundeck boats, with your experience you`d be fine, for others maybe a car type reversing camera would help.
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