New To Sea Ray and Power Boats

Discussion in 'Newbie Lounge - NEW' started by Happy Dean, Feb 26, 2021.

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  1. Happy Dean

    Happy Dean New Member

    20
    Feb 25, 2021
    Ohio, USA
    300 Weekender 1988
    350 Mercruiser w/Velvet Drives
    I'm in the process of transitioning from being a sailboat guy (many years) to a 30 foot Sea Ray. I've never piloted a boat like this. The reason for the transition is my wife's health and inability to help me manage the sails, docking and, etc.

    I'm going to be boating on Lake Erie in the Sandusky, Ohio area. I'm not sure what to ask, but I have much to learn. When I'm out on the Lake and it becomes rough, how do you deal with your speed/planing and the height of the waves? The boat has twin inboard engines in 400+ hp range. How difficult is it to dock? Do you dock bow or stern first.

    I'll have more questions. I'm so new at operating a motor boat this size, I feel like a total novice.

    Thanks
    Ron
     
  2. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 20, 2010
    Tri Cities, WA
    1995 550 Sedan Bridge,
    1981 Boston Whaler 130 Sport,
    CAT 3406C's, 580hp.
    Ron, you feel like a total novice because you ARE a total notice, and that's not an insult, just a realization.

    I think most boaters dock bow in possibly because they haven't taken the time to practice backing stern in. I always backed my boats stern in to make it easy to just step off the swim platform onto the dock.

    As far as handling big waves, the best way to do that is to listen to weather reports and stay at the dock if the forecast is for large waves.

    If you get caught out on the water and the waves pick up, how you handle them will depend on what direction the wind is coming from. On the bow? Great, just trim up and find a speed where the waves don't crash over the bow and flood the cockpit. On the stern, set you speed so the waves don't break into your cockpit. On your beam--hang on because it's going to be a roly poly ride.

    Since you don't already have a boat, let me suggest something--buy your second boat first.

    By that I mean you should avoid doing what many people do. They buy the first boat that strikes their fancy without thinking if it meets their needs. Then they trade it in and get their second boat which better suits what they need from a boat. That is VERY expensive.

    So take your time in your boat search, analyze if the boat suits your needs but be very critical in your analysis. If you do that, the boat you buy will last you for many years.
     
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  3. Brent Nutting

    Brent Nutting Well-Known Member

    397
    Mar 24, 2016
    Lk Saint Clair, Fair Haven, MI
    2002 480 Sedan Bridge
    10' Aventus RIB w/ 9.9 Merc
    Cat 3196
    Ron, Welcome to CSR. This is a great site and a ton of knowledge from its members.
    As for docking, bow in or stern in. That depends a lot on a lot of factors. For instance, in my home port, I bow in so that I can get my dingy off my swim platform. In our area, we use the dinghy a lot.
    When we visit other marinas, we typically stern into the slip. Like GoFirstClass stated, it typically makes it easier to get on and off the boat by.
    There are members on this site that are in your general area and I bet they can provide a lot of insight as you marinas in that area and how they are set up, which could help you decide if you would go bow in or stern in.
    Good luck on your search.
     
    Happy Dean likes this.
  4. Stee6043

    Stee6043 Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2015
    West Michigan
    1997 Sundancer 400
    7.4L Gassers
    I'd be shocked if you didn't find a twin engine 30' boat at least 88% easier to dock than the sail boats you're used to.

    As for waves I don't think the size of boat makes much difference for decision making on the Great Lakes. Whether 20' or 60' most of us with wives, kids or other passengers will generally stay put beyond 2-3'. Nobody heads out for a pleasure run in 4-5's on the Great Lakes.

    My home marina requires bow-in docking. It's surely going to depend on your marina.
     
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  5. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2009
    IL
    281
    V8
    Waves -- the beauty of a power boat is you can usually beat the weather in before it kicks up too bad. But you'll find the sweet spot between on/off plane, speed, and pounding depending on the conditions. Some hulls will handle the lake Erie chop better than others.

    Docking -- twin inboards are probably some of the easiest setups to dock. You'll be able to spin your boat in circles without changing location. Use the transmissions and a little (emphasis on little) throttle when needed. And practice make perfect.

    Bow/Stern In -- entirely dependent on how you feel. If I want to be social, we go stern in as everyone who walks by will stop and talk. Private and left alone -- we bow in. I'll usually Bow in during the spring and fall to get the afternoon sun in the cockpit. In the summer I'll flip around to keep the heat of the sun away.

    Search for Captain Chris on youtube. He posts short videos of him teaching new boaters how to operate their boat. You can see people operate in real time as they learn.
     
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  6. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Welcome aboard. Lot of really nice and helpful people on here.
     
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  7. b_arrington

    b_arrington Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Feb 21, 2007
    Setauket, NY
    Back Cove 37
    AB Ventus 9VL
    Cummins QSC 8.3 600
    A twin engine boat is going to be much easier to maneuver at the docks vs. a sailboat - once you get the hang of it. It will depend on the controls, if you have separate or combined throttles and transmission shifters. Basically you're going to bump the engines in and out of gear to pivot the boat and move it around. It will take some practice!

    For docking, as mentioned it will depend on your setup. I always dock stern-in at my home port. The side finger dock is too short for a bow-in. Also my shore power connections are at the stern, and no one wants to smash their head into an anchor. Same for all the marinas I've visited.

    Waves - it really depends on the size and period. You likely will need to work the throttle a lot as you work up the front side of larger waves and down the back side. There's an art to it. Each boat is different in how much is needed. My 270 Amberjack needed a lot throttle work when seas were at 2-3 feet. That felt like and lot and anything bigger we stayed home. I think part of the throttle work was from being a single engine gas boat (with low torque) that lost a lot of energy on the up side. My larger boat felt comparatively like a cruise ship - set the throttle for the conditions and forget it. It has a big torquey diesel.
     
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  8. Buckeye Boater

    Buckeye Boater Active Member

    741
    Jun 19, 2007
    Wooster, OH
    215 Weekender 2006
    Merc 5.0 MPI 260 HP
    Ron,
    Welcome to CSR. There are a number of us that call "The Islands" and Sandusky Bay our home ports. Boating in that area is wonderful. If you are new to the area, pay close attention to the weather. Because of its relatively shallow depth, the west end of Lake Erie can go from calm to 2-4 footers in short order. Pick your days. Like others have said its no fun going out and bouncing around on the lake. If you wish to share your home marina, there might be a CSR member close by that can provide insight. At minimum, get to know your dock neighbors and learn from their local knowledge. If you have specific questions about the area or your boat, share the year and model and you'll get answers here on the site.

    PS - Nice to have another 'central Ohio' boater on board.
     
    Happy Dean likes this.
  9. Mauler34Rod

    Mauler34Rod Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    105
    Aug 26, 2020
    Lake Michigan IL/IN
    2001 380 Sundancer, Raymarine radar, chart plotter and gps
    496 Mercruiser 8.1 w/ V Drives
    Ron,
    Welcome to CSR. You’re at the right place to get all the answers to your questions. If you haven’t already taken a boating course, this might be a good place to start. Check out America’s Boating Course on line. They have some great chapters on boating in all different kinds of weather and what to do. Also has instruction on docking, along with other pertinent navigation instruction. Good luck finding your next boat.
     
    Happy Dean likes this.
  10. Happy Dean

    Happy Dean New Member

    20
    Feb 25, 2021
    Ohio, USA
    300 Weekender 1988
    350 Mercruiser w/Velvet Drives
    Thanks so much!
     
  11. Happy Dean

    Happy Dean New Member

    20
    Feb 25, 2021
    Ohio, USA
    300 Weekender 1988
    350 Mercruiser w/Velvet Drives
    Thanks for the advice on Captain Chris!
     
  12. Happy Dean

    Happy Dean New Member

    20
    Feb 25, 2021
    Ohio, USA
    300 Weekender 1988
    350 Mercruiser w/Velvet Drives
    I will be at Sandusky Safe Harbor (Sandusky Harbor Marina) I've always liked it there. I'd be open to looking for someplace else.
     
  13. Happy Dean

    Happy Dean New Member

    20
    Feb 25, 2021
    Ohio, USA
    300 Weekender 1988
    350 Mercruiser w/Velvet Drives
    For everyone who would like to know, I'll be at Sandusky Harbor Marina (Sandusky Safe Harbor)

    Thanks everyone for your very helpful replies!
     
  14. The Dark Side

    The Dark Side New Member

    23
    Oct 16, 2020
    Middle River, MD
    2008 Larson 370
    Volvo 8.1's
    I was a 15+ year sailboat owner and finally switched to a power boat last fall. I loved the sailboat, but the power boat layout suited our boat use and entertaining / relaxing much better than the sailboat. Plus it will be nice to go faster than 6 knots if needed... That alone really opens up your cruising area. I am not looking forward to the fuel bill though, lol. I went through maybe 40 gallons of diesel a YEAR with the sailboat.

    Docking a twin screw powerboat (especially an express cruiser style that does not have the windage of a flybridge) is tremendously easier than a 31' sailboat (which is what we had, a '71 Westerly and then '01 Catalina). Get one with a bow thruster and it will be even easier, but not necessary with twin screws.

    Fair winds,
    The DS
     
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  15. spikedaddy99

    spikedaddy99 Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    Jun 11, 2008
    Prentice, Wi
    2005 500 DB
    QSM-11
    Port motor in forward, bow goes to starboard (and stern will go to port)
    Starboard motor in forward, bow goes to port (and stern will go to starboard)
    Port in reverse, stern goes to starboard (and bow will be going to port)
    Starboard in reverse, stern goes to port (and bow will be going to starboard)
     
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  16. Happy Dean

    Happy Dean New Member

    20
    Feb 25, 2021
    Ohio, USA
    300 Weekender 1988
    350 Mercruiser w/Velvet Drives
    Docking a twin screw powerboat (especially an express cruiser style that does not have the windage of a flybridge) is tremendously easier than a 31' sailboat (which is what we had, a '71 Westerly and then '01 Catalina). Get one with a bow thruster and it will be even easier, but not necessary with twin screws.

    Fair winds,
    The DS[/QUOTE]

    Thanks, DS!

    I'm looking forward to the space and ease of docking.
     

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