Stern in docking

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Captn TJ, May 15, 2018.

  1. Captn TJ

    Captn TJ Active Member

    302
    Sep 19, 2017
    Catawba Island, Oh
    2005 280DA
    Raymarine E80
    5.0 with Bravo 3
    for those of you with stern drive I/O boats. How you you tell the position of the out drives (for reversing into a dock). This is our first stern drive boat and I'm struggling especially in a cross wind. I know that the smart craft gauge has a display for it but my boat doesn't have an indicator.
     
  2. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Ours is 1.5 turns from the lock, so if I’m questioning it I’ll just quickly turn it to the lock and back while in neutral
     
  3. lawndoctor

    lawndoctor Member

    337
    Jun 5, 2008
    Chesapeake Bay & Philadelphia
    2009 330 Sundancer & 2002 225 Weekender
    8.1L V-Drives & Bravo III 5.0L
    On my 225WE with B3, I have a steering knob and I keep track of the position of the drive by counting the number of turns away from center.
     
  4. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Member

    696
    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI V drives
    What they are saying. before you start to maneuver, you can center your wheel by turning all the way to one side, count the revolutions to get to the other side, and divide by 2, then back to center. Once you know the answer, you will only have to go one way, and back to center helm. Works on every boat, every time.
     
  5. Ididntdoit

    Ididntdoit Well-Known Member

    Dec 5, 2007
    Newport, RI
    300 Sundancer
    5.0MPI Bravo III
    you will need a little throttle on the reverse side to start your "kick" - how much and how long is dictated by the current and wind
     
  6. Sun Chaser

    Sun Chaser Member

    151
    Oct 13, 2006
    Bellmore, NY
    280 Sundancer 2001
    T 4.3 w/Alpha I CR
    If there ever was an indicator that I wanted on my boat, that would be the one. However, I do not have it. What I do when I come into either my marina or another location I go in a straight line and then use the shifters to back up and make my turns. I try not to turn the steering wheel as this screws me up big time.
     
  7. sandydlc

    sandydlc Active Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    568
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    When we took an on-water course from a captain many years ago, the docking advice he gave us was to practice over and over while in a safe area away from obstacles using a point on land for reference. Then when you're more confident, use a dock where you could side-tie the boat and practice going stern-in without fear of hitting anything on either side of you. Once you've done these two exercises you should have a much better sense as to which maneuvers to use to dock your boat stern-in. I agree with the advise to not use your steering wheel to dock. You'll have much more control if you learn to maneuver your boat using only the throttles.
     
  8. 370Dancer

    370Dancer Member

    696
    Oct 2, 2006
    Florida - Alabama
    1998 370 Sundancer
    380hp MAG MPI V drives
    Good move, and will work well when other forces are not bothering you, like wind and current. Here's what's gong against you:
    in a 28 ft boats beam, your stern drives are closer together than they are apart, so just like outboards, there is not as much separation between the props. The props are well behind the thing they are dragging, namely the hull, so you won't get as much pronounced turning as an inboard would. The good news, is that sometimes I wish I could turn my props a bit to Port or Starboard to execute against a gust or current, but can't. You can. Baby steps is the key. You don't have to angle very far to make a big difference in your turn. You can also do this strictly with straight ahead helm and manipulating the shifters, but you will use throttle in both directions to overcome the location of your props relative to the hull. That's ok too. You will figure out what's best for you. Practice. I've been backing in professionally for 40 years, and it's still easy to get surprised.
     
  9. SCORPIO

    SCORPIO Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 7, 2008
    Delaware
    1989 300 DA
    Twin 5.7 Merc Alpha I
    I have twin IO's with the port being a counter rotating drive. I let the drives centered and turn the boat with the shifters using the differential thrust to spin the boat. I can add power if needed and can usually kick the stern around and get in line with the slip this way. You need to remember that the pivot point with IO's is your transom, so plan your approach with that fact in mind. I try not to use the wheel but sometimes have to due to the strong tidal current in the canal I'm slipped in.
     
    JVM225 likes this.
  10. Gofirstclass

    Gofirstclass Well-Known 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.
    TJ, when you're backing in a crosswind, are you backing directly upwind until you get to the opening of the slip?

    I have found that is the easiest way to do it, and then when the stern is right at the opening I'll give the upwind engine a bit of throttle so it can swing the bow around to a point where I'm aligned with the slip, then just back straight in.

    The whole secret is to practice it when there's no wind, then when there's a little wind, then more and more wind until you have built the confidence and KNOW you know how to do it.
     
  11. boatman37

    boatman37 Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    pittsburgh
    2006 Crownline 250CR
    Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer
    5.7 Merc
    I go past my slip so that when I start backing up I am backing in a a straight line then turn the wheel as needed. Most times I can get it the first try but when there is a strong current or wind it might take a couple of tries. No harm in pulling forward and starting over.
     
  12. Little Ducky

    Little Ducky Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Chattanooga TN/Dickson TN
    1998 SeaRay 290 Sundancer
    Twin EFI 5.0L w/Alpha 1 drives
    Practice makes perfect....... but with a nice wind all bets are off. ;)

    I had a single I/O B3 for 5 years and I got pretty good at backing but in windy conditions the 2011 260 DA I had acted like a big sail and it sometimes became frustrating.

    A few things to remember don't panic around the dock and you can't hurt much if you go slow. I added some corner bumpers to my slip so in windy conditions if I could land part of the boat on the dock sideways I could just rotate around to straighten up.

    Big thing is to practice during the week when the marina is not busy....... go in and out a few times and it will become second nature in no time.
     
  13. Great Lakes

    Great Lakes Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    319
    Oct 11, 2016
    Lake St. Clair (MacRay Harbor)
    2005 390 Sundancer
    GHS Platform
    Bow/Stern Thrusters
    8.1
    Don't force it if you miss your mark. Pull away, circle around and give it another shot. This will show patience and experience. The not so experienced captains will do everything possible to force the first try so they're not embarrassed. This is when accidents happen.

    -Rich
     
    Soulshine likes this.
  14. mnm99

    mnm99 Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Long Island
    2004 340 SeaRay Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Merc
    I bought one of these on my old boat. Cheap and worked great. Search steering indicator
     
  15. mnm99

    mnm99 Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Long Island
    2004 340 SeaRay Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Merc
    I bought one of these on my old boat. Cheap and worked great. Search steering indicator
     
  16. mnm99

    mnm99 Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Long Island
    2004 340 SeaRay Sundancer
    Twin 8.1 Merc
    I bought one of these on my old boat. Cheap and worked great. Search steering indicator.

    (Sorry. My phone was acting up)
     

    Attached Files:

  17. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    I used a different approach when backing into a slip. Treated the twin like a single I/O with one engine in neutral. I backed up with the crosswind on my stern from down wind. Backed upwind and placed the rear rub rail on the slip piling and pivoted the boat around and into the slip with the steering wheel. This gives you total control of the boat, and due to low speeds, does no damage to the boat or slip.
     
  18. JimT

    JimT Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Jul 7, 2009
    Charlotte, NC- LKN
    2010 330 Sundancer
    T-350mags w/BIIIs & Axius, 5.0 kw Kohler
    With twin engines I agree to center drives and use the throttles to turn the boat.
     
  19. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    One of the windier places to dock a boat in tight quarters is Leland Harbor in Leland Michigan. We spend a lot of time there and have watched people dock all sorts of boats under all conditions including a near gale one year. I have to say after watching for many years, I do not recall ever seeing anyone successfully dock an I/O boat in a crowded, tight fairway in 15MPH crosswinds by centering the drives and steering with throttles. The skippers who dock well, almost without exception, place the stern to the wind, back into the wind, and use the steering wheel to pivot the boat into the slip. Not saying a blind squirrel never finds a nut. There are probably a few skippers who can do it with throttles, but that is not the easy way.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  20. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    Combination of both is usually necessary. Our 4 blade alpha props helped a bit, but at almost 11000# dry we need plenty of throttle on the reverse side to get it moving. A lot of the time I will spin with throttle but use directional thrust to move the boat sideways into a tight opening, fuel dock, etc
     

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