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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN. Percy Priest Lake
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1998 Sea Ray Sundancer 310 Westebeke 4KW Generator
    Engine(s)
    Twin 5.7 Mercruiser Carbuerated. Alpha 1 Drives
    Posts
    976

    Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    First of all, I would like to thank all of you other owners of these twin stern drives for the advice on trimming in another thread. I have learned a lot from this.

    So can we discuss docking?

    Probably as most of you, I back into the slip. I have tried two different methods of manuevering around the dock.

    1. Outdrives left in neutral position and operate similar to a v drive set up. Controlling props only via transmission. I find this somewhat limited in precise control.

    2. A combination of steering outdrives and also using differential action on the controls. I find this highly manueverable, but get confused with current postion of outdrives. I have seen meters that go into the steering hub that show the angle and also have been suggested a thin line of tape on "top Dead Center" on the steering wheel.

    Would like to hear how you other Sterndrivers pilot/learned yours around the dock. Maybe having bought V drives would have made things simpler
    Mike
    "Nauti Dancer"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    460 Sundancer 2003 Custom Cockpit interior, Cockpit AC/Heat & Thruster. 310 Yachtline Zodiac w/30hp
    Engine(s)
    Cummings 6CTA
    Posts
    495

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    Hello Mike-
    Merry Christmas...
    I personally have always used option 1. I find the spot where both drives are straight and then use the transmissions to adjust from there. I have tried spinning the wheel for adjustments but it always confused me even after 600 running hours and 300+ dockings!
    Stuart
    '03 460 Sundancer, 6CTAs Cummings, Thruster, Custom Cockpit Interior and Camperback, 10KW Westerbeke, (Carpe Diem IV)
    '97 330 Sundancer, 454's w/Bravo III's (Carpe Diem III)-SOLD
    '93 290 Sundancer, 454 Bravo II Drive (Carpe Diem II)-SOLD
    '90 220 Sundancer, 350 Alpha Drive (Carpe Diem)-SOLD
    '89 195 Baja-SOLD

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Kill Devil Hills, NC
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1996 270 Sundancer
    Engine(s)
    New twin 4.3's - 235hp each with Alpha 1 Gen 2 Drives
    Posts
    1,652

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    I mainly use option 1 - I do use the wheel for small inputs but it is very easy to lose your position.
    <img src=http://i298.photobucket.com/albums/mm268/tdappleman/boatatsunsetgrill.jpg border=0 alt= />
    Travis Appleman
    Kill Devil Hills, NC
    "Something Fishy"
    ASE Certified Technician
    www.coastalfastlube.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pool 10 Guttenberg, IA
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2006 300DA Sundancer
    Engine(s)
    350 Mags / Bravo III
    Posts
    2,459

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    Option 2 for me....I found that I have more control of the boat with this method. To back to port, about a half to 3/4 turn of the wheel to port, then shift the stbd drive to reverse while the port is in N (no throttle, just at idle) I don't leave the stbd drive in R for very long, just enough to get the bow and stern to align with the slip. It may take a couple of shifts to R with the stbd drive. Once things are in line, I straighten the wheel (as close to center as possible) and use the port drive to cancel any bow swing the boat may have from using the stbd drive while backing with the wheel turned to port. I keep track of how the drives are positioned by watching the response to the stern while backing down on the slip. After you do it 100's of times, you get on to it.

    As I understand, the meter that goes in the hub only works if the steering wheel is in a verticle position. The NASCAR tape method may not work because the wheel can turn multiple rounds resulting in a tape position that still has the drive turned. I just keep track of where center is by going hard over to one side then count back the turns needed to center.
    Last edited by Stray Cat; 12-24-2008 at 07:50 AM.
    Jeff
    2006 300DA 350 Mags / Bravo 3
    Kohler 5E

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Iowa
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2007 310 SeaRay DA Kohler
    Engine(s)
    Twin 6.2 MPI Bravo III
    Posts
    391

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    I use a combination of 1-pivoting and 2-steering when docking. While docking, option 1 is for very slight and precise maneuvering and when you need to control the position of your bow within a confined area. Obviously pivoting a V-Drive is easier than sterns. Also, I docked a friends boat with Twin-Bravo IIIs and they really grab/bite beautifully and would probably be using "transmission" only with his setup. I have found that the Twin Alphas 4.3 need a bit of steering control at least with our 280. Just shifting into gear to pivot is certainly not going to get you into position quickly especially with any wind. To get them to grab a bit better, you almost need to use throttle outside of just idle forward/reverse. Unfortunately, the controls just aren't ergonomically setup for this (single lever throttles vs. dual lever) and the throttle response isn't as exact as I would like. I would love for Merc to come up with a way to add DTS (Digital Throttle) on 4.3s.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by MExcelsior; 12-24-2008 at 10:30 AM.
    2007 Searay Sundancer 310
    Solon, IA
    Twin 6.2 MPI BIII, 5KW Kohler Genset

    Previous Boats: 2005 Searay 280 DA Twin 4.2 MPI Alphas, 2001 Crownline 262 350 EFI BIII

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Kent Narrows Maryland
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1997 290 DA
    Engine(s)
    Twin 4.3 Mercruiser
    Posts
    489

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    I use option 1 all the time. In fact most of the time I take the boat all the way out of the marina with out touching the wheel.

    Stress Aweigh
    Mike & Susan
    1997 290 DA
    T/4.3 Mercruiser Alpha 1
    Kent Narrows, Md.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Jersey Shore
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2001 380DA
    Engine(s)
    Merc 8.1S Horizons (2008)...Hurth ZF 63 V-drives...Westerbeke 7.0 BCGD... Raytheon RL80C, Garmn740s
    Posts
    7,366

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    Probably no wrong answer to this one, unless it was inboards, in which case you dont touch the wheel. With outdrives at least you have directional thrust so using the wheel will accomplish something, if you can keep track of where the wheel is. To each his own.


    _____Day Tripper_____

    Previous boats: 1988 Regal Sebring 19' cuddy; 2002 Crownline 262CR; 1989 Sea Ray 340DB




  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Nashville, TN. Percy Priest Lake
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    1998 Sea Ray Sundancer 310 Westebeke 4KW Generator
    Engine(s)
    Twin 5.7 Mercruiser Carbuerated. Alpha 1 Drives
    Posts
    976

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    Thanks everybody for taking the time to share your techniques.

    I have been trying #1 mostly, but do need to grab the wheel now and then.

    Agree that the Nascar tape would only work when not going past 360. I am not sure howm many revs it takes to go from neutral to full lock on on side. I will check this out next time I am out on the boat.

    Hopefully by the time it gets crazy next summer I will have all of this dialed in!

    Merry Christmas.
    Mike
    "Nauti Dancer"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Arizona
    Boat
    Sea Ray
    Details
    2002 310 Sundancer, Westerbeke 4.5 Genset
    Engine(s)
    496's, Bravo III's, 2.2:1 Gears
    Posts
    1,091

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    My 310 has only 3 turns from lock to lock. I simply go hard over and 1.5 turns back to center.

    Most of the time I don't use the wheel. The pivot point is just ahead of the swim platform. This helps to swing the bow a bit like a poors man's thruster. If I need to swing the stern, I use the wheel.
    2002 310 Dancer 496's B III's
    1983 260 Dancer 502 EFI B III (Sold)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    NJ
    Boat
    Larson
    Details
    Cabrio
    Engine(s)
    Volvo Drivetrain
    Posts
    3,175

    Re: Docking a Twin Stern Drive

    I hear many say 'If you have V-drives, don't touch the wheel', and while this may be true for most conditions, it's not true all of the time. There are plenty of times where using the rudder will pull the stern of the boat more quickly towards or away from the dock vs. just using the controls. If you were leaving the dock and needed to kick the stern out quickly, turn hard towards the dock, and put one stick in forward, and one in reverse. You will get much more response this way vs. without using rudder input.

    Concerning the sterndrive setup, again, use steering input. Why would you limit yourself if you have another 'tool in your bag' to help you in situations where you might need it? There's no reason not to.

    Doug

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