At Trusted Yacht Delivery and Charter we also offer our customers boat training and skipper saver courses.
The training started with some navigation instruction, course planning and systems checks and reviews.
After our initial training, it was time to set out and do maneuvers. Longboat Key Marina is a terrific place to practice operating the big boat into various slips and the fuel dock from different angles to mix up the windage in an effort to get a feel for the boat in all types of conditions; especially in the off season when there is very little boat traffic.
After about 3 hours of maneuvers, the electronic shifter started complaining and sounding an alarm when the shifter was put into forward or reverse; oh, and now the wind is coming up!
After a short time, the shifter started acting fine again. OK, let’s get this behemoth back to the slip so I can put my Engineer/Mechanic hat on.
Of course the wind is now blowing around 15-20kts right into the side of the boat. Terrific. While doing an adequate job moving the boat near the slip, the boat owner experiences a full failure of the port engine shifter and is now only operating on the starboard engine.
Abort! We are moments away from disaster when it’s time to step in and reset this docking attempt. The owner has had enough for the day and asked that I put it in the slip…on one engine. Oh fun.
After what I can only categorize as a sloppy park job, we get her tied up and safe. The docking would have been so much easier if there was a midship piling on the downwind side of the boat. With only one forward piling, there was no room for error as the wind was pushing the ass end of the boat towards the neighboring boat.
After a break from the fire drill and a cold beverage it was time to do some research on the electronic shifter.
After a few Google searches I found the right manual and come to find out the alarm tones the shifter was emitting was a Jam code. OK, that makes sense, probably a problem with the cable.
A great trick is to take your phone with you and take a picture of any identifying marks on the controller so you can fully understand what make and model you are trying to search.
After some time, I found that the shifter cable had a break in it from the weight of the cable. While the cable still worked it needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, it would be 2 weeks before a mechanic could come out and replace it.
Time to channel MacGyver.
A few well placed zip ties had the weight off the cable and aligned perfectly with the shifter. After some testing, we were good to go. While I would take the boat on a long trip, I felt it was safe for the work we were doing in the security of the marina.
While the shifter did quit once while we were maneuvering, we had a great session and the new owner built his confidence and had better timing and was make much better decisions by the end of the training.
All in all a great time and successful training.
If your a new boat owner and need instruction, give us a call to discuss your options.