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    Huntsville, AL
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    Boating, wakeboarding, shooting, biking, hiking, travel, almost anything outdoors.

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  1. I posted this a few years ago... went back and found it so here's the text and the link. Take Iggy's advice and invest in a USCG course. If one is not available, see if you can find a Good Samaritan boater who will spend some time with you and perhaps make a complete run on the water with you including launch and recovery.... I've done a few of these myself and there are lots of experienced boaters who don't need much of a reason to get on the water...Good luck. There are plenty of experts here that know a lot more than me and probably could sum this up in half the words, but since we are getting several first timers with H2Os and bowriders, I thought I would put this out there at least as a starting guide. I tried to be clear and make it a little entertaining.... Good luck first timer Newbies and "first time in 20 years" Newbies, too! Keith's Fool-Proof Boat Launching Procedure, aka Things I learned the easy way from other boaters or the hard way myself: 1. Do ALL your pre-launch prep work AWAY from the ramp. Load the coolers, skis, jackets, towels, etc in the parking lot. Nobody wants to have to wait while watching you and your crew scramble around trying to get everything together at the water's edge no matter how many times you politely apologize and trust me, you will make mistakes and forget stuff when you do this, anyway. While you're at it: 2. Remove transom straps and stow in the tow vehicle, preferably in the back near the hitch so you know EXACTLY where they are when you return off the water for recovery. 3. PUT THE PLUG IN. REPEAT. PUT THE PLUG IN. No more than 1/8 turn after finger tight, maybe even less than that. You want it very snug but not torqued. It will be harder to loosen than you remember tightening it in the first place, believe it or not. 4. Unhook the safety chain from the bow eye, and reverse the winch and feed out a couple of feet of strap. 5. Get into the boat and put out fenders on the side of the boat you will dock; attach docklines at the bow and stern. Ready your dock pole or a boat oar in case you will need it. If you aren't staying in the boat for the launch, toss out the bow line and get out of the boat to walk down the ramp as your partner backs the trailer. If you are launching from inside the boat, you are good to complete the rest of the steps. 6. Key in, power switch 'ON', Blower 'ON', stereo 'OFF'. Gas Gauge: DO YOU HAVE GAS? 7. Do a radio check with the tow vehicle driver - yep - a couple of those little Motorola walkie-talkies come in REALLY handy when launching and you don't look as awkward as you think you do. Over time practice and experience and some good hand signals might replace this but as a Newbie, you don't have that yet. I am starting my 8th (actually now 14th) season and I've already recharged my talkies. It's just easier for us this way. (Actually we now just use our cellphones) Remember Launch Rule #1: Everybody at the ramp will hear what you are yelling except the person you are yelling at. Launch Rule #2: You are more likely to yell out dumb or confusing things at the boat ramp than any other place. Help yourself out - spend the $20 at Radio Shack/Gander Mtn/Bass Pro/Dick's/Academy for the talkies... (or be sure you each have a cellphone) 8. Back the trailer slowly down the ramp into the water. Slow and easy wins the day, very slight adjustments of the steering wheel will usually be just fine. If the trailer gets too far off line, just pull up 3-4 feet - it will straighten out. You don't have to go back to the top of the ramp. This is where you use the radio/cellphone to help your tow vehicle driver make the adjustments. 9. As the trailer wheels get to the water's edge, it's time to unhook the winch strap from the bow eye. If you can reach from inside the boat, do so or have a helper do it. In my family routine, my wife will usually stop the truck, put on the parking brake, and come unhook the winch strap while I take one last look around the cockpit to make sure we have everything - GAS IN THE TANK, ditty bag, jackets, towels, lunch/dinner, marine radio, Navionics tablet or chart plotter, etc. I will usually trim the lower unit down 50-75% here. 10. As the stern eases into the water but BEFORE the boat begins to float, start the engine. If the engine starts, radio the driver to keep easing in and when you feel the stern lift off the bunks you can ease into reverse to pull off the trailer. If you can't start, at least you are still on the trailer bunks and can reattach the winch strap and go back up into the parking lot to troubleshoot. Otherwise, idle over to the pier and tie off with your already attached docklines while the driver parks in the parking lot. Keep the radio/cellphone on so you can tell them to be sure to bring the thing you just realize didn't make it into the boat when you were prepping. Easy peasy. Keith's Fool-Proof Boat Recovery Procedure: The biggest mistake I see at the ramp (aside from forgetting the plug or the straps) has to do with trailer depth position relative to the water surface when it's time to re-trailer the boat. Different ramps have different grades of steepness - there is no standard for this so you have to kind of get a feel for the ones you use most often. You will find that you do NOT position the trailer for recovery (driving back on) at the same depth as it was when you launched. That's because you usually float the boat off the trailer, but you will want to drive the boat back onto the trailer. So, you will usually want to be a little shallower on the ramp as you start recovery. Do NOT sink the trailer too deep thinking "I'll just hover over the trailer, hook to the winch and then let it settle on the bunks as we move up the ramp." That may sound like a good idea but it's not. You risk not having proper alignment of the hull strakes (those longitudinal ridges going from back to front) on the bunks and not having the winch wound up tight enough. Besides, it almost never works. 1. If you have a tandem axle trailer, sink the first tires completely but not the second tires or fenders. As a starting point, leave the front 1/3 to 1/4 of the fender above the surface of the water and power the boat onto and up the bunks (if your ramp allows full engine power recoveries - some do not permit it so make sure you know in advance. If this is the case, prepare for a winch-a-thon). 2. Give yourself enough runway to glide up straight to the trailer - account for wind and current if there is any. Slow and steady wins the day getting onto the trailer - idle speed only. You may ease into and out of gear several times between starting and eventually touching onto the trailer bunks. This will take practice and experience. 3. It is okay to abort the drive-on by easing into reverse to stop and back away for another approach. At contact, you don't have to be 100% perfectly aligned - if only slightly off, the hull will self-align as it moves up the bunks - they are designed to do that (as long as you aren't like 20 degrees off center). If you do realize you are on the bunks but a little off center or sideways, don't worry about it - just ease into reverse and let the boat back down - usually 1-2 feet will do it - and it will align itself onto the bunks just as if you came in dead on in the first place. You'll see or feel the transom swing around that few degrees as it self-centers. Then just ease back into forward and drive the boat on up the bunks. (That little trick only took me three seasons to learn. I give it to you now for free.) DON'T ACCELERATE UP THE TRAILER BUNKS ANY FASTER THAN YOU WANT TO HIT THE WINCH POST. 4. Once the boat has settled onto the bunks properly aligned, trim up the lower unit no more than about 25% to ensure the skeg doesn't hang on the ramp before the bow hits the bow roller. If you trim up too much then accelerate, you'll likely be putting more force on the hull down onto the bunks at the hull pad (the very rear by the transom) and friction will keep the boat from moving on up the bunks. If you realize this is happening, bump the trim button down a 1-2 quick clicks and try again. Or, what I do at this point is use an inexpensive little Motorola two-way radio* to tell my wife to ease back down the ramp just another foot or so (don't wet the tires of the two vehicle, though) to help me close that last few inches between bow eye and the bow roller. Again, we're not sinking the trailer beneath the boat, just backing far enough to use some of the hull's buoyancy to relieve the force of friction on the bunks so I can power up the rest of the way. 5. At about 1 foot away from the bow roller, stop and attach the hook and winch strap (that you left reeled out about 18 inches after backing the trailer into the water to launch), then winch the strap tight. If you have help, the helper can winch while you drive up in a sort of push me/pull me technique until the bow eye settles nicely into the eye roller. If you find you aren't moving up the bunks to the roller, try bumping your trim up 1-2 nudges and then try throttling up again. Once you are on the roller, kill the engine and trim all the way up. Good luck - you guys can do this.
  2. nkdenton


    Hello brick, cyclops, phillbo -- still alive and kicking down here in NoALA. Still got the 246 - PuraVida is headed to dewinterize on Monday and maybe we'll get in 40-50 hrs on the water this year. There's always hope... Last 3 seasons had more family care/elder care issues and cut back on our Chap time and my time to spend here with you guys. Good to see cyclops is still the same old cyclops..... Hi to Hatem, Wingnut, and the rest of the gang. Not sure if my profile even has my info anymore but maybe I'll update it and see ya on here in the coming weeks... I might look in on the Newbies channel and offer a tip or two to pay it forward.... Have fun and stay safe all -- nkdenton/Keith PuraVida -- 2012 246 SSi, 350MAG/Bravo3, Lenco tabs, 2013 F-150 EcoBoost.....
  3. Not dead yet and still have the Chap. Funny how a life event like aging parents and loss of one of them totally changes a pair of boating fanatics to "gee, I hope we can get out more than three times this year." We'll see. Boat's at the dealer getting a new chart plotter installed and replacing a couple of cast aluminum parts that didn't survive the extremely harsh freezes we had last winter in normally mild North Alabama....A normal year used to be on the water by mid-April - hoping to be out by 4th of July this year. But, we dropped the season tix to my alma mater this fall so we'll extend into fall boating for the first time in many years... Glad to see so many of the crew still around - Cyclops, especially... Y'all stay safe out there. KD '12 246SSi 350MAG/B3
  4. I upgraded from a 20'6" Tahoe to a '12 246 SSI. 20 deg dead rise to 22 deg. Never looked back, but I will say two things on this: 1) IMHO dead rise is part of the equation but boat weight and hull length have as much to do with the ride as dead rise of the hull., and 2) the first boat you buy is where you figure out what you REALLY want in a boat. For me it was a longer hull, a higher freeboard, tilt steering, and a Bravo 3 drive. My advice is to not make the decision based on ride alone but also for the total package. You might need two seasons or even three to shake out exactly what your list of "on the next boat, we want..." Will contain. As as for the older vs newer Sunestas, I think every mfr figured out the deckboat vs bowrider thing after about '08 and went with deeper Vs on deckboats, so much so that you can hardly tell the difference in the bow area. This is about when the Chap "pickle fork" bow design appeared, which widens the bow for the deckboats class but incorporates the deeper V. We looked hard at the Sunsesta 244 when we bought our 246 and the decision fell on cockpit seating arrangement. The Admiral just did not like the Sunesta seating layout as much as the SSI. Either way, I'd go for the latest model Sunsesta or SSi I could afford if I were in your shoes.
  5. Here's all I have to say on this subject: https://youtu.be/hrpI01yegm8
  6. Thanks all - I gave the service mgr at the "C" big box outfitter a chance to chase it down. Hose came loose - apparently after I planed out and ran for a half mile or so at high RPM. Not sure which hose but they just called with an apology and said the boats ready. Now, do I have the courage to leave sight of the marina again......
  7. Well, I haven't owned a 196 but I can definitely say that a 3200lb 20'6" Tahoe Q6 with an 8' beam and a 22 deg dead rise in anything more than 1 foot chop is #$^%, and that's on an inland river lake that is 4.5 miles across at the widest point. A 4500lb 24'6" Chap 246 with an 8'6" beam and a 20 deg dead rise in anything more than 2 1/2 foot chop that can't be quartered effectively is #$^%. 18" chop is okay. Your call, of course - those are the configs and waters I have experience powerboating on, as well as sailing in the Gulf of Mexico and off the Georgia coast. I can say that attempting to skirt a small squall in the GoM on a 21' day sailer was not fun and I couldn't have outrun it in a powerboat due to chop keeping speed down. Everything was bright, calm, and sunshiny - until it wasn't. As Ed and Toddler point out, insurance policy restrictions and open bow on big water are serious considerations.
  8. I did my installation myself - a DIYer with average to above average skills should be able to do it in a half day. It will take you 2 1/2 hrs to do the first one and 30 minutes to do the second one. Your tab mfr will have some installation location guidelines - mostly related to placement relative to strakes and the outboard edge of the transom. You want to go as far outboard from the prop as possible to get maximum effect from the tabs and have minimal effect on water flow past the prop and lower unit cooling water intake. I chose Lencos but Bennetts are fine as well. If you can afford the extra deer, go for the Bennett equivalent of the Lenco AutoGlide system. You will be glad you did in the long run, especially if you have an Admiral or friends who will drive the boat but may be hard to educate on trim tab dynamics... if you'll use the search on this site or Google the phrases "Lenco" "AutoGlide" "Keith" and "Chaparral" you will locate my earlier posts of my experience installing my Lencos. I see that Photobucket is bitching about my photo links, but I don't have time to fix it. Send me a PM and I'll be happy to email you my sketches and photos from my install and share any additional learnings I've had since doing mine.
  9. As Cyclops points out, you can over-rev the engine - think about running down the highway in a car w manual transmission at 90mph and then pushing the clutch in without taking your foot off the accelerator.... and yes, if your passengers are not anticipating the same turn and G force as you are (remember you are nearer the center of gravity of the hull than someone in the bow or stern) then you could inadvertently throw them overboard or into the windshield, etc. Just as you as the operator are able to anticipate acceleration and lean into it because you're feeling the throttle but your passengers are thrown backward because they can't anticipate it.... You're the captain so you're responsible for the safety of your crew and passengers - just make sure everyone is seated low in the cockpit and holding onto grabrails and everyone can enjoy the ride....
  10. I installed Lenco electric actuated tabs on my 246 about 3 years ago. It was the best mod to a boat I've ever done.
  11. True, but Indian canoes didn't have 250hp to do 45mph, either. Let's see if he knows what a head sea is. If he does and he knows how to run in one, then fine.
  12. Get used to it not working. Across 2 different boats and 10 years of ownership, I've had a working pitot tube speedo exactly 2.25 seasons.
  13. Impeller is one season old so barring a failure of some sort its in good shape. Will put the muffs on and see what I can see....thanks.
  14. I wouldn't. Boating on river reservoirs and mountain lakes with chop at 18"-2' beats the crap out of you in a 20 foot boat. Bow width isn't a factor one way or the other - the V hull is what is important in taking on rough water. If you don't know how to boat in a head sea, then you should probably skip this one....
  15. Agree with all here (except perhaps the PWC reco). I usually listen to make sure I'm not blowing the prop out which almost always requires trim at or near full in. The reverse chine on the Chaps make cornering a lot of fun but you have to make sure your passengers are aware and safe.
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