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Too big a boat for a newbie?

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Also, is there a GPS that actually gives you details on sand bars or rocky outcrops? Or is that just too flaky to request?

If not, would navigation charts be a good thing to get instead and would they have those things mapped out on them?

I think out of all the scary things in this endeavor, the biggest one for me is running aground. A sand bar probably wouldn't be as bad as a chunk of rock but probably not a good thing either. Yep, those are the two things that give me major anxiety!

For the inland waters where I boat and for much of the offshore areas, Navionics charts do a good job of noting shallows, underwater structures, etc. They are updated regularly. However, I have seen posts by some others that have to navigate coastal channels with lots of tidal action that the sandbars shift frequently and even the Navionics charts aren't 100% foolproof. That's where familiarity with your home water will serve you well but that takes some time and exposure throughout all seasons and tidal conditions to build up the mental chartbook...

For your other post about how long to wait before shifting into reverse after coming off in forward.... that can often be a "feel" thing and has lots of "it depends". For example, how fast are you going, how imminent is a crash, how hard do you intend to throttle in reverse, etc. The drives are also designed differently - a Bravo 3 engages gear differently than an Alpha 1, so in some cases it also depends on what drive you have. Here are a couple of scenarios from my experience. There may be some better examples from others on here or perhaps a suggested correction to mine below:

If I am just idling around the marina and maneuvering for ramp approach, I just back off forward, let it hit neutral, 1 one-thousand, go to reverse, bump the throttle to cut forward momentum, and perhaps bump again to stop. If I am still a ways out from the pier or the trailer, I follow the same process to go to forward and bump throttle to keep forward momentum going. To stop, sometimes I might bump and then throttle up just a bit if I need to stop short because of misreading my speed or having to react to somebody near me. Mainly I am listening (advantage of the bowrider, I suppose) to the engine spin down and for the "clunk" of going into or out of gear before my next action. At gentle idle speeds, I may not literally do the "1 one-thousand" if I can clearly hear the drive disengaging and engaging. Once I hear the clunk, I go to the next action pretty much immediately just to keep things going smoothly. That comes from a few hundred approaches, though ;)

If I am coming into a cove or entering a group of other boats at anchor or rafted up, I am mindful of my wake as well as my speed. However, even at low-wake or no-wake speed, I may be moving along at a clip that requires me to go to reverse and throttle medium-hard. This is also the case when I am approaching a fallen skier or tube rider to quickly get to them for safety on a busy part of the lake, or when I realize I am about to miss them with the rope handle as they are ready to get up again. The main thing here is throttle to idle, 1 one-thousand, throttle to reverse (1 one-thousand and listen for the clunk), then ease past idle to a few hundred RPM to achieve the deceleration I need. Occasionally you will find you have to increase throttle past the point where you thought would be sufficient due to either misjudging something or reacting to something. Just keep in mind that no matter how hard you reverse, it will not be instantaneous, and when you do reverse, you will feel either "prop walk" on a single prop outdrive (the stern will literally creep its way to one side as the blades basically act as paddles and create a pulling force in addition to reverse thrust), or if your B3 is slightly turned port or starboard it will kick the stern in that direction, which may have perils of its own.

You want to avoid cavitating your prop, which will, over time, damage the prop surface. An occasional "oops, I'm cavitating", or "oh crap, I'm about to hit that pier - full reverse" is not a problem, it's if you habitually reverse and hard-throttle as a stopping mechanism.

In an emergency situation with collision or contact evident, you have to just pull out all the stops and just deal with the mechanical damage in the aftermath. Sorry for the lengthy explanation but hope it helps.

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Thanks MrFixit and Still Kicking. No, no discouragement at all! Quite the opposite - can't wait to get out again.

That's good advice on sticking it into reverse if it calls for it. I was just wondering during normal maneuvering if you paused a little in neutral before going into reverse and I'm guessing that's probably a good thing to do.

So I ran into my first "money pit" fix it problem which turned out the be trailer related and the brake line from the right wheel to the left one was snapped. Very bizarre as to how that happened and if it happened at the ramp while launching or retrieving or if we took it that way. I think it happened at the ramp because I noticed brakes were good on the way and were a bit worst on the way back.

Interesting that I couldn't find that poly-flex line anywhere. Ended up at an Indy Car auto supply and bought a couple of lengths of high-end, racing, flexible stainless steel cable with the right fittings and swapped the old busted plastic one out with this new one. $82.00 and 20 minutes of crawling under a tight trailer base so it wasn't that bad, thankfully. Now I just have to figure out how to bleed the brakes and refill the fluid.

How often do you pull up to shore like you did in your signature photo? I'm looking forward to doing that but I'm thinking you need some really soft sand or mud to do that and also keep tide in mind. Probably better with bottom painted boats?

It depends on the tide. Where our marina is located, I usually let the tide dictate my day. If the tide is going out i'll head south to the island in my sig pic. If it's coming in i'll head north to hang out in a cove or do watersports. We basically noticed the island years ago while heading to Phila. International Airport. Heading down I95 you can see it and we always noticed boats there. When we bought our first boat in 05 we checked it out. Then having gone there a few times you kind of learn the buildup of the sand. There's a small section that I can actually have my bow in the sand and have 3 ft under my outdrive. 75' south and it's 2-3' all the way in. Bottom painted boats don't make a difference, it just means I take off a little paint LOL

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Last spring I purchased my first boat (2003 Chaparral Sunesta 263), and had all of the same concerns you outline in this thread. I was worried that a 26 foot boat was to big for my first boat. I had never trailered anything other than a jet ski, and was very concerned about pulling the boat and the launch ramp. By early June most of the anxiety was gone and I was becoming fairly comfortable with everything involved with driving/trailering/launching my boat.

I would recommend that you try to go out at times when the ramp and lake are not as busy at first (weekdays/evenings vs. weekends). If nobody is at the ramp, practice pulling on/off the trailer over and over. Knowing the correct depth to put the empty trailer in the water is the key to easy loading...

The family must understand that there are times when everyone must do exactly as you say without questioning or hesitation (around the docks, ramps, while trailering, etc). This is a small amount of time compared to the many hours of fun everyone will have, but this needs to be discussed and understood by all. There is a lot for you to be thinking about and the family/guests need to help you by being responsive and not being a distraction, especially as a new boater. Give the family members specific assignements and practice them (bumpers, ropes, crank winch, etc). Everyone wants to help, but they need direction from the captain.

Maybe this is intuitive to everyone but me, but it took me a couple of trips to learn that "going slow" does not mean having the boat in gear at the lowest possible speed. Going slow for me is one second in gear at the lowest speed possible and then back to neutral for as long as possible. A quick thrust in gear followed by 5 or 10 seconds in neutral keeps me at a safe speed in tight quarters. The same method applies for going slow in reverse.

We had the best summer ever and put over 100 hours on the boat last year. Buying this boat was the best decision I ever made, and I am glad I did not give in to my fears and buy a smaller boat. You have a beautiful boat and will become a good captain with patience and experience. I have a lot to learn, but I can't belive how far I have come in just over a year. I expect you will feel the same in short order.

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The GPS gives only a position, the marine chartplotter shows your position on a chart. The various charts provided by chartplotter manufacturere all incorporate official NOAA marine charts with some enhancements and additional info. They will show you fixed obstacles and nav aids. They will not necessarily show correct position of sandbars that constantly move, nor temporary changes to or lost nav aids.

For up to date info you need official updates issued by USCG called Notice to Mariners. The local knowledge obtained from local operators and boaters, or from ActiveCaptain site, can be of great value as well.

Hope this helps ...

Yes, it does help for sure. Thank you for that information. I figured sandbars constantly move but for some reason I thought mabe we do have that technology! But then again, this is one of those moments when always come to a realization as to how dependent on technology I am! :D Everything needs to be on some piece of digital hardware and software in order to make my life as easy as possible!

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For the inland waters where I boat and for much of the offshore areas, Navionics charts do a good job of noting shallows, underwater structures, etc. They are updated regularly. However, I have seen posts by some others that have to navigate coastal channels with lots of tidal action that the sandbars shift frequently and even the Navionics charts aren't 100% foolproof. That's where familiarity with your home water will serve you well but that takes some time and exposure throughout all seasons and tidal conditions to build up the mental chartbook...

For your other post about how long to wait before shifting into reverse after coming off in forward.... that can often be a "feel" thing and has lots of "it depends". For example, how fast are you going, how imminent is a crash, how hard do you intend to throttle in reverse, etc. The drives are also designed differently - a Bravo 3 engages gear differently than an Alpha 1, so in some cases it also depends on what drive you have. Here are a couple of scenarios from my experience. There may be some better examples from others on here or perhaps a suggested correction to mine below:

If I am just idling around the marina and maneuvering for ramp approach, I just back off forward, let it hit neutral, 1 one-thousand, go to reverse, bump the throttle to cut forward momentum, and perhaps bump again to stop. If I am still a ways out from the pier or the trailer, I follow the same process to go to forward and bump throttle to keep forward momentum going. To stop, sometimes I might bump and then throttle up just a bit if I need to stop short because of misreading my speed or having to react to somebody near me. Mainly I am listening (advantage of the bowrider, I suppose) to the engine spin down and for the "clunk" of going into or out of gear before my next action. At gentle idle speeds, I may not literally do the "1 one-thousand" if I can clearly hear the drive disengaging and engaging. Once I hear the clunk, I go to the next action pretty much immediately just to keep things going smoothly. That comes from a few hundred approaches, though ;)

If I am coming into a cove or entering a group of other boats at anchor or rafted up, I am mindful of my wake as well as my speed. However, even at low-wake or no-wake speed, I may be moving along at a clip that requires me to go to reverse and throttle medium-hard. This is also the case when I am approaching a fallen skier or tube rider to quickly get to them for safety on a busy part of the lake, or when I realize I am about to miss them with the rope handle as they are ready to get up again. The main thing here is throttle to idle, 1 one-thousand, throttle to reverse (1 one-thousand and listen for the clunk), then ease past idle to a few hundred RPM to achieve the deceleration I need. Occasionally you will find you have to increase throttle past the point where you thought would be sufficient due to either misjudging something or reacting to something. Just keep in mind that no matter how hard you reverse, it will not be instantaneous, and when you do reverse, you will feel either "prop walk" on a single prop outdrive (the stern will literally creep its way to one side as the blades basically act as paddles and create a pulling force in addition to reverse thrust), or if your B3 is slightly turned port or starboard it will kick the stern in that direction, which may have perils of its own.

You want to avoid cavitating your prop, which will, over time, damage the prop surface. An occasional "oops, I'm cavitating", or "oh crap, I'm about to hit that pier - full reverse" is not a problem, it's if you habitually reverse and hard-throttle as a stopping mechanism.

In an emergency situation with collision or contact evident, you have to just pull out all the stops and just deal with the mechanical damage in the aftermath. Sorry for the lengthy explanation but hope it helps.

Man! Excellent stuff, Keith. Your explanation is just perfect and very understandable. You should be a teacher if you're not. :)

That's exactly what I thought would be the case - basically, for the most part when there is the need to come out of forward an into revers it's going to be a very slow, almost idle speeds anyway and not moving at any clip by any means. So going into neutral, 1-thousand and then a quick bump into reverse and vice-versa makes a tom of sense and is what that captain was doing and what I did as well. Being somewhat of a gearhead all my life and knowing about shifting into gears and all that happy stuff makes the understanding a bit easier in this case. Thanks for that excellent post!

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It depends on the tide. Where our marina is located, I usually let the tide dictate my day. If the tide is going out i'll head south to the island in my sig pic. If it's coming in i'll head north to hang out in a cove or do watersports. We basically noticed the island years ago while heading to Phila. International Airport. Heading down I95 you can see it and we always noticed boats there. When we bought our first boat in 05 we checked it out. Then having gone there a few times you kind of learn the buildup of the sand. There's a small section that I can actually have my bow in the sand and have 3 ft under my outdrive. 75' south and it's 2-3' all the way in. Bottom painted boats don't make a difference, it just means I take off a little paint LOL

Hahaaa. I can't wait to be able to do that! But as you know, I don't have any bottom paint on this thing yet and honestly, I don't mind scratching it up a little. The scuffy will only help the eventual bottom paint stick a bit better LOL! Natural, pre-paint sanding, so to speak. :D If I pull up to a beautiful, pearly white, sanded beach, better believe I'm heading straight to shore! I didn't even think of the outdrive until you mentioned it. If you have that depth at your stern then you must be not be too concerned about the outdrive. But if it's a constant rise to shore, what happens then? I guess you head towards the shore and then trim up all the way about 75' out and just let her glide?

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Last spring I purchased my first boat (2003 Chaparral Sunesta 263), and had all of the same concerns you outline in this thread. I was worried that a 26 foot boat was to big for my first boat. I had never trailered anything other than a jet ski, and was very concerned about pulling the boat and the launch ramp. By early June most of the anxiety was gone and I was becoming fairly comfortable with everything involved with driving/trailering/launching my boat.

I would recommend that you try to go out at times when the ramp and lake are not as busy at first (weekdays/evenings vs. weekends). If nobody is at the ramp, practice pulling on/off the trailer over and over. Knowing the correct depth to put the empty trailer in the water is the key to easy loading...

The family must understand that there are times when everyone must do exactly as you say without questioning or hesitation (around the docks, ramps, while trailering, etc). This is a small amount of time compared to the many hours of fun everyone will have, but this needs to be discussed and understood by all. There is a lot for you to be thinking about and the family/guests need to help you by being responsive and not being a distraction, especially as a new boater. Give the family members specific assignements and practice them (bumpers, ropes, crank winch, etc). Everyone wants to help, but they need direction from the captain.

Maybe this is intuitive to everyone but me, but it took me a couple of trips to learn that "going slow" does not mean having the boat in gear at the lowest possible speed. Going slow for me is one second in gear at the lowest speed possible and then back to neutral for as long as possible. A quick thrust in gear followed by 5 or 10 seconds in neutral keeps me at a safe speed in tight quarters. The same method applies for going slow in reverse.

We had the best summer ever and put over 100 hours on the boat last year. Buying this boat was the best decision I ever made, and I am glad I did not give in to my fears and buy a smaller boat. You have a beautiful boat and will become a good captain with patience and experience. I have a lot to learn, but I can't belive how far I have come in just over a year. I expect you will feel the same in short order.

I can relate to everything you said and excellent advice about the family members. I did notice that everyone was on high alert during the launching and recovering and were volunteering without hesitation and without me saying anything but now that you mentioned it, I will certainly make it a point to assign specific duties to each individual. That is sound advice. I hope to be able to launch solo someday and your advice on practicing during empty ramp times is very good. I already know when those times are at this particular ramp and will try to do that. Launch, recover. Launch, recover. That can only speed up the process rather than wait to gain that experience only at the times we go out. I like that.

It sounds like you're pretty happy about making the decision to buy a boat and nice to hear from someone who is not necessarily a newbie, but still in the early phase of boat-ownership. It's a valuable perspective to learn from, for sure.

So far, I've only had 1 individual tell me this boat is a bit too big for a completely green newbie. It was interesting and I told him that he was the only one who gave me that answer so far. So 34 - 1 is still pretty supportive of the "it's gonna be ok" factor which I like.

IYDM, what are some of the difficulties you've experienced in this past year? Only if you don't mind sharing them. :)

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One question if anyone can answer it, that would be great! Is there a Chaparral "parts" website anywhere? I went onto the main website but I noticed there isn't much there?! I'm looking for parts that you can add such as the shore-power connectors, or VHF radios or even those stainless steel speaker covers. I have the plastic covers on mine and would love to replace them with the stainless steel ones but couldn't find any of that stuff on the Chaparral website. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.

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Cecil Marine seems to have all things Chaparral. They monitor this forum and are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They frequently post in a manner that is helpful and not self-promoting. I don't mind plugging them at all...

http://cecilmarine.com

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You will find a parts list on the website, but only original OEM parts. For extra bling, you will need to look elsewhere.

brick

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The guy that bought my 34' Sundancer with twins never owned a boat, but he listened, and even took videos of winterization and maintenance. He ran her for 9 years without issue, as did I.

W

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Cecil Marine seems to have all things Chaparral. They monitor this forum and are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They frequently post in a manner that is helpful and not self-promoting. I don't mind plugging them at all...

http://cecilmarine.com

That's exactly what I was looking for! Thanks, Keith. Most of the accessories that I'm thinking of are on there it's perfect.

Interesting day we had today. We went out on our own for the first time and it seems our troubles are more off-water than on water. It was actually pretty strange that I had no problem navigating using the GPS and the charts you folks recommended that I bought (which were excellent, BTW). No problem anchoring although we were only 180 yards off shore and the harbor master came over and told us the rules which is 600 yards minimum and no problem watching out for green and red buoys and courtesy and even docking. Pulled right in using your advice and method of bump and neutral and just not panicking I found is really important.

The problems were out of water when I had someone bleed the brakes on the trailer's master cylinder, he must've over done something because when we pulled to the ramp, they locked in reverse. I couldn't back down the ramp, only go forward. Luckily had some tools and the only thing to do was open one of the bleeding valves and let out some fluid which caused me to lose trailer brakes which wasn't the end of the world but it delayed the line at the dock a bit and put us in a major stress mode.

Then this was probably the worst part - after getting back to the house, plugged in the ears and flushed the outdrive but forgot to trim it up while backing into the driveway and yep, scraaaaape about 5 ft before I realized something wasn't right! Looks like I shaved off about 1/4" of the blade and put a little track in the asphalt. I felt pretty stupid and really ticked off at myself for forgetting that one item on the checklist! Hopefully the outdrive is ok but it made me realize that interestingly enough my problems are more out of the water than in! lol Looks like I need to concentrate on those parts of the operation and not just once we're in the water.

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The guy that bought my 34' Sundancer with twins never owned a boat, but he listened, and even took videos of winterization and maintenance. He ran her for 9 years without issue, as did I.

W

Wow. That's called really taking the plunge. Thanks for chiming in.

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Well, you are in some good company with those experiences. Glad the Navionics app is working well for you - that is the best 40 deer I ever spent for my tablet....

Wrt the ramp backing issue - I hope the brake issue isn't too serious. Just by way of covering another base or two, there is one other thing that can prevent backing down a ramp. Many (most or all, maybe?) boat trailers have a reverse lockout mechanism that prevents a trailer from going backward. On the two trailers I have owned, there is a reverse lockout on the 12V signal line that would allow the trailer to be backed up when the tow vehicle is in reverse. This uses the 5-pole wiring harness (four female + 1 male) where the 5th wire connects to a solenoid that disables the reverse lockout automatically. If you have a 4-pole wiring harness (three female + 1 male), then the solenoid cannot function and the lockout will engage as designed. My first trailer had a mechanical reverse lockout disabler where you take the pin that is normally put in at the hitch coupler (to keep it from accidentally coming unlocked) and slide it through a second hole in the trailer tongue that is marked "Reverse Lockout" and the trailer can be backed up. My dealer told me about it the day I bought my first boat and frankly I forgot all about it because I was using a 5-pole wiring harness. A few weeks later a woman was taking out her kids and some friends on their boat (husband was out of town) and had gotten everything right on the trailer rigging but he forgot to tell her about the reverse lockout. I remembered my sales rep's instructions, move the locking pin to the appropriate slot and all was well. I don't know if you have a 4-pole or 5-pole harness but you might want to check your harness wiring, trailer wiring, and specifically the lockout solenoid to make sure you don't have an electrical issue or your trailer mechanic didn't nick some wiring or something. Bleeding out the hydraulic fluid is a radical step -- you may find you have a relatively minor issue to fix. Don't forget to check the integrity of your ground wire on your trailer wiring as well:

http://www.etrailer.com/question-35269.html

Welcome to the Skinned Up Skeg Association (SUSA). You get a special badge for skinning yours up in reverse. The rest of us usually skin ours up by forgetting to trim up before pulling the boat up the ramp :banana2:

If the damage is severe or you get sick of the reminder every time you look at it, you could opt for one of these. There a lots of brands out there and you probably can buy one at a local marine store or Academy Sports marine section...

http://www.gator-guards.com/skegshield/

You are right on track with the rest of us. Don't beat yourself up too much...

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Here are a couple of configurations of mechanical reverse lockout prevention if your 5-pin electrical fails or if you only have a 4-pin connector. There are probably as many variations as there are manufacturers...

My trailer has a different configuration but I'm not where I can photograph and upload...

LockOut2_zps48219a2b.jpg

lockout1_zps2f19c846.jpg

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+1 on the reverse lockout. It will stop your tow vehicle immediately. Trailer brakes work REALLY well in reverse. As far as your skeg and the driveway are concerned, you likely did more damage to your driveway than your outdrive, unless you really nailed it hard. Chalk it up as a learning experience. File it smooth, get some paint and touch it up. The skeg has little or no function other than to divert objects from the prop.

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Some things we all have to learn the hard way unfortunately.

Some people like to make a launch and retrieve check list to make sure that nothing is forgotten. This could be something to think about implementing and might help reduce some stress and/or anxiety.

Another welcome to the SUSA!

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That #%^$&%$ed skeg! It is somewhat comforting to be a newly inducted member of the SUSA now that I see there is such a thing lol. But oh man, I keep hearing that horrible skrreeekkkkccchhhhhttkkkeeeeeek played back in my mind all day as that thing just ripped a 1/4 inch groove about 5ft long in the driveway asphalt! Dang! You guys will get a laugh out of this one - all day I keep going outside looking at the thing and telling myself "it ain't that bad.....it didn't do any damage......it's just filled down a tiny bit that's all....." LOL! Pathetic soul. It's even more infuriating knowing the stereo control is right on the round over stern quarter and right next to it (actually part of it) is an additional switch for the trim! You don't even have to go to the helm!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

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Well, you are in some good company with those experiences. Glad the Navionics app is working well for you - that is the best 40 deer I ever spent for my tablet....

Wrt the ramp backing issue - I hope the brake issue isn't too serious. Just by way of covering another base or two, there is one other thing that can prevent backing down a ramp. Many (most or all, maybe?) boat trailers have a reverse lockout mechanism that prevents a trailer from going backward. On the two trailers I have owned, there is a reverse lockout on the 12V signal line that would allow the trailer to be backed up when the tow vehicle is in reverse. This uses the 5-pole wiring harness (four female + 1 male) where the 5th wire connects to a solenoid that disables the reverse lockout automatically. If you have a 4-pole wiring harness (three female + 1 male), then the solenoid cannot function and the lockout will engage as designed. My first trailer had a mechanical reverse lockout disabler where you take the pin that is normally put in at the hitch coupler (to keep it from accidentally coming unlocked) and slide it through a second hole in the trailer tongue that is marked "Reverse Lockout" and the trailer can be backed up. My dealer told me about it the day I bought my first boat and frankly I forgot all about it because I was using a 5-pole wiring harness. A few weeks later a woman was taking out her kids and some friends on their boat (husband was out of town) and had gotten everything right on the trailer rigging but he forgot to tell her about the reverse lockout. I remembered my sales rep's instructions, move the locking pin to the appropriate slot and all was well. I don't know if you have a 4-pole or 5-pole harness but you might want to check your harness wiring, trailer wiring, and specifically the lockout solenoid to make sure you don't have an electrical issue or your trailer mechanic didn't nick some wiring or something. Bleeding out the hydraulic fluid is a radical step -- you may find you have a relatively minor issue to fix. Don't forget to check the integrity of your ground wire on your trailer wiring as well:

http://www.etrailer.com/question-35269.html

Welcome to the Skinned Up Skeg Association (SUSA). You get a special badge for skinning yours up in reverse. The rest of us usually skin ours up by forgetting to trim up before pulling the boat up the ramp :banana2:

If the damage is severe or you get sick of the reminder every time you look at it, you could opt for one of these. There a lots of brands out there and you probably can buy one at a local marine store or Academy Sports marine section...

http://www.gator-guards.com/skegshield/

You are right on track with the rest of us. Don't beat yourself up too much...

I think you're spot on with the electrical lockout signal not getting to the trailer solenoid. I do have the 5 prong on the trailer but my truck is a 2005 so it actually has the old 4 prong so I have to use the adapter. However, that adapter has the 3 LED lights on it to signal all connections working properly and I noticed later on that two of those were blinking while one wasn't even on. So that certainly suggests something's not working and most likely that back-up signal.

Here are a couple of configurations of mechanical reverse lockout prevention if your 5-pin electrical fails or if you only have a 4-pin connector. There are probably as many variations as there are manufacturers...

My trailer has a different configuration but I'm not where I can photograph and upload...

LockOut2_zps48219a2b.jpg

lockout1_zps2f19c846.jpg

I don't have the pin so that's probably not it. I'll take a pic of it tomorrow and post it. BTW, thanks for all your detailed explanations and links and all the time you've put into your posts. They're absolutely phenomenal and a lot of help to me! Thanks again.

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+1 on the reverse lockout. It will stop your tow vehicle immediately. Trailer brakes work REALLY well in reverse. As far as your skeg and the driveway are concerned, you likely did more damage to your driveway than your outdrive, unless you really nailed it hard. Chalk it up as a learning experience. File it smooth, get some paint and touch it up. The skeg has little or no function other than to divert objects from the prop.

That's probably what I'm more worried about, the outdrive. I'm a little ticked off at myself for causing the shrinking of the skeg, but in the end it's the pressure that put on the outdrive that has me a bit concerned. We'll find out soon enough when I take it to the dealer to have a look. Better doing that now then finding out once we're in the water.

Some things we all have to learn the hard way unfortunately.

Some people like to make a launch and retrieve check list to make sure that nothing is forgotten. This could be something to think about implementing and might help reduce some stress and/or anxiety.

Another welcome to the SUSA!

I have a checklist for leaving the driveway, launching, docking, and retrieving. I guess I need one for cleaning and stowing! Had I just pulled in the driveway and did my flushing and cleaning then, would've been ok but I do it on the street to keep the salt water off the pavers in the driveway and the grass and all that good stuff. Oh well, like you said, live and learn. :)

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Here's a few snapshots of the trailer tongue. If anyone is familiar with this model and thinks they might know what's going on, please chime in! I think Keith is probably right that there is a failure somewhere in the electrical connection that's not telling the trailer to unlock the brakes in reverse. I also took a pic of the adapter I'm using for the electrical connection to the truck with the LED lights.

IMG_1779_zpsf0c881c2.jpg

IMG_1781_zps2738bbea.jpgIMG_1780_zpsc6498f96.jpg

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Here's a few snapshots of the trailer tongue. If anyone is familiar with this model and thinks they might know what's going on, please chime in!

IMG_1779_zpsf0c881c2.jpg

The tongue assembly looks very similar to mine, just an updated version. No mechanical lock, or key, only the electric means to unlock the brakes. The first time I towed my trailer with my truck with flat 4 prong connector that obviously does not support brake off circuit, and 4 to 7 conversion harness, I had to back it up from the road into my driveway ... it was embarrassing. With truck and trailer blocking the traffic I had no time for troubleshooting, and had to plow the (empty) trailer all 300 feet down the gravel road ... luckily it was a bit downhill.

The blue wire that you see outside the tongue and connected to the harness connector is brake off circuit. It needs +12V DC for break to be off. The white wire is a ground. My trailer's harness has a separate ground wires for trailer and for brake off that are electrically connected (or suppose to be). Regardless, I found that if brake off ground is not sound the break off will not work or will have intermittent problems ... enough to drag an empty trailer tires, or stop the loaded one.

Since then, I have modified the conversion harness and connected the blue and white wires to a separate 12V DC ACC plug that I connect to ACC outlet at the back of my truck whenever I need the brakes off.

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Your trailer brakes have a lock-out solenoid, that requires a 5-flat connector, with the 5th wire controlling the solenoid. You need a 7 round to flat 5 connector to energize the solenoid when you shift to reverse. Looks like your adapter is a flat4, which won't work your brake solenoid.

brick

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I can relate to everything you said and excellent advice about the family members. I did notice that everyone was on high alert during the launching and recovering and were volunteering without hesitation and without me saying anything but now that you mentioned it, I will certainly make it a point to assign specific duties to each individual. That is sound advice. I hope to be able to launch solo someday and your advice on practicing during empty ramp times is very good. I already know when those times are at this particular ramp and will try to do that. Launch, recover. Launch, recover. That can only speed up the process rather than wait to gain that experience only at the times we go out. I like that.

It sounds like you're pretty happy about making the decision to buy a boat and nice to hear from someone who is not necessarily a newbie, but still in the early phase of boat-ownership. It's a valuable perspective to learn from, for sure.

So far, I've only had 1 individual tell me this boat is a bit too big for a completely green newbie. It was interesting and I told him that he was the only one who gave me that answer so far. So 34 - 1 is still pretty supportive of the "it's gonna be ok" factor which I like.

IYDM, what are some of the difficulties you've experienced in this past year? Only if you don't mind sharing them. :)

Lessons learned in the first 1.5 years of boating:

  • Anchor chain is your friend. My anchor did not have enough or heavy enough chain on it and I struggled to stay put in the coves while swimming. In addition, you probably need a second anchor for a boat of that size. I added 12 feet of chain and a second anchor (also with chain) and my boat is not moving at all now. The boat did not move in a major thunder/wind storm when we were on vacation.
  • Have someone show you the proper way to tie up to a dock cleat. It is simple and will hold perfectly. In addition, it is easy to untie, even if the boat is pulling on the rope. I see a lot of people that make this harder than it has to be...
  • I tie on the bumpers and install the ropes on both sides of the boat (you don't know which lane you will end up using if it is busy at the ramp) before I drive into the line at the launch ramp. I use a longer rope off the back of the boat and loop it on the middle cleat so it is easy to grab (without getting wet). My 12 year old daughter can stand on the dock with both ropes (front and back) in her hand and walk with me as I put the boat in the water. She pulls it over to the side and walks it back to the end of the dock (and ties it up) while I park the trailer.
  • When coming into the dock, I pull up slowly to the side of the dock and my daughter steps off the bow with both ropes (front and back) in her hand. She pulls the boat over and I turn off the engine and jump out to help her tie it off. This is very easy and low stress, but I have an open bow which probably helps. I am learning to park the boat against the dock, but this technique has made it stress free while I learn do this.
  • If you smell something foul and cant figure out where it is coming from, it is probably your toilet holding tank. Mine got to smelling bad even though it had not been used this year. We were out all day and would periodically get a stinky waft before I figured it out...Be sure to have the liquid deotorizer stuff on hand to flush to the holding tank.
  • Turn off the battery switch every time when you are off the water. Assuming you have dual batteries, switch to the second battery while hanging out in the coves and use the main mattery for starting the boat. Keep both charged by using both batteries.
  • Learning the correct depth to put your trailer in the water is the key to easy loading. If the back of the boat is floating around when over the trailer, your trailer is in to deep.

I learn something new everytime I go out. But these are a few things that stand out in my mind over the first 1.5 years. Have fun!

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