Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
financiers

Is a 26ft single motor harder to control versus a 28ft dual motor?

14 posts in this topic

Hey everyone, I apologize in advance for the long post and potential grammatical errors (darn autocorrect!).

I'm thinking about getting a boat again and had some questions. The boat i'm thinking about at the moment is around a 2005 chaparral 240-260 signature. I'll be boating Lake Michigan. I've been talking to my father who used to own a 32 or 34 foot formula and a smaller (18ft I believe) four winns cuddy. Both boats were early 90's, but new when he had them. He said without a doubt his formula with two motors was easier to control than his smaller four winns with one, despite the bigger size. Now I know that formula is quite a bit more expensive than a four winns, but I wouldn't think that matters in the "ease" of control of the boat. I can certainly understand how two motors could be easier because of the simplicity of turning with one motor in reverse and the other forward, I assume. If you couldn't tell already, I'm very new to boating! :D

My main issue comes down to price. On one hand, i'm only paying maintenance one one engine versus two. On the other hand, I've read that boats between 26-28 feet with only engine are much harder to control, specifically dock, while conditions are windy. I would much rather wait and buy a 280 signature if dual motors are SO much easier to control. Anyways, I would appreciate any advice you guys have. Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You definitely want the single engine to have 2 TWO props on the output shaft. Called a DUO PROP drive. It docks in a straight line in foward or reverse. A normal big engine single prop boat. CAN be a handful in wind & or currents. Been there.

I was a slow learner in very tight boat spaces. with 25 mph breeze coming from a side.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You definitely want the single engine to have 2 TWO props on the output shaft. Called a DUO PROP drive. It docks in a straight line in foward or reverse. A normal big engine single prop boat. CAN be a handful in wind & or currents. Been there.

I was a slow learner in very tight boat spaces. with 25 mph breeze coming from a side.

Thanks Cyclops,

I appreciate the information. I'm pretty worried about docking in general, but understand that it's just a fact of boating that you have to practice to become better at. Living in the "windy city" makes me even more worried, haha. Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

my experience, for what it's worth:

I have had 2 boats -- a 1998 24ft 245 Chris Craft cuddy with single engine big block duo prop. a 2005 27' 270 Chaparral express cruiser (which was called a 270 in 2005, now same boat is called 280 or 290) with 2 4.3L duoprops.

I find the 2 engines much easier to dock than single engine. With 2 engines you can do a 360 in place, basically.

The bigger boat is definitely harder to ski or wakeboard behind, while keeping an even speed. Maintenance with 2 engines is 2x, which is a decent amount of expense if you're hiring others...

Bigger boat definitely gives more room for staying aboard and even carrying a dinghy; and, a bigger boat is much smoother on waves, so depending on where you boat, you may want the extra length to give a smoother ride... but smaller boat is more nimble.

For my 2 boats, I kind of think of the 270 as an SUV, whereas the 245 was more like a sports car. with all the pros/cons of both...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a 1996 Signature 25, also known as a 260 with single 454 Bravo III. I've had zero issues docking or any control issues at all. I can back up straight and have no wandering at slow speeds coming into my harbor. As far as tight spaces, I can spin it around with no problems. I would highly recommend that if you find one you like with a single Bravo III you will love it. Twins are great but I don't think necessary in a boat this size. I have a close friend with a single in his Sundancer 290 and just like me, single is not a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it is worth.

If you have any boating friends that have a private dock & space on it for your boat . Within driving distance. Good way to practice docking in calm first. Then different wind levels & directions. Last to master is a water current. Wind is much easier to get out of a banging than a water current. Being pinned to a dock is not easy to pull out of with out dragging against it in a shared boat slip with only 1' of clearance on each side. There is always a time for people on the dock to help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a 2001 Sig 240 with a single 5.7l engine and duo-prop, a 2006 Sig 276 with a single 8.1 engine and duo-prop, and now have a 2008 Sig 290 with twin 5.0l engines and duo-props.

I can't speak about duo-props vice single props, but understand the benefits of the duo-prop as the counter-rotation removes the tendency for a single prop to "prop-walk" because of the single axis of torque and the unbalanced resistant force on the single prop as it moves through the water.

I can speak about handling with single or dual engines. Both take practice. Single engine handling requires manipulating the wheel and throttle/forward and reverse, because you are using the direction of the outdrive to push and pull on the bow and stern. So there's a lot of turning of the wheel and moving the shift lever back and forth (forward with wheel in one direction to push the bow and stern one way, then reverse the wheel and the throttle to reverse to pull the stern. Practice, slow docking, and thinking ahead (with a willingness to move out away from the dock or slip and start over) is important. You can turn a single within it's length (a 360) but it's harder and requires more manipulation.

It is difficult to counter a wind and current using a single engine, especially if they are moving in different directions.

With a twin, there's a different focus of the practice, and for me, at least, that is to leave the wheel straight ahead (hands off) and use the throttles. As others have said, it's possible to turn 360 degrees within the length of the boat, but it doesn't require the same amount of inputs to the throttles. Same principles on practice, slow docking, and thinking ahead.

I think the other thing I've observed/learned, is that in a tight situation with wind and current, thinking ahead and planning the maneuver is important, and so is the idea of not going faster than you want to run into something (like another boat in the slip next to you). There is a difference, I think, between being decisive and firm in your control of the boat, and doing things fast.

As others have said here and on other threads, go out and find a place with some landmarks (like a buoy) and practice turning either setup in open water, and maintaining or changing your position with respect to the landmark.

As for single vs dual engines and reliability, I never had a breakdown on my single engine boats (knock on wood) but having the twin gives more performance and redundancy. Cannot do towing for water sports behind my twin (no towing attach points that make sense). As for cost, I do the routine maintenance and fluid/filter/impeller changes myself. That helps, but yes, two engines are more expensive than one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My experience with a 42' "Go Fast" twin and a 46' Trawler was that i could spin it into a tight dockage with ease BUT you are dealing with Tonnage now and once you get it moving it's a different story. This has to be considered as much as wind/current. Not to say that windage wasn't a factor.

My old boat was a heavy 26" Cuddy with a 460 single. I think it comes down to knowing your boat and practice. When i worked part time in a Marina and I saw guys do the impossible with a single screw that handled boats all day, every day. It comes down to experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dual motors will be easier to control while docking. Takes practice.

Dual motors cost more on the maintenance standpoint.

For a Signature model boat, I'd prefer dual motors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 29 foot Fountain that had twins before my 2002 265SSI that's a single. The twins are easier to use ONCE you learn how to use them.

IMO anything under 25ft twins is a waste and added cost with little benefit. Get over 25 ft its worthwhile, anything 30 and above probably needs twins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are bow & stern thrusters available for any size of boat. Probably far less than a computer tied in AXIS joystick setup. Servicing would be very simple compared to a AXIS technician Flown to the boat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have owed (2) chaparrals, my first a 26' sunesta - loved it handled great, absolutely nothing bad about it. I boat on Lake Michigan and a 26' had its limits due to waves - upgraded to the 327. my first had a single merc 496 w/ Bravo III. i never had a hard time docking or manuevering around, just a little practice. my current boat have 2 engines each w/ duoprops for a total of 4. after practice, the 2 engine boat is must easier to pilot at slow speeds, docking etc.

i would not be afraid of a single engine boat less than 30' as long as the drive has duo props. good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0