|A Shift in Thought|
Part 3: With this transmission, it seems to me that the bow thruster is superfluous.
By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — January 2003
Fox skillfully works Lady B out of her berth with hardly a hint that the engines were even running. Just outside her slip, he turns the controls over to me and I start to play. Working in Troll mode is something. I’m able to creep this 48-footer through the harbor like I’m pulling a dinghy along a dock with my hands. I can spin Lady B as slowly and controlled as I like, and as I bop between lobster pots and sailboats, my confidence grows. In Express mode I still enjoy all of the slow-speed advantages of Troll, but when I want to kick the boat in one direction or the other, I simply dip the throttle and I get the thrust without the jolt.
“Take her out,” Fox instructs me, and I work Lady B out of the harbor, up the channel, and through a labyrinth of lobster pots. As I make my way to the sea buoy, Fox says to take Lady B to wide-open throttle. I push the EC-251 electronic controls all the way forward, and the twin Cats start hummin’. As she tops out at 30 knots, Fox says, “Throw her in reverse.” “What?” I respond. “Just do it,” he insists. “Okay, it’s your boat,” I reply, trying to act nonchalant. I throttle hard reverse at 30 knots, and--nothing! Nobody flies over the helm console or overboard. The boat simply slows quickly yet safely and, after a pause, goes all out in reverse. “Let’s do it again,” I tell Fox. So I do, repeatedly, until I’m sure it’s not a fluke. I soon find out it isn’t.
Sure that I broke something during the sea trial, I inspect the engine room upon our arrival back at the marina. I find no problems. As a matter of fact, during docking, which was performed by the QuickShift expert Fox, he never needed the bow thruster. With this transmission, it seems to me that the bow thruster is superfluous.
So is Twin Disc’s QuickShift transmission revolutionary? Well, since it’s been around for many years in other applications, I’d say it’s probably more evolutionary, but the technology is impressive nonetheless. I would like to see some long-term testing on a variety of boat types with varying wheel sizes to really find the best marine pleasurecraft applications. But if the QuickShift transmission scores as high across the board as it did on my test day, chances are you’ll start seeing it pop up on your boatbuilder’s standard equipment list soon enough.
Twin Disc Phone: (262) 638-4000. www.twindisc.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.