Lot’s of folks dream of having a large enough boat to do some extended cruising. They are often concerned about how to handle a larger boat. Wisely, many come to a TrawlerFest event (owned by Power & Motoryacht’s parent company Active Interest Media) to learn more and have the opportunity to actually handle a boat. The next best thing is the video boat handling course.
Let’s talk about the differences, large vs. small. Well, a significant one – a mistake on a large boat often costs more; otherwise, they are all boats. Larger boats do the same thing that their smaller cousins do, just more slowly. That’s good, because it gives you time to adjust. Actually, the most difficult boat to handle is a small single engine planing-hull boat. Why? It’s lighter and tends to get pushed around a lot more and quickly by wind and waves.
I had the opportunity to con the helm of a training boat at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. It’s an 800-foot super tanker, the Massachusetts. In reality it was about 40 feet long designed to emulate the real thing. We ran a course marked with buoys on Herring Pond near Cape Cod. They use these model boats to upgrade ship captains’ skills in a week-long program.
Well, guess what? This super tanker handles just like any other boat. It’s a lot heavier and things take longer but the maneuvers are the same. You begin a turn with the helm hard over and some power for a short period of time. Mid-way through the turn, you counter-steer and add some power briefly to slow the rate of turn. You keep adjusting until the boat stops turning when you are headed in the proper direction. Then, proceed until the next maneuver.
By carefully observing what the boat is doing in the video segments you can see how it pivots while turning. This gives you an appreciation for what a boat will do. As you begin to get the feel of the boat you will start docking it like a pro.