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The wonders of operating a Pontoon Boat

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    Posted: 07/09/2010 at 9:59am

Well, I have to admit that I haven"t posted here in a while because I"m a bit stung by my maiden voyage.  Maybe even a little embarassed, but here it goes...

My girls wanted to take the boat on its maiden voyage on a Sunday afternoon.  I thought we could pull it off so the wife and kids piled in and we headed an hour east to pick up the boat and take it to the closest boat ramp which is 20 miles further.

I should have known how it was going to go when I crossed one of the lakes in between here and there and saw small whitecaps.  But I"m an experienced bass boater and thought I"d be okay if I could find a ramp out of the wind.  (1st mistake).

With the boat in tow, we got to the park and I asked the attendant about a ramp out of the wind.  She pointed me to it and I was raring to go!  Problem was when I pulled up to it, the ramp had a dock going right down the middle and was only large enough for a jon boat on either side!  With that, I went to the bigger ramp which was squarely in the wind (2nd mistake).

I backed the trailer in, got the boat off the trailer and let me wife pull out and park.  The loading of the family went smoothly and we got out on the water ready for some tooning in the cove, out of the wind.

We decided to let the kids get out and swim but I realized I hadn"t brought the anchor to keep us in place (3rd mistake).  The next 30 minutes were spent jumping out with the kids, swimming profusely to catch up with the toon then doing it all over again.

Then we decided to cruise around but my steering stopped responding.  Turns out that somehow I didn"t get the cable fitting all the way into the rotary helm spot when I installed it (4th mistake).  I got under the console and got it back in (so I thought).  We cruised around getting sun and listening to the stereo which was awesome!  Then a speaker went out.  I checked the connections and one had come un-crimped (5th mistake).  I rigged that back together and re-commenced our cruising.

I decided to check out the engine to see how deep it was in the water and noticed no water coming from the hole (6th mistake).  While it could be that the tube was clogged, I didn"t want to take a chance on the water and decided our short outing was ready to wrap up.

Upon getting back to the ramp. the winds had kicked up and it was becoming dicey.  I was able to drop my wife and kids off at the rocks around the ramp so she could back up the trailer (7th mistake).  She can"t back a trailer.  She tried unsuccessfully for about 10 minutes and just couldn"t get it backed up correctly.  I had been circling and decided to come and get her to hold the boat while I backed it in.  When I turned the steering the opposite way to head in, the cable came out again...and again...and again...(8th mistake). 

I finally got the boat to the rocks for my wife to hold it steady while I quickly backed it in the water.  Unfortunately the wind immediately pushed the rear to the rocks and she and I were caught in between the toon and the jagged rocks (9th mistake).  She fell under but was able to get out of the way and back on dry land.  I was just sick about the fact that my boat was being ravaged against the rocks but honestly was at a loss for what to do. 

I finally jumped in the truck and backed the trailer in and quickly went to try and straighten the boat"s rear so I could back it off the rocks.  I eventually got it off the rocks enough to try and get it going.  Problem was, I couldn"t get on board! (10th mistake).  Fat boy couldn"t shimmy on deck.  I had one good effort until my bathing suit stayed around my knees.  I tried on the back.  I tried through the side.  I finally got enough umph to get up on the front.  I got back to the helm and got it away from the rocks.  Whew, I thought.

I spent the next 20 minutes trying to turn the steering just the right way to battle the crosswind and keep the cable from coming all the way out again (11th mistake).  I finally made a good run at the trailer and overshot the bunks because it wasn"t in the water far enough (12th mistake).  My sweet wife backed it in a few more feet and I tried again.  I got it on aligned better the 2nd time but had to get on the front and do some lifting to better align it.  I hooked up the winch strap and we were in business.

When I got in the truck, my two girls (7 and 3) were in tears.  They were scared to death and it was really heart breaking for me to see them so fearful.  It was a quiet 20 minute ride back to put the boat up.  I got to our gate and there wasn"t enough swing space to get the truck and trailer in (13th mistake) so I had to go up to the double gates in our pasture and open up 3 more gates to get to the storage. 

When I started putting the cover on, I realized something was missing.  My sundeck was gone!  I realized that the latch that holds it down probably came undone and it blew off! (14th mistake).  I covered the boat anyway and we back-tracked to see if we could find it and I was just waiting to see how destroyed it was.  About 3 miles back, we found it on the side of the road.  The framing had some rough scratches and the vinyl was eaten up all the around, but at least it was all still there.  I decided to load it back up and take it back to the boat rather than hauling back to Dallas with me.

At this point, everyone was just glad to be alive and although we weren"t laughing, we knew this was every boater"s worst nightmare.  We were having baked potatoes and salad for supper that night and we didn"t get home until 6:30.  I forgot the potatoes take an hour to bake (15th mistake).

We had a great supper and discreetly told a few friends of the debacle.  We haven"t laughed about it yet, but it was certainly a learning experience for a new toon operator.

All that being said, here"s what I have to do to the boat:
1. Reconnect the speaker wire.
2. Blow out the pee hole and hope that was the issue with no water.  Otherwise, replace the impeller.
3. My new Lowrance kept saying that the Transponder wasn"t responding.  Frankly, that was the least of my worries because I knew exactly where we were... up creek!
4. Fix the steering issue PRONTO!
5. Figure out what to do with the sundeck.  It was so labor intensive getting the vinyl sewn together then installing it that I may just operate it with the tears in place for now.
6.  Put the anchor on board.

All that being said, I didn"t lose my cool with my wife or kids.  That"s usually my norm but I realized the error of my ways and will take a buddy with me next time who"s experienced in backing a trailer!



Edited by bonedog
Chris in Dallas
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 2ltime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 10:53am
I am glad everyone was OK.  I don"t feel so bad about my first 2 maiden voyages now, we never left the dock.  It will make for a great story someday.Wink
Tom Lake Anna, VA
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 11:04am
Bonedog, if you don"t mind, I really would like to move your story to another forum thread and make it a sticky. Its like everything that could happen did happen and it was definitely a learning experience and I"d bet everyone of us has done something or had it happen to us in some way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zboating12 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 11:41am

Bonedog,

The things you think will never happen will, but as you get use to the boat it gets easier! Our first time out we never left the dock! Over the last couple years boating we have produced enough stories to keep everyone in stitches around the campfire! We replaced the steering a couple years ago, had a differnt problem then you, we put our in backwards.... didn"t realize this until we got to the lake! Steer right... go left! We were dodging bouys trying to get the boat in the right direction... that was an easy fix! On another occasion we ran out of gas just before returning to the dock on the river! I could go on but you get the point! It happens.... over time you will be able to laugh about it, promise! Now when we go out things are pretty routine, knock on wood!  But it"s those things that you think will never happen that make for the best stories!

Don"t give up, it try it again on a nice day. When you get out there and are having fun the kids will forget about the bad parts! My niece was the same way!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 12:04pm
Just think of all the things you learned, either to do or not to do. All that stuff is now in the past and it will only get easier. The steering problem was probably the worst part (No doubt complicated by the wind) and contributed to most of your headaches (Stress). The rest can be taken care of pretty easily. One thing you need to make sure of is that your overheat warning horn is working. If it is and did not go off, you were probably fine even though it was not shooting water out the indicator. And oh, you should have microwaved the baked potatoes. 6 minutes and you"re good to go..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KEVnKY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 12:23pm

Bonedog,

Man talk about one bad day.  Trust me it gets better.  Listen to these guys in the forums.  Lot to owning a boat, people don"t realize until they have one.  I also had trouble with my steering cable.  I threaded it in, but did not realize  you have to turn the wheel hard and make sure it seats, then tighten the bolts.  I lost steering trying to get it loaded on the trailer the first time.  But now that its fixed I have been out 20 plus times no problem.  I did just have a blowout on a pontoon tire, trust me not fun on a single axle trailer!!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 12:33pm
Ouch, I bet. I carry a spare but didn"t get the trailer jack (kind you back up or roll up on - not exactly safe in my opinion) I need to lock that trailer jack on the trailer too. Don"t think the bottle jack would get to a good mounting point to get it high enough on the trailer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bonedog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 12:41pm

Thanks for the words of encouragement.  WCD, feel free to move as you deem appropriate.  And I appreciate the editing.

Really what I want people to also understand is that operating a pontoon is VERY different than a normal keel type boat.  I have run a 21 ft Triton bass boat for years and have it mastered.  The sheer mass and exposure of the the 24 ft toon makes for VERY difficult maneuvering in windy conditions.

Plus, it was a GREAT way to get my wife to agree that I need to take it out more often while including my experienced fishing buddies!

Chris in Dallas
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 12:47pm
They are like big sails in the wind. It can be hair raising if your motor dies and the wind is pushing you along at a good clip. It"s amazing how fast (or at least it seems that way) you move in the wrong direction when you have no control. 99% of the days are not like that. Thankfully..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 2:15pm
Thanks Chris and if someone has a better suggestion for the topic of this thread, let me know.  It was all I could think of at the moment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KenC1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 5:03pm
Dang Chris!  What a day.  Glad nobody was injured, other than your pride.  The really good part of all of that is:  IT HAS TO BE BETTER FROM NOW ON !  It can"t possibly get any worse
Ken - Fort Gibson Lake, OK
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Jamie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 5:28pm
Glad to hear everyone is ok. I"ve been trapped between the pontoon and rocks in the wind and it"s pretty scary. I also lost my sundeck last year after building a new 1 luckily the guy in the truck behind me had good reflexes. As for the anchor I have 3 on the boat now I learned that mistake the hard way too lol.  1 good day out on the boat and it will all be worth it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote p3cflyr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2010 at 10:52pm
Thanks for sharing Chris.  Good for all of us to rethink safety and proper equipment and preparation.  And its a good read.   

May your future trips be less eventful and I"ll bet they will be.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cuzzx Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2010 at 4:17pm

 

Just about every one that has a pontoon or boat has had these problems.

after buying my pontoon back and spending a month getting it ready, driving 100 miles , putting it in the Bay it would not start. after checking many things out one section of the gas line was bad. replaced it.

took my wife and in-laws out. ran about ten miles not thinking about having only one 6 gallon tank of gas. yes out of gas on the way back.

had a new trolling motor and a uncharged battery. about a hour in the sun, no water or wind we made it back.

sounds like to me you used up all your bad times in one outting.

you live and learn.

good luck down the way and enjoy.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CGbosun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2010 at 4:30pm

Bonedog;

I"ll do you one better, just to make you feel better...I"ve put my family through all sorts of stuff just like you had on your trip. The difference is I am a retired Coast Guard Boatswain - I used to rescue other folks in these situations, and here I was, in the same fix (more than once)!! The Admiral(wife) often wondered how I ever did anything like that when I couldn"t get my own boat to run/work right!

Anyway, after your next successful outing, you and your family will be laughing about this, and at the same time, looking after stuff to make sure it never happens again!  Have fun!!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2010 at 7:50pm

Lets see, where shall I begin my tales of booboo to the wazoo. One that got some laughs was little over 2 years ago about this time, I had just got the toon out of the shop to have the gears aligned (shift cable/rod adjustment as I just couldn"t figure it out). Wife and I had planned a weeks vacation at Center Hill Dam in TN and there was nobody hardly at the hotel. Wasn"t real easy for the wife to walk onto the docks but she make it and we go out. Went 3 miles downstream and found a nice cove to fish that was 35ft deep. Caught a bass within 10 minutes that was 28ft deep suspended, caught couple more and decided to move on and that"s when we had problems. Discovered we didn"t have forward gear. Reverse was just fine since we couldn"t drift back to the docks and nobody was even close and nobody answered our call on the VHF channel. So ended up reversing all the way downstream 3 miles to the dock and meanwhile I"m trying to figure out how to manuver so the wife could get off. But I did a great job of backing right up to the dock and wife got off to get the truck and back the trailer in. I manevur into position and we were going to just winch it up, but try as she could, she couldn"t toss the winch hook to me. Ok, plan B (now trolling motor), well was trying to deploy the trolling motor and it just wouldn"t release and boy was it hot out. I was sweating bullets. I was on my knees bent over the trolling motor and gave it a good whack with the fist and suddenly it moved. It was the last thing I remembered before I started coming to hearing my wife crying my name (it was so sad) she didn"t see me take a nose dive into an open tackle box but at least I got lucky and not one treble hook/crankbait embedded itself into my face. We eventually got it on the trailer and we decided with such a bad start (and a bloody jaw) we were going home to take the boat back to the shop figuring it"d be another 3 weeks before they could get to it again. Got home, put everything away and next day I get the manual out on how to adjust the linkage on a force motor (its a REAL PAIN) and the day after that is when I realized what happened when I checked it - the mechanic didn"t tighten down the locknut on the linkage allowing it to vibrate loose and the adjustment foobarred again. In about an hour of trial and error, I figured out the adjustment and had it fixed, so we went to Joe Wheeler in AL that weekend and it was fine.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2010 at 8:07pm
Another one of those mechanic woes that bit me but fortunately it happened very close to the docks. Again we had got it out of the shop after had the stator and some other electrics replaced (went bad) so it went from 9amps to 16amps with the Mercury upgraded stator (on a Force motor). We went to Joe Wheeler in AL and traveled about 9-12 miles upriver and fished a while. Got ready to go and it was really hard to crank. So hooked up battery cables from the trolling battery to the starting battery (before I added 3rd accessory battery) and got it started. Got within 100 yards of the dock and motor just quits. So hooked up jumper cables again only to have the positive battery post just fall of the starting battery. I go to pick it up and now I know I got a BIG problem. It was hotter than a firecracker and blistered my fingers. I had noticed that my volt meter was running higher than normal. Usually goes to 14 volts and eventually goes down to above 12, but not this time, it went to almost 16 volts and barely went down. Connected the trolling battery and got it fired up and got it on the trailer quick. Something I"m now learning to do is double check what the mechanic was suppose to do. Even with the instructions, he still didn"t put one wire in correctly and mismatched the color code (one red was suppose to remain unplugged) but he fried the rectifier so there wasn"t anything controlling the juice the stator put out, so the wires over heated and the terminal basically melted and could have caught the boat on fire. Replugged the misrouted wire and retested the electrics and only had to replace the rectifier and the battery (they did - not me)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/14/2010 at 5:11pm
and I use to get paid for doing that - it was called police work
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CGbosun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/15/2010 at 11:16am
I could also, but I was usually the star(?) of the show!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote PontoonOwner32 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/15/2010 at 10:08pm

I once saw a pontoon boat flip OFF a trailer while it was being pulled up a launch ramp (by marina employees, who you would think would have enough experience to do this properly).  One guy was sitting at the helm when the boat started to turn over, and managed to jump clear, but only by a foot or two.

The boat ended up upside down on the launch ramp...they had to get a backhoe to flip it back over and get it on [a different] trailer.  They clearly had the wrong trailer for the boat the first time, as it was almost twice as long as the boat.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Woody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/04/2010 at 4:26pm
You faired better than I. Took my wife fishing with me, was demonstrating my superior techniques with the cast net, when I felt a tug and heard a splash behind me. What was that, I inquired. "Your new rod and reel, you just hooked it with the net"! "It sank, you"ve lost it now".  No, not yet I ain"t. Quickly triange the spot with bushes on shore, find out the water is shallow there, and tie a treble hook on a line for dredging. That didn"t work. Off with the shoes, shirt, and socks. "you can"t go in the water here!" Wrong -- splash. Wade around, explore with the foot feelers, hoping I don"t find the treble hook on the fishing lure. Glub glub - found the drop off! Hope the rod wasn"t that far out. A couple more probes back in the shallows and found it with my toes.  Great save!  I think my wife was thinking more of Jonah than Gilligan at this point. Oh, and that is also where I caught the sharks earlier this summer. But they were small, can"t eat much, right?  The joys of owning a boat (and marriage!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10/04/2010 at 4:28pm
Now that there is funny
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cattzap Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/01/2011 at 2:20pm
"swimming profusely to catch up with the toon then doing it all over again."

Rule #1==if you have to or you decide to jump out of your boat, tie a rope to it and hold onto said rope.  we anchor out all the time and go for a swim.  Remember too that an orange flag is suppose to be displayed while your out there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cruzin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/13/2011 at 4:56pm
We survived the first weekend at the lake, and had a good time although things did not go as anticipated.
 
We split the cost of renting a pontoon boat for an afternoon last summer, so we were "experienced".  I had started the motor in the driveway and felt confident that it would run. The battery had held a charge all winter.
 
I don't really own a truck, but figured I could tow the boat to the campground with the motorhome, then give someone a six pack to load it for me. I routinely tow a 16 foot trailer, so whats another 4 feet?
So he would know where we were and not be concerned, I had mentioned to my son the week before, that we were trying the boat out over the holiday. He asked where, and not really thinking anything about it, I gave him the name of the campground.
 
I also confided to some friends who were boat owners, and campers, that I had bought a boat, and we were putting it in the water, thinking they might want to bring theirs and join us for a day.
 
On the appointed day, as me and the little lady loaded up to leave, her son decided he wanted to come. Hmmm, he never wanted to go with us before.Confused
Despite by my 5 year old GPS constantly uttering "recalculating", in her disgusted tone of voice , we found the campground after a 15 mile detour.
And then, at the campground, in the campsite next to our site, found my son, his wife and the grandkids, with their camper already set up and waiting on us.Confused
Well, we had always talked about camping together, it had just never worked out.
 
We paused at the campsite, then drove toward the landing to drop the boat and trailer. We found a single landing, but with plenty of room to turn around, and no one waiting. So, what the heck, I think I can put her in there.
With my son on the boat and me watching the rear view, I eased it into the water until my stone guard started to get wet, and the boat floated free. As I pulled the trailer out of the water, I noticed a small crowd up at the top of the ramp. I couldn't tell if they were just watching, or were making bets.Smile
 
We tied the boat off, and went to set up the camper, and to see if the camp store sold life vests to fit a 5 and 7 year old.
 
The next day, Saturday, my boat owning friends pulled their camper in and set up not too far from us. It seems they sold their boat, but came anyway.Confused
 
So, to put this story to rest, our nice, quiet maiden voyage turned into a circus, with friends and relatives already having plans for the boat, from fishing, to tubing, to cruising around. After the first couple trips, I just started throwing them the keys and asked them not to leave the tank empty.Smile
 
The boat performed as well as could be expected, the motor did not leave anyone stranded and I think everyone had a great time.
I think I have discovered pontooningClap
 
 
 


Edited by ressless1 - 08/01/2011 at 12:25pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/13/2011 at 5:10pm
Now that's a great story and a nice pic to highlight it. I've got to say, don't think I've ever seen anyone pull a toon with a motorhome, much less launch one, so I would have loved to have been there Handshake Thumbs Up Beer Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kartracer28 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/13/2011 at 5:39pm
Great Pic  Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CGbosun Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2011 at 3:23pm
Awesome!  The Admiral has been debating about getting a cruiser or a motorhome in two years. Once she sees that photo, I know which one she will decide on!
I really had my heart set on a cruiser, though...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horsinaroundwv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2011 at 2:33pm
I have been lobbying for a motorhome for the past 2 years.  Just a smaller class B, but when we have to be somewhere for a tournament at 6, it would sure be nice to already be there when we wake up!  Not to mention cheaper and nicer than some of the motels we have stayed in.  Mr Wonderful has problems with my plan however.  # 1 was the launching...I will show him this picture!  #2 was is we are somewhere that doesnt have a safe play to tie up/slip that we would have to unhook the motorhome from everthing each time we had to take the boat in and out.  My solution is that we dont go anywhere like that!  # 3 was the same unhook issue if we wanted to go running around or to the store.  My answer is that if we have a motorhome and plan correctly, we shouldn't have to run out and our sightseeing would have to wait.  He is a hard sell, but I am really working on it.
 
Side note...we saw a truck pulling a pontoon pulling a jet ski the other day.  WOW!  That is a dedication to a good time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wal1809 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/08/2013 at 10:14am
To the original poster, don't be too hard on yourself.  After 30 years of boat ownership I have had my "Oh #$%^" moments as well.  A story kind of inline with your steering cable.  My brother and I were building duck blinds in August.  Here in Texas in the August sun the marsh is quite horrible.  It is one degrees above *inappropriate language not permitted*.
 
We were 20 miles from the ramp and 6 miles up in the marsh in my flats boat.  It is made to run in shallow water.  WE were in 6 inches of water but way loaded with lumber.  We were still going but the skeg was buried in the mud.  I made the last 90 degree turn and hear a pop.  He asked what that was and I said I have no idea but it can't be good. 
 
We got to the blind and worked all day still not knowing what the pop was.  When finished I fired up and backed out.  I still had steering when turning right, one time only.  When I went back left I had no more steering, at all.  Mind you we got 20 miles to go, 6 miles of nothing but bad road.  Nobody was going to find us or just happen to come by.  It was either we get this fixed or we walk out.  Walking 20 miles is not my idea of anything fun.  We were also out of water.
 
Fixing the cable was not an option so we came up with the bright idea or rigging dock ropes on the motor to use for steering.  We wrapped them arround and then threaded one through each rear cleet on the rear of the boat.  So if I stopped my brother could pull the right rope or the left rope depending on which way we need to go.  When under power the fact the rope was through the cleet my brother was able to hold it straight.  He was not able to turn it by pulling but could hold it straight.  We had about 40 turns to make to get to the inter coastal waterway.  Once we go there it was a straight shot back to the docks.  Every now and again we would have to stop and straighten her up and then go again.
 
We made it but it was nothing short of a pain.  It was a dern sight ebtter than walking out of alligator and rattlesnake heaven in shorts and flip flops.  I have a whole bunch of these stories so don't be too hard on yourself.
I like boats. Wallis, Texas west of Houston.
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