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 Remote gear shift lever for outboard
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dmarion
1st Mate

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Canada
63 Posts

Initially Posted - 11/05/2019 :  12:29:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My 250 is equiped with a basic Honda 8hp 8BF outboard motor. The problem when I try (notice the 'try') to enter my slip is that I have to steer the boat with the tiller and bend down to shift gear into neutral and/or reverse, loosing sight of where I am heading. I wonder if someone has installed a remote shift gear lever. I looked up the Honda web site but it seems that the gear shift kits are more for the electric motors.
Thanks.

Daniel Marion
Zendo
Cat 250 WB 2001 Hull #592
Valleyfield, QC,
Canada

Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
5124 Posts

Response Posted - 11/05/2019 :  15:51:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Daniel,
I wonder ó how quickly are you moving when you approach the dock? Where I am, thereís no current and some wind, but I literally move at a snails pace when I return. I put the engine at idle when I enter the fairway between the docks, and even thatís too fast so I alternately proceed in forward, then neutral, then forward, neutral until I am abreast of my dock finger.
I donít have to look at the tiller or transmission lever, I do it by feel. Now Iím usually sitting down when I enter the dock, so I donít have to bend down.
At this point, I push the tiller hard which stops and turns me 90į, then I go in reverse to back into the slip. Iíll rev the motor in reverse for a moment to ďprop walkĒ my stern into alignment and back up a short way using both the rudder and engine. With five feet left to go, I put the engine in neutral and hop onto the dock with my forward cleated springline in hand to stop the boat.
Then, I grab the bow line and secure it to the dock cleat, then the stern line. Last I secure the other springline.
If I try to move too quickly, something always goes haywire.
I donít have to look at the engine tiller since itís all done by feel.

I have it easy now but when I first got Passage, I was on a tidal river with 2-3kt currents either up river parallel to the slip or down river at 45į to the dock. Windier too. That prepares you for anything.

You might try practicing docking away from the other boats at an isolated swim platform or near a mooring where there are few other boats. Thatís how I learned to drive the boat in reverse.


Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT

Edited by - Voyager on 11/05/2019 16:04:05
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5775 Posts

Response Posted - 11/05/2019 :  17:17:51  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with Bruce that SLOW is the trick to docking. In fact, I usually either kill my motor or shift it into neutral when about 4-5 boat lengths from my slip and let it coast in the rest of the way. If it stops before it's all the way into the slip, I pull it in the rest of the way with a boat hook. Use your motor to get close to your slip, but let it coast the rest of the way. That eliminates you having to shift into neutral or reverse on short notice. If you're going slow enough, you won't need reverse to stop the boat. I never enter a slip without having a boat hook close at hand.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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dmarion
1st Mate

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Canada
63 Posts

Response Posted - 11/05/2019 :  20:01:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the comments. I look forward to the new season and really practice my docking.

Daniel Marion
Zendo
Cat 250 WB 2001 Hull #592
Valleyfield, QC,
Canada
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8930 Posts

Response Posted - 11/06/2019 :  07:36:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One of my favorite old saws is, "Never approach a dock any faster than you're willing to hit it." Of course, I violate this occasionally with my current $+!nkp*+, which is much more susceptible to cross-winds than my fin keel C-25 was. But with both boats, I learned to use the motor to pivot the boat outside of the slip, and then use a short burst to start her in, and shift to neutral. Then I would use a spring-line from the end of my finger dock to a midship cleat to stop the boat and pull her toward the dock. The objective is not to be making ad hoc power bursts, forward or reverse, if I can help it.

Part of the "pivoting" process involves learning to use "prop-walk", which is the tendency of a burst of forward thrust at slow or no speed to push the stern to starboard, and reverse thrust to pull the stern to port--even without turning the outboard. If you're moving slowly forward and shift into reverse, the boat will tend to pivot so the bow moves to starboard.

Another tactic I'll use in a strong wind or current that's behind me on the approach and a cross-wind/current in my slip, is I'll go past the slip, pivot the boat 180 deg., and come back so I'm making the approach up-wind/current.

I can't say how these things would apply to your situation, but I can say that I learned a lot about maneuvering inboard and outboard boats through my 75 years, and keep learning. I've "bumped" a few docks in my day... But a few years ago, on a historic diesel "single-screw" launch I captained at the Mystic Seaport Museum, I figured out how to use the rudder and prop-walk to "walk" the boat sideways into a spot on the dock where there was no approach angle... It felt cool to have tourists stop on the wharf and watch...

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic/Stonington CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 $+!nkp*+ Sarge

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 11/06/2019 07:59:37
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5775 Posts

Response Posted - 11/06/2019 :  08:53:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There's sound logic behind going very slowly. If you enter the slip fast, you have to shift into reverse at exactly the right moment, and apply exactly the right amount of throttle to stop the boat before it hits the dock. Also, if the boat isn't perfectly aligned in the slip, and starts to hit a piling or your neighbor's boat, the boat's speed doesn't allow you much time to correct it or to fend off. If you're going DFS (dead freaking slow), bad things don't happen as fast, and you'll have plenty of time to react, and to prevent a bad result. If you bump a piling gently, no harm. If you hit it hard, you can scuff or crack your gelcoat.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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dmarion
1st Mate

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Canada
63 Posts

Response Posted - 11/06/2019 :  11:39:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks again, guys. This sounds like good advice. Something to look forward to when or if Spring comes back our way up North.

Daniel Marion
Zendo
Cat 250 WB 2001 Hull #592
Valleyfield, QC,
Canada
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TakeFive
Master Marine Consultant

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2268 Posts

Response Posted - 11/06/2019 :  21:44:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
A few other points:

Sometimes thrusts of throttle are necessary and unavoidable. (More on that later.) Thrusts of throttle in reverse can cause the motor to exceed the limits of the locking mechanism, causing the motor to pull out of the water and expose the prop. So if you are in a situation where you know you will need a sudden burst of thrust to slow the boat, it's best to move the boat in reverse, and make your burst of thrust in forward. Plus, the prop is cupped to provide more efficient, cavitation-free thrust in forward.

It can also be very helpful to connect the motor to the rudder via a hard link. That way you can quickly turn the motor to apply the thrust in the desired direction. And you can also turn the boat at speeds that are too slow to have rudder control. See blurry pictures about halfway down this page to see my prior setup:

http://www.catalina-capri-25s.org/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=20807&whichpage=3

Finally, it may be impossible to proceed at slow speed if a 2+ knot current is pushing you into your slip. Such was the case at my prior marina. I would back into the marina's fairway all the way to the slip, because with a current like that it was impossible to stop and reverse direction - the current would just cause you to lose control. In this video you can see the technique. In order to have rudder control the boat had to be moving into the slip faster than the current. Once the boat entered the slip, my wife knew to put the motor in forward to slow the boat. In this case I grabbed a springline to stop the boat. Occasionally I couldn't reach the springline, and she knew in those cases to gun the motor aggressively to stop the boat. Eventually I learned to do all this singlehanded by sitting to the side of the wheel and reaching back to the shift lever with my left hand:

https://youtu.be/rQamrZ09YcY

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
PO of Take Five, 1998 Catalina 250WK #348 (relocated to Baltimore's Inner Harbor)
New owner of 2001 Catalina 34MkII #1535 Breakin' Away (at Rock Hall Landing Marina)

Edited by - TakeFive on 11/07/2019 07:19:02
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dmarion
1st Mate

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Canada
63 Posts

Response Posted - 11/07/2019 :  07:07:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cool... :-)

Daniel Marion
Zendo
Cat 250 WB 2001 Hull #592
Valleyfield, QC,
Canada
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Voyager
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
5124 Posts

Response Posted - 11/08/2019 :  06:01:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Daniel, just going back to your original question, on my 17 year old Honda 8HP engine, the throttle controls and the forward/reverse lever are mechanical connections. Presumably the throttle is connected via a cable so in theory it would be capable of being remoted into the cockpit. The direction handle is connected directly through a short rod into a pivot controlling a long threaded rod that connects the top of the engine head to the bottom unit. Whenever I remove the bottom unit, I have to unscrew a coupler on that rod to do so.
In my view it would require a fair amount of invention to make that control remote inside the cockpit. Again, perhaps some kind of cable mechanism...
Perhaps another brand or model of engine would be better adapted to this application.
As well, electric thrusters have been debated on this forum. For tidal waters with strong currents, theyíre not generally advised. On large lakes etc they may be an option.

Bruce Ross
Passage ~ SR-FK ~ C25 #5032

Port Captain ó Milford, CT
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5775 Posts

Response Posted - 11/08/2019 :  06:33:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There's another consideration here. You need to be careful that, in trying to solve one problem, you don't create another. I have sailed boats that had remote engine controls mounted in the cockpit, and the sheets had an annoying habit of falling onto the control handle and snagging while tacking the boat. I have also seen a remote throttle get bumped when someone's leg brushed against it, opening or closing the throttle at an inopportune time.

IMO, it's best to find a solution without adding hardware, but, if you decide to add hardware, be very thoughtful of where you place it.

Steve Milby J/24 "Captiva Wind"
previously C&C 35, Cal 25, C25 TR/FK, C22
Past Commodore
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dmarion
1st Mate

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Canada
63 Posts

Response Posted - 11/08/2019 :  09:36:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After reading all the above comments, which are all very useful, I think that I will go with a very basic solution by adding a short extension rod to the gear lever on the engine. That way, I will not have to bend so much when shifting from Forward to Neutral while approaching the slip. The trottle is not a problem but I could add also an extension available from the local chandler. With your advice and some practice to perfect my docking skills, the stress should be lessen. Nevertheless, the boat next to mine can take a few bumps. :-)
Thanks again and fair winds!

Daniel Marion
Zendo
Cat 250 WB 2001 Hull #592
Valleyfield, QC,
Canada
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GaryB
Master Marine Consultant

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USA
4239 Posts

Response Posted - 11/08/2019 :  18:08:06  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Stinkpotter

One of my favorite old saws is, "Never approach a dock any faster than you're willing to hit it." Of course, I violate this occasionally with my current $+!nkp*+, which is much more susceptible to cross-winds than my fin keel C-25 was. But with both boats, I learned to use the motor to pivot the boat outside of the slip, and then use a short burst to start her in, and shift to neutral. Then I would use a spring-line from the end of my finger dock to a midship cleat to stop the boat and pull her toward the dock. The objective is not to be making ad hoc power bursts, forward or reverse, if I can help it.

Part of the "pivoting" process involves learning to use "prop-walk", which is the tendency of a burst of forward thrust at slow or no speed to push the stern to starboard, and reverse thrust to pull the stern to port--even without turning the outboard. If you're moving slowly forward and shift into reverse, the boat will tend to pivot so the bow moves to starboard.

Another tactic I'll use in a strong wind or current that's behind me on the approach and a cross-wind/current in my slip, is I'll go past the slip, pivot the boat 180 deg., and come back so I'm making the approach up-wind/current.

I can't say how these things would apply to your situation, but I can say that I learned a lot about maneuvering inboard and outboard boats through my 75 years, and keep learning. I've "bumped" a few docks in my day... But a few years ago, on a historic diesel "single-screw" launch I captained at the Mystic Seaport Museum, I figured out how to use the rudder and prop-walk to "walk" the boat sideways into a spot on the dock where there was no approach angle... It felt cool to have tourists stop on the wharf and watch...


Dave's just being modest. Here's a couple videos of him docking in tight places...

Dave Docking 1

And again


Association Member

GaryB
Andiamo
'89 SR/WK #5862
Kemah,TX
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