Spring Train­ing

BOAT RE­CENTLY ON THE HARD? THE FIRST CRUISE OF THE SEA­SON IS A CRU­CIAL TIME TO RUN THROUGH AN OP­ER­A­TIONAL CHECK­LIST.

Power & Motor Yacht - - POWER & TECHNOLOGY -

and the gauges and trans­mis­sion are func­tion­ing. Af­ter 10 min­utes I’ll shut it down and start the other en­gine and re­peat the process. Af­ter the se­cond en­gine passes all of the in­spec­tion points, I crank up the gen­er­a­tor. Once the genset is purring and putting out juice, I’ll switch off the shore power, restart both en­gines, and pre­pare to leave the dock.

When I head out on that first spring run from my home­port in New Jersey, I of­ten won­der how the river sur­vived the win­ter. New ob­struc­tions could be lit­ter­ing the fair­way, and shoals could have de­vel­oped due to win­ter storms. Al­though the chan­nel is marked, some of the buoys could be off sta­tion or miss­ing en­tirely, so I plod along at dis­place­ment speed, watch­ing the gauges, be­com­ing reac­quainted with en­gine noise, and con­firm­ing the steer­ing is firm.

En­ter­ing the deeper wa­ters of the in­let, I line up the sea buoy a mile off­shore to ver­ify my com­pass is on its mark and be­gin throt­tling up, get­ting the boat on plane. I keep a log with all of the en­gines’ speed and per­for­mance num­bers, tem­per­a­ture ranges and sim­i­lar data, so it’s easy to con­firm ev­ery­thing is op­er­at­ing prop­erly while I run a good hour up the beach, pick­ing a course away from other boat traf­fic. This gives me an op­por­tu­nity to fire up the elec­tron­ics and test the equip­ment.

When the course ahead is clear, I’ll stretch the throt­tles open and let all of the ponies out of the sta­ble, mak­ing sure the en­gines hit WOT rpm. With a clean bot­tom, cold air, and min­i­mal cruis­ing gear aboard, I ex­pect to see a few extra rpm, and that’s fine, too.

The first ride aboard a boat that’s just come off the hard is al­ways great. It’s also a good op­por­tu­nity to con­firm your boat is equipped with a func­tion­ing VHF ra­dio, flares, reg­is­tra­tion, tools, and spare parts should you need them. Back at the dock, I nose around the en­gine com­part­ment and lazarette search­ing and sniff­ing for any anom­alies.

If all looks good, next up is to tend to an­cil­lary sys­tems, in­clud­ing wash­down and livewell pumps, air con­di­tion­ing, the fresh-wa­ter tank and other plumb­ing ac­ces­sories. Fi­nally, when leav­ing the boat for its first night in the wa­ter alone, I dou­ble check dock and moor­ing lines and make sure the shore power cord is plugged in se­curely. I also spend a few min­utes wait­ing to see if a bilge pump comes on and if it does, I go back aboard and find out why. It’s best to be pre­pared when the spring cruis­ing sea­son ar­rives.

Care­ful in­spec­tions can make all the dif­fer­ence.

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