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Old 02-02-2010, 09:16 AM
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Default Can you "feel" when something isn't right with your boat?

I had a conversation with a fishing buddy last night and he was complaining about things breaking on his boat. I told him that when something isn't right about my boat I track down the problem before it breaks. He asked me how I knew when something wasn't right with the boat, and I told him by the sound or the feel of the boat. He looked at me like he just smelled a load of fresh poop. Nose turned up, eyes squinting, and told me I was full of it.

Every boat I've owned I can tell when something isn't right. I could tell with my Scarab Sport when I had a couple of gallons of water in my engine bracket. I can feel when I pick up a load of weeds on my swim platform by the way the boat runs. I can tell the difference in the boat with a full tank -vs- half full tank of fuel. I can tell by the throttle response if I have water in my fuel. I could tell by the vibration on my Mako that I had a piece about the size of a quarter missing from a prop blade. I couldn't tell how big it was until I looked but I could feel it.

Maybe it's because I've owned boats for so long but I get a feel of the boat and I can tell when something isn't right. I don't think it's my imagination either because I've proven it to myself many, many times.

My buddy thinks I'm crazy and the only way to tell if something isn't right is when it breaks. I told him I bet the majority of boat owners would agree with me that they can feel when something isn't right about their boat.

Am I nuts, do I have ESP, or do most of you experience the same thing?

Russ
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:20 AM
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I don't call it ESP

I call it being observant and learning from it . . . that is why some people hardly have serious mechanical problems, and they are part of that 10% that catch all of the fish !

Congrats ! . . . because so many (others) do not get past step 1
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:21 AM
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Nope, I think you are right. Same with cars. If you are familiar enough with how they perform you can tell when something is not right.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:28 AM
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Yes, I can tell when something is not running right, but by then it is broken! By your own admission:

" I could tell by the vibration on my Mako that I had a piece about the size of a quarter missing from a prop blade. I couldn't tell how big it was until I looked but I could feel it."

The difference I think is how you handle a small problem, IE a small chunk missing from the prop, fix it before it gets worse or vibration gets a bearing.

Some thinks break with out any warning, For example I had a water pump go bad, the plate behind the pump rusted out, no warning just started leaking. But I knew it happen very quickly, because "something did not smell right" The smell was not big, but I looked until I found it, I probably could have cruised all day or week until it went from a little leak, with no problem, until major leak with no cooling. Again catching things early makes all the difference.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:31 AM
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Agreed, your friend needs to spend more time getting to know his boat.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:47 AM
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My boat talks to me.






j/k

When you are used to a boat sure you can tell something's "funny", especially if you operate the same boat every day for over 100 days straight I would say you "know your boat".
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:48 AM
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I feel like I check my gauges every 30sec when running, wife says I have OCD, I call it preventive maintenance.

So yes, I like to feel like I know when something is wrong.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:54 AM
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I would say yes...and no. For the prop with a piece missing out of it and other things relating to the engine, I would say you are correct, especially when running in smooth water. I don't think the prop missing a small piece would be too noticeable in 3-4' seas or larger. The difference between a full tank and a 1/2 tank can make a significant difference, that can be a couple of hundred pounds and noticeable in both smooth water and rough seas. I do find it hard to believe that a couple of gallons of water (25-30lbs) in the motor bracket or a hand full of weeds stuck to the swim platform would make a noticeable difference unless the boat was severely underpowered.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:03 AM
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Mechanical things that you have had for a while are like women.
You have to treat them with respect all the time.
Start to neglect them and you can expect problems to come up.
When all is well, you know it, it really becomes a "feeling" that all is right with the world.
When something is "Off", you know that too. That's when you pay closer attention to the sound, feel, attitude, response, etc and start narrowing down what it may be.

We all have ridden with some one else in their car or truck when you jump in and start down the road and you say,
"What's that sound?",
"What's that vibration?",
"What's that smell?" etc
and the driver says
"What sound?"
"What vibration?"
"What smell?"

It's called paying attention. Not everyone can catch everything all the time but some are oblivious.

Woo Daves, a well known fisherman to the bass world explained in a seminar how to fish a plastic worm in cover.
He explained in order to tell when you have a bite you MUST know what it feel like not to have a bite. When it feels different, out of the ordinary, set the hook!
The same with mechanical things, you must know what it feels like when all is well, when it feels different, you may have just had your first warning of a possible issue.
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:34 AM
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I get used to the sound of the boat and when something starts coming loose I can hear it and tape it back together.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:04 AM
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Yes.
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Old 02-02-2010, 11:13 AM
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The big question is if you can feel which horse will win the daily double tomorrow at NY's Aqueduct racetrack. Call me if you can and we'll both be rich.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:16 PM
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Yes, but I am usually clueless as to when I have managed to piss off the wife.
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Old 02-02-2010, 12:34 PM
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Absolutely, on most anything that moves... Its about experience as much as a watchful eye... I think that very few things really fail without some sort of warning, thats what I look for, the little warnings.. Thats when to do something..

ie: About a year ago I noticed the boat went from bone dry to accumulating enough water for the bilge to come on for 5-10 seconds when I took off, was very little, but more than nothing. Fast forward a year to the Marelon/brass valve thread, replaced the valve and I'm bone dry again... Should have looked harder the few times I did look!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billatstarbrite View Post
Yes, but I am usually clueless as to when I have managed to piss off the wife.
The one word answers are usually my clue, by then its too late anyway..
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:00 PM
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It doesn't always work, but you are right. Most of the time you can tell that something doesn't feel quite right, even if you can't identify exactly what it is right away.
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:25 PM
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"It doesn't always work, but you are right. Most of the time you can tell that something doesn't feel quite right, even if you can't identify exactly what it is right away."

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Old 02-02-2010, 01:30 PM
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I own a Yellowfin, it was built by a God, it never breaks, it is God like! If it does, it awakens Wylie and he is waiting at the dock to fix it!
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Old 02-02-2010, 01:46 PM
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Unexpected loud noises usually = $$$$$$$$
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:42 PM
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Ha ha some really funny answers. Let me clarify, when I get a load of weeds on my swim platform it's not a hand full.

Bill- This is a good one!! Yes, but I am usually clueless as to when I have managed to piss off the wife.

I can clarify this, fishing more than twice a week will likely piss off the wife!

I guess my fishing buddy doesn't know his boat, but he is a fairly new boater so it may just take some time.

Russ
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Old 02-02-2010, 02:43 PM
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Yup - Case in point. One time I felt my port engine wasn't going in and out of gear as easily as it should. I checked the fluid and found a strawberry milkshake.

My tranny cooler sprung a leak and I got saltwater mixed into the tranny. Quick work, a new cooler and 5 oil change/flushes over 2 days and she's still going.

Without that feel and follow-up I would have trashed the tranny and been down much longer.
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