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Author Topic:   New Montauk/new boater...what I've learned
delasource posted 08-18-2005 07:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for delasource   Send Email to delasource  
Just had my new Montauk on the lake for the first time and thank all of you who helped me decide on a BW.

But I've learned a few lessons:

1. Yes, you can tow a 17' Montauk with the Volvo family sedan over 600 miles starting in Twin Rivers WI, but the "Transmission Service Required" light will start to glow as you drive over the Mackinaw Bridge if you had the AC on all the way through the Upper Peninsula of MI.

2. Poorly finished fibreglas edges on the anchor hatch are as effective as a scalpel in removing a 1" x 4" strip of flesh on my achilles tendon.

3. There are no breaks on a boat and reverse doesn't affect forward motion as fast as I needed it sometimes.

4. Most pontoon boaters put down their beers and shoot envious glances as you pass.

5. Launching and loading your boat for the first time is worse than your first school dance.

6. Finally, I LOVE THIS BOAT!

Thanks again for all of the good advise and community spirit.


jmontani posted 08-18-2005 09:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for jmontani    

Congrats on the new boat! Sorry about the gash.

I pick up mine next week! Can't wait.

I learned a few lessons with my sailboat. As a rule they are not powered like motor boats. At 14,000lbs, I have a single 35hp motor for manuvering and docking. The first few times were interesting.

I know that an under-powered 36ft sailboat and a 17 ft Whaler w/90hp are two different things, but going into a dock use the same priciples. I am not an expert, but a little practice will pay off in not having repairs to the hull.

Here are a few things I learned...(Some the hard way)

Go into a quiet cove and pratice manuvers. Us a life jacket as a target.

1. Look for the wind and determine which way it is going to push you. When ever possible, dock into the wind. It sounds funny, but the wind will help push you away if things get away from you. If you get into a jam, put the boat in neutral and let the wind take you away from the dock. It will give you time to clear your head and re-group.

2. Figure out your "glide zone" - In gear to Neutral - slowing to a stop.

3. Approach the target (slow) and use reverse to stop without moving backwards. Do the same with backing down. This will help you adjust to the "no breaks" issue.

4. Practice figure 8s in reverse, both directions. This will help in boat position around the docks.

5. Take you time around the docks. As long as the boat is moving / tracking in the direction you need to go, you are using enough power. A soft rub is a lot easier to remove than a hard collision.

6. Pull along side the jacket and use reverse and forward to "walk-in." Kind of like parallel parking. This will help with figuring out required thrust to move the boat in tight places.

A little practice and you'll be a natural!

I know that some of this sounds like bringing in the "Queen Mary," but avoidable damage to my boat is probably the single thing that will put me in a lousy mood on the water. After all it was MY FAULT. By the way, almost all of us have put on the "show" of poor docking at one time. Nothing like a the roar of the crowd on Saturday afternoon!

Just my thoughts.

whalerdude posted 08-18-2005 10:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalerdude  Send Email to whalerdude     
just curious, why did you go all the way to Twin Cities Marine to buy your boat? I did not think their prices were that competetive.
Buckda posted 08-18-2005 10:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Great advice above, re:close quarter maneuvering.

The worst experiences I've had a docks are always my fault and are almost always because I'm in some kind of hurry: have to go to the bathroom; trying to beat a storm, preoccupied with the weather; etc.

This is important advice above. Take the time to size up the situation, and practice, as described above, can actually be fun and is a great excuse to use the boat more: "Honey...I have to go practice!"

Congratulations on the boat!


Chuck Tribolet posted 08-18-2005 11:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
If you go too slow, wind and current will take over from
the motor.

I like to dock on the upwind side of the dock. Just slow
down, stop six inches from the dock and let the wind blow
the boat to the dock.

When you pop it into reverse, the prop will walk the stern
to port. You can use this to your advantage if the dock
is on the port side.

Take your time, and don't panic. You'll get good at it by and


erik selis posted 08-19-2005 04:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Very good advice from jmontani there.

Steve, is your new 17-ft Montauk a 170 Montauk or the previous model? These two boats are totally different when manoeuvring at slow speeds.

The 170 Montauk is very, very sensitive to wind and it takes a lot of practice to get her docked into a tight space. Docking into the wind is very good advice.

The 170 Montauk is also very sensitive to shifting into reverse. The prop effect is enormous. Much more than the classic Montauk or an 18-ft Outrage for that matter.

Chuck's advice about using the wind to your advantage is good advice.

I always take it slow. As slow as the wind will allow.


Bulldog posted 08-19-2005 08:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Steve, congrats on the boat! We were all newbies at one time, and I don't think there is anyone who never made a mistake. There is a saying about boats, "There are the people that forgot to put the drain plug in , and the ones who haven't done it YET!" Whalers at least take that problem down to a minor inconvience, many people don't put them in at all.Remember boating is supposed to be fun, no matter what happens don't get upset with yourself or your crew......Jack
delasource posted 08-19-2005 11:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for delasource  Send Email to delasource     
Thanks all for your encouragement and suggestions on docking.

To answer a few questions:

Why Twin Cities Marine and not the local BW dealer?

Realizing that there wasn't any change between model years, I was searching for value in a new 1994 170 Montauk and my local dealer in Michigan only had 1995 models available. From that point I contacted all dealers within a reasonable distance and found Twin Cities Marine. They had what I wanted and a very fair price. They were very professional and concerned about dealer territories, first clearing that I had contacted the local BW dealer and made sure that I couldn't buy it there.

This is our first boat and I've read the BW dealership horror stories in these posts. The purchase and delivery process could not have been better. Twin Cities, a BW Master Dealer, is a family owned business that BW should use as an example of what should be expected in service. I highly recommend them.

Eric: It is a 170 Montauk and I did notice the sensitivity in reverse. Thanks for your past advise on towing with the Volvo. All I did was set off a temperature harm to the transmission, just a flush and new fluid got me back to normal.

Thanks eveyone.


13sport posted 08-19-2005 01:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for 13sport    
I bet you're really looking forward to Y2K.


delasource posted 08-19-2005 02:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for delasource  Send Email to delasource     

Seeing as I survived the original Y2K without worring about it, your message confuses me.

13sport posted 08-19-2005 03:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for 13sport    

I'm sorry, I am being my usual wise a$$ self. You talked about buying a new 1994 170 Montauk instead of a 1995. I thought maybe you were decade challenged. It's probably me.

In any case, I'm green with envy. If it's a Montauk, whether a 1994 or 2004 you have a great boat.


delasource posted 08-19-2005 05:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for delasource  Send Email to delasource     

Thanks for waking Rip Van Winkle up! I am decade challanged. My boat is truly a 2004 Montauk and not a 1994. But, I have been saving since 1994 for the boat.


davej14 posted 08-28-2005 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     

I tow my 14 ft Dauntless with a Volvo Wagon and never had the transmission light come on. It progbably weighs about the same as your 170. Make sure you are towing with the overdrive disengaged. Just a thought.

Congratulations on the new acquisition.

jimh posted 08-29-2005 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Air Conditioning? While driving in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? Unheard of!
Marlin posted 08-29-2005 12:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
I tow my 160 Dauntless, approximately the same weight as the 170 Montauk, with a 2002 Volvo V70 wagon. In the past, I've said it does an just-adequate job. Since getting rid of the lousy Michelin Energy tires and putting on some Pirelli P-Zeros, my ability to handle wet ramps is far better.

But... (and it's a big but!)

This summer I had to replace the transmission in the vehicle, at 3 years old with 62000 miles. Yes, I always tow out of overdrive. Yes, I drive like a granny. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, I'm still pissed. Yes, I'm looking at 5000-pound-capable SUVs now.

Did towing the boat have anything to do with this transmission failure? I honestly can't say, but my gut feel is that the car really isn't up to handling its 3300 pound rating.


jimh posted 08-29-2005 01:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I bet that transmission cost more than a used Ford Crown Victoria. My 1993 Crown Vic (the "Tow Vehicle of the Year" that year in TRAILER BOAT MAGAZINE) could tow a MONTAUK for 100,000 more miles. With a 4.6-L V8, rear wheel drive, and a rating of 5,000-pounds towing, it is a better choice.
Marlin posted 08-29-2005 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
Argument from me? Not likely.

Volvo corporate agreed with our contention that although the vehicle was out of warranty, this failure was "unreasonable". They kicked in a new tranny, my cost was for installation only. Really, kudos to Volvo for standing behind their product.

I really didn't want another vehicle, and I'm not that thrilled with going from a 30 MPG vehicle to an 18 MPG vehicle, but it's clear that a different tow vehicle is in order. The fact that my daughter will be taking the Volvo off to college next year gives me an opportunity to act, I guess.

In case you're wondering, a new Volvo transmission costs $4000, and $1200 to install.


Marlin posted 09-06-2005 08:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
No more towing with the Volvo. This weekend I bought an '04 Ford Explorer with a V8 and 4WD. I towed the boat 150 miles round-trip to southern Maryland, with the Explorer just loafing along.

Tow ratings be damned, towing with the Explorer is NOTHING like towing with the Volvo! "C'mon launch ramp, be slimy, I dare you!"

With a few months of "employee discounts" from the US automakers, the lots (around northern VA, anyway) are stuffed with late-model tradeins. Very, very good deals are available right now.


delasource posted 09-08-2005 10:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for delasource  Send Email to delasource     

Thanks for the advise. I'm reconsidering using my Volvo S80 sedan next season.
While Volvo stands behind their products, as my car is reaching the 80,000 mile range, so I think that the $5000+ tranny replacement would come form my pocket.

What mileage are you getting with the Explorer?


I don't know about the Crown Victoria. It's bad enough that I'm a bald old guy. My self image might not survive.

BYT, it was HOT in the UP during that drive. It must have been all of those pasties I ate.


Marlin posted 09-08-2005 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     

So far I've only had the Explorer for a weekend. It's rated something like 15/19 MPG. That sounds pretty bad compared to the Volvo's 21/27, but consider that I really get about 16 MPG in the Volvo when I tow my 160 Dauntless (almost a 50% decrease in highway mileage). I expect that the Explorer's mileage will not drop nearly so much when towing, so in the end the difference might not be all that great.

So far, I've put 15 gallons of gas in the Explorer after driving about 240 miles, or about 16 MPG. That was mostly highway travel, and a little less than half of it was towing. Altogether, the data doesn't really mean much yet.

I can say with certainty that I could have bought a year's worth of gas for the Explorer with the money I spent on transmission repairs.


Buckda posted 09-08-2005 03:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Bob -

Don't count on it.

I have a 2002 Explorer V-6 and it's rated for (something like) 18 City and 21 Highway.

I keep very detailed records of service on the vehicle, as well as recording date, mileage, price per gallon, gallons purchased, brand, octane rating and location of the fuel station at every fill-up. I also have a column for notes: "Cold weather (Below 15 degrees); Hot Weather (above 90 Degrees); Deep Snow (Snow covered roads); Tow (Towing my 18' Outrage); Highway; City and Mix" These designations help me work though the mileage for various activities.

I get about 16-18 MPG in city traffic (Chicago), and about 19-20 on the highway. I saw 21 MPG on ONE tank of gas, and haven't seen it since.

The truck usually is fed 89 octane fuel (almost religiously).

I see between 11 and 13 MPG when towing the 18' Outrage.

Incidentally - the lows and highs for fuel was $1.01 outside of Cincinnati in 2003 to $3.44 in Christmas Michigan last weekend (both for 89 octane).

I have 81,000 miles on the vehicle and have not had any transmission or other major problems and overall, I have to say that I've been very pleased with the vehicle.

pete10 posted 09-08-2005 05:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for pete10  Send Email to pete10     
buckda, do you know there is medication that can help
Buckda posted 09-08-2005 05:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Pete -

The excercise is the medicine. Every time I think about buying a full-size truck, I take a look at what this truck costs me:
$515 a month payment 0% financing, thank God!
$75 city parking fee
$85 state license fee
$120 a week in gas (minimum - I drive 60 miles a day to and from work)
$100 a month in insurance
plus oil changes, two differentials, tranfer case, and other standard maintenance items including air filters, carwash, etc....oh, and TOLLS!

Knowing the true cost of owning a vehicle quickly cures you of thinking about a car as an "investment" and helps you to put it on the books as one of my largest monthly expenses.

The anal record keeping is the medicine that keeps the yearning for a full-size at bay...

I just thought that this information would be helpful. EPA estimates, in my recent experience, are not very helpful in determining the actual economy realized in everyday use.

Hal Watkins posted 09-08-2005 06:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hal Watkins  Send Email to Hal Watkins     
Hello Steve,
Did you get the '04 170 with the 60HP that twoCities still had in stock? I looked at it July but couldn't get the "Minister of Finance" to cut me a check. If you is the 60 HP performance? If you didn't...DOH!
delasource posted 09-08-2005 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for delasource  Send Email to delasource     

I got the 90 four stroke and it is well worth it. Good luck with your search.


Marlin posted 09-11-2005 04:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     

I put another 200 mile round-drip towing the 160 Dauntless with the Explorer this weekend. While I don't have the kind of records that you do, it looks like I got about 14 MPG for the trip; that's probably accurate within about 1 MPG either way. Just the cost of doing business, I guess.


swist posted 09-12-2005 07:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I tyraded in my Explorer for an Escape, bad gas mileage being one of the reasons. If you have a smaller boat to tow (Montauk size) you might look into one of the many "mini-SUV"s on the market (Toyota RAV-4 is also a popular one). You still have the advantages of 4WD and high ground clearance for the launch ramp, and much better gas mileage. Mine has a class II (3500 lb) tow package.
Binkie posted 09-12-2005 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     
jimh, you mention that I never agree with you, but in this case I do. I just bought a `98 Lincoln Town Car for the same reason, to use it as a tow vehicle. I laugh at the big SUV and pickup drivers all the way to the gas pump.

delasource, if driving an older sedan deflates your self image, you have some sort of a personal problem.

delasource posted 09-12-2005 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for delasource  Send Email to delasource     

No offense to old car lovers or lovers of old cars. Maybe it's my history of using land yachts like a 357 Chevy SuperSport to haul drywall during multiple home restorations over the years the make me think twice about doing it again. I've repaired too many of those behemoths.


bigjohn1 posted 09-12-2005 06:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
"I laugh at the big SUV and pickup drivers all the way to the gas pump"

That is an interesting comment in the context of gas mileage. A Lincoln Town Car gets substantially better fuel mileage than SUV's or pickup trucks?

Marlin posted 09-12-2005 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
The 2006 Town Car is EPA rated at 18/25, and has a tow rating of only 1500 pounds. A 1996 Crown Vic (model year chosen basically at random) is rated 17/25, with a tow capacity all the way up to 5000 pounds. Plus, market value is a very affordable $2500, if you want (and want to maintain) a 10-year-old car. Either way, fuel economy is good compared to the truck-based SUVs, and in the same neighborhood as the mid-sized car-based SUVs.
crawl posted 09-19-2005 04:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for crawl  Send Email to crawl     
You guys with the cars to tow your babys may have a definate point. My f250 with the 6ltr although I love it and the power it provides definatly hurts at the pump, what used to be about 16-20 bucks for a fill up has become more like 70. If you can get a car to pull your trailer and not have a white knuckle trip to the ramp every time good on ya.
bigjohn1 posted 09-19-2005 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1  Send Email to bigjohn1     
Marlin, I guess you got me there...not many good used pickups or SUV's in that price range so I guess the cars get the nod in this instance for sure.
b5078643 posted 09-19-2005 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for b5078643  Send Email to b5078643     
Docking has been described as a controlled crash!
It definitely can be a stressful experience. I developed confidence by having an accomplished boating friend give me lessons on the water, and by going to a 2 day powerboat school at Annapolis Sailing School. Well worth the $$$.
take it slow , use neutral often to slow down and remember everyone is / was there once.

Enjoy your boat.


USIntertrade posted 09-19-2005 05:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for USIntertrade  Send Email to USIntertrade     
Hey Folks!

I'm new here and hopefully will be a Montauk 17 owner very soon.

I have towed MANY vehicles with little problems, but have put FOUR transmissions in my old Le Baron (in which I did not tow anything). I found that an aftermarket transmission cooler REALLY DOES WORK!!! They're in-expensive (around $30.00 or less) and any idiot can install one in about 30 minutes with only a screw driver and pair of pliers. For those who already know this, pass it on. Thanks for your interest.

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