Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wrap Around Rear Seat

All great things often take time.  Sometimes to much time perhaps?  We first offered wrap around rear seating in the 17.6 Closed Bows.  I was not perfectly happy with the rear seating so I never mentioned the option unless asked.  We finally made time to build fiberglass bases for the wrap around seats and did it right.  The fruits of our efforts are now available on all models of Dyna-Ski Boats.  One thing I noticed about white boats is they look much better in person than in pictures. This Dyna-Ski Boat looks awesome.

20' Open Bow Dyna-Ski with a single color white interior.

The rear seat as it looks from the passenger bench.

Passenger Bench Seat

Behind the drivers bucket seat

Behind the passenger seat

In the 20' Open Bow with the Sun Deck there is so much storage space you will forget where you put things just like my garage!

The Open Bow seating is the same on all models.

 This Dyna-Ski 20' Open Bow is powered by an Evinrude 225 HO.
Motor easily pushes the boat at 54 mph with a 4 blade 17" pitch water ski prop.
Optional extra swim platform is on the left side.

Hydraulic tilt steering, GPS Speedometer, trim, fuel, water pressure & voltage all monitored.

This Dyna-Ski is headed for a salt water user so it rides on a special Phoenix Trailer.

Full length bunks, bow stops, keel roller, swing tongue, vertical side guides, the works!

Time to purchase your last boat perhaps?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Boat Lifts information and insights

I own seven boat lifts. I like the aluminum cantilever style as I live on a shallow lake. Cantilever lifts go lower than vertical lifts generally, they are easier to repair and usually less expensive to purchase new or used.  Four of them are Port-a-Lift by Port-a-Dock.  I bought them all used finding most on CraigsList.   Two have bunks and two have the standard boat support system.  The longer bunks support the boat better and also seem to be easier to keep the boat level on the lift.  One has a canopy.  Two have 2000 lbs capacity (for 17.6's) and two have 2600 lbs capacity (20' models with one engine). The most notable difference of the two different capacity lifts are the winches. The Hydrodyne on the left is my friend's 1989 and my 1987 is on the canopy lift. We float all the lifts into place during the spring and winch them out in the fall after loosing them from the sandy bottom with a big mechanical jack.  The same jacks I use to level the docks. It is about 36" to 40" at the end of my dock.  We sit or hop off the dock and ski away with standard length water ski ropes.

The width of the bunks should be about the same as the boat trailer bunks.  If possible I like the bow of the boat a little higher than the stern so the water drains out easier. The bilge pump won't empty the bilge completely on most boats.  I take the plug out when the boat is on the lift after we are done skiing.
2600 lbs lift with full length bunks.

Often times the winch is bigger on the higher capacity lifts while the aluminum frame and bracing looks to be the same size.  

Below is the winch on a 2000 lbs capacity lift.

Below is the 2600 lbs lift winch.

I have added treated lumber deck boards to my lifts.  They run the full length of the lift. It is a cheap sort of safety step. I would not suggest putting a great deal of weight on the area as it isn't designed as a load bearing surface according to the manufacturers. The single board makes it hard to fall between the dock and the boat.

Boat covers are not water proof but they keep most of the water out of the boat though which is why my boat has a cover and canopy.    WARNING:  A canopy can turn into a sail so when the boat is not on the lift a good wind may move the lift along ways.  I install my canopy on the lift after the boat is in the lake for the ski season. I remove it when the boat is taken out in the late fall.  Installation tip: It is easier to stand on the boat raised up on the lift and install the cover than any other way I have tried.  I use plastic wire ties to secure the canopy to the frame.  I tend to lose the re-useable ones.

If you are looking at used lifts there often is a capacity sticker or model number on them.

This is a 2600 lbs lift with the standard boat support system.

The covers for the aluminum lift poles are 3" PVC pipe with covers.  I use them on my dock poles also. I notch the bottoms on some of them so they can hang down further than the dock would allow.  My docks are all roll in docks.  They all have 3 sets of wheels.  One set of wheels is on the shore end and they all have hinged 8' ramps. One dock is home made, one dock is an expensive store bought one and the 3rd is a used dock that was a great deal from a dealer that he took in trade.  My shore line has a gentle slope to the water so I can wheel the docks all straight in and out making weight not much of a concern. Docks are all hinged in the middle so less stress is placed on the bolted together sections of dock. The bigger dock with the slips the wing docks unbolt and wheel in to shore. I'll do an article on docks if enough people ask. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adaptive Speed Control and Inboard or Outboard boat motor?

I was reading a magazine called Boating Industry. In an article called "Launch" about new engines a portion of it focused on Mercury's new purpose-built marine engine a 4.5L V-6 250 horsepower sterndrive. The article also included the Evinrude G2 and new Suzuki outboard motors.

The two parts I found very interesting was the statement made by David Foulkes vice president of product development at Mercury.  He says about automobile engines in boats "it has made it difficult to fit an auto engine to the needs of boaters. The way auto engines are designed bear virtually no relation to the way a marine engine is operated". A thought I have shared for many years.

So it seems that outboard engines were the only engines designed for use in boats up until Mercury's new purpose-built marine engine the 4.5L V-6 250 horsepower sterndrive.   

The second and more interesting perhaps statement was that the motor has what they call "Adaptive Speed Control (ASC) which automatically maintains the set RPM point regardless of load or condition changes, such as tight turns, tow sports and lower speeds on plane. This is a big step in the right direction for water skiing.  Now if only Evinrude would apply it to their line of engines and Mercury would expand it to include their OptiMax engines as it is only an option on the Verado line.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fine Tuning a water ski boat

I have logged a lot of hours in outboard powered Hydrodyne and Dyna-Ski Boats since the mid 1970's. Most of the time pulling water skiers doing all sorts of things including kites and parasails. Pulling a lot of skiers or a flying skier/person requires thinking ahead.

I take for granted that people know that they can fine tune a boat.  Most any boat can be fine tuned to some degree. To what extent you want to go is only limited by time and dollars you are willing to spend.

One of the easiest ways to fine tune a boat is using weight.  I like using vinyl coated weights that are used for weight lifting.  The weights can be purchased fairly cheap and some folks have them lying around the house already.  Lots of ski clubs use 50 - 70 lbs sand bags and I have seen lead shot used and even V-8 engine cylinder heads.  If you use weights just make sure they cannot shift easily.  Placing them on the floor under seats is a good place to put them.  Ski teams put them under the closed bow boats around and in front of the gas tank to help balance the boats multiple engines. Ski teams also use people in the boat often times while pulling bigger acts to help keep the high side of the boat down when making turns.  The longer new style Dyna-Ski boats don't seem to need this as much as the older shorter Hydrodyne style boats. The nice thing about using people is the additional weight is not always in the boat and it can be moved around somewhat.

In an open bow Dyna-Ski I like to add some weight to the nose of the boat under the front bow seat. In a closed bow it can be placed in the front of the boat also. It is harder to do in the closed bow as someone has the crawl under the bow.  I suggest you start with 50 - 70 lbs and adjust as you like.  I run about 100 lbs in the nose of my single motored boats.  Ski team's will use upwards of 850 lbs in some boats. Keep in mind that three 250 HO motors weigh 1600 lbs plus batteries & oil tanks to pull lots of skiers so weight is needed. I know more than one ski team driver that uses weight to balance the boat from side to side as he outweighs his passenger and likes the feel of a balanced boat.  It is not an exact science and subject to the taste of the primary driver in most cases.  Dyna-Ski boats has also put permanent weight under the floor of the boat below the gas tank when building a boat for customers that ask.

The easiest and cheapest thing to do is remove the pin that limits the travel of the motor down assuming the motor will not hit the hull of the boat.  The motor won't hit the hull on Dyna-Ski Boats.  Removing the pin allows the motor to be trimmed down more which helps keep the bow of the boat down. Top picture below is with the pin in and the lower is with the pin out and transom wedges.  More on transom wedges later.

The two methods of tuning above cost little to nothing.  The next steps require money.  Dyna-Ski boats are designed to accelerate with the bow down and run level with very little motor trimming required. At higher speeds trimming the motor up a little reduces bow steer and makes the boat easier to drive. When you slow down and turn to pick up a skier with a Dyna-Ski Boat the bow comes up a little which helps keep everyone dry in the boat.

Having the best prop on any boat for the engine and use makes a huge difference. I am assuming the outboard motor height is correct on the transom. Correct motor height is an article for another day perhaps? I like four blade props for Dyna-Ski Boats.  The best one for the V-6 on a 17.6 is a 15" pitch four blade.  The lower the pitch the more power that is available.  The higher pitch props give more speed but less acceleration.  A bow lifter prop on a water ski boat will make the boat hard to hold steady at slower speeds towing skiers.  Most of the twin and triple motored boats we build for ski teams have 4 blade 15 pitch props.  There are some older 3 blade props that work pretty well but most are not readily available new.  The four blade 17 pitch is also a very good prop on a 200 or bigger engine on a 20' Open Bow.  The 17 pitch gives a little more speed than a 15 pitch.  It comes down to driver preference in many cases on a 20' Open Bow with a single motor.

Next up on fine tuning is what we call transom wedges or shims.  We now install them on every 17.6 Open Bow as them seem to have more affect on a 17.6 Open Bow and not much affect on a 20' Open Bow.  There are several reasons we feel for this difference with weight and length being the main ones. In the picture below you can clearly see where the wedges go.  They are not very expensive but it does require longer motor bolts (usually) and would best be done by an experienced outboard mechanic.

An item that is often overlooked is shift and throttle cables.  Older mechanical cables tend to wear and the friction or resistance to movement increase. This makes it harder to make small speed changes with mechanical controls.  The mechanical controls also wear and get sloppy but not nearly as fast as the cables do. Of course with electronic controls there is no cable friction or wear allowing fine speed control adjustment very easily. There are buttons on the dash (pictured below) to start the engine, put the boat in gear and bump the throttle up and down 1%.  Sadly cruise control or "Perfect Pass" speed control is not offered yet. Electronic controls are pricey. They are available on some makes and models of engines.

You now have several ways to fine tune your outboard water ski boat. If you or I come up with some more ideas I will add them to this article or write another one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hylons or Extended Pylons

Over the years skiers have asked for taller pylons which we call extended pylons or hylons. It did not take long until the towers came onto the boating scene.  There are even towers with hylons on top of them.  We have sold Dyna-Ski boats with towers although I do not suggest them for several reasons and I prefer a Hylon for many reasons. The list is long including: cost, noise (towers rattle eventually), wind drag, wind noise, boat lift/canopy fit, garage fit, cover issues, etc. However we will sell you whatever you prefer!

With an extended pylon or hylon you can put it on the boat and take it off fairly easily depending upon which one you choose. If you quit using a tower in the future years you won't still have to contend with it if you go with an extended pylon. If you decide you want a tower it can be added at any time.  The brand I like and sell is Barefoot International.  We also use or sell their towers.  They are located in Milwaukee. Owners Mike and John have high quality products that are reasonably priced.

Link to their pylons and extended pylons:

 There are several lengths of pylons in Dyna-Ski boats. The standard Dyna-Ski pylon diameter is 2 7/8" and the length varies according to the application and motor size.  The longest standard Dyna-Ski pylon is 48".  We also have a 83" pylon to replace the existing pylon made for us by KW Show Ski Equipment. KW also makes our rope guards and tow line releases. The 83" pylon has a limited load capacity as it does not require a strap to use. All Dyna-Ski pylons are pinned into a base bracket that is fastened to the floor. On some Dyna-Ski boats the base bracket has two mounting positions or heights for the pylon.

42" and 83" pylons

 Dyna-Ski offers a machined adapter to mount a Barefoot International/Fly High pylon extension to the Dyna-Ski Pylon. Below is the adapter on a pylon.

This is the adapter.

The options and things skiers do change all the time. The nice thing about Dyna-Ski is we custom build every boat to the specific customer's needs.  We don't try to sell you a boat we have in stock or left over from last year or the year before. Dyna-Ski won't hurry a Dyna-Ski Boat completion or take any short cuts. You get what you pay for in the end. Maybe that is why you never see any used ones . . . . . ..

Tracking Fins

As Hydrodyne boats are aging (remember outboard "Hydrodyne" versions were last produced in 1991 or 1992) I'm getting more and more requests for parts and pieces.  Tracking fins seem to be in the most demand.  Without a tracking fin the older single motored boats don't work so well I have been told.  I have experienced a 17.6 without a tracking fin and the boat does not turn at speed. The tracking fin is about 19" long and 6" tall.  The older aluminum fins were slightly longer and the holes are in a different locations than our composite fins holes. So replacing an old tracking fin with a new one is much easier.

The older boats had a cast aluminum tracking fin.  They are no longer available.  We switched to a composite tracking fin a long time ago for several reasons. The main one being a composite fin will break off and do less damage to the hull than a metal one will.  Easier and cheaper to replace a tracking fin than to fix a hole and replace a fin.

If your boat has lost its tracking fin the biggest concern should be the surface the tracking fin is mounted on. If water has gotten into the balsa coring it could damage the area quickly.  If the mounting area is bad the places the tracking fin are attached may not hold for very long. Fixing the hull can get very expensive very quickly.

If you choose to install a new tracking fin using a good marine caulk just like is used for mounting outboard engines is a good idea.  Use a lot and put it on both the boat and tracking fin. Being neat is not important but getting enough caulk around the holes is important. The excess caulk can be wiped off and no one looks at the bottom of your boat besides.  We use stainless steel screws and you should predrill the holes so the screws don't break off while installing them.