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Four Excellent Articles
Todd Morgan Perhaps a little
history lesson is in order before proceeding. My first true hi
performance bassboat was a 20' tunnel hull Shadow. It was
initially rigged with a 200 GT Johnson but was later revamped with a 2.4
Bridgeport. Driving this boat was straightforward with only a very
strong grip to counter torque being necessary.
My next boat was a custom 18' Shadow
weighing 700 lbs and also equipped with a 2.4 carb Bridgeport.
This is the point where driving became interesting. I did fish a
little back in those days, so I rigged the boat as most of your boats
are rigged, i.e., 2 trolling batteries, 1 cranking battery, the internal
trim pump for the 2.4 and all my fishing gear scattered throughout the
I knew the Vee would be a different
animal altogether, but I never envisioned the difficulties to come.
This boat also had a great deal of steering torque, but now
"driving" the boat was lumped on top of the torque control.
I was a svelte 230 lbs back in those days and the combination of gear
location along with battery layout caused the boat to list badly to the
driver's side during hi speed runs. This caused the boat to become
uncontrollable at 70+ mph.
It was at this time of blistered
hands that I met Tom Eissen from Knoxville, Tenn. Tom is a prop
guy who really specialized in OMC / Norriscraft stuff. One look at
the setup and he decided the cable steering was far too loose and the
balance was all wrong. We tightened the steering, added weight to
the passenger side to counteract the driver's weight and redistributed
the fishing load so as to help in the balance also. These few
items made the boat totally different to drive. The final setup
had 2 batteries (cranking & trolling) on the passenger side along
with about 50 lbs of lead diver's weights as ballast. The boat was
90 mph capable with the 2.4 and at a later date received a super
modified Mod VP that pushed it past 100 mph with a 30" Spinelli
On to Chine:
With that established, the method of controlling chinewalk is two-fold.
1. The initial setup of the boat is extremely important.
Engine height, weight distribution, prop selection, lower unit and even
engine selection can have an impact on the final outcome of a setup
2. Driver input. There is far more to operating a
performance boat than holding the wheel in a steady position. The
amount of steering input is very important here. Too much will
cause loss of control and too little will do the same.
Causes of chine are many; cures are few! In my opinion, all
high performance hulls will chinewalk. Triton is a boat
that stands at the forefront of the debate, so we will use that platform
for a basis for chine cure.
Without getting into my very limited
knowledge of design, Triton is a boat that requires less angle of attack
than other brands. The biggest cause of ill handling Tritons I
have seen is over trimming the hull to obtain a nose high attitude.
Engine height on the transom
is also crucial. While history dictates lowering the engine to
regain driving ease, Triton is exactly the opposite. The highest
possible setting that avoids low water pressure or prop venting is
what's desired here. Brand X may require lowering instead of
raising, my point being that there is a "sweet spot" that can
be attained. One of the simplest ways to determine final setup is
to observe a craft that operates correctly and copy his setup.
Weight distribution is a
simple, yet effective way to help manage chine control. If you're
fishing single, keep all the heavy things in the boat on the passenger
side. Keep the lifejackets and rainsuits on the driver's side.
Also keep the heavy items out of the bow storage boxes. This will
allow for greater bow lift with much less trim.
Prop selection can also have a
great effect on control due to transom lift, steering torque and water
holding capability. In general, a 4 blade is better for all around
performance, but in my opinion a 3 blade is a better choice for new
owners/drivers due to the lack of transom lift. To put it simply,
the more boat in the water, the less chine there will be. The
negative is that speed will be less also. The whole basis for
chine is that the hull is lifting to the point that it has to be
balanced on the pad and lifting strakes; this only occurs as the hull
reaches it maximum potential. The idea that Ranger, Champion or
other well respected heavy performance hulls are beyond chining is just
not so. These hulls, given the maximum setup to achieve their
fullest potential will chine also.
Seat time is part of what's necessary to get your nice new shiny
rig to perform the way the salesman or mechanic drove it during your
demo ride. There are some other things that will help, like
balance, prop, load placement, etc.....But all in all, time is what's
My advice to problem chiners is to
leave the rods at home and just go drive. The series of steering
inputs to control the chine oscillation have to be done in a timely
fashion in the opposite direction of the bow movement. When the
bow moves left, steer right. When the bow moves right, steer left.
All this is done rapidly and in short jerky motions. The only way
to master the series of steering inputs is to become accustomed to doing
it yourself, in your own boat!
When getting accustomed to chine
control, use a very limited amount of trim setting for that speed and
attitude. The result of over trimming is, as I said, "the
leading cause of uncontrollable chine". I'm a firm believer
that chinewalk is not to be "driven through". It is to
be prevented with the setup and steering inputs before it happens, once
chine begins the driver must quell it immediately or lower the trim
setting and reduce speed to regain control.
A quality hull will be able to balance an improperly loaded boat to some
point with its hull design. Some boats have port and starboard gas
tanks that can be filled or leveled as needed to offset an improper
balance. Let's look at the TR-19PD from Triton. The
boat will come with 2 trolling batteries on the port side and 1 on the
starboard. The oil tank will be installed slightly to the
starboard side. The Dual Pro charger will be basically centered.
This basic list will show weight and some balance techniques:
Trolling batteries 130
Dual Pro charger
Full oil tank
With that being shown, think about this: If you move the charger
alone, not only do you add 20 needed pounds to the passenger side, you
remove 20 unneeded pounds from the driver's side. A total movement
of 40 lbs. Now, move the oil tank as far to the port side as
possible, neutralizing the 15 lbs and you have made a great step towards
controlling the seemingly uncontrollable. Use your standard
fishing load to adjust the rest of the weight accordingly. The
hull may accomodate some of the offset when your partner is with you,
maybe not at all.
If needed, move gear from port to starboard to counter a heavier load
than usual on the passenger side.
As I'm sure you have discerned by now, I'm no writer. What I am is
a fisherman who has had the privilege to work with dealers and other
fishermen on curing the ills of high performance bassboats. I have
been where you are now, wondering if my boat will ever be drivable.
The answer is Yes! With time and input from other
drivers who have braved what you are experiencing, seat time on your own
part, and setup tips and advice from those in the "know", you
will be successful!
I am available online for any questions you might have.
|Chinewalking, what is it?
- by Jeff Bristow
Can it be cured? Chinewalk happens when the boat has the ability
to run with little wetted surface. The boat is trying to run on a
small pad, once it falls off this pad, it falls to one side then bounces
over to the other side. Hence chinewalking! If you own a
boat that chinewalks, first look at your setup. Make sure that you
have NO slack in your steering; this will promote
chinewalk. Look at your jackplate - is it of good design? Is
it cross braced well? A poorly made jackplate will flex, promoting
chinewalk. If you are running an older motor, take a look at the
rubber motor mounts; they wear with time, again promoting
chinewalk. The loading of weight also plays a big role.
While sitting in the water while you are in the driver's seat, have a
buddy look and see if your boat sits level at rest. If it does
not, move weight around until it does.
My best tip on chinewalk is: CONTROL
IT BEFORE IT HAPPENS! That sounds silly, I know.
It's like riding a bike; how do you tell someone how to keep his or her
balance? Here is what helped me learn to drive a 2.4 200 HP XB2002
It had every setup problem that I listed above, but
this is how I learned.
Drive your boat 5 mph under where it starts walking with little
trim. Increase your speed by 5 mph or so. As speed increases
you will feel the bow want to push into the water - this is where you
want to bump the trim up to keep the nose from plowing. Play
around with the trim at these speeds, once you're comfortable with it,
increase your speed slightly and manipulate the trim accordingly.
At some point the boat will start to feel light - it is climbing up on
Once it starts feeling light it may want to chinewalk. If you hold
the steering wheel in about a 1 or 2 degree sweeping corner, it will
help balance the boat. The biggest mistake is jerking the steering
wheel. It is more like a twitch! If the right side starts to
fall, twitch it to the left. Over-steering will promote
chinewalk. Drive around at these speeds and play with the trim.
Once you are comfortable with it, increase your
speed and adjust trim angle accordingly.
DO NOT TRY TO DRIVE THROUGH CHINEWALK!!
Get comfortable with it at a slower speed. It is true; once you
have reached top speed the chinewalk will lessen. A major factor
in chinewalk is the torque of the prop and motor. This is why it
is important to increase speeds slowly and gradually. At top speed
the torque will lessen because the motor/prop is no longer trying to
gain speed, but just maintaining it.
DO NOT OVERTRIM!
I know it looks cool with the bow flying 3 feet out of the water, but
let's think about it. Picture the front edge of the running pad as
a fulcrum point of a teeter totter. The higher you trim the bow,
the deeper the rear of the pad and gearcase go into the water. Not
only are you promoting chinewalk, but you are also scrubbing off speed
Going fast is fun, but you have to know how to turn, take boat wakes,
and slow down too!
You never hear advice about this. It is much more important than
just going fast!
This will apply more to Allisons and other lighter, faster boats.
ALWAYS bump the trim down before you let off the gas! A couple of
things are working against you when you come off the gas; when you
suddenly let off the gas you will get torque steer on the steering wheel
in the opposite direction that you get while accelerating. If the
gas is suddenly let off, the bow may come down crooked into the water -
you may experience bow hook in a very mild manner or one so severe that
it can throw you or passengers from the boat! Trim the bow down,
then ease off the throttle. By not doing so you are setting
yourself up for a bow hook. This is a good practice for
any boat that is capable of chinewalking!
While crossing wakes, try to hit them straight on,
trim down and let the "V" of the boat work for you.
While cornering, also trim down and lose some speed. Going fast is
fun only if you can do it safely, without putting anyone else at harm!
Always wear your lifejacket and please, hook the kill switch up.
In my opinion, a boat that is capable of walking NEEDS a foot throttle
and tilt/trim on the wheel, so you will hever have to drive it with just
one hand! Be safe.
I am not a pro, or claim to be one, but if I can
help you, I will try!
CONTROL IT BEFORE IT HAPPENS !!!
XB2002 - 2.5 260 HP
* Click thumbnails for larger
by Bobby Robbins
The first high performance boat I ever drove was a 17'9" Bullet
with a 200 Merc that was kind of hopped up. It was a true 80 mph
boat, and when the tach hit 6400 with that 28" Chopper, it really
got squirrely. My brother, the owner, tried his best to tell me
how to handle the "walk", but every time I tried it was the
same. One summer, my brother went out of town and left the boat
for me to use. "Be careful", he said. I started thinking
of my first car driving experience on the Interstate and it dawned on me
that my brother was trying to tell me to make small minute adjustments
on the wheel instead of hard jerks like I had been trying.
My trip to the lake later that afternoon was interesting.. When I
made small left and right movements to the wheel, the boat stayed
straight. I was able to get the boat all the way to 74 mph before
I backed out. With more seat time I was revving the engine to its
top rpm of 6400. That big chopper was sure hard to steer at those
speeds, but I was not intimidated anymore. Now driving a high
performance boat is like driving a car to me, even when the water is
choppy. I believe that seat time is the most important ingredient
to controlling chinewalk.
A good way to test yourself is to go out on a weekday when there is less
traffic. Start at a speed that let's you trim the motor up high
enough to where the chinewalk is just starting. When you feel it starting to roll off to one side, put the boat in a slight left
turn. When you do this it stabilizes the boat. After a while
you get a feel of when the boat is going to start chining and with more
seat time you will learn to handle any speeds. It's kind of like
riding a bicycle; you cannot keep your balance by keeping the handlebars
straight, you have to constantly move the bars to keep the bike
upright. I hope this story helps someone, and remember - always
wear your lifejacket and use your kill switch, it could save your life.
Take care, Bobby
|Chine Walking: One of the
biggest complaints of high performance boats - particularly V-bottoms -
is that of the boat "chine walking". Chine walking
occurs when the boat is running at high speed - usually at 65 mph or
higher - and because of the size of the boat trying to run on very
little hull, it will fall off to one side, then flop back to the other,
etc., etc. There are many myths to chine walking, i.e., "A
four blade prop will cure your chine walk". Unfortunately,
that is not true. True, a properly set up boat will be easier to
drive and may chine walk less than a poorly set up hull, but chine
walking occurs due to the laws of physics.
The true way to reduce or eliminate chine walking? Learn
to drive the boat. Many dealers will sell you a boat cheap,
then hand over the keys and send you on your way. You should
expect the dealer to show you how to drive and handle your high
performance boat. A tip to help eliminate your chine walking is
this: Always keep the boat guessing. By just holding the
steering wheel, you're going to allow the boat to get into a rhythn
which will lead to chine walking. Start out by "tapping"
the steering wheel to the left - against the torque. Then, as the
boat begins to fall to the left, release the steering wheel from the
torque and turn the wheel slightly to the right. As the boat
begins to lean to the right, return the wheel to the left against the
torque. Remember this - KEEP THE STEERING WHEEL MOVEMENTS SMALL.
By oversteering, you could do more harm than good. Try to imagine
standing on a 2'x 4' with a ball underneath it. As the board leans
to the left, you have to shift your weight to the right in order to keep
the board from hitting the floor.
We offer high performance boat driving sessions that will teach
you what you need to do in order to master that high performance
V-bottom boat. E-mail us or call at (847) 838-0066 in order to set
up some time.
Baker Marine Support,