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Grand Alaskan 65 Trawler Training with Captain Chris

Captain Chris Yacht Services
Grand Alaskan 65 Trawler Training with Captain Chris
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What a Dreamboat! This blue hull beauty is a magnificent Grand Alaskan 65 in Orange Beach, AL. Owners Beau and Val asked us to help them transition into this great live aboard cruising boat with twin diesels and a bow thruster.

Walking own the docks we notice how small the marina is relative to how large this boat is. While the 65 foot boat does fit into the slip, the fairway in front of the boat is narrow, painstakingly so when the band is playing at the restaurant across the fairway. We must schedule our departure before the lunch bunch arrives at the restaurant dock and reduces the maneuvering space we have. Bow thrusters are great but we teach not to rely on them. Debris in the water or low voltage batteries may compromise the effectiveness of the thruster.

Away we go! As we cruise east towards Pensacola we have to zig-zag through the aids to navigation, careful to stay in the deeper part of the ICW. Motoring at slow speeds we meander from the Perdido River and on to Pensacola for anchoring practice.

We enjoy a night at anchor under the flight path of the Pensacola Naval Air Station watching the jet fighters fly their training missions. The rising sun revealed thousands of boaters who come out for a day on the beach. We could launch our dinghy to join them but decide a weekday may be more enjoyable with less crowds.

Time to return to homeport and the challenges of the band, party boats in the fairway...but wait a minute! Beau smartly arranged for another slip at Barbers Marina. We first dock at the pumpout, then discover reasonable fuel prices so another docking attempt allows for a bit more practice. The fairway is very wide providing welcome elbow room for this large boat. And the bonus is that there is no bar or band to add noise and congestion to the art of docking.

Val & Beau were delighted with their relocation to Barbers Marina for the ease of docking and convenience of peaceful sleeping. No more LOUD band and parking for their cars is a snap too. All this to say that there is something for every boater and Captain Chris can help you make the transition while honing your skills and building your cruising confidence. But first, you must ask yourself what works for you...remember, this is pleasure boating!

Scroll down and click on each photo to see below and above decks of this incredible cruiser. If you have any questions, Ask Captain Chris!

This 65 foot boat faces the restaurant dock and bandstand. Imagine when the party gets started...some like it hot and others would rather chill. Which are you?
Be aware when boats project out beyond the finger pier. Sometimes you just have to find a bigger slip or a larger marina with wider fairways.
While were are training with Beau and Val we see John & Barbara headed to Texas aboard their Mainship 400. We worked with these Texans before they began their loop from Panama City FL.
Back to school below deck. The last oil change date and engine hours are noted on the filter. This is an easy way to stay ahead on your maintenance cycle.
Dual Racor fuel filters allow you to select the left or right hand filter. Note the yellow handle and the arrow pointing to the left fuel filter. If you need to change filters while the engine is running be sure to rotate the arrow down then right.
Let's have a party. All four of us are in the engine room with space to spare.
Did you know that your generator has a fuse and circuit breakers? These are built in to the generator unit.
This fuel distribution manifold allows you to select the tank you want to draw from and return to. This can also act as a ballast control system to help the boat plane better. After all, fuel weighs 7 lbs per gallon!
Remember how we said not to rely on your bow thruster? In this case, the thruster quit and we smelled smoke. A loose bolt caused the battery post to melt.
Any ideas what THIS is? The oil reservoir in the top right is for the bow thruster shaft seal seen in the bottom left of the photo.
Since our bow thruster/anchor windlass batteries were no longer functional we had to hand crank the anchor chain back in to the boat. Think of all the $$ you can save by not having to pay for a gym membership!
Launching the dinghy with the electro-hydraulic dinghy davit makes life as easy as pushing a button.
This simple mark with a sharpie pen shows a perfect angle of rotation to launch the dinghy over board. Mark your dinghy davit to take the guess work out of the next time you launch.
Perfect launch with dinghy parallel to the mother ship. Three important points: don't forget the bow line, the stern line and the drain plug before the dinghy goes in the water.
This snail trail or bread crumbs on the GPS shows where we were ALL NIGHT LONG while at anchor. Swinging in a radius with the anchor at the center of the semicircle.
Building Cruising Confidence together is what it's all about. Great training days aboard a fabulous 65 ft Grand Alaskan!

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