Our Orientation Days
04-18, 04-19-2018 🍒
The purchase of a new Ranger Tug includes 2 days of Orientation. This is a very valuable benefit and a lot of fun, too. Two days seems like a lot of time to get to know a boat. It is a lot of time, but we could have used more. The first day is all about becoming familiar with the boat and its systems. The second day is all about the mechanicals and the “on water” familiarization. The primary goals of this orientation is to make sure the new owners (us) are comfortable with how to operate the systems on the boat and that everyone is comfortable with how the boat handles and primarily, comfortable getting it into, and out of a slip.
Thursday April 18, 2018 -We were scheduled to meet Tim at the Everett Boat Launch at 10:00 am. I wanted to be early, so we could see him drive in with our new boat on the trailer. We got there about 9:30.
It appeared there was no one else at the boat launch on this cold, rainy April morning. However, as we drove toward the launch ramp, we noticed that Tim had beaten us there, but not by much. The boat was still on the trailer, but the trailer was in the water. It all worked out well, though. I was there for him to show me the tricks about launching if we ever trailer it anywhere. I have launched a lot of boats from trailers in my life, but none of these have been over 30 feet long and 10,000lbs. Tim made it look like he does this nearly every day – mostly because he does do it nearly every day!! The first part of our orientation was a lesson on putting the radar mast up. The mast on this boat has a folding feature to reduce the height of the boat on the trailer. Folding the mast to the upright position is straightforward, but it did out my first question of the day. In other boat I had been around, the GPS “mushroom” antenna is on or near the mast. I didn’t see a GPS antenna anywhere on the top of the boat, so I asked Tim, “Where is the GPS antenna?”
He answered straight-faced,” They are built into the GPS displays in the dash.” Friends, that one little sentence introduced me to the awesome capability of modern marine electronics. I had never heard of such a thing. A GPS Antenna inside a display, that is built in to the dash panel, that is under the roof of the boat. I am not new to the capability of GPS, but this was new.
Next up on the introduction was general walkaround of the boat. He showed us where all the fill ports, and explained what each through hull was for, and how the doors, windows and hatches worked, etc. Again, it was all pretty straightforward, but it is all great information. At this point, he got the boat off the trailer and we moved to the guest dock at the Everett marina.Since our moorage is in La Conner, it was much easier for us and Ranger Tugs (RT) to take delivery in Everett. So, they paid for 3 nights of moorage at the guest dock in Everett. Once we got settled in at dock, We started going through all of the systems.
When I say systems, I am talking about things like the 12volt system (including the Solar panel), the 110v Shore power system, the freshwater and raw water systems, the propane and galley systems and the radio and TV. Pretty much everything other than the engine and operating the boat on the water. I didn’t realize the electrical systems are as integrated as they are. For example, we can control the radio/Bluetooth entertainment from the chart plotter. The Radar and the AIS can overlay the chart on the plotter That was another eye opener. The standard that allows this integration is called NMEA2000.
After lunch, we continued the systems portion of orientation. There really is a lot to learn. Some of the subjects I was reasonably familiar with, some were entirely new.
It was a lot of fun being introduced to our new boat. I couldn’t wait until tomorrow!!!
The second day began with meeting Kenny at 10:00 am as well. Guess what – Kenny was there in the parking lot as we drove in at 9:30. I think RT trains their customer service folks to always be early. The plan today began with the basics of the engine typical daily maintenance. Checking oil, coolant and transmission oil and learning where all the seacocks are and how to check and clean the raw water strainers. After that session we went on to gaining familiarity with the electronics. Kenny asked what my previous boat had for electronics. I think I saw fear in his eyes when I told him that for its’ primary navigation was an iPad, and for backup was a 12-year-old chart plotter, no radar, no autopilot, and mechanical engine gauges. This boat has two modern chart plotters, radar, auto pilot, VHF Radio and electronic engine displays. This took a while because it was all new us. The electronics are very powerful. Once we had those all setup and ready to go, we broke for lunch. After lunch we take it out on the water.
Kenny drove us to the outside of the breakwater. He gave practical demonstrations of some features of the chart plotter and radar along the way. Did I mention that day 2 was also a rainy, nasty April day? Well, it was. Once outside the breakwater, the waves were honest 3 to 4 ft with a 20-knot wind from the south. This is when I get to drive for the first time!!! The boat handles these waves just fine, but it wasn’t the best way to get to know a new boat. I kept Cerise in straight line (pretty much) while being shown how to use the auto pilot and instantly set GPS routes. All in all, I was very impressed with how she handled bigish waves. After an hour or so in the sound, we headed back to practice docking. Remember the 20-knot wind?? It was slightly less in the marina, but still breezy. I pointed her at a slip and practiced docking several times. I learned what a bow or stern thruster can do – and what they cannot do. Again, it was a great learning experience. Then, Tracy took the helm and she docked Cerise several times. After docking practice, Kenny showed us the easy way to launch and retrieve the dinghy. And we went over the use of the anchor windlass.
Wow. The past two days were like drinking information from a fire hose. There was a lot to learn. We even learned some of it. We also took a lot of notes, and video, that we have referred to several times. The original plan was to take Cerise to her home in La Conner on Saturday the 20th. However, the weather the next day was not going to be any better, so we delayed made that trip on Sunday.
More pictures of orientation