Tips for Operating Clifford

Here are a few quick operating tips for making your cruise a little less stressful and more enjoyable. More details and other tips are in the notebook on the counter across from the helm station.

Docking Clifford

1) Here's a tip from Victor Evans:  The easiest method of docking Clifford is to place the dock on the starboard side. Pull straight into the dock leaving a foot or two between you and the dock. When you reverse the engine to stop the boat, the stern will naturally walk to the right  towards the dock. Use a little bit of bow thrust to bring the bow closer to the dock. You should be able to step onto the dock at this point to secure the lines.

2) If you have to dock with the dock on the port side, you will need to turn the wheel to port when reversing to counteract the natural walk to the right.

3) If you are docking with a significant wind, increase your angle of approach as the wind speed increases.

4) Use an after spring line as the first docking line to attach to the dock cleat when arriving and the last to untie when leaving the dock. This allows you to use leverage to swing the bow to the dock when arriving and to swing the stern away from the dock when leaving.

Cruise Engine Settings

Ease the throttle up to 2800-3000 RPMs, the "sweet spot" with respect to fuel consumption, speed and noise. Your speed over water will be around 10 knots, fuel burn about 5-6 gal/hr, and fuel efficiency about 1.5-2 knots/gal. If you are heavily loaded in the stern, you may want to use a minimum amount of trim to level out. Avoid the use of trim if possible as this adds drag and reduces fuel efficiency. In theory, a Camano boat does not need trimmed out at any speed, but your loading and preference may dictate otherwise. 

A quieter ride and better fuel efficiency will be found at 6-7 knots at 2000-2250 RPM, having a fuel burn of 2-2.5 gal/hr.

Operating the LED lights

  1. Turn on the breaker labeled “Underwater LED Lights” on the DC breaker panel.

  2. Press the Display Power button on the LED controller which is on the cabinet opposite of the helm. Wait a few minutes for system to fully power up.

  3. Use the Rotary Dial to highlight a menu item and push to select it. You may also use the touch screen capability to select a menu item.

  4. Use either method to select the SCENES button in the upper right hand corner of the controller, then select the desired scene on the menu. This will turn the lights on. Each scene is a pre-defined color pattern - "Seahawks", "Navigation" (red and green), Saltwater" (all green), "Freshwater" (all blue), and "Docking" (all white).

  5. There are two LED lights on the transom and one on the port side and one on the starboard side for a total of four lights. In theory they will attract fish even in daylight hours but would require the boat to be stationary. They can be left on for an extended period of time (while plugged into AC power at the dock) without overheating, but you should probably turn them off at bedtime as a courtesy to your neighbors.

  6. When finished, de-select the particular scenes menu item to turn the lights off.

Radar Operation

The ability to have and use radar in limited visibility conditions can be a lifesaver. It also prevents fatigue from continually straining to see what lies ahead.

Powering up the Radar

  1. Open up a page view on the chartplotter that has a radar display on it. Use the page button to do this. I prefer the split page having the NOAA chart on the left and the radar screen on the right.

  2. The radar scanner will automatically begin to warm up the magnetron and this will take about 70 seconds. You will see a pop-up saying, “Initializing standby mode”.

  3. Momentarily press the power button. This will bring up a pop-up that allows you to adjust the backlight. Ignore this and press the softkey at the bottom of the screen that says, “Radar Tx/Standby” and select Tx. You will now see the radar targets on the screen.

AIS Operation

Annoyed by those “Dangerous Target” alarm popups on the MFD while you are in the marina? Tired of hitting “acknowledge” just to have it pop back up a few seconds later? Here is how to turn them “really” off and some operating hints.

Turning off AIS Alarms

  1. Hit the menu button on the MFD screen.

  2. Select “AIS Layer Setup” using the unicontrol.

  3. This will bring up the active alarm list. Set AIS safety message status to off.

  4. Return to menu and select “Alarm Setup”

  5. Select “AIS Alarm Setup”

  6. Select “Dangerous Targets Alarm” and set to “Off”

Since Clifford is to be operated only during daylight hours under visual navigation rules, you could leave this alarm off. It would be most useful operating at night or in fog.

If you would like to leave it on, you can adjust the parameters that trigger the alarm.

  1. When in the main page showing the navigation chart page, hit the “AIS Options” softkey at the bottom of the page (it’s the middle one). Hit the same key again when “MARPA and AIS OPTIONS” appears as a softkey.

  2. This will bring up alarm distance and time parameters. The “own vessel safe zone” in nautical miles and “time to safe zone” in minutes work together. If a vessel transmitting an AIS signal would enter your selected safe zone within the time selected, the “dangerous target” alarm will go off.

  3. To minimize the number of alarms, select 0.1 nm and 3 min. To maximize the number of alarms, select 2 nm and 24 min.

Throttle Operation

Initial throttle control:

  1. Put throttle in neutral  position as shown below.

  2. Start engine. Yellow neutral light will be on continuously and the green active throttle indicator light will be flashing.

  3. Push “SEL” button to select this throttle as the control station. Active throttle indicator light will turn solid green.

Switching Throttle Operation Between Flybridge and Saloon

  1. Put both helm station throttles in neutral position.

  2. Go upstairs to the flybridge and push the “SEL” button on the flybridge throttle control. Pushing "SEL" on either throttle makes it the active throttle.

  3. Green light will turn solid green indicating this throttle is active. If both throttles are not in the neutral position you may find you have engaged the “split range throttle” feature. See next page on how to disengage this.

Engine Warm Up and Water Pump Check - To put in neutral and disconnect transmission from engine:

  1. Put throttle in neutral position. Yellow light will be on.

  2. Push neutral selector button once – yellow light will flash. Engine is now disconnected from transmission so you can rev up engine for warm-up and for water pump check.

  3. Return throttle to neutral position. Yellow light will still be flashing.

  4. Push neutral selector button once – yellow light will change from flashing to continuous. Engine is now connected to transmission.

Split Range Throttle Feature

I have managed to engage this throttle mode by pushing the wrong buttons at the wrong time and being completely surprised by the result. Here is how to get in and out of this mode.

  1. Put throttle in gear-idle position when underway.

  2. Push neutral selector button once. Split range throttle is engaged – full throttle is now only 25% of wide open position giving around 1000-1200 maximum RPM. This feature is useful for trolling at a more exact speed and possibly docking depending on your personal preference.

  3. Return throttle to gear-idle position when in split range throttle. Press neutral button. Normal throttle range will now be operational.