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Headphones

The Cruising Solutions website (http://www.cruisingsolutions.com) calls them Marriage Savers. Maybe or maybe not, but these reasonably priced headphones are a must have. They allow hands free communications between the captain and crew. Unlike walkie-talkies, the headphones are true duplex devices (like a telephone) allowing talking and listening at the same time. Always on, no need to push to talk (just be careful what you say!), your hands are always free. Everything is on your head, no wires to snag, nothing hanging off your belt or stuffed in a pocket. Since the headphones are always on, there are no lost/clipped words, a common problem with voice activated or push to talk microphones. The foam insulation does a good job of keeping the background noise at a reasonable level. The headphones have a high and low power position so they can be used on big and small boats keeping the volume at an acceptable level.

Headphones can be used in any number of situations, but we get our most use from them when anchoring or docking. Put them on and just talk/listen. It is like having a conversation about the maneuver you are performing.

"Fifty feet to the spot I want to drop the anchor, neutral please; OK; Ten seconds of reverse, please; Reverse; Anchor's away; Time's up, in neutral; What's the depth?; Eight feet; Thanks; Sixty feet of rode out; Rode secured; Hard back please; Hard back; Anchor is set, power down and neutral please; OK."

Another recent example, on our shakedown cruise this spring we needed to parallel park on a dock between a couple of million-dollar yachts. There was sufficient room, but not an excess, and, of course, the 15-knot wind was blowing off the dock. Each season, until my wife gets her sea legs back, things out of the ordinary can be a bit anxious – this situation was overload! Without the headsets, I would not have even tried it; with them, despite her nervousness, we pulled it off without a hitch. Due to the wind, I had to carry a bit more speed than normal to ensure we got to the dock...

"I'm aiming for the cleat about 10' behind the front boat, do you see it?; Yes, I have it but you're going TOO FAST!; I'll reduce power in a little bit, the wind will slow us right down - when you get close enough, loop the line around the dock cleat and bring it back to the cleat on the boat; Ok, speed’s better, I still don't like this; It will work out fine, 10' and closing, in reverse to kill the remaining speed - after you get the line around the boat’s cleat, don’t secure it. Just hold tight, tell me when you have it; (%*#$@*! a few expletives as the cleat is lassoed) I've got it, holding; Good job, now you can stop worrying about hitting the boat in front of us. Plenty of clearance from the boat behind, I'm putting the boat in forward and turning the helm to push the stern in, I need you to slowly slack your line… little more... little more, hold that; Ok, I'm holding; I can't reach the aft dock cleat from the helm, the prop thrust will hold the boat against the dock while I secure the stern; Ok, bow is holding; Stern is secured, powering down, I'll come forward to help you secure; Thanks, that was really pretty easy!"

No cracked fiberglass, no screaming, no misinterpreted hand signals, no need for the person on the bow to be looking at the helm to be sure directions are understood, hands are free to complete your tasks. Makes you and your crew look like pros!

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Catalina Yachts • 21200 Victory Boulevard • Woodland Hills, California 91367 • Phone 818 884-7700
Catalina Yachts Florida • 7200 Bryan Dairy Rd • Largo, FL 33777 • Phone 727-544-6681


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