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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm a pretty big fan of the Cape Cod Canal, if you haven't heard, or seen my other photo threads on the subject. Recently, the town of Sandwich, MA. has started a project of dredging out in Cape Cod Bay, off the town's beach, to replenish the lost sand and rebuild the beach. They hired the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. to perform the work. I've been keeping an eye on the project with the local news and this web site, Marine Traffic. I spend a bit of time there everyday now to see what might be passing through the canal, just in case I might want to run over and have a look. The website covers the entire world, and is really neat to check on any port of call you can think of.

So here's what I saw this afternoon, it's the 281' Suction Hopper Dredge, Dodge Island. She was at the East end of the Cape Cod Canal, just outside of the Sandwich Marina in Sandwich, MA. She would power forward to the west, against the wind and current. Then drift gently backward, and power forward again. But after a while of the previous processes, the Dodge Island pulled up the black pipes / dredge on both sides of the ship, and pulled forward again. This time she made a complete 180 degree turn and headed back toward where I was sitting in my truck. It was really something! The ship started to turn, then the wind and current just pushed her along and it was just smooth as could be. Really a skilled maneuver by the skipper of the ship!

Here are some pictures I took this afternoon:


The support vessel, Columbia River. Dodge Island before the U-Turn.
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At about 90 degrees across the canal, and the rest of turn around.
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I Love All Color Tractors
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Now that's a machine! I'd love to see that beast at work in person.
 

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Those are some great pics! I'll bet it was fun and interesting being able to see it move under power in person.

I'll have to check out the Marine Traffic website. It sounds very interesting.
 

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Very interesting Mike. That company has been around for over 125 years. There aren't many businesses that can say that.

They recently finished dredging the Hudson River up here but I never got over there to watch.
 

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Master Cranker!!!
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Very cool, Mike. That's some mega-iron, for sure. Great Lakes is a customer of mine, but I can't say with certainty that she has our parts on it. Good possibility. Thanks for the pics :fing32:
 

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Cool stuff indeed, thanks for sharing.
 

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I worked at a warehouse beside the Fraser river and was fascinated watching the marine traffic, something I was not familiar with. The dredges were working constantly. One of the neatest things was how they managed the barges when towing down stream. The tug would turn into the current and apply enough power to hold, the barge swung around on the tow line and parked neat as you please beside the pilings. They couldn't just pull in and stop without getting rammed by the barge.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Being its a dredge, and they are used to working in tight spaces, I bet a bow thruster helped with that turn. Plus those guys just need to be real good!!! Its their life to be in a place that big ships should not be, and make it safe.
Bow Thruster, hadn't considered that possibility!

My bet was going to be, twin screws holding the stern in place, port side in REV and Starboard in FWD, and of course the wind and current working together against the ship itself to swing the bow around.

If I bump into any of the deck hands around the basin next weekend, I'll ask how it's done!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Dodge Island left town a few days ago and is currently in Norfolk, VA. So the job is done over here, kind of a bummer. Was fun having some neat maritime project going on so close to home. Glad we went over the few times we did, and see the dredge and tugs working.
 

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in addition to bow thruster, it likely has azimuth pods instead of traditional shaft and prop w/ rudder(s)... could even have additional supplemental jet or pod thrusters... easier to control than a twin engine 20' center console

state and fed agency bureaucracy and rules, environmental regs, and/or specific engineering needs usually force dredging be contained to very exacting standards.. need to dredge everything specified to get paid, but without going outside the lines or risk penalties/fines

that and the fact that most dredging takes place in channels and harbors, around bridges, piers, jettys ect, ...places where the boat can easily be sunk, or cause major damage, they need to be able to put the boat exactly on a spot and hold it against wind and tide while working, and hold their position even as wind direction, speed and tide changes

wouldn't be surprised if that ship could be put on a spot, set auto-pilot to hold position, and everyone on boat could take a launch ashore and come back in a week and boat would stay right on spot in same orientation within a couple feet through varying wind and tides the whole time
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Interesting stuff GM, thanks for the info! :fing32:

The position holding system using GPS technology is now being marketed my Mercury Marine. I saw the commercial on it the other day, it's pretty amazing. Find a spot you want to park it and flip a switch. The boat will automatically turn the engines any which way, independently of each other, forward or reverse as needed and hold position. I bet it's expensive, but really something else if you're in the market for such a feature!
 

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never heard of recreational version of that, but guess it was to be expected... prob right on the "expensive" part of it, expensive to buy, and prob even more to have it all installed and hooked up properly

guess that could be pretty useful for holding over a particular ledge or hole when fishing.. i think id rather run up and drift back over though, never know when or where the trophy is
 

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not quins. but sextuplets
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WE NEED GPS on our blowin or mowin machines.. then set the unit on autosteer.. while ur havin breakfast.. when u come back out ur machine is parked in the shed... how neat...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
never heard of recreational version of that, but guess it was to be expected... prob right on the "expensive" part of it, expensive to buy, and prob even more to have it all installed and hooked up properly

guess that could be pretty useful for holding over a particular ledge or hole when fishing.. i think id rather run up and drift back over though, never know when or where the trophy is
Here's a video GM,

 

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pretty cool... the joystick is whats on all the modern commercial ships these days

i imagine if you use that all day fishing you must burn a good amount more fuel though, but definitely pretty useful fishing inside somewhere where you'd need to be re-setting every cast like where they show em up next to the bridge

wonder if that unit will only work with outboards factory built with plug and play to take it, or if they have aftermarket control unit so you can hook it up to your steering and throttle so it can be used on older or other makes of outboards
 

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oh crap... i just googled around a bit and this and other similar systems are like 16k and up

from what i found, this merc skyhook thing only avail with select merc engines... there are similar systems though from other engine manufacturers and from teleflex... but from what I can see, you cant just install the stick and processor and tie in hydraulic actuators to your existing throttle and steering... you have to install the makers complete throttle and steering systems from stick to engines

so until someone makes aftermarket hydro units with control boards that can tie into these systems.. this type of thing is gonna be something that comes built into a new boat, or you can pay 15-20k to have it installed (plus the 25-30k each for new motors) unless you've already got 2 or 3 yr old outboards that are compatible
 
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