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The Williamson Turn

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  • The Williamson Turn

    I occasionally have new friends that come out on the boat and I have to teach these friends how to properly drive my Prostar and it amazes me how hard simple instructions are to follow? One of the toughest things to teach is the proper turn.

    I recently learned the proper maritime term for a man over board turn for cruise ships and the like.... it's called the "Williamson Turn" and it's very similar to a good ski boat turn for free skiing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_overboard_rescue_turn


    Some of my driving rules:

    1.) I try to teach how to properly turn the boat and head back down the same path we came. I try to describe it as a Q-tip turn. I even tell them... when you first turn left you HAVE to count to 3 before you begin turning right in order to make that Q-tip...(That of course never happens..they never count to 3. I guess the concept of turning left first and then right just blows there minds?? ) Apparently none of these friends never seen a Q-tip????

    2.) I ask them to drive as straight as possible...rarely happens

    3.) I ask if they come to a wakeboarding boat wake to just slow down..don't worry about me skiing worry about hitting the wake at cruising speed. They see a wakeboarding boat 1/4 mile down the lake and they stop???? UGH!!!

    4.) I ask them to ALWAYS keep the skier on the drivers side when they are pulling up to pick up the skier from the water. (They get that part right 50% of the time)

    5.) And when they do circle back to get me after a fall ... they keep the boat 30-50 feet away thinking they don't want to run me over. For what seems like eternity I have to coax them to get closer to me.. UGH!

    Bottom Line... Cherish the friends that can properly drive. I always give props to my #1 driving buddy and I thank her all the time. I guess putting some one behind the wheel of the best ski boat in the world tends to turn the brain to mush. They seem to be overwhelmed when in reality I don't see what is so difficult? I will have to admit that driving @ 34-36 mph is pretty fast for the first time drivers. Everything does happen pretty quick on the water @ those speeds.

    Now pulling up to the dock.. I will handle that everytime That will be a lesson for the day after they prove they can drive a straight line.
    Last edited by ; 12-17-2009, 07:00 PM.

  • #2
    The list of people allowed to drive my boat is short
    06 AWSA Approved Towboat

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    • #3
      It was described to me years ago as a teardrop turn. Not saying that is the proper term, just how my buddy explained it to me.

      36 mph is fast for new drivers when there are other boats to pay attention to.
      Prior boats - (3) X14's, (3) Prostars, and a Tristar.

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      • #4
        Use the rope

        It was explained to with the use of the Ski rope. Pull it straight and show the loops at both ends. The 41' off section of line is excellent for this... I am always grateful to the driver, because without them in the boat it is very hard to ski.

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        • #5
          I have the same issue with picking up the person on the drivers side of the boat; most newbies and experienced people seem to forget this item nor realize why it should be done. That and doing a power turn to pick up a downed wakesurfer. While waiting in the water I've been hit with bigger waves from someone doing a power turn than the waves I was surfing!

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          • #6
            Yeah.. I left the power turns off my list. They bug me big time! Even after I tell them to cut thottle and idle back. I even tell them twice...

            I guess you can't blame the newbie when you put them behind the wheel of a Prostar with a LT1.

            Originally posted by kkkeating View Post
            I have the same issue with picking up the person on the drivers side of the boat; most newbies and experienced people seem to forget this item nor realize why it should be done. That and doing a power turn to pick up a downed wakesurfer. While waiting in the water I've been hit with bigger waves from someone doing a power turn than the waves I was surfing!
            Last edited by ; 12-17-2009, 01:22 PM.

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            • #7
              No matter how many times i tell a newer driver you can't stop on a dime like a car, they don't get it. They'll come by to pick me up and right on by they go. Good for laughs although frustrating.

              I agree, a good driver is worth a great deal. Love it when my dad goes along. He just has it. The first time my wife drove while i was skiing, a boat on her left turned across her path (his fault) and she did not see it or the skier they were pulling. Both of us skiers let go but when my wife saw the ski rope of the other boat go under ours, she freaked!!! Took a little over a year to drive again.

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              • #8
                I was taught and I teach my drivers by describing it as a "P" turn, i.e. the shape of the letter "P". I draw the shape on my hand. Plus, the P can be on either side of the straight line depending on the body of water. Another good way to teach it is for you to drive a pass and show them and then have them drive a pass with you sitting next to them. Many times it is worth it to take the time to do this so your run is more enjoyable. It is not that hard, my son has been doing it since he was 12 years old and he is pretty good now at 13. Add-I also explained to him when he is coming back to the straight line track to look for the "bubbles" in the water indicating where the recent line was. I use this too.
                1993 Blue Stars and Stripes Prostar Powerslot 351HO
                Mastercraft: Face It - If you are not a good skier behind this boat, you are not a good skier.

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                • #9
                  I like all of these ideas. I have been trying to teach my wife to drive and this will help me explain it to her. She does pretty good but this will help.
                  I also have a very short list of drivers, 1 brother, 2 dad, 3 wife. That's who get to drive my boat when I'm skiing.

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                  • #10
                    I had my friends out and i was pulling them and they wanted to see me salom. The problem was i did not have my normal driver that day, rather than go thru the frustration i did not ski that day due to the fact that none of them would of pulled me properly and the risk of them screwing something up on the new boat.

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                    • #11
                      I've had those days too... should I ski or not..?

                      Those days I try to show the driver first what they should do... evaluate their abilities and determine if I ski or not. I also don't get into the water expecting a great run- I expect to just work the muscles I think a little frustration with a so-so driver is better than not skiing @ all.

                      There are days however where my ski doesn't get wet because there is no one to drive.


                      Originally posted by Ryan X7 View Post
                      I had my friends out and i was pulling them and they wanted to see me salom. The problem was i did not have my normal driver that day, rather than go thru the frustration i did not ski that day due to the fact that none of them would of pulled me properly and the risk of them screwing something up on the new boat.
                      Last edited by ; 12-17-2009, 04:29 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Teach her the Williamson Maneuver!!!

                        Originally posted by JMann View Post
                        I like all of these ideas. I have been trying to teach my wife to drive and this will help me explain it to her. She does pretty good but this will help.
                        I also have a very short list of drivers, 1 brother, 2 dad, 3 wife. That's who get to drive my boat when I'm skiing.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by G-man View Post
                          The list of people allowed to drive my boat is short
                          Mine too! It's hard to concentrate on my riding when I'm wondering if the driver is doing their job......most importantly staying away from shallow areas!
                          I was njskier on here.

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                          • #14
                            Ahh..the shallows...This is where the skier having a headset and communicating to the driver would be grand. I thought I've heard of such a device used for training? Was it Jodi Fisher using such a device?

                            Originally posted by njskier View Post
                            Mine too! It's hard to concentrate on my riding when I'm wondering if the driver is doing their job......most importantly staying away from shallow areas!

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                            • #15
                              My list is my wife. She is actually becoming much better. Everytime I finish a set and she asks, "How was that? I say Great regardless of how it was." It's obvious how I've stayed married for 22 years and when your list is that short you can't afford to piss anyone on the list off.

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