Saturday, 27 August 2011

My boats and the start of a new adventure

Apologies for the lack of updates the last week or so but I have had a lot on my mind lately, some difficult decisions to make and some crossroads to cross but unsure of which direction to take. That is all just fancy words to say .. life can suck at times .. as it can be for us all.

I did manage to find some time to paint my mother a watercolour for her birthday. It was to thank her in my own small way for the gifts of my late father’s boats and also to thank her for still being the anchor in the family even thought she is in her eighties.. thanks mum :-D

To give a quick resume of my inheritance, I will start with the one I have been using this year. Its a Highlander Family Fisherman and made by W A Simpson Marine of Dundee. It is a 12ft fibre glass boat weighting 150kg and it is powered by a 4HP four stroke Tohatsu outboard engine. I believe a complete package of boat, trailer, engine and boat cover is around £4000.

Because it is a “displacement boat” it is slow compared to a boat that plains, but it is stable in the water. It cuts through a reasonable chop bow first and I remain dry behind the cuddy (open cabin). It can be a little hairy with a following sea as all short boats are. The waves tend to try to turn her sideways so its a constant fight to keep the waves straight on to the stern. It has a good freeboard which means it has high sides and transom so hopefully the waves will keep out.

It is a “Class D” boat that means it is designed for sheltered waters and waves no more that 1 foot high. That is why I have to be careful taking it to sea although I confess to having been in some seas where I’m certain the waves have been around three feet high. I know from experience that when the waves start to break and white horses appear, its time to get on shore as quick as possible.

Its a great boat for me as it is easily launched and recovered by one person using the trailer on the beach, although I stop short of putting the wheel bearings under water. I also carry an auxiliary 2.5HP Suzuki four stroke which cost me around £500 new. Both engines are very reliable and I have never needed to use the auxiliary, its only there for peace of mind. The boat also rows well but in a strong wind tends to blow across the water due to its high freeboard.

My first boating experiences were in an 8ft Avon inflatable. Because it is made of hypalon it is very expensive for its size. I believe this is because they are hand made ? It was powered by a 2 HP two stroke engine but I would now use the 2,5HP suzuki four stroke. It rows very well and handles the sea well but it is a very wet journey as the waves tend to come over the front. In anything over a one foot wave I have to bail out the water as I go. It is also a Class D boat and only suitable for sheltered waters, however it is also unsinkable as long as it doesn’t burst. I think it would be around £1500 for this setup new ? Its advantage is it only weights 41lb and fits in a small bag in the boot of the car when deflated.

The second boat was also an inflatable and is a Seago 2.7m PVC boat made in China. Its tubes are bigger in diameter than the little avon and it is also a foot longer so it is a little better in a wave but still quite a wet journey in anything but calm seas. It has a wooden transom and I carry two outboards on it. Both are around the 2HP and I only use one , the other is for emergency. It rows ok but is hopeless in a wind.

I love this boat and would get another without hesitation. It costs around £450 new. I think I would get one with an airdeck and inflatable keel though as I have heard they are a bit drier in a wave ? It weights 35kg and can be carried across the shore. Deflated it fits in the boot of the car. It is also a Class D boat, designed for sheltered waters

I will be absent for a bit as I am now on holiday for two weeks and heading for the wilderness again. Im taking the Highlander Fisher and also the little Avon inflatable. Like last year, I intend to rough it and try to survive on the fish that I catch and the shellfish on the shore. I may smell a bit like a seagull with that diet but I will post about my adventures when I return.

Thanks for looking at my blog.


Anonymous said...

Have a great holiday Donald. Your luck with the fish seems to have improved in recent times! I hope it continues during this trip. We look forward to reading about your adventures on your return.

Bon voyage
Adam (and Sheena)

Donny Wilcox said...

Hi Adam and Sheena ..thanks for the well wishes ..and I had a great time despite the odd hungry evening when the fish didn't bite..but more of that later :-D