Monday, 22 July 2013

The First Adventure in the Gurnard ... Loch Etive

What a day Sunday turned out to be. Its the kind of day that dreams are made off.

For me, it started at 3.30 am when I got up, had breakast then towed my new boat to Taynuilt for the first voyage in her. I was on the beach beside Kelly's Pier just before high tide and set up the boat while I let the trailer wheel bearings cool down.

It is the only thing that Im a bit wary about with my new set up. I have always avoided putting the road trailer in salt water on my last boat. However this large inflatable boat weights around 150kg which includes the engine, so is too heavy to manhandle off the trailer. My last boat was a fibreglass hull so it could be shoved around and pulled onto beaches, but this one has a soft inflatable bottom with aluminium floor boards dragging it is just not wise. I pushed the trailer into the sea loch until the boat floated off. Only the tip of the tow hitch and top of the jockey wheel mount were left above water. However the boat floated great..even with the 52kg 25HP engine on the back. Once on the water..I topped up the tube pressures with the hand pump. It only took a couple of minutes. Then it was ready for the start of my new adventure.

One pull of the engine and it fired up with a healthy growl. I ran it a moment or two while I watched the water "pee" pour out its vent.. to ensure the cooling system was working as it should ..then I slowly opened the throttle. I carried my 3.3HP Mariner outboard in the boat as it was my first outing and I wasnt sure how reliable the second hand engine was. The inflatable is huge compared to my other boats so it was no problem having the spare engine on the floor. The boat slid agross the surface with easy. I didn't go far as I wanted to catch a mackerel or two for bait. I wanted to give my boat the workover but also incorporate it in a days fishing.

I stopped the boat after a couple of minutes running and dropped my line of hokkia lures to the sea bottom. The line ran out for ever.. indicating it was very deep. I bounced the lures along the bottom for a few moments then thought I felt a little tug. Reeling in, I was delighted so find I had caught my first Gurnard in many years. I know they have poisonous spines in the fins and gills so carefully shook it off my hook to allow it to swim away untouched.

The family I bought the boat from had mentioned that they had never named this boat so it didnt take me long to think of calling it "Old Gurnard" Well I can be a crabby old git at times. I fished another 15 mins or so but nothing else touched the lures. I got a little impatied as I had not tried planing in my boat yet. I wound in my line.. started the engine again on first pull of the started chord.. hung onto the ropes around the inflatable tubes and ... half opened the throttle. Within seconds..the boat made a little jump as she went over the "step" and started to plane. My eyes started to water a little in the cool sea air ... I left that I was floating in heaven.. and it was not yet 8am and I was still running on half throttle ....

How fast could she go ? .... to be continued


blueskyscotland said...

Used to go out in a similar type of RIB with friends as they have one. On calm seas it's amazing how far you can get. It will certainly increase the range and scope of your travels.

Donny Wilcox said...

Hi again Bob.. yup..the boat certainly gives me a greater feeling of confidence that it will handle a wave or two .. better than my previous boats

I swapped my Red boat with the Cuddly on it for this one and have no regrets having tried it out.

Bursledon Blogger said...

I'm like you don't like getting trailer bearings wet, our sailing dinghies all have piggy back launching trolley,s not sure how that would work for a soft floor inflatable

Donny Wilcox said...

Hi again Bursledon Blogger... I guess I will get used to submerging the trailer.

I changed the wheel bearings when I got the boat and they are very easy to do. I will clean and regrease them once a month but will alsd hose them down after every trip.

I have some transom wheels that may help but the boat is still 100kg when empty so it is hard to move around..but Im working on things

I do notice the anglers that own Warriors and Wilson Flyers etc always submerge their trailers and without a second thought.

When I asked the owner of one about the practise..he laughed and said..welcome to larger boats :-D