Category Archives: Trip Diaries

The adventure happens here. Less technical and more about trips experiences and on the water stuff.

SWFBR 2015

So with SWFBR over and done (all too soon!) here are a few pictures from the event:

There is also a video from Monday here:

Summer holiday in Cornwall.

Falmouth 1st day

It was 2010 the last time before this year that I had even sat in a boat on water. It was now time for a proper trip away for the week. Quite honestly there is no better place for this in South England if you have small boat than Falmouth. Its massive for one thing. So much to see and do. The South West really is a beautiful part of the world to go boating.

In between the last outing in Kent, I had got a few various new additions to the boat. The Smart tabs were now fitted and I set the them on medium. 3′, and they seemed to work fine. Transparent really just totally removed the bow up as I come onto plane. I was however going to try them in different positions and see how they faired.

I also now had a Laser 21p prop compared to the old alu 21p prop. I was half expecting to pick up some speed with this since alu props tend to flex. but from what I can tell this [along with] the smart tabs made no difference at all to the top speed! I can get about 5600-5800 rpm with it. So that could be ever so slightly higher. It also made no noticeable difference to the way the boat drove. No bow lift at all over what the other prop would be (again results may be biased by smart tabs) but that was at 50+mph which to be honest the boat is a little ‘lively’ (looking into solid engine mounts now)

However something which really has changed perhaps as a result of the trim tabs/prop is increased mpg really quite significantly – that is if the fuel flow meter is calibrated correctly, calculated mpg from today is 4.4. Which is 25% so a huge improvement. I’ll know for sure tomorrow how accurate that is once I’ve refuelled, to see if litres used (54.4) tallies up with the actual refill. Again this is another new thing. So not really an exciting day by way of report, but its great to be back down in the South West again.

However as a summary, from today for the first play out in Falmouth I have the following:

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Trip statistics
Max speed: 54.7 MPH
Average speed: 14.6 MPH
Distance Covered: 52.6 Miles
Fuel used: 54.4 Litres
Calculated MPG: 4.4
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Adventure in Sheerness, and an overnighter on a river.

With the new engine fitted, and now middle of summer and the weather looking AMAZING I had to get it out. So Sunday I headed down with the boat to meet up with a friend in Kent. It was quite late by the time we launched (having totally forgotten to check the tides) the slipway was quite a challenge… If you cant see clearly, starts by the white building on the top left, and you have to reverse down this – with a trailer.
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150 odd meter slip way.. What a pain, we waited a bit and by 8pm we could launch ok.
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So engine was fired up and away we went… Have to say at this point it did start very easily!
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Initially a bit of sea fog came over, around 9pm. Visibility was ok but not great.
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Since it was getting dark, and we had not been out long, we both felt a bit reluctant to come back in so soon. We decided to continue a bit further on up the river side of Sheerness as the skys cleared and the moon came out. The atmosphere changed completely we could see just fine, and so at a rather last moment and with the hottest day of the year forecast for the following day we decided to do something a bit nuts and stay out the night on the boat (!!!!)
So a dash back to sort out some warmer clothes and also some food we then got back on to the water at about 2am..

Night time visibility courtesy of the Moon.
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Steve, always a bit of a crazy influence when we get together…
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So few hours later and Steve is managing some sleep.. How he managed the comfy chair I’m not sure… Oh and that’s a weird printed patten on his shorts, hes not had an accident hahaha.
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But eventually I did too, and then woke up about 6.30am to this:
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Not forgetting the Seals:
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Incredibly calm conditions, Silence other than the birds waking up and so too some of the animals in the near by fields.

So didn’t want to have a really long day since we started early, we then headed back to land freshened up a bit picked up another crew member and decided to head off to Herne Bay for lunch time trip.

A quick blast of about 25-30mph and we where here:

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Concious of fuel (only half a tank left with half a Jerry can for reserve we had a quick play around, stopped for lunch then made our way back.
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So the second day of this mini Adventure we ended up with these following stats:

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So things to do in prep for Cornwall trip in a few weeks:
Check fuel pressure at WOT,
Remove fins on engine to try without them. Although they helped get on plane without the bow lifting so high, I just felt I couldn’t get the right trim compromise I wanted. I think trim tabs will be the answer to this.
Fix MPH Gauge, pipe has come off from gearbox.
Fit a temp gauge.
Save for fuel… haha

Anyway hope some of you find some of this interesting. It was certainly fun for me.

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Trip statistics
Max speed: 54.3 MPH (day before pic above)
Average speed: 15.5 MPH
Distance Covered: 86 Miles
Fuel used: 100 Litres
Calculated MPG: 3.5
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Second Trip to the Solent

After the last outing the carbs had another service with new needles and float heights checked. Now another run was necessary to get some more hours on it and also of course to have another trip out and have some fun!

Back down to Langstone Harbour, the boat was launched without incident. In fact the engine sprang into life with no issues at all. It’s such a nice change to the old in-line 6 which was such a PITA to get going.

This time with plenty of fuel the plan first was to cross the Solent and head for Bembridge harbour, where we stopped jumped out and had some lunch. Sea state up to this point was pretty rough. A few white caps about, with a maximum comfortable speed of around 20 mph, which made the crossing a bit hard work, especially entering Bembridge, however once in totally sheltered.

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So after this we headed back out with the intention to make our way to Whitecliff bay. Again the sea was rather rough and the white caps getting more frequent. We were getting close to the East side near Seaview keeping well clear of any rocks and pretty much suddenly landed in quite severe water. Probably the roughest I’ve ever been in so far (even now I re-read this in 2015).

Now I was glad more than ever that I was not such a small boat as before. Wave heights of probably a good 2 meters. In fact several times the waves surrounded us in a way that we lost site of anything around us, which as has never happened before. I have a bit of video from this, but missed the ‘best bit’. This was an interesting new challenge really as it then required a careful turn around so not to be hit side on by this sea. I timed it so that the turn began as I went to go up a wave and then quickly spun around to ‘surf’ gently down it using almost no throttle at all, I then continued this surf on the downward slope of the wave quite gently until we were back in more sheltered waters. No real dramas, but conditions I certainly wouldn’t want to be in by choice.

Here is a couple of video stills
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And another after we had turned around and left the bad stuff behind us
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So after that excitement we headed in the direction of Cowes. I remember reading here that The Folly Inn has opened so seemed a good place to go to relax before the journey back to Langstone harbour.

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By pure chance we managed a pontoon landing on the Folly inn pontoon, and were allowed a free visit provided we didn’t stay for too long, very nice of them! So some chill time here and a quick look over the boat and all was fine. Shortly later the trip back began but still the sea state was a little hairy, this time I could reach around 30mph and for the fist time this day got into a nice rhythm on the boat riding the sea at a pretty good pace. It look little more than 25 mins to get back from Cowes to Langstone harbour. Not bad I thought given the conditions for a 12-13 mile trip, finally also for the first time approaching Langstone I managed for the first time to fully open the throttle but not long enough to really refine the trim, and again reached 45~ gps mph.

So points improved/needs addressing since last time.

*New carb jets have helped with low speed drive ability. Its still not great, but I don’t know the history of the carbs they may have too large jets for the boat etc.
*Didn’t really get a chance to check WOT rpm as I was paying too much attention to the sea…
*Fuel consumption was not great 3.0mpg. Better than last time but used about 60 litres doing 40 miles. That not really what I want, and I may look at more serious cures if I can’t improve this – such as saving for a more modern engine…
*Drivers seat problem cured.. Now need to do the same with the passenger.
*Had a really strange issue with water in the boat when home. It was dry all day within the boat, but once home for some reason the carpet in the middle of the floor was wet. This needs looking into.
*Really need trim tabs or something to lift up the back end. I have some engine fins I think I’ll give a go first. This could potentially save a lot of fuel due the the high approach angle at low/mid teen speeds.

That’s all for now. Time for sleep…

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Trip statistics:
Max speed: 45. MPH
Average speed: 13.0 MPH
Distance Covered: 40 Miles
Calculated MPG: 3.0
Total engine run time: 3.5hrs
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Fletcher 170GTO – First Trip!

After having got the boat ready, an earlyish start was planned for Monday.

I had printed of weather and tidal charts, sorted out boat insurance and charged my VHF radio!! Next was to chuck in a load of life jackets, anchor flares throw line and a whole load of other safety kit. Whilst still amazed that there was plenty of room left, change of clothes food and lunch was also chucked aboard!

This was going to be quite an eye opener today. I did a few years ago take the same type of hull out, but the engine on that was not running well and never really got a feel of it so I still didn’t really know what to expect.

Launching went without issue. In fact I was amazed the boat slid off the trailer without drama and Simon parked the car whilst I attended to getting the engine ready to fire. Now my last boat had a rather tricky old in line 6 motor which took some attempts to get going, boarding on impossible sometimes, fearful of the same the engine jumped in to life without any problem at all.

Simon had now returned and with the girls already on board (!) he jumped in and for the first time I motored away from the shore and headed north up Langstone harbour to get a feel for things. Fortunately there were to be no nasty surprises. Everything worked as anticipated, and with slightly hazy sunshine and a bit of a southerly wind, conditions in the harbour were fairly calm.

After testing a bit further and reminding myself how everything worked I span around and headed south out of the harbour and into the open water. This was the first time I had experienced the bigger hull. It has a much softer ride off plane, and dealt with the moderate rough sea with ease. The winder over tied caused a few waves that would have upset the old boat but we all remained dry and in reasonable comfort.

So I tried a bit more throttle, The boat starts to come up onto plane at about 14mph. This seemed quite high I thought, and I may look into some trim tabs to help level the boat out, however I shortly backed off as the sea was a little rough for this at that point. I also noticed that the engine began to bog down under partial throttle tending to want to stall if the throttle was not opened up briefly. So slightly unsure of how safe everything was (didn’t want an engine failure here as I’m also new to this engine) we headed back into the harbour to settle back down and find a spot to anchor up and have some lunch.

We anchored up at the northern end of the harbour with about, and whilst coming back in I noticed that the engine was very oily – even for a 2 stroke, so whilst the others ate I pulled the inlet to the carbs off to see if anything was obvious. Nothing really amiss here so I started the engine and let it idle.. then a minor problem revealed its self. I noticed that the middle pair of carbs were leaking fuel out of the inlet trumpets. This means that the floats are not closing properly. The cause of this is most likely old needles within them, so I shall order new ones, I know they are not dirty as I’ve already cleaned them. It wasn’t a problem at larger throttles just below 2000 rpm under load where the extra fuel caused the engine to run too rich on those cyls. That should be a simple fix which I’ll sort out soon.

After this I decided to give the back up engine a try. I found that in the up position its too high, and in the low – too low. So shall see to that, but it did however allow the boat to be manoeuvred in the event of engine failure and also worked a million times better than the puny 2.3 hp backup I had on the old boat.

So with growing confidence we headed back out to sea. This time we headed for the forts on the Solent. This was the first time I could stretch the engine a little and managed around 35mph but the sea was a little rough to go any more.

Then the helm seat broke!! It had been secured with nasty wood screws and because it sits quite low I had been leaning heavily on it. This I need to raise and secure properly to prevent this happening again. It would also benefit from thicker/stronger foam to help absorb some of the impacts. Something to think about… Nothing else eventful happened today, in fact the rather dull weather forecast and potential for strong winds never amounted to much. Later in the afternoon the sea settled a bit which was when I was able to hit 45.7mph. I’m sure there will be more to come too but in time. Possibly also the engine is over propped a bit, with a max rpm seen of around 4800, but need to test more first.

So enough text, If your reading this thanks

So Key points learned today:

*Off plane very smooth ride, eats waves that my old 165 would end up covering everyone with water.
*Comes on plane at around 14 mph, and will quickly pick up speed to about 20-24. Quite hard to control in this region, but made worse by the engine choking up, and will improve when fixed.
*Backup engine needs raising a few inches. I’ll make a new backing plate to do this on the outboard clamp.
*Top speed 45mph RPM 4800-5000
*Trip distance around 30 miles (forgot to reset gps so only recoded 20)
*Fuel consumption seems better than expected, but really hard to tell for sure just yet. Need to re-fill to be sure.
*Trim tabs could be a benefit?
*Need to fix the seat down!! + raise it.
*and finally I have a boat that works! Now to do some finishing touches when I get time but wow I can’t believe it!!!

Finally Some pics from the day – and video to follow when I get time:

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Simon chilling out whilst we eat lunch

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Sat at anchor eating lunch!

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Been a LONG time since I’ve seen a view like that…

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Girls again. Still got quite cold… Also you can see the carb covers of the engine where I noticed fuel leaking out whilst running at low rpm.

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Proof we made it!

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Under Simons control here, Quite nice to sit down and take in the surroundings as a passenger.

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Engines!! Backup engine at full height (prop still a bit low) but main V6 engine seemingly working quite well so far.

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Back at shore. Rather low tide now. Had no problem getting it out however.

All in all a rather fantastic first trip in the ‘new’ boat!

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Trip statistics

Max speed: 45.4 MPH
Average speed: 9.9 MPH
Distance Covered: 30 Miles
Calculated MPG: 2.7
Total engine run time: 3h06m
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Around the Isle of Wight 2010!!

The plan: To meet up with the chaps from from Sport Boat & Rib forum at Cowes for a trip around the IOW! (video at the end)

Please note, some of these pics are not mine, but I’m sure the others won’t mind me using them I can’t remember who took what now.

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This is what running a boat does. We usually share the cost between people on the boat. This time we went with a full tank of 90 Litres on the boat and two jerry cans with another 40L just to be on the safe side.

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£1.20/l here. Rate its going up will be more soon I bet.

A new slipway this time, we launched from Hamble point. The idea of this trip was to raise money for the RNLI. This was done by donations from each boat attending (us included).

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Crossing the water to Cowes was amazing. We followed the route of the Wight Link ferry. I remember once in late teens thinking how cool it would be to have a boat and cross on the water. Today as we passed that ferry I kind of achieved that goal. Amazing!

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The first of the SB&R crew come into view.

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So this is what we look like. Have to admit the lines of the boat do look awesome. It does sit so low however.

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All ready now. So the first port of call is to head off West in the direction of Yarmouth.

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Where we waited just a sec for a forum member, but it gave us a some time to take a few shots like the one above!

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Under way again, this time in the direction of the Needles. I have to mention now that cruising in company is fantastic. Its so much fun. these guys were great too. It brings a whole element to the boating experience. Fantastic stuff!

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The Needles coming into view now. I’ve only ever seen them like this on postcards. This is for real!

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Check out how calm the sea is too. Clear blue skies, we really couldn’t have picked a better day. I’m told that apparently it gets quite rough here, hard to believe – but that’s what planning and getting the tides right is all about.

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And time again for some more pictures!

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And back under way again. This time travelling South East.

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This was the first time I opened up the throttles. A good bit of fun, and to show the others what this little Fletcher is really capable of, haha to our amazement we pulled away from everyone, and just to make matters worse took a big loop around them and caught them up again. Great fun

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Next in the distance is St. Catherines Light house – our next point on the trip.

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This marks the half way point! Again we stopped for a few minutes to have a look around. One of the others refuelled and then we carried on towards and past Ventnor, and towards Sandown.
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Stopping at Sandown we all rafted up. This was interesting in that its the first time I’d done such a thing. It worked fine however and all attached to one anchor we sat and had lunch.

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Which was a good time to show of the new dash I had done!

Fed and watered the next part of the trip was in to more familiar waters passing Whitecliff Bay and then into Bembridge. Again this was the first time I had been here since a holiday trip with friends years ago.

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Spot the small blue boat?!

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Steve it turned out also had his uses…

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This seemed like a good opportunity to take a group picture!

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All ‘massive and crew’! Err London speak…

Still with plenty of time after this we decided to all head back a bit around the island to Whitecliff Bay for some more water sports type stuff. It had to be done, the weather was just too good to ignore.

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Finally and amusingly if you look at the GPS track below (see the cluster of movements around Whitecliff!!!) after messing about here we all headed back. Only one concern, FUEL. Having poured in all the remaining fuel we had the gauge was looking worryingly low Fortunately we did make it back, and the others had spare should we have really needed any.

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And finally some videos to finish the day:

Finally the days statistics:

Distance covered 110 miles.
Fuel used 117 litres.

10th trip – time to try some water sports!

Ok I realise that an inflatable ringo isn’t exactly ‘water sports’ but I don’t have any good pictures of the knee boarding that went on!

Having returned from Cornwall a weeks or so ago, and with the summer now nearly in full swing, it was time to try out a few new things. Armed with an inflatable ringo and also a knee board we headed down to the coast and then to our now favourite spot at Whitecliff bay.

After a few failed attempts at getting started on the knee board (you have to pull off fairly quickly then back off once up to speed ~20mph ish) we began to get the hang of it. Knee boarding is a mad thing! Definitely worth a go if you have not before. Just remember to lean back and try to lift the front of the board up. You’ll then be fine!!

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Whilst we didn’t quite manage deep water starts, we did have enough goes that arms felt a few inches longer – ouch. So after that it was time to try the inflatable!

Haha what great fun, these things could be so dangerous if going too fast. The occupants on them basically have no control and its all down to the driver to keep them safe!

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This is something I NEVER thought I’d see myself doing or eh dressed in!

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Simon giving it the thumbs up! We just need to have a look at wakeboarding now!

So a quick update but a fun one. Only pain is the damn I6 engine loves to stall when sat idle for a bit.

May Bank holiday Cornwall Calls!

Just got back from Cornwall. I thought the South East/Solent was good boating. Its nothing compared to the South West. Honestly, amazing.

I’ll quickly summarise what we did.

Arrived Thursday, Friday dry-parked the boat in Falmouth harbour office slipway. This is a place where you need to launch and recover the boat on your own each time. Its not that bad really, and does mean its easy to remove and get fuel if you wish. Its a perfect setup here, so have a proper pontoon, you can nearly do this without getting wet at all. Amazing!

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Out into Falmouth Harbour. What are all these saily things ?! 😉

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Sun (or lack of) spoils this a bit but it looked very nice!

So after a quick couple of hours we returned to land and then came out again the following day. The weather was a bit rough and several times it tried to rain, but this time we headed up the River Fal towards Truro. This is AMAZING. Possibly the best boating scenery I’ve yet seens, its nearly make believe with the trees on each side hugging you as you go up river. Cautious though, even though we were well below river speed limits the locals don’t take kindly to ANY wash at all – sorry I can’t defy physics.
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Where else in the South can you see stuff like this?

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Technology is improving! Sat nav and radio + GPS logger. Still no depth finder however. Tut tut…

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Then it started raining!!!

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Like I said already however. If you have boat. Take it here you have no idea what your missing!!

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Small cafe here its good so I hear.

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Slowly going up  river and Truro Cathedral comes into view!

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But of course on the only time I ever go up here on my boat its covered in scaffolding hahaha!

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The river stops here! There is a Tesco here as well. You can moor here if you are brave.

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Some GPS stats

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And back at base

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So the final day was a little rough but we exploded some of the rocky areas around Falmouth and then headed up river to the  famous Pandora Inn.

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And that pretty much sums up this Cornish adventure!!

New year + Half finished boat, April time to get out again

So you will know if you have read the “tidying it all up” story that I was doing a lot to the boat over winter/new year. Well April came along fast and still wasn’t quite finished, and it was a Steve’s wedding soon, so we made a trip out on the boat part of his Stag day!

So err some of the planned changes were done, fuel tank in the front, but what we didn’t know was that somehow whilst installing it a small amount of dirt got into the tank, this would have been fine except it kept blocking the fuel flow. We found a way around this but typical. This was rectified soon after buy putting a strainer in the tank to prevent anything like this again.

Other than that – successful day on the water. Getting the hang of this now!

As you can see we all looked nice and warm… But the changes to the boat did work fine!

Solent again, Quick run out and back + video

Argh ok getting cold now! Knowing that winter is closing in, any opportunity to get out was taken without hesitation. This time it was a Thursday after work. This would be the last trip of 2009. What an introduction to boating!

The plan quite simple, go to Langstone, and run across to Whitecliff Bay and then come back again.

Here is a video of this. Its a bit cheesy. Sorry about that… It is funny though as Steve does begin to look a little sick hahaha.