this is a test
After the snow has thawed, it was time to put all those little bits I had learnt last year into action. It was time to tidy up the boat and make it how I felt it should be.
This started by taking the boat to my work and putting it on the ramp so things could be worked on more easily.
One of the first things I did was replace a mudguard that had rusted and become detached.
Then the fuel tank was removed after space was found at the front and the repair to the rear begun.
Polyester resin used here. The same stuff halfords sell for cars. I was warned away from this but actually it worked perfectly.
Notice the wiring was tidied up as well.
Then I painted it – and you would never have known I had even cut it!! I was pleased by this finally!!
I actually ended up painting the whole top half of the boat, after some front end damage was also done. A new rubbing strip was found and the top half of the boat was now beginning to look pretty damn good.
Next came the interior. This was a whole new thing for me. I had to ask my mum if I could borrow her sewing machine! She thought I had gone mad, and to be fair so did I.
But in any case I carefully unpicked the old upholstery, marked it out and after a bit of reading worked out how to use the sewing machine and got going.
I thought I did quite well I must say. This below REALLY impressed me hahaha.
So coming together now. Looking better..
Now you have the idea!!
Then onto the seats. These were tricky. Like playing in 3d space you had to think from all sorts of angles, but somehow I did it.
Back into the boat that wasn’t the only thing that needed doing. The dash and side panels were also rotten. So out that came the panels.
And new ones went in.
Half way there now! The fuel tank is now behind the center panel in the front. This was a much better idea. The boat I was to learn would be much better on the water like this.
The much needed electronics and radio were then fitted!
And the final job done!
Notice the 12inch kenwood sub below! Gotta love the tunes! Oh and new glove box.
And finally the stickers.
So this is how it ended up. You need to read the trips now if you have not already. The boat was shortly sold after this with a 50hp engine – never to be seen again. But I have to say this was an amazing boat. and had some incredible times on it. What I didn’t realise however is just how long it would be until I was on the water again. That all continues with the 170GTO Project!
Now armed with an engine boat and controls, it was time to assemble things together.
Then the real fun began. Reading around the internet we were told that we needed safety equipment. This came in the shape of oars (!) bilge pump, lights, anchor, ropes, flares, life jackets oh and of course we needed to get a fuel tank. So this ‘cheap’ little project suddenly started to look expensive. The engine and boat alone before all this had already cost £1400…
Sadly the engine didn’t line up with the old holes already drilled on the boat, so I had to drill new ones and then seal the old holes up. No dramas and soon the engine was bolted on and the controls fitted.
So in went a bilge pump, battery, wiring, fuel pump and of course gauges. This nice little lot had now increased our budget a further £500 and we weren’t even on the water yet!
All the connections where then made (notice the engine offset, I was told by an old chap who used to race these kind of things we should do this, however I have since learned that I am not so sure, but it seemed to go fine anyway and did mean the steering lined up.
Notice engine offset.
So then the internal wiring and fitting out was done:
The next thing was to find a fuel tank. I wanted the biggest one I could physically get in the boat. I was under the impression that all the heavy weight should be at the back and it never occurred to me to use the front space which was plenty to mount the tank so we then cut room to make the tank fit:
Battery moved and connections made:
The glass would then be repaired later..
We ended up with this
Which I was not happy with but we wanted to get out and testing the boat that weekend.
Finally I added some wiring for the bulge pump and also nav lights and fitted a fuel gauge:
The following day we took it out for the very first time and in fact our very first experience in a speed boat (or any for that matter) – You can read about that first trip here.
So finally back on dry land (remember read the first trip out to see what happened!) The boat was washed down and time for home. The trailer had by now been driven only about 150 miles we collected it, but on the way back from the first trip the suspension on both sides collapsed on the motorway. This wasn’t a major problem in itself only that as a result the tyres rubbed on the arches on each side. I didn’t notice until I saw smoke coming of the wheels and pulled over to inspect!!!!! The only way around this was to bend the arches up to stop them touching. I then made my way home very slowly and the next thing was to rebuild the trailer… – As a side point re-publishing this in 2015 still fills me with fear from that experience it was horrid and I vowed never to go out with an unknown trailer ever again.
So a week or so later and the new parts arrived:
Old VS new
New parts fitted
And even better a spare just in case:
So the boat then went out a further 4 times with crazy adventures and steep learning curve on each one. But its so much fun and highly addictive – again these can all be read here.
So this was the initial stage complete. The setup was never perfect. The fuel tank in the rear made the boat very rear heavy. I have learnt since that this is great if your racing, and it wasn’t as the boat lacked the power to get on plane – oh no not at all, it just felt too light at the front.
I’m no stranger to engines, even back in 2009 my day job was tuning and modifying them. This whole outboard thing however was alien to me. What did longshaft mean? what power do we need? What power could we run?
We had decided at this point that may as well get the biggest engine we could find and afford, 50hp too small!!, 70 was ok but really we wanted something 100hp+. That sounded much more fun. It turns out I discovered that trying to find an engine is a complete pain in the arse. Even very old engines seemed to sell for much more than we could justify. This we learnt was marine ‘tax’ – the crazy ill informed/misguided sellers of marine junk who think its still worth something – just do a search on eBay its full of thousands of used engine bits at extortionate prices, that NEVER sell!! Eventually we found a complete engine for sale on PreLoved in South Wales, and the best bit it was a 140hp model.. – YES!!!
Lets go back to 2009. Sometime in August to be precise. A summer evening in the company of a good friend, slightly bored wondering what to do with ourselves.
eBay offered some light distraction, usually looking for interesting cars/bikes. It didn’t matter really as long as it was propelled along with an engine, but really it was the same old thing. We needed something new, something different.
Now I don’t remember how but somehow we ended up looking at sports boats. At the time knowing absolutely NOTHING about them, not even having any family with any related experience, I’m afraid I cant even tell you what we looked at. However one particular boat caught our eye. It was listed as a blue 17ft boat. Looking at the pictures the name “Fletcher” could be seen. Was that good or bad? No idea, had never heard of it, but it was local, it had a trailer and it looked like a project we could do something with. According to the description, all it needed was an engine…
This boat was purchased for about £500. It was structurally fine, however the interior, original was poor. The only extras the boat came with was steering controls and an old speedo!
The trailer appeared fine, at that point!!