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.


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
And another after we had turned around and left the bad stuff behind us

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.

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…

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

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:

Simon chilling out whilst we eat lunch

Sat at anchor eating lunch!

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

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.

Proof we made it!

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

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


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!

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