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Old 12 February 2017, 09:01   #1
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Another day in the office - sea trials in the North Channel

With the lengthening days comes the nagging feeling that some boat servicing is required. I pulled the willkcraft out of her winter parking bay, gave the trailer the usual love* and departed home yesterday morning in a minus two pre-dawn light. The drive to HQ is always a bit nerve wracking for me - she weighs in at 3.5 tonnes trailered, the rig is 16m and I prefer to descend Glenariff when there isn't slush on the road - which there was


*50 Shades of grease, penetrating oil, jacks, lump hammers, battering plank, new tyre, new LED, etc.
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Old 12 February 2017, 09:12   #2
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When I arrived, the yard was all up in a flap. It transpired that the new workshop was about to give birth to it's first 1650, it's entire raison d'etre was about to be tested - that and the Man from Scania was there to commission the engines... afloat

Clearly this was going to be all about being in the right place at the right time and in my experience that is at the waterside just as the lines are being cast off. I started practising "The Look", a mix of soulful and hopeful - think "dog watching the door at walkies time"

I slipped into the workshop, the video below shows the general scope of the place. That wee door should carry a warning for the easily startled! It was a relatively easy birth and the big haul to the sea began. The exit is generally closed by a moveable fence but I couldn't help thinking a few folding palm trees (à la Tracey Island) would look better. Redbay Boats is located on the shorefront overlooking the North Channel so they can test each boat in the waters they were designed for - no need for a quick splash in a local river!
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Old 12 February 2017, 10:25   #3
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Did I mention that yesterday was Baltic? The easterly had picked up and there was a sloppy sea breaking over the quay wall as launch time approached. The John Deere edged towards the ramp. You get a better idea of the scale of the rig from the tractor! She was lined up on the dry and then rushed into the tide with four lads holding her lines until she came to an uneasy rest against the fendered quay. First time I've seen fenders deployed at a Redbay splash!
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Old 12 February 2017, 10:55   #4
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As "Bád Píolótaíochta Uibhir a Dó" touched the quay, a team of boat builders and engineers leapt aboard to conduct the customary checks of bilges and systems. Once the Man from Scania gave the thumbs up the pair of 550hp diesels were fired and gear boxes tested. The console was lit up like Christmas Tree. I was still on the quay - would I get the nod? "Pigs might swim fly" you say, but just as the final check was completed Tom spotted there was a seat free and as he was to be Shore Marshal - put me aboard (probably to get peace).

I have to say, for a workboat those Pilots look after themselves. Cabin heating, damped (as opposed to damp) captains seats for six. HEATED seats!! Music! I'd had a quick look over her in the workshop and she is a very impressive craft with a few refinements since the last build (this is Belfast Harbour's second 1650).

I'd mentioned that the sea was rising a bit and by now it had become a snotty enough stretch of water - not bad, but enough so that my own RIB would have been slowed considerably. The 1650 didn't even notice it and calmly and quietly trucked her way through it at 27kts. Best bit of the trip? Watching a swell assisted recovery of a 16m Pilot Boat onto an articulated trailer. Well done guys, I could barely watch with the nerves. Thanks again!
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Old 12 February 2017, 10:57   #5
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Tom - you know you want one!


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Old 12 February 2017, 11:24   #6
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Did I mention that yesterday was Baltic? The easterly had picked up and there was a sloppy sea breaking over the quay wall as launch time approached. The John Deere edged towards the ramp. You get a better idea of the scale of the rig from the tractor! She was lined up on the dry and then rushed into the tide with four lads holding her lines until she came to an uneasy rest against the fendered quay. First time I've seen fenders deployed at a Redbay splash!
That is one beautiful craft willk can't get the vid to play though
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Old 12 February 2017, 11:49   #7
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Wilk, awesome. That thing is a work of art! Thanks for walking us through it.

(Please, nobody mention drug smuggling - I wouldn't want anyone to get offended)
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Old 12 February 2017, 12:08   #8
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vid to play though
video plays OK on laptop - but (as with all?/most videos uploaded directly here) doesn't play on mobile.
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Old 12 February 2017, 12:15   #9
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A very nice one indeed and the cabin makes a huge difference especially this time of the year
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Old 12 February 2017, 12:26   #10
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video plays OK on laptop - but (as with all?/most videos uploaded directly here) doesn't play on mobile.
On my I pad saying unsupported?
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Old 12 February 2017, 12:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffstevens763@g View Post
That is one beautiful craft willk can't get the vid to play though
Quote:
Originally Posted by Poly View Post
video plays OK on laptop - but (as with all?/most videos uploaded directly here) doesn't play on mobile.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffstevens763@g View Post
On my I pad saying unsupported?
I do wish you pair would stay on topic!
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Old 12 February 2017, 13:22   #12
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I do wish you pair would stay on topic!
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Old 12 February 2017, 16:10   #13
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Couple of the official pics appearing tonight:

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Old 12 February 2017, 18:34   #14
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Couple of the official pics appearing tonight:

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Hmm. The one I would love to own and the one I could afford.

I think I will be buying a lottery ticket soon. The idea of the heated seats is very appealing in this weather.

Well done to Tom and crew, they have came a long way.

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Old 12 February 2017, 19:15   #15
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...(Please, nobody mention drug smuggling - I wouldn't want anyone to get offended)
Nah, no one here would do that!....



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