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Old 12 May 2014, 10:14   #1
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Redbay 950 on Tour - ERR 2014

With Easdale Rib Rendezvous 2014 coming up like a train, some thought that "Playing with Porpoises" aka tonymac had dibs on the new Redbay Boats Stormforce 950. Yeah, no, he played his hand too soon and I had an ace up my sleeve

I had always wanted Mrs willk to make it to Easdale and this was going to be her big chance - a boat with a bit of shelter - almost built for the job. The WX was good for Thursday and only middling for Friday, so as we had laydee on board we got to go a day early to get a calm crossing from Antrim to Port Askaig on Islay
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Old 12 May 2014, 10:33   #2
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This RIB is from the same mould as the Stormforce 1050 but is built for a completely different market. The 1050 was designed primarily for putting "the fear" on others whereas this is a long distance cruiser with some creature comforts - it looks almost welcoming. Unfortunately one of those creature comforts, a foul weather canopy, is still at the cover-makers so we scooted over the North Channel in Geckos as a spot of rain came on That said, we got great protection from the wrapped back console - all three of us remained dryish and caught no buckets of spray! Oh yes and all our bags (Mrs willk can pack for Ireland) were secure and dry in the cabin under the console. This console will sleep two and has space for a head.
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Old 12 May 2014, 10:52   #3
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While the boat is built to commercial spec it has a nice leisure feel to the finish. That said, the bulk of the pods, the bench and the engine lid life-ring frame all bolt off to make space for work activity - a spot of diving or fishing maybe? All the "stuff" (pumps and boat hook and suchlike) is carefully tucked away but still within reach. The folding door to the console cabin is fully moulded in GRP with a weather channel to stop water entering. The model name in hypalon in photo 4 was made by Henshaw Inflatables, as were the logo patches on the tubes - neat work.
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Old 12 May 2014, 11:09   #4
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The boat is powered by a Yanmar 8-LV 370hp inboard. That is the new Landcruiser V8 block with a pair of turbos driving a Yanmar ZT-370 duoprop leg. It provides fantastic torque across a wide rev range and she responded quickly to a push on the fly by wire throttle. Not a patch on "The Beast" though but it has enough poke to put her the far side of 40kts. The digital panel showed her cruising at 28-30kts burning 32-40 litres per hour at that. The tank of diesel lasted the entire trip of 270Nm - granted it's a 450 litre tank! While the boat has no shock mitigation seating, the hull is so heavy and well designed that it didn't matter much. A pair of HUGE Lenco trim tabs are fitted which is handy for levelling her up in a cross wind and keeping the bow down and stable while running into chop.
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Old 12 May 2014, 11:14   #5
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There were enough Lowrance and Standard Horizon electronics fitted to keep donegaldan happy twiddling for the entire trip. Speaking of the trip, we overnighted in the Port Askaig Hotel beside the Sound of Islay and enjoyed a fantastic seafood platter. Next day was nice and we were a bit early to go bothering Tony Hill so we shot over to Colonsay for elevenses before transiting the Corryvreckan to Crinan for lunch at the Crinan Hotel - Mrs willk is high maintenance

Pics of a few random ribbers:
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Old 12 May 2014, 11:28   #6
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By mid afternoon on Friday we felt it was time to hit Easdale and arrived to a warm welcome from Tony Hill who had spotted us drifting aimlessly in the sound. Mrs Hill (Jess) got us onto a mooring and transferred over to the quay where we bailed into the Garragh Mhor B&B. Trish & Steve made us very welcome (despite our full camel train of bags and wet kit). Trish even packed us "pieces" for lunch - these turned out to be excellent filled baps and not sidearms, but still -top lady! We RVed with Jambo and his dreaded crew in the Oyster for dinner and made plans for the Saturday (the big day). More pics from Saturday below:
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Old 12 May 2014, 11:41   #7
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Saturday was the most glorious day. Mrs willk is ruined as she now thinks the west of Scotland is always like that. Tony led the pack out and round Jura, having a nosey into West Loch Tarbert - a wild, isolated and beautiful spot. We bottled the last bit of the loch and watch the fleet slip away into the shadows. What the hell, the pub in Craighouse was open so we shot around there and ate our pieces in the sun. A few more pics of boats:
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Old 12 May 2014, 11:47   #8
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On the way back to Easdale we stopped in Crinan again and then met dolphins in the Doras Mhor. It was a day that just kept on giving. We even popped into the Grey Dogs narrows for a play - interesting to see the ocean pretending to be a river!
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Old 12 May 2014, 12:00   #9
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And then it was Sunday and time to go home. We wanted to get the tide and wind right in the channel so headed off early at 0950. We had a last cup of coffee in Craighouse before suiting up for a wet and bumpier ride home. To give the 950 her due she took it in good part and shouldered her way through nicely. We were back in Red Bay at 1445 to find a John Deere reversing the trailer into the water. I'm beginning to think Tom has a wider network of spies and informants than I do - how did he know we were arriving?

Up at the yard we squared away, said goodbye to the 950 and took ourselves home to the hills of Donegal - sunburned, tired and very happy. A huge thanks from the ever growing band of Flying Test Monkeys to the lads at Redbay Boats for seeing us off on another adventure. Thanks also to donegaldan for taking all the photos and most of the risks. Also to Mrs willk for enduring my general grumpiness when things weren't going my way

We will get some video clips together over the next few days. I have some lovely footage of Jambo

P.S. The times that the 950 was being driven a bit fast and recklessly? That was when Poly was on the helm. I just want that on the record...
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Old 12 May 2014, 12:50   #10
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Nice write up Sir, looks like you were getting quite comfortable with the 950
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