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Old 25 November 2019, 09:47   #1
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Excel Volaire 390 build thread

So, spurred on by Jeffís thread on his newly acquired 435 HD, I thought Iíd throw my 2 penneth in.
As you may know from a previous thread, I was dipping my toe into SIB land. We needed something that we could tow around Europe, easy to launch, cheap on the ferry & get into tight campsites/wild camping spots. I was all set to buy a new Zodiac Futura MK2.C with a 20hp Suzuki. The budget for this was around £6.5k+ trailer & all the other gubbins. We visited the Southampton boat show with the intention of doing a deal, until we walked past the Excel stand that is....
They had an outfit on the stand, very similar to what we were looking at, all be it with an ally floor, £3950 to take away including brand new DF20 hmmmm!
We visited the Zodiac stand & TBH, the guy couldnít have been less interested if he actually tried, yes he had an air floor, no it was packed away & he didnít want to get it out & blow it up; back to the Excel stand.
After some negotiations with Terry, who is a man of few words, we agreed a deal on a Volaire390. It was a leap of faith for us:-
A, weíve never had a SIB
B, I hadnít heard of Excel until we saw them at the show.
B, the boat is of Far East origin.

What could go wrong?
Delivery on the boat was a couple of weeks, giving me time to source a trailer. The plan is to inflate/deflate the boat as required & transport it packed up in a secure box trailer. This will enable us to leave it in towns/car parks/campsites etc when abroad, without worrying if someone is poking about, it also keeps it out of the sun.
I purchased an Ansemms ally trailer from a local supplier, these are made in the Netherlands & are a nice bit of kit. I constructed a rolling floor in the trailer, this allows us to slide out the complete floor c/w boat, engine etc. This makes it easier to load & unload. Both the boat & engine are at the top end of what Iím prepared to manhandle.
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More to follow.
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Old 25 November 2019, 10:47   #2
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This'll be a great comparison air floor as opposed to ali and trailed diffrently also electronics set up looking forward to this
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Old 27 November 2019, 02:29   #3
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Far Eastern Origin..... Whatever next..... Could you not get Ribcraft to build you one
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Old 27 November 2019, 02:30   #4
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You wanna be getting an Itiwit electric pump for that
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Old 27 November 2019, 03:49   #5
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Nice work on the trailer floor, itís details like that that make all the difference with an inflatable. Anything that reduces faff is likely to mean that you actually use it more.

Now youíre obviously not going to use that hand pump much. Iím assuming youíll have space in the trailer to build in some impressive inflation system?
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Old 27 November 2019, 05:48   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett View Post
Nice work on the trailer floor, itís details like that that make all the difference with an inflatable. Anything that reduces faff is likely to mean that you actually use it more.

Now youíre obviously not going to use that hand pump much. Iím assuming youíll have space in the trailer to build in some impressive inflation system?


Aye, the hand pump is just for decoration. The boat came with a Sevylor automatic 12v pump. Quite impressive for its size, but Iím not sure sure how long it will last. The trailer has a built in battery that charges off the towing electrics for running the pump. Iíve also got an Anderson plug on the back of the van if I need it. The Buck regulator is out for delivery from Amazon today, so I should be able to get the plotter install finished.
Just need to get the bl***dy thing in the water then
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Old 27 November 2019, 07:01   #7
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Anssems trailers are superb - I have a similar
one to yours (three section tall). The only thing I donít like is that the middle section of the rear door needs to be completely removed to gain access, Iíd prefer the whole rear section to be a ramp or a single opening.

The ramps a great idea - how easy is it to wrestle the motor from the ramp into the transom?
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Old 27 November 2019, 07:38   #8
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Anssems trailers are superb - I have a similar
one to yours (three section tall). The only thing I donít like is that the middle section of the rear door needs to be completely removed to gain access, Iíd prefer the whole rear section to be a ramp or a single opening.

The ramps a great idea - how easy is it to wrestle the motor from the ramp into the transom?
i can see the second reason for the roller floor now
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Old 27 November 2019, 08:02   #9
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....how easy is it to wrestle the motor from the ramp into the transom?


Fairly easy if youíre fit. Thereís a rest for the skeg built onto the board, so you can stand up the motor without loosing control of the bottom end. Similarly when replacing the motor in the trailer, you can locate the skeg into the rest & lay the motor down into the cradle.
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Old 27 November 2019, 13:36   #10
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A good thread - it makes my SIB preparation look decidedly amateur.

Are you going to fit launching wheels to it? Whilst Fenlander is the fountain of knowledge on this, I'd certainly recommend the Trem wheels.

The only other thing I'd suggest is some way of standing the engine up so you can flush it when it's not on the boat.
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Old 27 November 2019, 14:30   #11
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Excel Volaire 390 build thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyC View Post
A good thread - it makes my SIB preparation look decidedly amateur.

Are you going to fit launching wheels to it? Whilst Fenlander is the fountain of knowledge on this, I'd certainly recommend the Trem wheels.

The only other thing I'd suggest is some way of standing the engine up so you can flush it when it's not on the boat.


Yup, got the excel launching wheels. Being a complete newby to SIB land, Iíve no idea (yet) if they are any good or not, time will tell.
I have a stand at home for mounting the engine, I havenít schemed a ďtravelĒ one up yet.
The Buck regulator arrived today, so hopefully I might get to finish the plotter install tomorrow.
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Old 28 November 2019, 10:38   #12
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Got into the shed for a couple of hours & finished off the plotter setup.
The DF20 manual start doesnít come with a regulated output. Confusingly the brochure states that there is 6A available for battery charging, what it doesnít say is that you need to buy an additional regulator kit to access it. The kit is around £100 & takes about an hour to fit. The Suzuki part number is 32000-89L00-000 if anyone is interested.
I was looking to keep the weight/bulk down so decided to go down the Lithium battery route, I purchased a 20Ah Lifepo4 battery off EBay, this is about the same size & weight as a sealed lead acid 7Ah alarm backup battery. It has a built in BMS so in theory should prevent overcharging/discharge. The output from the outboard is about 15.5V, the charging voltage for the Li battery is 12.6V, I didnít want to rely on the built in BMS to protect the battery (Iím not even sure if it does protect from over voltage) so I put a Buck regulator in between the outboard & battery. This will accept any input voltage between 7-30V & will maintain a preset output voltage.
I also decided to add a Scanstrut USB charger to the mix too.
The plotter is mounted on the forward thwart. I made up a mounting plate out of some HDPE. This allows the plotter to slide along the seat to suit the operator, a swivel allows L/R adjustment.
The battery box is underslung below the plotter & is held in place with a couple of wing nuts (stainless naturally )
The charging connection to the engine is via 1.5mm tinned twin & Buccaneer connectors.
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Old 28 November 2019, 17:17   #13
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Looking very tidy that Dave. Be nice to see it all set up
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Old 02 December 2019, 04:21   #14
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folding outboard trolly might be of interest.

https://www.force4.co.uk/force-4-fol...oard%20trolly&

sorry about that dave try this
hope you got your thermals on would like to see some build pics if you do on the beach
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Old 02 December 2019, 04:28   #15
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Quote:
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folding outboard trolly might be of interest.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ta...fVhcZDrvCTqbjx


That link takes me to Google Mail Jeff. Weíre off up to Ullswater today, hopefully having the inaugural launching tomorrow.
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Old 02 December 2019, 04:45   #16
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That all looks very nice especially the USB charger. I'm using Blue Sea ones but I like the fact the Scanstrut one maintains its weathertight IP rating with stuff plugged into it.

I'm talking RIB rather than SIB and mine are inside the console so the IP rating is hopefully irrelevant but it still doesn't stop me getting USB charger envy.

Tomorrow looks like a good day weatherwise.

Good luck.
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Old 03 December 2019, 08:26   #17
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The Piglet has landed. Took an hour from parking up to getting in the water. Not bad for a first attempt. Currently on Ullswater, just pulled up on a beach for coffee. Pleasantly surprised how she handles, but not having much experience with SIBs, that might not count for much. Still running the engine in so canít let rip yet, but she pops up onto the plane quick enough & planes at 10kn.
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Old 03 December 2019, 08:51   #18
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looking good Dave an hours ok nice and steady, planning at 10kn is the same as my mercury similar size.

the padded seat bag do you rate it will the zips last fancy one for mine.
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Old 03 December 2019, 11:02   #19
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looking good Dave an hours ok nice and steady, planning at 10kn is the same as my mercury similar size.

the padded seat bag do you rate it will the zips last fancy one for mine.


Yup, we rate the seat bag, just discussing whether we should buy another for the front seat. Weíve found that the thwarts slide about on the bead mountings & might need a modification to lock them in place.
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Old 03 December 2019, 11:31   #20
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Very nice.

Are your beaching wheels on the right way round?

Mine cant under the hull and therefore don't come into the boat too far when raised.
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