Well, it arrived on Thursday and this morning, my wife was encouraging me to get it straight onto the water.
We first tried a dry run, assembling the boat completely on the back lawn. The new outboard has various buttons and controls that either didn't exist on my 3 previous outboards, or which were in different places. It took me some time to find which bit I had to pull before I could tilt the engine - and then I got it in the neck because my wife had suggested pulling that bit several minutes earlier!
I had considered all the various floor options and had been wary of plywood because it was such a job fitting and removing the stringers on both of my previous boats. However, the Zodiac 310 Cadet solid's floorboards slipped in easily and the stringers just slotted into place. The whole thing came apart easily too.
Then we took it down to the Trent, just above Fiskerton, to use a free slipway. The boat went together more quickly this time. An easy launch and the engine started first pull.
A quarter of a mile upriver, I finally remembered to lift the launching wheels!
After an hour and a quarter cruising into the current and a strong headwind. We were a bit cold, but we were having fun. Apart from the common mallards, Canada geese, moorhens and tufted ducks, a range of gulls and terns, Cormorants and herons, and a few late dragonflies we had an unusual sighting of two brightly-marked Egyptian geese.
We arrived at Gunthorpe and tied up to some iron steps below the lock. I had planned to stop off for a snack at the greasy spoon café there, but when we walked in we found it had become a rather pretentious little ristorante Italiono. The toilets were labelled "signori" and "signore" for goodness' sake! Still, a hot coffee and a bowl of chips is never a bad idea, even if the chips are called "spicy wedges" and have no detectable spiciness.
The trip down river was of course much quicker with a following wind. Although the slipway was steep and greasy with wet autumn leaves, the boat came out easily and was back in the car within half an hour.
About £8.50 for a day ticket to use the river (which was less than the coffee and chips) and a sip of petrol - for a lovely afternoon out.
The 310 is the smallest boat I've owned - by about a foot - and may turn out to be a bit of a handful in a choppy sea, but so far so good. A well made boat and good engine (Mariner 9.9 four stroke). Very pleased.
Quite a few of you in this forum gave me advice and encouragement. It took a leap of faith to invest this much in a hobby that I had allowed to drop a few years ago, and the encouragement helped.