Had quite a busy time this morning, fussing around Solent Viper readying her for the first launch. There was the depth finder transducer to fit and pull both the transducer cable and VHF lead though the under deck trunking. On top of this was all the equipement needed for Sea. Flares, lifejackets, tools, rope, Anchor, First Aid kit, not to mention the supplied I would need for a couple of hours of cruising.
Hitched the car up to the trailer and off I went. I was a bit of a nobby no mates today, so had to do everything by myself.
Arrived at Haslar Public slipway at 13:00hrs and had he boat in the water and ready to go by 13:30hrs.
Turned the switch and with a quite roar the Evinrude burst into life. Thought I would warm her up for 5 mins, in this time I reset my GPS trip and fitted my lifejacket.
A gentle cruise up, into Portsmouth Harbour was first order of the day. Selected reverse and slipped my mooring. Engine seemed to be hesitating a little, but put that down to tickover and the fact it's a new engine to me and a 2 stroke. Slipped her into forward and away I went.
Even at 10knotts the engine seemed to be vibrating more than I would have though, espetially as it's a 6 cylinder engine. Though I would give a blip on the throttle and she seemed very eager with no hesitation on pick-up.
I spent around 30mins in the Harbour, just checking gears and steering where OK, the depth finder seemed to work OK and checked the Radio and GPS where operational.
Once out in the Solent I couldn't wait to ease the throttle forward and see what she could do. There was a little chop, but was pleased that conditions where good as I felt very vunrable without a seat back and cushions to lean into.
Opening the throttle was like I'd been released from a very long dream. Made everything feel worth it and was a very gratifying sensation.
Out the hole seemed very quick, with no hint of cavitation or ventilation. The steering felt heavy when turing to Starboard, but a quick play with the trim sorted that. I headed out to Ryde first, with my first target the Hovercraft. The conditions would have been OK with seat backs, but without them
, so I set a speed of 25knotts which was just above 3000rpm. Conditions eased slightly and I opened her up to 3500rpm which was showing 29 knotts, this should be a very economical and quickish cruising speed for every day cruising. The boat handled great too and quickly ate all the waves that where comming towards me, was a much smoother ride than lots of other boats I've been in and a big improvment on Kohaku, which some of you remember as my old RIB.
After the target was reached I turned NW and headed out past the pier to towards Fawley Power Station, as I approached the entrance to Southampton water the Sea conditions flattened right off. I thought....Here we go!
Pushing the throttle to Max steadly increase to a speed of 41 knotts at 4500/4700rpm (I was shaking too much to take an accurate reading of RPM) so might be a bit of improvement here as the operating range of the engine is 4750-5250 and there's a bit of weight to be added to the boat yet.
Fuel was lowish and just registering on the fuel gauge, I knew there was quite a bit in there, but with a new set-up there are many factors to think of and I thought I err on the side of caution.
I headed up towards Hill Head past the small cliffs just before, I was amazed at the amount of small fishing boats dragging for shelfish. As I became level with Lee-on-Solent the engine started missing and died down to 1000rpm and really missing (like running on 3 cylinders). Crap I thought, I've run out of fuel!
On throtteling the engine back to tickover, I could hear an alarm, looked down at the mulifuntion Tachometer, it was saying No Oil. I remembered back to last week when the outboard shop had problems bleeding the oil. Still i switched off the ignition and then back on again. With alarm now clear I stared my homeward journey once more at a steady 3000rpm. This problem happened 4 more times in the Solent and once again in the small boat channel of Portsmouth.
Recoverd Solent Viper the the trailer to find several loose bolts on the trailer has caused the trailer to move during lauching and had to be readjusted on recovery
mental note....Check every nut and bolt on trailer before next outing.
Got home Ok and gave the guy at the outboard shop a ring to let them know about the problems, it's going down there next Monday.
So to summerise:
Very pleased with everything, can't wait till I get the Stainless and upholstery done.
Terriffic design of RIB which gives plenty of confidence and will be very happy for years to come.
Outboard has teething probs, but hey it didn't blow up Jono!
Might be on the lookout for a new prop, but will check the throttles opening fully first and make sure it's firing on all cylinders
Anyway, some photo's....Enjoy!
Mend Dry suit, that wasn't very dry
Trailer need looking at.