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Old 20 September 2012, 10:04   #1
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Out to Sea

Once we've fixed up our RIB, we're thinking of undertaking some more interesting passages, such as Gallions Reach to the Medway and potentially then exploring the various East Coast rivers around the Thames Estuary, maybe even heading down to Ramsgate.

What I'm worried about is the fact that we may not have the right boat for the job.

We have a 5.5m Humber Assult with a 60HP 2-stroke engine. We don't have seats for everyone, so currently one is at the helm, whilst 2 sit on the tubes.

In terms of safety equipment, we have (in date) flares, a VHF radio (sorting out the licensing as we speak) a life buoy and everyone wears an auto-inflating life jacket.

I have the regular Imray charts, although I guess they won't be much good on an unsheltered RIB! We also have a GPS and basic plotter.

We do not curretly have an auxilary engine, nor a windscreen (presumably this could be an issue with visibility in bigger sea states). Whilst we're not planning to go out in a Force 7, I'm just wondering if we're even capable of heading out at all with our current equipment.

In terms of the personel, there will be 2 of us with Day Skipper (sail, but I'd therefore like to think our navigation is okay at least!) and all 3 of us have PB Level 2.

What do people think, do we need more power, a bigger boat, proper seating or anything else I haven't considered?
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Old 20 September 2012, 11:00   #2
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The run down to the estuary is not too taxing,it can get a bit lively with wind over tide on the lower reaches and there can be some big commercials navigating but your main problem will probably be fuel , as there are limited options available, once round the corner and into the Medway it is a much more recreational river with some marinas that supply petrol, I keep a hard boat in Gillingham marina and worked on the tidal Thames for 15yrs so if I can help let me know.
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Old 20 September 2012, 11:06   #3
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Gillingham Marina may well become our new home base soon, largely due to the fact they have petrol and a fairly near, decent train link to London!

With that in mind, we have 1 x 25l, 1 x30l portable fuel tanks, plus 1 x 5l & 1 x 10l plastic fuel cans that we can fill to top up the main tanks if necessary.

I reckon we used to do our regular Kew -> Greenwich and back (before the speed limits came in) in around 2hours 30 and used up around 30-40l, assuming an average speed of about 15 knots.
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Old 20 September 2012, 11:17   #4
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I think Gillingham is one of the best on the Medway, although Chatham has a good rep as well, both use lock systems unless like me you use the mud berth side (cheaper), the area has great cruising and unless it's blowing a strong Easterly you can always get out and play, 40oddmiles to Ramsgate then a short hop to Calais through the Tristram lock and into the canals then out into the Med from the canal du Midi.All that 'cos you came down to Gillingham.
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Old 20 September 2012, 11:19   #5
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Haha yeah we would be looking at the Mud birth, the tidal basin at both Chatham and Gllingham costs more than we were planning to pay, Calais here we come ;-)
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Old 20 September 2012, 14:51   #6
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Don't forget you can also go Norf ! Round to the Crouch ( perhaps Burnham ) or over to Brightlingsea and the Colne !

BIBOA often run an East Coast Cruise in May , out from Levington cruising the Orwell , Deben , Stour and Walton backwaters .
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Old 20 September 2012, 14:53   #7
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I've bought myself the East Coast Pilot book as I was doing a Motor Cruiser Day Skipper course round that way this week, unfortunately due to a problem with the boat, I'm now at home typing this instead of doing the course :-(

Still, hopefully it will come in handy for the RIB.

The sights aside, is our spec/experience safe for heading out into the estuary/round to Ramsgate and/or further?
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Old 20 September 2012, 16:26   #8
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I think you have answered your own question.........You do NOT have an adequate alternate means of propulsion .

If you could buddy up with a fellow ribster , you are vastly improving your " odds " .
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Old 20 September 2012, 16:31   #9
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Yep makes sense, or alternatively, we could pick up a 10hp auxilary, I'm guessing we may be able to find an old 2-stroke (to keep the weight down) for around £500 ish (or is that too optomistic)?
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Old 21 September 2012, 03:41   #10
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An auxiliary is good, but there are lots of boats with only one engine, a rigid maintenance plan and not making do can be just as effective , single engined aircraft don't carry a spare.
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Old 21 September 2012, 14:16   #11
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Yep makes sense, or alternatively, we could pick up a 10hp auxilary, I'm guessing we may be able to find an old 2-stroke (to keep the weight down) for around £500 ish (or is that too optomistic)?
You certainly don't need a 10hp auxie on a 5.5m Assault - I'd imagine a 5hp would be more than enough. 99.9% of the time, the auxie is there to provide peace of mind, not save the day, but it's worth every penny just for that alone. However, on the day the big lump chokes, the ability to have some control of your destiny has to be a good feeling...
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Old 21 September 2012, 14:20   #12
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Ah cool, thats good to know, that'll save us a few quid :-)
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Old 21 September 2012, 14:26   #13
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Ah cool, thats good to know, that'll save us a few quid :-)
I'm basing that on it being a light, narrowish hull with a mid Vee. If you don't overload the RIB, 5hp should deal with a lot. How you mount it and the prop will have some bearing too. You'll have to measure the transom/bracket fitting location to determine the shaft length. I would assume long shaft, but you might get away with short shaft, depending.
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Old 21 September 2012, 14:30   #14
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That will be part of our winter refurb :-)

Which starts as soon as we can find a trailer!
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Old 21 September 2012, 18:00   #15
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An auxiliary is good, but there are lots of boats with only one engine, a rigid maintenance plan and not making do can be just as effective , single engined aircraft don't carry a spare.
Have you seen how much it costs to keep an aircraft engine maintained?

Cheaper to buy an aux!
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Old 21 September 2012, 19:27   #16
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An auxiliary is good, but there are lots of boats with only one engine, a rigid maintenance plan and not making do can be just as effective , single engined aircraft don't carry a spare.
but this does not prevent the unexpected ... bad fuel etc...

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Old 21 September 2012, 19:40   #17
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Our plan (budget permitting) is to have an aux 5-10hp, we carry 2 seperate portable tanks on board (although admitedly the odds are they would be filled from the same pump) the two engines may not necessarily run from the same tank.

As a side question...do people ever use their aux engines for slow speed manouvering?

I was just thinking, it may actually be beneficial to switch over to a lower hp engine, when returning to the marina.
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Old 21 September 2012, 21:42   #18
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Our plan (budget permitting) is to have an aux 5-10hp, we carry 2 seperate portable tanks on board (although admitedly the odds are they would be filled from the same pump) the two engines may not necessarily run from the same tank.

As a side question...do people ever use their aux engines for slow speed manouvering?

I was just thinking, it may actually be beneficial to switch over to a lower hp engine, when returning to the marina.
Hello vjmerhra,
As mentioned you really don't need a 10hp, that sort of weight on your RIB might effect handling at speed, causing poor balance issue's, plus you would probably restrict the steering of your main engine if left fixed on transom, I would go as far to say, that a 2.5 or 4hp would be plenty, that's what i've used with my 7m rib, even against 2kn current,
As for other than emergency use, personally yes I use my short shaft aux for trolling and general low speed cruising, using the main engine for helming, (main reason cus there a bugger to control direction with tiller other than short distance, and generally more comfortable) but you need either a crew member to operate the throttle, or a pole over the twist grip, or you'll have to go back and forth controlling youself, which is easy enough when you get the hang of it. plus you can always overide the power with main if neccesary.
I would only use main when entering marina though, that's where you'll need full control the most.
Plus you'll save loads on fuel if just pottering around with aux.
All food for thought I hope.
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Old 22 September 2012, 06:35   #19
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All makes sense, many thanks for your advice, we're thinking of adding some jockey seats too, so the less additional weight at the back the better, so if we can get away with a smaller engine all the better!
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