First Day on the Water for a 275

Other great write up on the F-RIB 275 can be found on f-ribsandsibs.com forum ( http://f-ribsandsibs.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=875 )

The station that the car radio was tuned into ..started to fade as I drove up the “Rest and Be Thankful” road. I wasn’t listening..but I knew its message well.

Accident on M8 ..expect half hour delays. Kingston Bridge traffic heavy..allow an hour to get into Glasgow .. Thursday morning..8am ..news.. Bla Bla Bla… Weather .. cloudy start to day..light winds …

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The announcements didn’t trouble me.. Im retired … and although I was a man on a mission..I was in no hurry. I turned the radio off as I turned down the long single track road leading towards the sleepy village of Lochgoilhead.

My mission was the try out the new F-Rib boat I had bought the week previously. As I descended the long hill with many passing places.. cars scuttling to their work ..something was missing. I have traveled this road many times ..so knew exactly what was missing. The trailer my other boats require. Reversing to allow cars that cant reverse ..was a piece of cake with the F Rib in my car.

I parked in the public carpark..beside the ramp that leads to the sea. The locals didn’t spare a glance in my direction..I was just another car..stopping to admire the view.

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It started to rain slightly. Normally I would have sat in the car ..watching and waiting.. but excitement took its toll..and I soon had the F-Rib on the tarmac at the rear of the car. The cheap lilo pump had the tubes to shape in a few moments. No need for expensive high pressure jobs. I finished off the pressure with a few strokes on my hand pump..and there was now a car and a boat in the car park.

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I put my phone..car keys ..and cameras in the Tupperware box on my seat…to keep them safe and dry. I put on my launching boots ..which keep my feet dry. They were originally an old pair of chest waders. I cut them down to the size of wummins fancy boots ..the type that highlight the top of their legs before disappearing under skirts. I am no fashion object..but they serve my purpose well. I threw the outboard into the boat …

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.. and attached the DIY transom dolly ..so I could wheel the F-Rib to the water. Its an easy lift and pull..at 36kg for bare boat and 10kg for outboard..plus around 15kg of additional boating bits.

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I didn’t notice the time..but suspect that around 20 minutes from unloading the boat I was now pulling her into the water. I mumbled the following words as the water touched her smooth shiny bottom.

“I name this puppy ..the Guppy.. God bless her ..and all who mess in her.”

I opened a tin of Guinness to christen her ..but couldn’t bring myself to waste any..so drank the lot myself.. some things never change. I then admired the Guppy’s gorgeous looks as she floated happily in the sea for the first time. Outboard on transom ..she sure looked handsome ..

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… Although I couldn’t help feel it was very small compared to the size of the F-Rib ?

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I clambered on board to the piping call of the sand pipers and oyster catchers..the only living creatures that were watching in the steady drizzle. I started to row..because I was keen to try these new fangled rowlock pins. ..and also because I always row out from shore..in respect to bathers and kids playing on the waters edge. There were none today.. but life long habits never change.

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Satisfied I was in deep water.. I started the wee Mariner 3.3Hp. I let it warm up a little and checked it was passing a good stream of cooling water.

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Once it was running steady on tickover ..I slipped it into gear..and I was off to sea to see what this Guppy puppy could do….

With the Guppy now in gear .. I noticed immediately just how responsive the F-Rib is. I had to turn the bow towards the sea.. pushed the tiller to the side..and the boat turned on its axis. No side slip what so ever. No flabby fabric bottomed boat I have know has had this precision ..but then ..the F-Rib is not a SIB ..it is a small RIB.

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I had to navigate through a bay of buoys and moored boats. That is one of the reasons I need to know what way the tide is going. It was flowing out the bay..so I knew the buoys would be drifting that way and their anchor ropes would be pointing towards land. I gave the landward side of each buoy a wide berth.. but still kept my speed down ..in case of an unexpected fouled rope.

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Once clear of all possible obstructions.. knowing I was in deep water ..and the outboard running sweet and warm.. I gave her full throttle. She was very quick off the mark ..but try as I might.. she wouldn’t come out the hole and go on the plane. The displacement wave illustrates my speed.. I was clocking around 6.5 MPH on my smart ass phone. I know from owning many displacement type boats..that I was now wasting fuel keeping it at WOT..so ran at half throttle. The wake wave was then not so pronounced but my speed only dropped a fraction. I was pleased to see the Guppy settle into a cruise speed of 6 MPH with the wee 3.3HP Mariner.. not too shabby a performance.

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Looking over the low DIY canopy ..I could see the water in front was flat calm. The canopy was serving its purpose well. My floatation jacked was held snug and dry up front..and my phone sat on the bow box was sheltered too. I will attached my fish finder / depth sounder to the lid of the box ..in due course.

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I wasn’t disappointed she wouldn’t go on the plane with the 3.3HP outboard. I got this boat for exploring sea lochs and coast lines.. with easy of transport and lifting weight …not for speed. I started to enjoy the scenery that I was passing. The Tree house in the grounds of The Lodge Hotel is a famous venue for summer weddings. It was a bit cold and damp for a wedding today…but still looked impressive.

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Wrapped up in my warm clothes and large wellie boots ..I was enjoying gliding along ..trying to make out the faint line where land met water….

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.. and watching the wild life which was watching me

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I was now heading for a lovely secluded stone beach where I have often stopped for a BBQ on lovely summer days.

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I felt I was being a bit unfair on my gentle Guppy ..asking her to plane … with a 3.3HP outboard .. and with the weight I was carrying. I weight around 88kg .. my baggage .. who knows ? So I landed and unloaded the boat.

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I was going to give the Guppy every chance to prove she was a real pedigree …

With the Guppy stripped to a bare minimum.. I jumped aboard again ..rowed off shore a wee bit .. attached kill cord .. fired up the outboard.. and slammed the throttle to WOT.

This time .. she took off like a bat out of hell ..and within yards ..was easily on the plane. You can see from this wake shot how clean it is..no displacement wave ..and no splash back over transoms. Turns were like being on rails..no cavitation ..or even ventilation ..the guppy’s behavior was impeccable.

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I snapped a photo of her speed. Its only showing 9.6 mph in this photo..but several attempts gave consistent figures showing 10+ mpg..with a top reading of 11 mph. I was grinning like a real guppy in a tank.. sucking fish flakes for lunch.

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Which reminded me that it was past my first lunch stop time ..so headed back to the stone shore. When I landed ..I noticed the guppy had caused a bit of a stir on the calm water..so it was no surprise to see a couple of seals coming to investigate (note the seal heads in the sea in this photo)

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I like my grub when boating ..so wondered if I could lighten the boat’s load by scoffing some of my picnic..perhaps then it would plane even faster ?

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Then I had a wee photo shoot..to permanently record my first adventure in the Guppy..for future memories. I was a proud owner..delighted with my boat in a box instead of a SIB in a bag

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…and while I was snapping her fine features ..the cloud above us started to separate .. Yup..it was turning into as great day.

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I got back in the boat .. and headed south at a pleasant cruising speed of 6 mph. Happy with the thought..it can do far more if required…on a 3.3hp outboard that sips a litre of fuel every 5 miles.

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I was now heading for the sleepy hamlet of Carrick

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To have a photo shoot of the scenery .. so do come back if you want to see how lovely Loch Goil really is..and I will also tell you about other speed trials that happen in Loch Goil.

You will find that there are areas marked by large yellow Buoys that you must not enter..and there are speed limits in place on other parts of the loch. When the submarines are in the area.. red flags are shown on Douglas Pier..which means you are not allowed to use the loch. So saying..I rarely encounter naval vessels there.. but often see these guys.. and you don’t give them lip.

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There was no sign of Navy activity or even sea police in Loch Goil .. as I made my way down to Carrick at the southern end of the Loch. A welcome glimpse of watery sun warmed my bald head .. as I cruised happy ever onwards.

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I passed the range marker that indicates one of the noise test areas. There is a lamp housed on it that shines red or green.. rather like traffic lights. I tend to ignore it though as Im well out the main channel

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I keep hoping that one year..I will get a photograph of Carrick Castle without all the scaffolding spoiling its walls.. but its been there a few years now. The small pier is another MOD structure..and red flags are shown here too when the loch is closed for Navy exercises.

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Im not sure what these guys were building..but they gave me a cheery wave as I passed.

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The view back along Loch Goil..from where I had come..looked stunning in the flat waters and blue patches of sky

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I passed more seals sunning themselves on the rocky shore ..

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…as I cruised past Loch Goil No1 Red marker buoy..which indicates the deep water channel

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On the opposite side of the channel.. Loch Goil No3 Green Marker buoy ..indicated the far side of the channel.

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I was now heading for the light house marker on the Dog Rocks.. which indicates the end of Loch Goil ..and the start of Loch Long.

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Loch Long is my least favorite sea lochs in Scotland..so come back to find out why

There was not a breath of wind at the junction of Loch Goil and Loch Long ..which are both deep water sea lochs. I often see a pod of porpoise in this area and though I saw them break surface several hundred yards away..but they move fast and only appear momentarily..so I could have been mistaken this time.

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from here..I could either travel south towards Glasgow and the Clyde ..or head north towards the head of Loch Long. As I watched .. I noticed the Naval Interception vessel which patrols the Nuclear Sub Base of Coulport ..was also watching me and was now coming towards me. They have had a lot of protesters cause problems from the water..so they tend to check everyone…small boats included.

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I was enjoying my day..so decided to go north instead. Its was the lesser of the two evils for me on this beautiful day. I only had to ensure there were no Super tankers leaving their berth at Finnart Oil Terminal…which could swamp me with their wake.

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The tanker looked as if was going to be there for a while ..so I cruised up at a steady 6 mph. A wee breeze was now rippling the water nicely..the Guppy didn’t notice it though..she was on rails the whole day.

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I landed on the opposite side of the loch from the oil terminal ..because…

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I wanted to see if anyone was around a wee house that I sometimes stay overnight. Its a bothy that anyone can use..but its not a busy place. It was empty..so I only stayed moments ..before setting off again.

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This time I headed back to Loch Goil..and landed on another stone beach where it meets Loch Long. I scoffed the rest of my luch..then like a huge lizard in the sun..spread myself across a large flat rock..and fell asleep. I was a very contented man..in my solitary sea heaven.

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When I awoke..I sensed a change in the weather..so started back to Lochgoilhead. The loch started to ripple so I tried the Guppy again at WOT..this time she reached 11mph on the plane..into the waves. I presume the waves helped unstick her bow from the water surface.

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By the time I landed and packed the Guppy back into the car.. the flags were flying straight out..and the rain was coming over the hills again. Not that I cared.. I had a wonderful maiden voyage ..spent 7 hours between launch and recovery in some fantastic scenery..traveled approx 20 miles by boat..and used 4 litres of fuel.

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So if this kind of adventure floats your boat.. and you are wondering which SIB is best for you.. you could do far worse than getting a Boat in a Box (F-Rib).. I thoroughly recommend them.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

 

All photo’s courtesy of D Wilcox