Upgrading the Safety Fleet

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Our Fleet of Coach /Safety /Rescue / Assistance boats was sorely in need of upgrading. The old Dory affectionately known as “The Black Pig” had been holed and sunk too many times and was beyond repair so was scrapped last winter. The remaining little white Dory was unstable with water trapped in the foam between the hulls. A few years ago it tipped two model boater’s into the Flash, so was considered unsuitable for general duties. the two O Boats now named “Arthur” and “Reg” after our founders are just what we need for most duties, but with 30 Juniors we need a fleet of about 4 Coach boats for Friday Evenings. The requirements for RYA Power Boat 2 training also looks for a wheel steered boat that can reach planing speeds.

We set aside some of the Covid Grant monies to upgrade the fleet.

First a wheel steered Dory. RIBs are not really suitable for the Flash and a bit delicate for our pontoons, Simon,Brian and Nick started trawling the internet for suitable Dorys. With cathedral hull these make very stable boats both at speed and stopped. They are not so good as RIB in big waves but that is not a problem on The Flash. After much searching and comparing ideas we homed in on the Dell Quay 13′ Dory. several examples were viewed on line and a couple of examples written off due to ageing engines. Simon finally tracked down a contender in Devon with original gel coat a reasonably new four stroke engine and a nearly new road trailer. Chris was on a long weekend break in Devon so went to view the boat and check the engine ashore. A deal was struck well within our budget and Chris towed our new Dory back to the Flash.

On the Flash the Dory has lived up to expectations. Some minor problems with dirty fuel were quickly solved by Brian and Nick. With wheel steering, electric start and a fitted bilge pump the Dory is very initiative to use for car drivers. It’s stability is also remarkable.

Replacing the tippy little white Dory was a stroke of luck. O Boats are sought after for their proven robustness and stability. Simon spotted a couple of rare examples on E bay. One in Crew came without trailer and engine at a very reasonable asking price. We have suitable spare engines and the trailer which came with the Dell Quay Dory was suitable. So Simon arranged a viewing. Pete sorted out the EBay side of things and Chris went along as driver. The boat was in better condition than we could have hoped for at the price so a deal was struck, the boat loaded onto the trailer and back to the Flash within a couple of hours. Judicious use of a soldering iron fixed a couple of deep gouges in the deck, the missing bungs were replaced and the outboard bracket refitted.

Trials with the Model Boater’s electric outboard and the larger petrol outboards have been successful. Primary this OBoat will be kept afloat as recovery boat for the Model Boaters also as a fourth coach boat for dinghy training. The Model Boater’s who have tried it have been very impressed with their new boat.

Buying both boats we have used less than half our original budget and the quotations for a new boat store next to the container are very reasonable. Most of all the club now has a safety fleet which will serve well for many years to come.

Names for the new boats have been mooted: Rodney (after Rod Evans) for the Dell Quay Dory and Harry (after Harry Bainbridge) for the new O Boat, honouring both Rod and Harry’s long commitment to the club.

The tippy little white Dory is now up for sale.

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