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Incorporating Boat & Yacht Buyer

March 2010

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MARCH 2010










Editor: Alex Smith Email: Art Editor: Mark Hyde Contributors: Peter Caplen, Angela Clay, Simon Everett, Adrian French, David Greenwood, Susan Greenwood, Colin Jones, Phil Pickin, Irving Stewart, Ted Tuckerman, David Webber

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Published by: CSL Publishing Ltd, Alliance House, 49 Sidney Street, Cambridge, CB2 3HX Tel: 01223-460-490 Fax: 01223-315-960 © 2010 CSL Publishing Ltd CSL Publishing also publishes All At Sea, Sports Boat & RIB, Jet Skier & PW and Boat & Yacht Buyer magazines.



Printed by Garnett Dickinson Distributed by Comag Specialist Tavistock Road, West Drayton UB7 7QE DISCLAIMER The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Every care is taken to ensure that the contents of the magazine are accurate but the publishers cannot accept responsibility for errors. While reasonable care is taken when accepting advertisements, the publishers cannot accept any responsibility for any resulting unsatisfactory transactions. They will however investigate any written complaints. CSL prints advertisements provided to the publisher but gives no warrantee and makes no representation as to truth, accuracy or sufficiency of any description, photograph or statement. CSL accepts no liability for any loss which may be suffered by any person who relied either wholly or in part upon any description, photograph or statement contained herein. The advertiser warrants that the advertisement does not contravene any Act of Parliament nor is it in any way illegal or defamatory or an infringement of any other party’s rights or of the British Code of Advertising Practice. For artistic purposes lifejackets are not shown in all of the photographs. Boat Mart strongly advises that lifejackets are worn at all times for watersports. COPYRIGHT No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without the prior written permission of the publisher. Photocopying or other reproduction without the publisher’s permission is a breach of copyright and action will be taken where this occurs.

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BUYING ADVICE ATLANTA 24 .......................23 On board with the owners

ANGLING ADVICE ......................93 Plaice is on the menu

SEA CAT 11M .....................31 The most practical catamaran money can buy? THE WARRIOR FISHER........42 Hot property on the used boat market BUDGET OF THE MONTH....44 Early season bargains for ÂŁ24,000 GETTING HITCHED ............50 Hyundai Santa Fe: re-engined and better than ever

QUIZ TIME ..........................97 The ICC questions continue . . .

PAGE 133


PRACTICAL TECH TALK .......................103 The art of effective fresh water filtering PRACTICAL MONTHLY ......105 So why do you need to upgrade your battery? COSMETIC TOUCH-UPS ....109 Maintenance for glory hunters LIFEJACKET LINE-UP .......116 What are they about and why do you need one?

EQUIPMENT TOP GEAR ..........................54 New season accessories are already here GETTING IT RIGHT ...........119 Essential precautions and pre-start checks


97 109

INSHORE SKIPPER .............65 Top up the toolbox with the right gear ELECTRONICS MADE EASY ........................71 A story of success at Navionics LIFESTYLE CLASSIC CORNER ..............79 Practical considerations for the classics fan SHOW HIGHLIGHTS.............81 All the best bits from the London show PLASTIC FANTASTIC ...........91 Roto-moulded dinghies explained

BOAT MART REGULARS Throw us a line ............... 09 Newsline ......................... 15 Subscribe ........................ 74 Courses ......................... 120 Boats & Yachts for sale ... 133 Classifieds .................. 149 Next issue .................... 160



I love it when a weird set of circumstances results in an interesting story. This month’s Atlanta 24 test is a perfect example. By Irving Stewart.


or many years the Atlanta 24 has been an incredibly popular small inland narrow beam cruiser. These boats offered both new and experienced boaters an affordable opportunity to explore our inland waterways. And then, despite having been built for eons, new Atlanta boats disappeared from the scene. But at the 2009 Southampton Boat Show, a brand spanking new incarnation of the Atlanta 25 appeared, built by GSA Marine with a totally new and rather lovely interior fit out. I thought little more about it until I received a call out of the blue from Yamaha inviting me to test this actual boat. How could I refuse? And so on a sunny but chilly October morning I found myself at the amazing new Burton Waters Marina, just a few miles outside Lincoln, about to meet the boat’s new owners. Within minutes of getting aboard, and with coffee in hand, I had a chance to chat to Steve and Marje Davidson before we cast off. There, the convoluted nature of the yarn began to unfold. Many years before, as a newly married couple, Steve and Marje had succumbed to the temptation to get afloat, so they bought an old lifeboat with a hole in

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Boat Mart I March 2010 I 23



As regular readers will know, I have always had a strong interest in catamarans so it was particularly exciting to get the chance to visit BW Sea Cats, firstly to sleep aboard and then try out their new 11-metre wheelhouse. Irving Stewart reports.


efore we look around the BW Speed 11m, it would be worth, very briefly, considering the basic principles of boat performance. Without going into the complex maths involved in boat design, all displacement craft are subject to Froude’s Law of Comparison, which says that when it comes to boats, long and thin is infinitely preferable (and more enjoyable) than bulbous. Using Froude’s calculation, still valid from Victorian times, it is easy to understand why. For example, a 30 to 40-foot traditional displacement fishing boat can only achieve around eight knots, while a far longer craft (like a cross-Channel ferry) will be able to achieve three times that speed while providing a soft and stable ride. Sadly, in order to be fast and furious, short, fast displacement hulls inevitably

have to be ultra-slim like traditional slipper launches or skulls, which leaves little room for occupants or engines. One alternative is to make boats lift out of the water and plane, thereby reducing hull friction but this requires disproportionately more power and renders the craft uncomfortable at high speeds, because they then tend to bounce over waves. And although wave-piercing deep-V hulls go part of the way to making such craft comfortable at speed, the inherent disadvantage of planing craft is that the added load of passengers, fuel or sea conditions will at some point render them unable to lift their bulk out of the water. Their hull characteristics then render them somewhat unstable and rather unpleasant to be aboard. A sensible alternative is to build a craft with two very slender hulls joined by a deck on which you can enjoy a softer ride than a

monohull and still achieve relatively high speeds on relatively little power – in other words, a displacement catamaran. But even with these types of craft, there are those that partly plane and those that don’t – a topic that unfortunately we don’t have space to consider here. Over the past couple of decades I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing numerous ‘cats’, ranging from the diminutive yet fearsome inflatable Ceasars and Zapcats to the absolutely awesome gas turbine powered Stena HSS high-speed ferry. In between these extremes this magazine has followed the mixed fortunes of the delightful and extremely frugal 30-foot Motorcat, the smaller Powercats and the truly formidable Cheetah fast fishers from our good friends on the Isle of Wight. The one thing all these craft share in common is that their builders continually fight an illogical British resistance to recreational

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For more than a decade now, countless canny customers have forged a path to a boatyard at Bassetts Pole, near Birmingham, in a bid to find sensibly priced boats - and in turn, the yard has established an enviable reputation for providing exactly what buyers want. In recent years, the success of Excel Inflatables and Seamark Boats has proved beyond doubt there is still a strong demand from family boaters for truly affordable, easily portable new craft. However the ever-rising cost of new outboards has meant that the cost of even simple boats can be doubled, trebled in some cases, by the fitting of even a moderately powered engine. Well the result of many months of worldwide searching, in a bid to bring boat and engine package pricing into greater parity, is a new range of uncommonly affordable Vector outboard engines. Vector Outboards represent truly remarkable value in today’s climate of increasing costs. This proven range of engines incorporates proven fourstroke technology and fully meets our strict European emission standards. Vector Outboards combine simplicity of construction with relatively low weight, giving clean, efficient performance and low fuel consumption - which makes them absolutely ideal for small family craft. Vector’s new range of engines, from four to 15hp, will offer a welcome and affordable alternative solution for family boaters. All new Vector outboard engines will carry a three-year factorybacked warranty fully supported by service and parts provided by a long-


established UK company. And while that length of warranty lags behind most current leisure warranties by a couple of years (and is in fact half the current Honda warranty) some engines in this new range offer more than a 30 per cent saving on initial purchase price over better recognised brands. For 2010, these four-stoke engines are available in a choice of leg lengths and with either tiller or remote control, depending on horsepower. They are being introduced into the UK by Meridian Marine International, which has evolved as a result of the success of Seamark Boats, Excel Inflatables, and Excel RIBs in the UK and Europe. Meridian Marine’s strategy will be to boost the future of all the brands under its wing and to develop and enhance distribution networks in the UK, and export markets in Europe, and even beyond. In the coming months there will be further news from Meridian, so watch this space. Appropriately, the UK debut of these new Vector engines was at Excel during the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show but they will also be at the Birmingham Boat Show from 23 to 28 February 2010. I get the impression the ‘Birmingham Navy’ will take this new range of motors very much to its bosom.

For larger RIBs, sports boats and fast fishers, new Yamaha V6 engines at 225, 250 and 300hp will be seen here in the UK for the 2010 season. These new 4.1-litre V6 engines are even lighter and quicker off the mark than their extremely popular predecessors. All feature Digital Electronic Remote Control (or ‘fly-by-wire’ to you and me) making them simpler to both install and synchronise for multi-engine applications. Naturally they will be available in a range of leg lengths and with optional props and rotation, to maximise the performance of a specific boat. All new 2010 Yamaha engines (F30, F70, F100, F225, F250 and F300) will also feature Yamaha’s Y-COP digital engine protection system, which will really please both owners and insurance companies. It’s basically an immobiliser, just like the press-button key device you have for your car. It’s great kit and a natural step forward for a company with experience in the automotive world.

MORE INFORMATION ■ Vector Outboards Pole Position, London Road, Bassets Pole, Sutton Coldfield, B75 5SA 01213 232333

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INSHORE SKIPPER with Colin Jones

Colin Jones learned his seamanship with the longshoremen and fishermen of Swanage, driving their passenger launches, sailing boats and outboard motors for hire. A short spell in the Royal Navy gave plenty of sea time and was followed by several years of serious cruising and diving from a RIB. Since 1989, he and wife, Rita, have taken their Colvic Watson 29 to several countries. She is currently based in the French canals and the Med. (



he boat’s toolbox is a bit like insurance. Most skippers are not engineers, so we buy a few things that seem essential, hoping that we never have to use them to resolve an immediate problem. The sea usually has other ideas, because it follows Murphy’s Law, which says that if a thing can happen, it will. When the moment arrives, you soon realise that (a) you are stuck in the custard because you do not have appropriate tools and (b) the job would have been done faster, safer and better if you had had the wherewithal to plan ahead. At this point, let me confess that I have absolutely no interest in DIY engineering, nor any aptitude for it (the one tends to grow out of the other). Friends tell me that they can always tell which are my tools, because of the L-plates on them. However,

after more than 20 years of cruising as a semi ‘live-aboard’, often in some very wild places, I have learned enough to survive and have acquired gear to cope. A personal conclusion is that a boat needs three different tool sets. First are those that are very specific to common, regular boat jobs. Second are general-purpose tools and third are those that are mechanical and labour-saving.

KEEPING IT SIMPLE It doesn’t take long to work out that a clean engine is usually a good one and that very clean fuel is one of the best safety measures you can adopt. An engineer who charged us a full £39.50 per hour for 25 minutes work to change our filters was a sharp lesson. We immediately added a second ‘off engine’ filter and learned to change our own.

For a couple of years, I managed to twist them off by piercing the metal canister with a screwdriver, which was then used as a tommy bar to unscrew the cylinder. It was effective but messy, because of the difficulty in holding a bucket where it will catch all the spilling diesel fuel. Almost by accident, I discovered the special key, which clamps firmly onto the cartridge. This was such an easy tool to use that instead of continuously putting off the job of changing the filters, I actually enjoyed doing ➧

When you set off, it pays to know you have the tools to fix a problem

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ELECTRONICS MADE EASY with Colin Jones Colin Jones has a passion for marine gadgets and electronics. You can guarantee if there’s a new development or new piece of kit then Colin will be first in line to try it out, and give his view. From profiles of the leading electronics companies, testing the newest releases to buying and using kit, every month Colin shares his knowledge and opinions.


Navionics has developed as well as any marine company in the past decade. Here, Colin Jones finds out why . . . Navionics Gold sets a high standard

UK General Manager of Navionics, Lance Godfrey, spends a great deal of his time on the water


avionics UK began life in 1984 from its present base at Vareggio (Italy) and it still sees itself as a family-run firm, under the overall management of founder, Guiseppe Carnevali. I first met them in the early 90s, when their products were a bit difficult for a UK writer to review, because they were (sensibly) more orientated towards the much larger US marine market. Since then, Navionics has grown in step with the mushrooming worldwide demand for electronic charts. Or perhaps the reliability, quality and quantity of the new style charts was responsible for triggering the demand but either way, the company now boasts a library of 25,000 charts and

port plans, which makes it easily the world’s biggest privately owned database of marine navigation information. This is researched, controlled and distributed from branches in Italy, India, Asia, Oceania, Australia, Africa and, of course, the UK. That amount of expansion is very impressive. With no fear of contradiction, I can say that over the past decade, in terms of product distribution and practical, navigational quality, Navionics has developed better than any other marine company I have researched. That is a very big compliment indeed from a navigator who, for reasons of historical accident, does not use a Navionics-driven chart plotter as his principal pilotage tool.

In the UK, Navionics aficionados are served by a network of 250 dealers supplied from the company’s Plymouth branch, which can, at least, boast of practical marine experience. My own association with UK General Manager, Lance Godefroy, goes back to 1986, when we had many conversations about Decca, fish finders and radar, during his time with chandlers Sutton Marine (now SMG). Lance is also a boat owner who, unlike some operators in the marine trade, regularly experiences his products in the only place that really matters, out on the ‘Oggin’. We recently enjoyed a day testing the Navionics Mobile suite aboard Lance’s pristine Merry Fisher and that’s fairly typical of the Navionics ‘hands-on’ approach to things. The UK’s remit covers Ireland and when locals complained about the paucity of cartography for the Shannon Waterway, the parent company commissioned its own survey of the area from Limerick to Loch Dergh and sent a team over from America to manage it. For quality of service, it takes a lot of beating. This would no doubt be agreed upon by the companies whose chart plotters are compatible with Navionics charts. They include Geonav, Humminbird, Lowrance, ➧

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With a weather window to match the economic climate, the Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show was always set to be a barometer of our general health. Irving Stewart went along to pick


he UK’s brief Arctic spell did little to induce hoards of people to battle their way to the cold grey expanse of London’s Docklands. And similarly, the fact that my drive down from the Midlands was perfectly incident-free did nothing to quell the endless tales of doom and gloom spewing out of Radio 2. Even so, the British Marine Trade is not a body of timid people and they still managed to put on an exhibition full of glitz and glamour despite the mediasponsored impotence of a depressingly feeble Britain.

NEW BOAT HIGHLIGHTS You really have to hand it to those tenacious guys from Rock in Cornwall. After a fraught period last year, Cornish Crabbers ( are now thriving with extremely healthy order books. To prove the point, they occupied the easiest stand to find at the show, next to the infamous Black & White Guinness and Murphy’s Bar, and they also leaked news of a new 26-foot Crabber due to appear at Southampton this year.

Similar staying power has been exhibited by Williams Jet Tenders. In just a few short years they have earned themselves an enviable reputation for small jet RIBs aimed at the superyacht market. Making its world debut at Excel, the new luxury ‘oil-burner’ tender from Williams is claimed to be the lightest and yet best equipped diesel tender currently available. But with sufficient power and performance to pull a skier the new boat will equally appeal to those seeking an easily launched luxury trailer boat as those who want to rid the mothership of the dangers of carrying petrol. Meanwhile in the less glamorous but equally worthy part of the RIB market, Ribcraft ( just seems to beaver away at its Yeovil base, producing prolific numbers of very capable RIBs. At Excel, they had a new five-metre boat, the first to be produced by their new vacuum moulding system and fitted with new console and deck. Yes, it’s a classic Ribcraft but it has the build to make others weep. It’s another boat we’ve just got to get our hands on but in the meantime here are some more of the highlights from the show.

Unrepeatable Show Offers - Call for quote T: 01590 613600 E:

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DINGHY WORLD Having ventured into the world of aluminium tenders and inflatable boats, this month we investigate the rough and tumble world of injection-moulded dinghies.

With a ten-year warranty, the injection-moulded Walker Bay is a very steadfast companion

Injection moulding can produce a good resilient boat that is an attractive shape. The additional benefit is that it can be dragged up a beach without causing too many concerns. Reasonably priced injection-moulded dinghies are in abundance, both in the new and used market. These boats have many advantages, like being completely waterproof with the potential to have buoyancy moulded into the thwarts if required. They will withstand all sorts of abuse and, when laying up, can simply be careened and left to look after themselves. Plastic injection-moulded dinghies are ideal for picnics on the river, for messing about on the beach and for use as fishing platforms. And although they will never offer the turn of speed of a sports boat, they can move at a nifty pace, given the right power unit and the correct loading. Stability is not as good as an inflatable and care

needs to be taken when boarding and moving about, especially with smaller boats, but they do offer decent stability and very low maintenance. A good example of these boats is the Walker Bay 10C rigid dinghy. With a length of 295 cm, which is around nine feet, eight inches, she will carry three passengers and an outboard of up to 3hp. She weighs in at 57 Kg, so she is probably best transported on a small unbraked trailer or on the roofrack of some larger vehicles, subject to the specifications of the vehicle’s carrying weight. Featuring a one-piece moulded hull, she offers a couple of very interesting features. Firstly, she has a wheel moulded into the hull at the stern which makes her very easy to roll down the slipway and launch singlehanded - a definite advantage. And secondly, she has the ability to add a flotation tube. It fits around the gunwale via a sliding track and adds greatly to her stability.

The basic boat retails at around £800. The four-chamber flotation tube kit adds another £756 but it’s ideal if you want to make the boat more versatile and it will also allow you to uprate the outboard slightly. There is also a sailing kit at around the same price as the buoyancy kit, comprising everything you need to get her sailing. That means you could have a sailing and rowing dinghy that offers improved stability with the flotation tube for under £3,000, including a new outboard engine and roof-rack. Sailing one day and motoring the next - Walker Bay’s versatile injection-moulded boat will suit a great many of us. The boat comes with a ten-year warranty on the hull, though the fabric is so robust, I doubt you will need it. If you want an all-in-one package, an injectionmoulded dinghy could be the answer. With an electric outboard, it would be a great little craft for river fishing and an environmentally friendly one to boot. Budget boating really doesn’t get more versatile than this . . .

FURTHER INFORMATION ■ Walker Bay Boats ■ EP Barrus ■ Seamark Nunn ■ BHG Marine ■ Bridger Marine

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ANGLING TED TUCKERMAN: I bought my first boat in the mid 1950s with my friend, Gerald Smith, and we used to fish together in the Solent. I then moved to Torquay in 1961, and after obtaining my boatman’s licence I bought a 36ft harbour launch which was the first angling charter boat in Torquay. Since then I have fished in a variety of boats all around the UK as well as around the world from Sweden to New Zealand and North America to Mexico, and I have also enjoyed beach launching many times into big swells in South Africa in my friend’s ski boat.


The end of March is a great time for plaice fishing


s there a touch of spring in the air? Not quite yet but with the first plaice moving back to gorge on sandeel after spawning, it is a good sign that winter is behind us. In fact there are already daffodils springing up in my garden but I do live in the subtropical microclimate of Devon. Towards the end of March it will be worth fishing for plaice. By then they will have started to regain some strength and more importantly, their flavour. For the benefit of those just getting into fishing for plaice, it’s best done with a light rod. My preference is a nine-foot spinning rod matched with a small multiplier reel loaded with 15lb line. Line strength is not critical and nor is braid or mono, but I prefer the latter when drifting, only opting for braid if anchoring on spring tides. As for rigs, keep them simple - two hooks only, as a third near the weight seldom catches a fish. Tie up different lengths to about eight feet. If

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The next few pages are packed with maintenance, upgrade, restoration and DIY news, plus tips and advice from David Webber, Peter Caplen and Jane Rickard. Let us know what projects you’re currently working on.


n Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products n Dispose of hazardous waste properly n Spill proof oil changes and re-fueling n Minimise cleaning and maintenance in the water n Recycle your waste and take rubbish ashore n Use the right prop for your boat GreeN tiP OF tHe MONtH Minimise maintenance in the water

RESTORATION ESSENTIALS equipment and materials to use. What to do, how to do it and the right


WHy? to prevent harmful substances entering the water and to avoid damage to your boat from debris in the water. HOW? Carry out maintenance on land whenever possible. However, when you have no choice you should minimise the impact you make on the environment by containing any waste. For example, use vacuum sanders to collect all drips and debris for proper disposal, and use cleaning and other products that have minimal environmental impact and are safer for you and your family. DiD yOu KNOW? Good housekeeping and an awareness of the products can help to minimise the amount of pollutants entering the water.

at some point in a restoration project the question of what type and size of batteries should be installed will need to be addressed. truck or car batteries do the job quite adequately and are the cheapest short-term solution as their purchase price is often far less than equivalent marine batteries. However, their life is generally shorter so the initial saving is not always the best choice in the longer term. i have owned an Optima blue top battery (like the one on the right forefront of the picture) for about 12 years now. it is used for general engine starting and testing of equipment and is therefore not in regular use. it has

often stood unused in the garage for up to a year and then been brought out to start an engine without being recharged. the self-discharge of this type of battery is very low, making it ideal for the marine environment. the Optima blue top is a combined deep cycle and semi-traction type, which means it can stand being almost completely discharged without damage, unlike truck batteries, and can also provide the high current required for engine starting. the price of around £180 is more than double that of a truck battery of comparable capacity but the performance makes this difference well worthwhile. it’s available through chandlers and battery shops.

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Our thanks to the Green Blue for their help with this tip. Boat Mart I March 2010 I 105



PRACTICAL SPECIAL INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR UPGRADE While the weather is too horrible to contemplate cruising, now is the time to be thinking about brightening up the boat both inside and out. Peter Caplen reports. Exterior Marine ‘A’ Glaze is a development of a similar product called ‘Amazing Glaze’ that was only available to the American Market. It has been used on aircraft in the United Airlines fleet and showed a marked reduction in paint deterioration compared with untreated aircraft. British Airways are also reported to have found it makes aircraft cleaning much easier. It is also being assessed by UK train companies and is expected to save time and money in carriage cleaning. We have inspected several boats coated with Marine ‘A’ Glaze last year and they all look remarkably good. Marine ‘A’ Glaze is not a polish Instead it seals the surface against corrosion, pollution, UV rays and dirt ingress and provides a high-gloss finish to the surface. Once the application procedure has been completed, and this can be either DIY or professionally applied, the boat only then needs an occasional wash with a good quality boat shampoo or the proprietary ‘A’ Glaze shampoo to keep it in tip-top condition. Those black streaks that are never removed with normal shampooing and usually need an abrasive polish/cleaner to remove simply wipe away as part of the washing process. My colleague Graham has been closely monitoring ‘A’ Glaze on both his own boat that

was coated recently and vessels that were treated last year. So far he is convinced of the efficacy of the product, certainly in the short to medium term. Long term results are still to be established but look promising. We followed the professional treatment on the Superstructure of Graham’s Nelson which was not unduly difficult and vastly improved the finish on this 20-year old boat. The surface is rinsed with plenty of clean water and then squeegeed (is that a word?!) to remove most of the rinse water. It is then finally dried with a chamois leather.

The first step is to wash the surface with ‘A’ Glaze Wash and Shine in the normal way to remove surface dirt.

The difference between the cleaned and uncleaned area can just about be seen.

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BUYING A LIFEJACKET With the RNLI at pains to stress the importance of lifejackets, Jon Mendez explains just what these vital devices are all about.


he subject of lifejackets, or Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) as they are correctly known, has become quite complicated these days, with an ever greater range of shapes, styles and numbers to contend with. But essentially, PFDs come in two main forms: buoyancy aids and lifejackets. Whichever form you choose, their ability to keep you afloat is measured in Newtons. More of them means more buoyancy, and fewer means less. Obviously, the one you pick should be balanced against your weight but you should also be aware of flexibility, as some of the higher rated jackets can restrict your movement. BUOYANCY AIDS (50-100N) A basic 50-Newton buoyancy aid is designed to keep you afloat. It is suited to a sport where you are likely to be in the water on a regular basis and it often has extra straps, clever impact padding and great designs to make it 116 I March 2010 I Boat Mart

more fun. But it only provides buoyancy and will do so whether you are face down or face up. It won’t turn an unconscious person over to reveal his face and it will not float you high enough to keep your airways clear of the water. As such, it is really only suitable for decent swimmers in sheltered areas where help is close at hand. On the plus side, it allows the wearer full movement, plus the ability to bob under the water if need be, so it’s ideal for watersports like wakeboarding, skiing and dinghy sailing. There are bulkier 100N versions available as well, providing a greater level of buoyancy and often featuring a collar to help keep the head free of the water. LIFEJACKETS (150-275N) A lifejacket, by contrast, has a buoyancy distribution sufficient to turn the user to a position where his mouth is clear of the water, even when unconscious. But, happily, here in the UK we have a choice. There is no legislation to force us into action and we enjoy a range

of offerings that allows us to buy one we are content to wear. Modern ones are far from cumbersome too. A 150N manual or auto inflation version can still be small, comfortable and good looking and that fact has prompted a general change in attitude towards lifejackets. While once it was rare to see people wearing lifejackets afloat, it is now an accepted norm, much like wearing a seat belt in your car. The RNLI is to be thanked for helping to promote this trend. The most affordable 150N lifejackets are usually manual, which means you need to pull the toggle to activate them. The next rung up the ladder brings the automatic versions. These come in two types: a traditional version with an activator that relies on getting wet to activate the jacket; and a pressure-activated ‘Hammar’ version. Both can be pulled manually, using the red toggles. The latest versions now have shields and covers over the mechanism so you need to get very wet to activate them. And while spray or heavy rain might once have caused their

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Pre-start checks seem to split the field. The anorak spends so much time with his checklist he never leaves the quay. The idiot just jumps aboard and sets off. Somewhere in the middle is the place you need to be. Jon Mendez reports.


he most important thing to remember with boats is that they go wrong. If you recognise this and do something about it you won’t go far wrong. The first thing to consider is spares. Many people don’t carry any and if they did, they wouldn’t have the tools or the mechanical savvy to use them. If you carry the right gear and equip yourself with the right skills it could make the difference between being towed home at great expense or sorting yourself out and getting back underway. The checks that ideally should be done can be broken down into two parts: ‘engine’ and ‘others’. Engine checks are a difficult area and the reliability of modern cars is partly to blame. I have yet to meet anyone this year who admits to opening the bonnet of a car other than to fill the windscreen washer reservoir. But your car engine lives in a completely different environment and has regular use. We tend to forget that the marine world is probably the harshest place that you can put a delicate

piece of equipment and expect it to work every time you turn the key. The drive for cleaner emissions has also meant a much greater reliability on computers and electronics - so much so that when you lift the lid on a modern

engine there is so little for the average spanner fan to recognise that many of us just don’t bother. Rest assured though. At heart it is still a combustion engine and whether petrol or diesel it still needs the same basic checks . . . ➧

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06-07 MarCh rya dInGhy saIlInG shoW Alexandra Palace, London

ShOW spotlIGht

Now this looks like a good one. Put together by James Brooke and his crew of youthful extroverts, the British Leisure Show is gearing up to open its doors at the Royal Windsor Racecourse on the banks of the River Thames for the first time this March. It’s a dramatic outdoor venue for what is quite patently a fresh concept of show. Designed to bring together the complimentary leisure pursuits we all enjoy, you can expect to see a huge collection of products, destinations and activities, with zones dedicated to Caravan & Camping, Cars & Bikes,

14 MarCh kent boat JuMble Kent County Show Ground,

19-21 MarCh brItIsh leIsure shoW Royal Windsor Race Course

brItIsh leIsure shoW

Britain & Abroad, Outdoor & Country, Extreme Sports, Motorhomes & Campervans, Holiday Homes and, of course, Boats & Watersports. The Boats & Watersports Zone itself will offer up a feast of performance with some of the finest and most ground breaking models available today, including the Malibu Wakesetter VLX. This 21-footer comes with a 360hp Indmar petrol engine and is capable of 55 mph. With a price tag of £49,000 including trailer and cover, it looks like a great value package from D2 Marine. For the connoisseur, Bates Wharf Marine

Sales will be displaying the ultra-stylish Chris Craft Silver Bullet. Capable of 57 mph, this is certainly one of the most beautiful sports boats ever designed. Gibbs Marine will also be showcasing its Regal sports boats, with a range of bow riders from 19 to 28 feet, as well as the hand-built (and outrageously eyecatching) Linetti 20.5 and 27.5. Bryant sports boats will be there at the hands of Clipper Marine, as will Fairline’s stunning Targa 44. And if you’re looking for something a little more continental, gorgeous Italian boats Cranchi can be found on the Abersoch Land & Sea stand. This is, without question, the most keenly anticipated debut show of 2010. TICkET OFFER To celebrate the show launch, we have a special two-for-one ticket deal for Boat Mart readers. This means you can enjoy a great day out and even take the whole family for just £10. To take advantage of the special ticket price, visit www. and enter the code ‘Boat Mart’ when making your ticket purchase. 01590 679338

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Boat Mart March Preview  

The Ultimate guide to affordable boating

Boat Mart March Preview  

The Ultimate guide to affordable boating