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Contents AU G U S T 2 0 0 9

78 Island-hopping off the French coast

Inside . . . 09 Word from the water Nuggets of boating news from around the UK coast

15 Race update John Cooke brings you up to speed with the UK race scene

17 Kit of the month Eight more boat accessories to coax out your cash

21 Marine clothing buyer’s guide From drysuits to dog robbers, we find the right kit for you and your crew

29 Reader writes . . .

45 South Wales Boat Show

The issues of the month from the readers’ online forum

The Welsh marine resurgence continues . . .

30 Where’s the bloody petrol?

It seems there’s more to Jersey than Bergerac . . .

The RYA fronts up about fuel supply for petrol boaters

32 Pub watch . . . Tying up at the Pandora Inn on the Fal Estuary

35 Coleraine River Festival Back to Northern Ireland for an inland watersports extravaganza

39 RIBnet TT Tour Forty RIBs on a weekend tour from north Wales to the Isle of Man . . .

78 Island hopping

87 Gold fisher The action heroes behind the greatest find in maritime history

92 Focus on fog What do you do when the mist descends? Time you found out . . .

95 Used Boat Buying Tips Navigate the secondhand pitfalls and bag your perfect boat

103 Win a Motorboat Manual 20 Haynes DIY boat guides to be won

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TESTED . . .


50 Avon Jet RIB Froth and bluster aboard Avon’s super sharp jet tender

Retro watersports games at the Coleraine Riverfest

55 Finnmaster 57 DC Entry-level tempter from the Finnish boat building gurus

62 Classic Martini

On board Don Aronow’s record breaking race machine . . .

69 Yamarin 74 C The powerboat of choice for the grown up boater

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news Princess to supersize Princess has just signed a lease on an additional 15-acre waterfront site at South Yard, Plymouth, where the company will build a new generation of large motor yachts. Chris Gates, MD of Princess, said that the company has been eager to acquire the waterside site for some time in order

to exploit the local availability of skilled labour and established suppliers. The deal will bring the total land occupied by Princess to more than 38 acres. It is hoped that the first completed craft from the new site will be a Princess 105, to be launched at the end of 2010.

It’s good news for the British builder, with a 105-foot craft on the horizon in 2010

Boatshed bonus Boatshed, the UK’s burgeoning boat sales gurus, have been flying in the face of the credit crunch by showing record boat sales in the first six months of 2009 - with 609 boats changing hands. Trouble is, they have been so busy selling boats that they could do with a few more. They still have more than 2,500 boats listed but they also have around 300,000 registered customers to satisfy - so if you have a boat to sell, it could be time to give them a bell. By the same token, their booming business has created a need for more people to help them buy and sell boats. They get frequent requests from buyers in areas where they don’t yet have an office so they are keen to recruit agents in almost all areas of the UK. If you would like to join the Boatshed team by becoming a new business owner, they would like to hear from you . . . 08709 905857

Fundraising to sing about

thief’s dream

A Port of London Authority (PLA) concert has raised more than £12,000 to help fund the RNLI’s essential life saving operation on the Thames. Celebrities from the world of classical music and members of the Royal Family backed the fundraising event, which marked the PLA’s 100th birthday. The money, collected from sponsorship, the sale of tickets, programmes and on-the-night donations, will be given to the RNLI. Alan Cartwright, the PLA’s Marine Engineer and the concert’s producer said: “The PLA has been crucial to the smooth running of the Port for 100 years, but we didn’t just want to celebrate the authority’s centenary, we also wanted to mark the major contribution that the Thames and the sea make to the culture and economy of London and the South East. From the start,

A burglary suffered by an online networker in Arizona sets a dangerous precedent for those leaving their property, including boats, unattended. Not only did this hapless man post updates to Facebook about his travels but he also stated when he would be getting back. His wife suggested that he might as well invite burglars in and it proved to be the case when his video equipment was stolen. The implications for boaters could be serious. By perusing posts on social networking sites, an astute thief might be able to find out what kind of boat you have, where it is and when you will be leaving it unattended. Quite why people feel the need to tell the world what they are doing at any given time is a mystery to many of us but it’s quite possible that the growth of these social sites will be piquing the interest of many an ambitious boat thief.

we were keen that the event should raise money for a nautical charity, and the RNLI’s rescue work was an obvious choice.” The concert, ‘Celebrating London and the Sea’, was held at Cadogan Hall in Chelsea and hosted by soprano and Radio 3 presenter, Catherine Bott. Stuart Willson, the RNLI’s Fundraising and Communications Manager for London, is delighted with the event’s contribution: “The RNLI is proud to be the benefitting charity of the PLA’s Centenary Concert. We are so grateful to everyone who put the event together and to those who attended. The money raised will go towards training and equipping our volunteer crew members at our four lifeboat stations on the River Thames here in London.”

Abramovich Navy According to the Moscow Times, yet another new yacht believed to have been built for Roman Abromovich has hit the water. Rumoured to be 187 metres in length, the yacht is a full 35 metres longer than the Type 45 destroyers currently in build for the Royal Navy. Sources have revealed that the yacht, reputedly called Eclipse, cost more than 330 million US dollars although Blohn & Voss, who built the craft, have not yet formally identified its owner. Eclipse is said to be equipped with two helipads, a “defence system” rumoured to be of military-grade, bulletproof windows and a private “emergency escape” submarine able to dive to 50 metres. Easily qualifying as the world’s largest private yacht, with 24 luxury suites on board and provision for a crew of 70, she is no less than the fifth craft in the extravagant oligarch’s fleet. How extraordinary to think that he’s only the second wealthiest man in Russia . . . 12 I SB&RIB

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© Lydia Brooks

Marine clothing uncovered Your marine equipment has some tough technological challenges to overcome and that’s nowhere more evident than in the area of clothing. From base layers to drysuits, Sue Baggaley investigates the latest in the world of marine clothing . . .

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marine clothing

allows a limited quantity of water to come into contact with the body, which then warms up to provide insulation, reducing heat loss and improving your survival time in the water. ‘Survival time’ sounds extreme but in UK waters immersion means the clock is running. When wet you lose heat 25 times faster than when dry, so we are simply not designed to cope with long periods in cold water. Unfortunately, people often ignore the fact that even when you have climbed back onboard you will still be losing heat through a damp wetsuit. This is

worsened by wind chill if you speed away, so take some time to dry off or to change. When choosing a wetsuit consider what it will be used for. Manufacturers put flexible panels, different thicknesses of material and reinforcing pads into modern suits that greatly improve practical protection. On

We lose heat 25 times more quickly when wet. Add in a 30-knot wind and the need for effective clothing is plain some suits a substantial rubberised back and chest panel radically reduce heat loss through evaporation, thereby keeping the essential organs of the body at a serviceable temperature, and this is a useful feature on a small open boat in the circustances we have described. The cynical may say it is just a way to sell more suits but the additional comfort that a purpose-specific suit can provide is not in doubt. For: active watersports Fabric: Neoprene (typically 3mm 6mm depending on season) Price range: £30 - £250

A 3mm ‘shorty’ is ideal for active summer sport


ersonal comfort plays a big part in how much you enjoy your boating. If you own a superyacht, all you need to do is adjust the air conditioning but if your mode of transport gets you closer to the wind, the water and the waves, you need the right gear. Most small sports boats and RIBs are obviously quite exposed and wind and water, in the form of rain and sea spray, are constant companions. Some of the associated sports, like diving, wakeboarding and fishing are even more demanding of the gear you wear. Happily, manufacturers of modern marine clothing are able to meet these challenges with some very effective kit . . . Wetsuits A wetsuit is an important asset, because keeping your body temperature stable while exposed to water is vital if you’re to enjoy your sport in comfort and safety. A wetsuit

A convertible suit, somewhere between a full and a shorty tends to use 3-4mm neoprene

Picking your wetsuit size The warming process of a wetsuit works best when the insulating neoprene of the suit fits closely against your body. A close fit will keep the flow of water in and out of the suit to a minimum, allowing the water inside a chance to warm up. If the suit does not fit closely, particularly around the feet, hands and neck, there will be a steady flow of cold water into and out of the suit, cooling your body and causing irritation to the skin. Ideally then, you want the suit to be as tight as possible while still being comfortable - and it’s particularly important because a good neoprene suit will neither shrink nor stretch to any great degree. This can be tricky to gauge, as the comfort level usually goes up a few notches once you get into the water but to maximise your chances of the right fit, take your measurements over nothing more than very light clothing. Wrist, ankle and neck measurements need to be taken against the skin itself. Inside leg measurements should be taken all the way to the ground and when measuring from wrist to wrist make sure your arms are stretched out in front of you.


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Welding rather than visible stitching of seams is a sign of a more expensive and better insulated suit

forum focus

First Date

settled on £2,350. One-nil to me, I think! The thing is, without the great advice given to me from people on this forum, I might have given up so special thanks go to DPB101 and Jokaboat. All I’ve got to do now is find some skis and inflatables at good prices and arrange some insurance. Once that’s done, roll on Lake Garda . . .

Big Zebedee Rustybaby I’ve just taken ownership of my first boat - a 1995 Dateline Bikini with 90hp Mercury outboard, in very good condition, for £2,350. I bought it from an E-bay seller. We played a game of hardball. He originally wanted £2,995 and I was offering £2,200 but we eventually

Ah it brings back memories. My first boat was a Dateline Bikini with a force 50hp on the back. But your boat looks minted for its age. With a 90hp on the transom it should be a bit of a shifter too. Make sure on the boat’s first outing you give it gradual throttle and also play about with the engine trim to get the boat sitting sweet. You’ll have great fun in it but I reckon you’ll want a bigger boat soon enough . . .

name that boat . . . Ticky T I’ve just bought the speedboat in the picture below. It was advertised as a Ring 18-footer but I’m just not convinced. It has 510 on the side and strangely measures 5.1 metres (16 feet, nine inches) - not 18 feet. Can anyone suggest what it is? A Ring? A Ross Carrera? A Driver 510? If you know the truth, get online now . . .

french jetset Capt Slackbladder I’m off to the South of France next week for three weeks of trailer boating in the Med – and getting everything ship shape and Bristol fashion to satisfy the gendarmes has been interesting. At just 4.57 metres in length with a top speed of 70mph, I must have one of the smallest yet quickest boats on the Small Ships Register (which apparently is a must if you take your boat to France). New brakes and bearings on the trailer are vital, with a spare set of bearings, fluorescent jackets, warning triangles, spare bulbs, ownership details and insurance details (for boat, car and trailer). They all have to be originals too, rather than copies. I have even had to buy a towing mirror and a GB sticker in a bid to avoid an on the spot fine from the French traffic police. Is there anything else I should know?

Jokaboat Remember spare bearings, spare wheel, grease for bearings, more spare bearings, ICC, CEVNI (if you want to go inland boating), a spare prop, some sun cream and a big grin.


I also take engine spares such as key drive belts, thermostat and filters plus gaskets in case the leg has to come apart. I don’t necessarily know how to fit them but I figure I could probably find a mechanic who would work through the night if I was prepared to spend the money. Your VAT receipt for your boat is also vital. Finally, a ‘Sanef Autoroute’ electronic tag is an absolute Godsend for bypassing the queues at the tolls and avoiding having to wake up your passenger to hand over a credit card or put money in the slot. It’s a 30 Euro deposit for the box and then just two Euros for any month in which it is actually used. The toll charges are then just billed to your credit card. Genius.

Capt Slackbladder Just sorting out a VAT receipt as my original invoice didn’t mention it - so thanks for that gem. It all helps in trying to avoid any unecessary fines or red tape from the over zealous Gendarmes. They have so many rules but hey, their weather is better than ours and so is their prime minister. And as for his wife . . . Vive le France!

East Coast Its definitely not a Ring. It looks a bit like a Ross Carrera, although the only one I’ve ever seen was around 25 feet but very similar in style. Unfortunately I dont think you will be able to find out much info if I’m right, as they went out of business quite a few years ago.

Cap’n Jack It looks like a Driver 510 to me - built by Doug Driver and designed by Ray Stapley. The only difference would be the decking. Could it have been renovated and altered? Funny thing is that when you look at rustybaby’s new Dateline, the hulls look very similar. There used to be a lot of moulds getting sold off in the 60s, 70s and 80s to many different builders when companies closed. It makes a positive ID difficult but eventually someone will know the shape, I’m sure. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy it . . .

Capt Slackbladder’s Sea-Doo jet boat is now all set for its French odyssey

If you want to get yourself involved in the readers’ online community, go to the website ( and register now. Experience not necessary. All welcome . . .

What about overseas breakdown cover that will get you to the destination. That way, if things go wrong, you can have a holiday while your rig gets fixed. I used the Caravan Club Red Pennant / Mayday cover in France.

Write to us at: Sportsboat and Rib Magazine, CSL Publishing, Alliance House, 49 Sidney Street, Cambridge CB2 3HX E-Mail:

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Riverfest 2009 What do you get if you mix an inland waterway with an open-minded attitude? Matt Crowhurst heads for the Coleraine Riverfest to find out . . . Pictures from


or the past three years the town of Coleraine has been lucky enough to play host to the waterbound extravaganza that is the Waterways Ireland Riverfest. Held in association with Coleraine Borough Council and situated in the most northerly part of this island, near the coast of County Londonderry just an hour or so from Belfast, Coleraine and the surrounding region are very much into their watersports. The River Bann winds through the region and right through the heart of Coleraine, providing miles of perfect water for wakeboarding, waterskiing and whatever else you happen to enjoy doing on your boat. With the local mindset totally in tune with a water-bound lifestyle and, let’s face it, a country that has an abundance of stunning waterways, there is no better place to hold a festival in celebration of this way of life. Rob Skelly is the man behind this weekend event, held in June every year, and it’s obvious why it is a success year in year out: “My life has been played out on the water, whether it be barefooting,

wakeboarding, slaloming or getting my family out there too, I can’t get enough” Rob says. “I’ve been heavily involved with the whole industry since the beginning, running a ski school, a pro shop and putting on events. I couldn’t be happier than by sharing my passion with others in the form of Riverfest”. With such a passionate man at the helm, it’s no wonder the event is always so enjoyable. From coming out here more than five years ago for a contest that Rob put together, I’ve found his love for the sport infectious, as well as his need to enjoy himself. It is a heavy weekend on and off the water with Mr Skelly, as he strives to make sure we all go away with great memories, or know that we had a good time without being able to remember quite what happened for large portions of the visit. There was an even bigger crew in town this year, because not only did we have Ireland’s best wakeboarders (and little old me), we had the jetskiing freestyle threesome of Ant Burgess, Spencer Wells Place private ads for free at

and Jack Moule, plus a plethora of Yanks in the form of the Tampa Bay Waterski Display Team. All this, alongside fairground style attractions, a trade village and live music over two days made it a hell of a spectacle. And it didn’t even cost anything to get in. Everyone was welcome and it felt like everyone came . . . The action The first day of proceedings came after a late night flight back from the UK for me and Sian Hurst and we were all super keen to get out on the water in front of the crowd that had gathered in anticipation of some entertainment. We had a host of riders champing at the bit to show the masses what wakeboarding was all about. Junior boys Irish Champion, Phil Maquiggan was joined by Pro Ladies Champ and World Junior Ladies runner up Sian Hurst, Irish number one, Peter Stewart, a young gun ranked fifth in the World at Junior Boys level, David O’Queef, and local hero and former Junior Irish Champ, Peter O’Hara. > SB&RIB I 35

Welsh wizardry The fourth South Wales Boat Show at Margam Park near Neath was graced with bright sun and bustling business. Irving Stewart picks out the best on show . . .


t does seem quite peculiar, when heading for a boat show, to turn your back on the huge expanse of the Bristol Channel and head uphill, away from the water. It’s even more peculiar to arrive at the venue to find a beautiful country park complete with deer just a few miles from the dockside cranes and the industrial waterfront bustle of Neath and Port Talbot. Margam Park, which dates back to the first abbey built in 1147 and is a sight

of habitation since prehistoric times, really does provide a stunning venue for a regional boat show, with all the fun of a family day out overlooked by the magnificent Margam House, guarded by its famous peacocks and its strutting deer. To be able to truly relax at a boat show, have hundreds of acres on which to walk or play with the kids, and get access to an on-site supply of unlimited free parking, is a joy at once so rare and so beautiful it brought tears to the eyes.

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The large numbers of vehicles arriving bearing families certainly justified the organiser’s enthusiasm and hard work. The show’s famous sponsors (Sports Boat and RIB magazine and Boat Mart) were joined by Heart FM, who provided all the music needed to generate a real festival atmosphere. It was also a pleasure to catch up with old friends in the trade and to actually have time to discuss their new offerings, to mull over some views on the present economic >


Sportjet 430 The latest from the illustrious Avon stable seems altogether more playful than the workhorses of old. Stan Peakell reports on the Avon 430 Sportjet . . .


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Avon 430


or some years now jet RIBs have been one of the mainstays of the superyacht tender market. They fit into the garage of these huge, floating penthouses and provide a great deal more than just a means of getting ashore. It isn’t for nothing that the owners of these massively expensive vessels choose these boats and it certainly isn’t for limitation of budget. These vastly-walleted A-listers choose jet RIBs because they are quite simply tremendous fun. The Avon Sportjet 430 is a new, and slightly larger, version of the established Sportjet series which starts at 320 and, until this point, went no further than 400. The purpose of this deluxe new boat is quickly obvious, with a high level of finish and a turn of speed designed to put a smile on your face from ear to ear. That get up and go comes courtesy of a turbocharged 98hp engine operating through a jet drive. It might not sound like much but almost 100hp on the transom of a lightweight 14-footer is an enormous bundle of poke. In fact, if ever there was a boat that could bear direct comparison with a small sports car, the Sportsjet is it. Imagine the likes of the Aerial Atom or a Caterham 7 or, for its levels of comfort, even the Mazda MX5. The Sportjet is the boating equivalent and brings with it levels of sophistication that still manage to elevate into the kind of luxury sphere it needs to inhabit to appeal to the likes of the superyacht owner. Things like the all-round pop-up cleats, the boarding pole that ships beside the step, pop-up running lights and teak decking - it’s all high-class stuff and comes together to create a very stylish package. But while some of the small jet RIBs in the yacht tender sector tend to be one-trick ponies, a quick look around suggests that this Avon is a sports boat worthy of greater scrutiny in its own right. The details The hull on the Avon is a mild V, which gives it enough softening of ride for lumpy waves without making it too power hungry. It also means that those who enjoy vigorous throttle response will take great delight in the fact that she pops up onto the plane at the merest twitch of throttle. The tubes give plenty of stability and the support is such

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that, when you engage her in aggressive driving antics (as every jet boat driver seems powerless to resist) she remains very safe and composed. Throw her into an old-school doughnut and the tubes prevent the boat from becoming totally swamped by spray, providing enormous lateral buoyancy as the craft pivots sideways and scrabbles for grip to get up and go again. The tubes are quite practical too. All along the outer side there is a heavy-duty rubbing strip to help protect the two-tone collar from scrapes as you come alongside a harbour wall covered in mussels or barnacles. The bow is snub-nosed, which saves space in your garage but loses nothing in terms of driving dynamics and it’s also very useful for bumps and grinds. You get a couple of fairleads, some pop-up lights and a popup cleat and you even get a very flat top, providing a wide and easy step for going ashore. In fact, if you factor in the obvious suitability for shallow water running brought about by the jet drive, the little 430 proves herself a perfect tool for beaching, enabling you to enjoy a picnic without even getting your feet wet. The seating is centred around the main console in twin cockpits. The wheel is on an adjustable rack for height to accommodate different sized legs and, usefully enough, it is almost on the centreline of the boat. The helm seat caters for two, with room for another four passengers in the front cockpit, two facing forward and two facing aft. The bow seating lifts to reveal a large locker forward that will happily swallow all your ropes, fenders and anchor paraphernalia. The upholstery, meanwhile, is made from quite a stiff, high-density foam, which gives greater support and cushioning than most seats. The helm seat, right aft, lifts to reveal more stowage and a couple of clips where the steadying pole and masthead light live. And on the port side there is a moulded step, teak covered, naturally, where the removable support pole is ereceted to assist in boarding and disembarking the craft. It is plain then that this boat is the culmination of a great many lessons learned from previous incarnations of the jet RIB. Every element of the experience has been carefully considered - and it shows . . . >


TT RIB trip When a group of RIB owners in the North West decided to arrange a cruise from Conwy to the Isle of Man for the world famous TT races, we knew this would not be one to miss. Neil Powart was there . . .


he plan was simple. On a sunny June weekend, the boats would gather at Conwy to launch either on the Friday night or early on the Saturday morning. They would then cruise to the Isle of Man where they would grab some lunch, take in a bit of the bike racing and do some socialising before returning to Conwy. They would then circumnavigate Anglesey on the Sunday. What could possibly go wrong? >

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Finnmaster 57DC


Finnish When I came to Finland, I expected cold winds, grey skies and rough waters. What I got was a scene from a boater’s fairytale. Alex Smith tests the Finnmaster 57DC . . .


t’s nearly 11 o’clock at night and I’m on a classically styled Scandinavian sports cruiser, bobbing gently by a rural pontoon. On the far bank, sozzled journalists are reclining by a barbecue, wide-eyed and red faced after a two-hour sauna session. Behind me, the lake stretches to a horizon still lit with peachy puffs of cloud and a rich blue sky. It seems that Finalnd in June is a place that never gets dark and it gives me ample opportunity to revisit the Finnmaster 57DC. I’ve had some good time on the water in this boat among a fleet of Finnish craft crewed by an excitable European press but this was what I was after - a little time and space to settle down and kick the tyres in peace . . . >

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Gold Fisher In a follow-up to his treasure-hunting guide, Craig Barnett traces a story to rival any Indiana Jones adventure - that of the Atocha and its billion-dollar haul.

Mel Fisher was a remarkable man,” Joe Codde tells me over a coffee in the lobby of the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, “probably the greatest treasure hunter ever to have lived. His persistence and tenacity, combined with an unbridled enthusiasm for the treasure hunt, resulted in finding the Atocha and Santa Margarita when all others had failed.” Grinning, Codde continues, “The lesson here is never give up on your dreams – as Mel would say, ‘Today’s the Day!’” For Mel Fisher, that day was 20 July 1985. At 1305, the SSB radio in his office at the operation’s Key West HQ crackled into life. As his son’s excited voice fought with the static Mel asked him, “Come again?” Although he’d heard clearly the first time, Mel wanted to be absolutely certain he understood correctly – what his son was

telling him could conclude a 16-year search. “I repeat,” said Kane Fisher, “put away the charts. We’ve got the mother lode.” For a decade and a half, Mel Fisher had single-mindedly pursued his dream. The cost to himself, his family and his loyal crew had been immeasurable. Lives had been lost and a small fortune spent. But now, in that one moment, it all paid off with the finding of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha – and along with it the richest treasure haul since the opening of King Tutenkhamen’s tomb 50 years earlier.

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The Atocha Through painstaking research Mel knew all there was to know about the Atocha. She was a Spanish galleon, part of the 1622 treasure fleet that was destroyed in a hurricane on the Floridian coast. He also knew what he could now expect to bring up from the seabed: historical artifacts, coins in mint condition, breath-taking jewelry, precious stones, silver and gold - 40 tons of it to be precise. The treasures of South America were the lifeblood that coursed through the veins of the mighty Spanish war machine, financing their wars with the Dutch and the English. Precious gems, silver and gold plundered in the new world built mighty land armies and huge armadas for >


buying used

in search of a great used boat

If buying new is a step too far, don’t despair. Get it right and a used boat can give you years of boating entertainment. Stan Peakell runs you through the process . . .


f you have never bought a boat before there are some basic rules you need to get clear before you set off. For a start, how fast do you want to go? How fast can you afford to go? You may fancy the idea of a beefy V8 inboard engine but, if this is your first boat, you are unlikely to appreciate quite how much fuel that will involve in a day’s outing. Do you need sleeping accommodation? If so, for how many and in what particular layout? A great many modern boats have a pair of double berths but no singles and that

is unlikely to suit a growing family intent on a life of happy cruising. Do you want to cook? Does your partner want to cook? If so, is the galley area an asset or an afterthought? And then there are the everyday practicalities. Where do you want to keep her? Are affordable berths readily available in your neck of the woods or do you want to keep her at home and trailer her to different cruising grounds? Once you’re on the water, how far do you want to be able to go without refuelling? This selection of issues is by no Place private ads for free at

means exhaustive but they serve to illustrate just how hard you have to think about your needs and narrow down your scope of your search before you start looking . . .

Where should you look? Once you know what sort of boat you’re after, you need to work out where you’re likely to find it. Now there’s actually nothing quite so pleasant as pottering around in a boat yard. There’s a pedestrian, Sunday afternoon kind of thrill in going from place to place, sidling between rows of boats > SB&RIB I 95

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