Having mulled over it for several months, consulted experts in the field,researched the internet and quite possibly bored Dave to death with my deliberations, I've finally taken the plunge and gone for a 'new' boat that will hopefully be more suitable for open sea fishing than the little Spinner.It was to be my 50th birthday present to myself, but I'm blowed if I'm going to wait that long.
I picked up the Orkney 520 'Scooby 2' a few days ago from Northwich in Cheshire, hitching it on the back of the camper, a round trip of 500 odd miles, having seen it on an ebay auction, where it failed,just, to reach reserve.I'd already been up ,taking my Dad along for the ride, to have a look at it a few days previously, and it seemed to fit the bill.1000 miles for a boat, and I didn't even quibble over the price.
She's in great nick,and her sleek, graceful lines are certainly easy on the eye.Do Orkney make unattractive boats?....I don't think so.
A Yamaha 4 stroke (25 horses)matches my tiny little 'coble' motor which i'll use as an auxillary, she's got all the sparky bits(GPS, F/F, VHF which will take some figuring out) ,and some seriously, sexy stainless (Bruce anchor and chain included-who can afford to buy a stainless steel anchor!).She towers over the spinner so looks like she'll handle a bit of a sea,and the roller trailer is, by reputation, a doddle to use-and has proved so.
From 'Beauty' to the 'Beast'. Also 'new' in the stable, is the 'truck' pulling the boat up the slipway.It looks like it should be towing one of those chrome trimmed, net curtained caravans that people who read tea leaves, and lay tarmac tend to inhabit. .A 20 year old Pajero(means Pampas Cat- also means something less complimentary in Spanish-wiki it) that I picked up for the princely sum of £750(T&T) from Dave's next door neighbour, Nigel- a thoroughly decent chap.I hasten to add that he's not a member of the travelling fraternity.
Nigel has owned the vehicle since it was first imported, and has maintained a huge file of service receipts and an unbroken record of former MOT's.
Now, I've never been particularly fond of 'Chelsea Tractors' especially two pedalled variants,and I've not had Jap wheels before, but after initially being a bit dubious about it (the steering was pants-now sorted) It's growing on me bit by bit.It's got all the bells and whistles(fully blinged.. air con, heated leather seats et al) and I can't complain about the price, can I. It is however, a masterpiece of late 80's automotive over Indulgence,probably cost a small fortune when new ,Is positively the ugliest vehicle I have ever owned,and is as aesthetic as a breeze block.... aspects of which add somewhat to its charm.Jan hates it and P.P's not keen either.What do they know.LOL
On the practical side, it's an Intercooled turbo diesel,(sounds funky if nothing else) so fuel shouldn't be an issue, and it generates enough torque to pull a house down.4WD is going to be handy when pulling the boat out at low tide and THAT, is the real reason for buying it- I need to get the boat in and out of the river, when I want, regardless of the tide state.
My Incredibly useful blue VW T4 panel van has gone.It did look peachy sat next to the camper. My son Jack bought it, having flogged his white Vee Dub T4 (ex Andy Male)in less that 24hrs after listing it on ebay.He's chuffed to bits and has had a right result too.I'm a bit sad to see it go, and will miss the huge payload,and the convenience of leaving my fishing gear fully rigged and safely hidden inside, but...needs must.
So, today I launched the 520 for the first time with P.P's assistance.She slipped off the trailer with literally just a slight push, and after mooring at the visitors pontoon whilst I parked up the 'rig', we headed firstly out to sea stopping off at the back of the house to wave to Jan,and then motored up river to Arundel chucking a few lures about for a minute or two here and there, while I sussed out the anchoring situation in the river.(Gonna need a bigger mud weight or switch to a grapnel and chain for close in mulleting).
Back at the slip just before it got dark and she went back on the trailer with no issues, easier in fact, than the spinner .The trip went swimmingly well, and I couldn't be more pleased with the whole set up.The boat handles really well and is extremely comfortable.OK It's cost me, but I think it's worth it especially If i get out to sea as much as i'd like.Got a few mods to make but nothing too demanding.The Pajero, as a tow vehicle, performed faultlessly.
Snoek is now up for sale and I have to say I really will be sad to see it go having done so much work on her, and had some great fishing-especially mullet.I could keep her, but I think three boats would be bordering on the ridiculous ,I need the cash for the 520, and Jan needs her garden back.