After my Loch Etive outing, I knew the Mariner 25HP 2 stroke engine seemed reliable, so I was keen to try the boat in the sea.
I had been meaning to try launching a boat from Ganavan Bay (just to the north of Oban) for a while, so What better place to choose for the first true sea voyage. The slipway is huge as it was built during the war years to allow launching sea planes. No problems even for me to reverse down.
Its a public slipway so free to launch from and there is plenty parking space in the huge car park at the top of the slipway. It is a council owned carpark and has a ticket machine, but £2 for the day is well worth it, consideriong there is also a toilet and burger van in the car park.
I arrive at 7am and the tide although still low but rising, was not far from the bottom of the slip.
I unhitched the trailer and pushed it the last few feet to the waters edge. I then pushed the sack trolley with the engine down to the edge too. I have found the best way for me to transport everything is to keep the engine on the sack trolley with the engine mounting brackets facing outwards, and transport it in the car.
Its easy for me to slide the engine and trolley it into the car, as I have a drop down tailgate. Its also easy to attach to the boat as I simply reverse the floating boat into the engine mounting brackets, screw them up, then just slide the trolley out. At no point do I lift the full 52kg weight of the engine by following this method
Sliding the engine into the car..it transports beautifully in a horizontal position and is held firmly on the trolley. Dont try this with a four stroke engine as the oil will run into the head.
The engine skeg is held on a wooden foot with a slot. Its a big foot for extra stability on the shore.
The engine head is held in a wooden cradle on the trolley and secured with a length of rope.
Although transporting and attaching the engine is a doddle by this means, I still have to submerge the trailer in the sea to float the inflatable boat off. I wish I could think of a better way ..but at 100kg for the empty boat weight..its still to heavy for me to lift on and off the trailer on my own.
Because it has a soft bottom, I cant winch it onto the trailer in the same way I winched the hard shell boat.
That is my trailer sticking out the water beyond the boat. I have to clean and regrease the wheel bearings every month and also carry a spare set in the car. The trailer is hosed down with fresh water after every trip.
It took longer to write about launching it that it took in real life. Once the boat was in the water with engine attached, I pumped the tubes up to working pressure. A few strokes with the hand pump was suffice.
Then I was off on my first sea voyage in the new boat......