I have started this post to create a discussing point regarding boating in the UK as it is such a wide topic with many different opinions however I thought it would be useful to share my journey over the years and why I have ended up with my current boat.
There are so many factors to consider from budget to age, what you are going to use it for and where you are going to use it that will have a huge effect but I have never been so happier with a boat than what I have now so later on I will explain why.
Here are a couple of images from boats I have had over the years
Shakespeare Magnum – mid 70’s boat – full ground up restoration, Johnson VRO 60HP engine
A little Bombard Tropic I bought from John Bridger Marine with Merc 7.5HP
Tohatsu inflatable with with 4 stroke 9.8HP
On this day back in around 1997, this was my first Rib, a brand new Quicksilver QS450 with Mariner 50HP. Sadly this hull needed to be replaced by the Valiant rib below as it cracked but fair play to Barrus (the UK distributor) as they were fantastic
A few years later I took on a Fletcher restoration project. The boat has stood for many years and I had to replace the wheel bearings just to move it off the chaps drive. This is the day it arrived home just after it had its first wash.
the engine fired up after many years as sweet as a nut but I discovered the prop shaft was bent and that was some job. Engine was a pre-mix only 80HP Yamaha
One of the jobs was fitting a new screen which I made but whilst it looked cool, it was too dark. There were loads of other nigglely jobs to do as well such as getting the gauges to work.
Here she is in the water, what a fantastic boat, quick, light and handled beautifully.
This was the day I let her go to a new home.
This was the next boat on my list as I’d never had one with an inboard before.
2003 Regal 1800 LSR with Volvo Penta Petrol
Just to be totally clear – this was what I call the first “real boat” that I owned from the point of view that launching, recovering and leaving overnight in a marina whereas everything else was a either drag down the beach or dunk in at the slipway for the day so I had some learning to do even though I had spent many years boating. I don’t want to knock these boats as they are truly fantastic when out on the water but they are also a bit of a pain in the arse at this age and I just wanted something that I could use. So first day out on her was amazing. The smooth ride of the stepped hull from Regal is 2nd to none however reality came crashing down the next day. I headed down to the Marina and fired it up and it just wouldn’t run properly so I had to get a tow round the slipway and back to Ash Marine she went. (Ash Marine I will come to on another post but they are top lads ) It turned out to be the automatic choke was playing up. Anyway all sorted and a couple of weeks later back in the water. Next trip out I noticed the voltage gauge went very high then it just dropped to 12v with the engine running. I knew straight away the alternator had gone so I nursed her back, on the trailer and back to Ash Marine. A few weeks later the next trip out was good, we had 2 days out on her with no issues. Sadly day 3 on the morning she wouldn’t start. It sounded like either the started didn’t have enough power to engage or it just wasn’t engaging so I had a to get tow round to the slipway again and back to Ash Marine. Now what I though would be a minor job wasn’t. One of the bolts holding the starter motor on had snapped, the starter had moved out of place slightly and wouldn’t engage. This is a major job and the engine needed to come out. I braced myself for a big bill and instructed Ash and his team to get on with it but whilst it was out lets go right through it and repaint the engine, clear out the bilge, set up the top end, replace water pump seals etc etc etc. A £1000 later it was all back together but at this point I had lost faith in her and decided to put her up for sale and she sold in early 2020 in the early part of the pandemic hopefully wanting for nothing. Just to be clear, Regal Boats are superb, the Volvo Penta inboard was a great engine but you have to remember that it rapidly becomes old technology and things like carburettors are very old tech. These boats are very heavy and they are an American design so whilst they will handle a bit of chop, it can become uncomfortable. They are right up there and in my opinion slightly better than a Sea Ray / Maxum and leagues ahead of a Bayliner which are cheap rubbish in my opinion. Here are a few photos.
Finally here is a short video on a day out in Devon 2018
After all of the above – I knew I what I really wanted was a RIB and I have spent several months researching and narrowed it down to a few options.