is 1989 vintage boat and very original. Overall she is quite tidy
but is now showing her age in terms of the internal finishes which
are beginning to fade and exhibit signs of the inevitable water damage
(both condensation and window leakage - so useful info has been noted
on the site for replacement wall carpet and silicone frame sealing
Externally the hood is looking decidedly tired and will need replacing
soon but she has all-original gel coat and the topsides polish up
nicely although there are a few knocks around the periphery and some
surface crazing due to
stressing of the deck hardware. Below the gunnels she is bit more
battle-scared from being trailer campaigned over much of the system
by the last owner, so some more serious filling and faring will be
required but she
really needs to be out of the water to do a decent job. As the previous
owner was fond of saying - "canal boating is a contact sport"!
- however, I feel that much of the contact damage done was due to
the 2-lever control
being connected back to front (that is push forward for reverse and
pull back to go faster) plus the missing the tilt pin off the engine
bracket so the outboard would kick up in reverse at anything much
over a tick over and
refuse to stop the boat. This, added to the woefully poor steering
(oversteering?) qualities of the Viking hull with a standard outboard
leg, meant I learnt the hard (very hard) way on the first trip to
fairness I knew I would be changing to a single lever control as I
don't much like the two-lever variety even when properly set up, but
the need for a Ruddersafe/Course Keeper became equally urgent. I then
went down the
internet trail of the cheap job-lot of Ruddersafes on offer by a South
coast dealer who didn't realise the value of his stock. At £5
a pop it was not surprising that "some blokes from Viking bought
the whole lot"! - in fact he was very lucky not to have had his
arm snatched off. So Ebay it had to be, with a six weeks wait for
a second hand unit from a Florida boat dealer to come by standard
post which cost almost as much as the winning bid!
fitted (with a new prop and prop shaft), the Ruddersafe and the single
lever control have transformed the handling even without additional
bow ballast. It is also very reassuring to be able to select reverse
first time then use some real power to stop the boat in an emergency
without having to look down at peeling dymo tape to see which lever
to move which way!.
Over the next year, I intend to savour the delights of the Northern
reaches for which Middlewich is well placed base before bringing her
back South to the GUC at Milton Keynes where I live. The 250 mile
round trip by car seems
madness but staying overnight or for a few days makes it well worthwhile.
Middlewich has excellent facilities - 2 x chandleries, 3 x boat yards,
a discount DIY, a 'professional' quality tool shop and a cut foam
upholsterers all within 200 yards! This makes it a fairly realistic
base to carry out planned improvements to the boat which will be posted
to the forum as they develop. Current work is mainly security based
plus fitting a pneumatic accumulator to stop the water pump hunting.
I am also carrying out a detailed dimensional survey for drawing up
computer plans/sections forfurther projects.
The pictures show the boat soon after taking it over. The inside shot
shows the very original interior (although the woodwork had been re-varnished).
The stern view shows the Ruddersafe fitted together with the new prop
and propshaft. The Ruddersafe is the No. 2 (medium) size model and
it still needs the ends of the threaded studding taken back a bit
to avoid catching weed.