Trade-a-Boat Blog - September 2, 2010

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Ralfy's cool resto + boat growth means rush for best boltholes

Trade-a-Boat Blog - September 2, 2010
Trade-a-Boat Blog - September 2, 2010

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Welcome to our second Trade-a-boat blog. A lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. But of all the cool new craft we have set foot aboard, the highlight was reconnecting with our project boat, Ralfy IV, after it was trucked from Sydney to the Gold Coast and into Maritimo’s fit-out premises at Hope Harbour on the banks of the mighty Coomera River.

 

Ralfy IV is now keeping company with a line-up of million-dollar Maritimos. Yet our Mariner 760 remains right at home here, in the care of her original builder, Bill Barry-Cotter, who said he was pleasantly surprised at the 34-year-old boat’s good condition.

(The people in the pic are, left to right: Bill Barry-Cotter, David Lockwood, Phil Frazer.)

Now the big news. I wasn’t quite sure which way we would go with Ralfy IV — gut it and refit the boat with all the new-age flash materials being used by Maritimo these days, or keep a few of the original fittings and the patina of the oiled plywood bulkheads as testimony to the fact she or he has stood the test of time.

Bill was adamant. So too Phil Frazer, the production manager responsible for the build schedule on all the new Maritimos and now Ralfy IV. Drum-roll, wait for it — we are keeping our 1976-model Mariner as original as possible. This is not a refit but a restoration! How cool is that?

As of last week, Ralfy IV was being stripped and every key part numbered and labelled for future assembly. By the end of the year, a wonderful Ralfy IV will be relaunched looking as dapper as the day she first hit the water. Only we’ll have a new remanufactured fuel-injected 6.2L MerCruiser 383 small-block V8 350hp and Bravo III sterndrive under her deck. We’re talking a projected top speed of 30-33 knots (35-38mph). Pacer indeed.

There’s a lot more to share on this exciting project, including some great pics, and big announcements. Checkout the next issue of Trade-a-boat #406 on sale September 29 for details.

Meantime, the final reports have just been released for the 18-month-long National Boating Usage Study (NBUS) conducted by the National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC). With almost one million recreational craft being used throughout Australia today, and 12,816 boating incidents in the last nine years, authorities are pushing to develop informed policy and educational programs.

The NBUS analysed data from the trip diaries of 2,035 volunteer boaters across Australia from October 2008 to March 2010. These boaters logged 32,100 trips and 300,000 hours on the water. Yet it was determined that employed Australians, who have the opportunity to use their boats for 124 days per year, in fact used them for only 10 and 30 per cent of this time. Naturally, weekends were the most popular time for boating, with Saturday recording 25 per cent and Sunday accounting for 22 per cent of trips. The twin reports can be downloaded from www.nmsc.gov.au . Click on ‘research and policy/manual and reports’.

Oh, I almost forgot, spring has sprung. You can sniff it in the air, the days are getting longer, and the change of seasons is just downright exciting. Time to wrest yourself away from the armchair and get back to boating. I reckon I’ve put on five kilos this winter, so I know I have to get active. A spring clean of the boat seems like a good place to start.

Of course, the official start to the new boating season is the October long weekend. That said, many sailing and boating clubs around the country are staging their sail-pasts and opening regattas this month. As a consequence, you’ll see many more yachts and motorboats on the waterways that have otherwise been devoid of any real activity during the long cold winter.

Mark my words, before long there’ll be a rush for the best boltholes. According to a NSW Maritime report titled NSW Boat Ownership and Storage: Growth Forecasts to 2026, the recreational fleet on Sydney Harbour alone will swell to more than 20,000 boats by 2020. The biggest growth forecasts are in the area of big boats. Of course, you can read all about them in Trade-a-boat.

Stay safe, see you on the water, and keep those dreams alive.

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