14 September 2005
E-300 started life as a London Boat Show yacht, resplendent in the "Silk Cut" colours. Now a few years down the line she has again changed owners and for the past year or so has been in the more than capable hands of David Ritchie. For those who might not know, David is the National Sailing Coach for the RYA... so with my instructors hat on that makes him my boss! Anyway, during one of our last meetings I cajoled David to "putting pen to paper" and supplying a few words about his E-Boat, along with a couple of photos. Here are David's thoughts on his latest boat...
Here, at last, a few pictures of our Mark IV E300, which is proving much more comfortable than the flush decked version our friends had, though it does seem to be significantly slower to me....though this is a tentative conclusion.
We mainly use it for family and friends, overnight pottering usually with the kids. So far we haven't been further than Poole! The only race produced appalling performance on a local E boat handicap, but it was very windy and quite rough. My impression is that the boat does not point as high as some E boats, this could be due to the revised keel shape or a slightly tired mainsail, I suppose, but I don't see why, particularly.
We've done all sorts of minor and obvious improvements/changes to the original spec; modern depth sounder, netted rails for the kids, detachable mainsheet to clip to rail when in port (makes a bit more cockpit space), D-rings up forr'ard for warps and anchor etc, jackstays - again for the kids, dan buoy. There is a new turfer winch from an agricultural supplier, with a slightly thicker cable which seems less prone to corrosion, but it does the same job. We have put the neoprene seals on the keel pan to enhance the chance of pumping/bailing if swamped, and have beefed up the main hatch rails by replacing tuffnol with alloy from a local supplier. We replaced the windows with exact copies, again locally made. The old ones had cracked and shrunk, so great care was needed in fixing them into one piece in situ with a metal strip through bolted, before removing and sending off to be copied. On replacement, we had to change some of the head lining....realised after driving home two hours away that I was more or less high on the glue fumes!
The list goes on but we have done nothing fundamental at all to the boat. The accommodation has been great for the kids, though the boat does bounce around rather more than I or our kids would like. Given the ever increasing amount of power traffic in the Solent, this is a problem at the weekend, when there seems to be continual slop! On the other had, we've had the kite up before breakfast in an empty Solent, flying along in the sunshine, and this might be difficult short handed on a more complicated boat, with a toddler and a 4 year old on board.
The boat has been wonderful fun, utterly outstanding value, and would be difficult to beat for us as a first family yacht, which we can leave ashore cheaply when not in use.
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