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Showing posts from May, 2016

Flotilla to Ely - Day 1

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Friday 27th May 2016
Flotilla to Ely - Day 1

Our four day trip out on the River Great Ouse begins!

Woke up at 9:30am this morning and got straight to the jobs that needed doing before we were to set off. Job 1 was to brim that water tank so we had enough water to last us our four days on the river. There are water points along the way but it's a bit of a chore to pull over, find and connect the hose pipe and spend 30 mins filling the tank. So, we chose let the tank fill while we did a few other jobs. After fitting our new VHF whip aerial a couple of days ago, I had realised that I must have disturbed the TV antenna connector in the radar arch. This meant I had to take off all the panels on the arch and trace back the connector to figure out what had gone wrong. Luckily, it was only that the connector had slipped free from the signal booster hidden beneath all the cabling in the arch so the TV wasn't receiving any reception. Took a pair of pliers and squeezed the connector down …

Fuel Sender Unit Fixed

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Got to the boat earlier this morning and got straight to work by disassembling the guest cabin panels to eventually reveal the twin petrol tanks. After an hour of unscrewing and removing all the panels, I unbolted the two senders and took them out, being sure to fully ventilate the cabin and plug up the holes in the tank where the senders were with a cloth. Where petrol is so massively flammable, even a slight spark could send the whole boat up in a huge fireball.

The senders in the tanks are the same ones fitted in the factory 25 years ago when Bandit was build. The sender itself is a float-type sender unit that moves an arm, connected to the sender body, up and down as you either full or use up the petrol, which sends a signal to the gauge at the helm. What had happened over the last 25 years is that, somehow, petrol had leaked into the float which made it sink slightly into the petrol, giving a false reading to the gauge. A simple fix was to poke a tiny hole into the float, squeeze…

Caught up to Speed - Preparing For Our Trip to Ely

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After purchasing Bandit, we've not really had a chance to use her very much. Of course we've spent every weekend aboard her since we got her back to the boatyard but we haven't actually had any weekend trips away from the marina. Not only was this down to the fact that the engines were in such poor condition but the weather so far this year has not been nice enough to really go anywhere. It's been very windy and with no bow thruster, I wouldn't want to risk damaging the boat.

If you recall, there is another Sealine 290 on the river. The boat in question is the same one which tempted us to sell our Mirage and buy a 290. As it happens, we've become really good friends with the owners of the other Sealine, and we've planned a trip downstream with several other boaty friends from our base marina in St Ives to Ely. A journey of about 40 miles total. As this upcoming weekend is a bank holiday, we'd have a day to enjoy the five-hour journey to Ely, spend a day…

Not Quite What We Expected...

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After a couple of weeks using Bandit, it became apparent that there were bits and pieces that needed some attention. We bought Bandit with the impression that the boat was completely ready to go, no maintenance needed. That, however, has not been the case.

First, there was a nasty smell coming from the bilges and in the heads a couple of days after we really began staying on the boat on the weekends. After lots of searching, we discovered that the sea toilet pipes were the source of the smell. We accepted this at just a bit of bad luck as the boat was 25 years old and the pipes looked original. We purchased the pipes from our marina chandlery and got straight to the job. The biggest worry for us was whether the seacocks were any good. The last thing we wanted to do was to remove the toilet pipes and find that the seacocks had failed which would let in a tonne of water, a possibly sink the boat. One brave move revealed that the seacocks were, in fact, watertight. Phew. Now to feed the …

A New Face + Maiden Voyage

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Bandit arrived at her new home on the River Great Ouse on the 13th January this year. At this point in time, our Fairline Mirage, Bliss was still up for sale. We decided to not move Bliss over to the marina's dedicated viewing pontoon for boats for sale until we had Bandit back. This way, we were still able to spend the weekends aboard the Mirage while she was up for sale.


The weekend following the day that Bandit arrived home, we spent a good two days moving over everything from Bliss and finding homes for everything aboard Bandit. Although getting our new Sealine back to the marina was extremely exciting, there was an incredibly sad side to this whole event. Moving everything that we've had on Bliss for five years over to Bandit sparked so many memories that we've had with Bliss and it was very hard to convince ourselves that she would no longer be ours in a couple of weeks. We had to think positive and the following Saturday, we said out goodbyes to Bliss moved her over…

Transportation of Our Sealine 290 Ambassador

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After purchasing our 1991 Sealine 290 Ambassador, Bandit, we were left with the problem of getting her from Chichester Marina, back to our home marina in Cambridgeshire.

After lots of researching, we decided to get her transported by road on a low-loader lorry with a huge hydraulic crane. We did ponder the idea of driving the boat by water from Chichester Harbour to The Wash at Kings Lyn, down through Denver and eventually to Cambridge but for us and our very little knowledge of sea boating, it wasn't really an option. The boat was completely kit out for us to do so, however. Garmin GPS chart plotters, DSC VHF communication and not to mention the beefy 410hp petrol engines. She was in every way able to do so but we decided to take the 'easy route' instead of the adventurous, but potentially dangerous, route.

The day before the transporter was due to take our new Sealine back to Cambridge, we decided to drive back to Chichester and spend the night aboard. This way, we knew …

Throwback to 12th December 2015 - How It All Began

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After coming to terms with deciding to sell our beloved 1979 Fairline Mirage 29, we went on a hunt for a Sealine 290 Ambassador...

It all began when a diesel 290 Sealine came up for sale at the marina we moor a couple of years ago. Being curious about this lovely new boat that appeared on the marina's sales boat pontoon, we decided to go and take a look. It was a stunning, tidy example of the 290 Ambassador and made us question selling our petrol Mirage for a good 12 months.

Our 1979 Fairline Mirage, Bliss, had undertaken a huge restoration in early 2009 and was definitely a one-of-a-kind boat of its type. We loved every minute we spent aboard Bliss but after realising that we wanted something with a bit more social space, and preferably diesel engines, we decided in late 2015 to go ahead and commit ourselves to sell Bliss and find a 290 Ambassador.

After listing Bliss for sale, we turned to Google and found a selection of diesel Sealine 290's that we liked the look of. With S…