“Have ya got a tinnie?” the old bloke asked me at a BBQ recently.
I hesitated as I reached for another snag, “Yeah, why?”
“Use it much?”
“A little bit,” I said defensively.
He laughed, “Yeah, you’re just like every bloke in this town. Got a boat, use it twice a year, then sell the bloody thing. A year later your back looking for another one!”
I laughed with him, and spent a merry hour or so yakking with him. He had owned his tinnie for nearly 30 years, and used it religiously… twice a year. But he got me thinking.
I can remember why I bought the thing. Visions of fishing trips over coral reefs, picnics on empty beaches, chasing barra on the dams and creeks near the range, had convinced me to part with the necessary bucks before wheeling the boat home.
It got used a couple of times, then one sunny morning, as we were racing down the Boyne River, the motor made an ominous clunk, clank noise then stopped. I knew enough about engines to know that there was something terminally wrong with it.
Anyway, we were out there, and a mate came along, towed us to a fishing spot, then later in the day towed us back to the ramp. He turned out to be a bit of a dab hand at fiddling with motors and later that evening we took the motor apart, just to confirm his suspicions. Yep, I was a victim of two things:
1. A hornet had built a nest in the cooling water pipe outlet on the old Johnson 25 outboard.
2. Johnson outboards of a certain age came with plastic reed valves, which had a tendency to melt and fall into the piston chamber.
This is what had happened to my outboard. To say I was pissed off would be a small understatement, but after a couple of beers I settled down enough to ask, “Well, now what?”
My mate laughed, “We fix the bloody thing!”
So we did. It was a relatively simple and inexpensive exercise, and while we were at it we made some modifications. A larger carby which took the HP from 25 to 35, and metal reed valves. The mate gave everything else the once over, changed the gear oil in the bottom of the leg, and pronounced fit for duty.
The next day I took it for a gentle run down Auckland Creek, and when the motor was warmed up, I hit the throttle. I was stunned at how much pick up the old girl had now. The nose popped up for a moment, then sat flat as revs picked up, my boat was going harder than a cut cat, and I spent a joyous hour or so mucking around on the water, carving up the corners, tearing down the straights. Yippee!
We did a few more troublefree fishing trips in it, then the boat sat neglected for a while undercover when we moved houses. The new place is on a steep hill, and I had nowhere to park it. It took a while to get the backyard levelled, and a shed built, then driveways concreted. I had the engine serviced then bought the boat home and put it into the shed.
This was such a pain in the arse to do that I have rarely used the boat since. Thus the old saying, ‘If something is slightly hard to do, then it won’t be done,’ from the Book of Gb Chapter 6.
So, now I have a well maintained, ready to go boat sitting in my shed, like a long neglected pet. I’ve toyed with selling it over the last year or so, but can’t bring myself to do it. For some reason I get attached to stuff. Maybe, I’ll take her for a couple more trips before I do. Maybe not.
I’ll probably end up like the old bloke at the BBQ. Use it twice a year and let it sit…., actually, I feel like going fishing now!