Message originally posted by hector46 on 4-Feb-10 at 01:24 PM:

The New Year for the NE of Scotland saw freezing temperatures and snow which is all very nice when your sitting with your feet in front of the stove, red wine in hand and a half decent film on the box. You wouldn't go out on the water even if the skies were clear and the sea state smooth would you! Err yes you would if you hadn't been out cruising on the water for some time, had to get your hover fix and wanted some very very fresh air.

So it was down to loch Fyne to a very nice farmhouse B&B part of which was built in Jacobean times. It was situated up on the hill above Furnace. The road down from my home in Ellon was 'interesting' but we made it down without event albeit much later than planned after unhitching the hover on john's front lawn next to the loch in the dark. An offer of a complimentary glass of malt whiskey at the B&B was gratefully accepted, I like it here I said to myself. Breakfast was at 9 o’clock and getting back to our room opening the curtains revealed a stunning view of Loch Fyne. There is no tiring of the loch and the surrounding countryside, it is simply beautiful no matter what the time of year or weather...well almost. We were just about to leave the B&B when John called to say he was on his way. John wasn't too sure about coming up to Furnace but had 'cracked' and loaded up the Prospector earlier that morning. John would not be there until later so we got ourselves suited and booted down at the launch area for a solo craft trip. It was cold, very cold so we decided on the foam filled lifejackets over float suits. This is a good set up for warmth if a wee bit sumoesk in terms of how we looked. The intercom was connected and linked to the VHF which works well as a set up. Being able to talk to your passenger can transform a hover crafting trip making it much more relaxed, enjoyable and safer as well.

Some pre flight checks and an engine warm up then we were off down the short run of pebbles on to the Loch. The first time you go out after a while is always a little adrenalin rush and this one was too. Did I say it was cold earlier well I lied, it was ffff freezing the wind chill was incredible, wakey wakey wakey almost sums it up. We headed for Inverary taking small detours on the way. Apart from the cold it was all good. The weather was perfect and the craft was fyne too! We lunched on our return at the Furnace Inn. The food here is always excellent although it was eating with jackets on as an open fire and a stove plus heating didn't seem able to get the temperature up. It was warmer than outside so we weren't complaining.

Early afternoon and we went back to the launch site for another trip out. John had arrived and was out on the water. My mobile rang, it was John. He was nearby at Castle Lachlan. We headed out and met up with John and the prospector. We had quick tour of the castle ruin before heading off for Loch Gair. The weather was clear with very light winds but still freezing. Heading home from Loch Gair I noticed the engine slowing very slightly but gradually. I suspected carb icing due to the conditions. We made it home without fuss, just with a little less rpm available.

The next morning we were to set off for Lochgilphead. Again it was freezing and my throttle was not keen to close properly, it was frozen!! Some engine heat and lube spray had it working properly again. A dodgy throttle on a hover craft is not good especially one that won't shut down. We set off with good but cold weather took in the scenery passed Goat Island and stopped in Lochgilphead near the old harbour which was coverd in ice. I went for fuel and food and after eating scrounged some extra tea from John to heat my frozen carb. It worked but not as good as I had hoped. We started back for Furnace stopping for a view/scenery intake on the way. Then it was cough cough home with thoughts of how to reduce my carb icing without resorting to the half dustbin that served well for over a year but didn't cut it aesthetically. We made it home and up the beach no problem so all well and good in the end.

All in all a good trip in winter conditions that despite the small hiccup caused by the cold was very memorable.

The carb icing is not a problem if an engine cover is fitted on the Sev. But I wanted a better looking cover than the dustbin that didn't involve glassfibre. I will use some 5mm PVC which is cheap, easy to bend and glue. The good thing with covers is they keep the weather and spray off the engine and tidy the crafts engine bay. The negatives are reduced access, potential heat build up and interference with prop and fan air flow. None of the problems are so bad that a cover can not be fitted it just has to be done with a bit of thought. I will keep the cover as compact and easily removable as possible and provide an air intake for the air cooling as well as allowing for fuel, wirining and cable connections. I will start making the cover soon but must fix the oil leak first. I will also fit the new heads, manifold and make up a stainless header now that the tubing and elbows have arrived.......just have to find the MIG first!!!!!!