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Arny - n/a
18-Sep-07, 09:10 AM
Hi everyone,



I was researching hovercraft in the hope I might buy one and I discovered the HCGB so who better to ask... I hope you can help.



I currently have a 21ft fishing boat with an 115hp outboard. I find that I am not getting value for money from it and so it is up for sale. As a replacement I thought I would just get a small rib just to be able to get out on the water on nice days but it looks likes a hovercraft might be much more fun.



It is simpler just to list my questions. Please answer any that you fancy or just make any comments you want to make... I do not get offended if you say I am talking rubbish... I often do http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif



1) Launching... I have seen many videos now from various manufacturers so obviously they can launch from a beach or flat river bank but can you launch from a normal launch slipway? I imagine launching would be fine but it might not get back up if it is too steep. I have a slip near my house that isn't too steep. Am I likely to get up it?



2) More on launching... can they realistically be launched, operated and recovered by one person? What about getting on and off the trailer?



3) Maintenence... obviously the engine requirs normal servicing but what about skirts... what do you spend on skirt and other maintenence? What is a sensible annual budget.



4) Engine failure... I knnow many craft have decent floatation so they float but if the engine does quit how do you get back to shore? Can they be towed when in "boat mode". I would like to use it for going along the coast when the sea is flat and no wind but I am worried what I would do if the engine quit.



5) Using on a river... I have read somewhere that they are banned from many rivers. Is that an official ban? What do you do if there is a 10mph speed limit? I assume they can be flown at slow speed but it must make it very expensive as I would imagine that even at that speed you would need quite a high power setting to maintain lift? I would like to use it on the River Tamar but there is a 10mph limit.



6) Devon/Cornwall... does anyone know of anyone that has a hovercraft in Devon or Cornwall that I could hook up with? I am in Saltash, Cornwall near Plymouth.





7) Model... 4-stroke is a must for me and probably single engine... I want a simple machine and one that isn't too expensive. It will be used for inshore sea and river cruising with one or two people. I was thinking Flying Fish Marlin or BBV-1. Hovpod would be a possible but they are SO expensive.



8 ) New/Used... I really want to buy used but they seem to come up for sale so infrequently I may have to go new.



9) General acceptance... do you get many objections if operated sensibly? I would like to operate it in all places I would normally be able to operate a 20ft day boat. Is that realistic?



10) Noise... I have seen figures... 85dB is often quoted for a 4-stroke... but how loud is that? I can't imagine that really? Are they as loud as, say, a jetski at full tilt?



Am I being unrealistic in my hopes for a hovercraft? Perhaps thay are a little more specialist and not really a real alternative to a small rib?



Where could I go to see hovercraft in operation and perhaps talk to some owners?

jar2 - n/a
18-Sep-07, 11:32 AM
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Hi 1) Launching... can you launch from a normal launch slipway? I imagine launching would be fine but it might not get back up if it is too steep.
</td></tr></table>In general, no problem, the exception is a steep and long slip that has a 90degree bend at the bottom. You usually have to take a short run to build up a little momentum to get up a slope (unless you have a 300HP thrust engine!!). Even very low powered craft can get up surprisingly steep slopes with the correct approach.<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">Quote:</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
2) More on launching... can they realistically be launched, operated and recovered by one person?
</td></tr></table>With the correct trailer design it isn't a problem. - I regularily launch and retrieve 20ft+ hovercraft single handed. It a lot of ways it is easier than a boat - you can do it all on dry land for a start http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_smile.gif

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3) Maintenence... obviously the engine requires normal servicing but what about skirts...
</td></tr></table>The budget depends on how careful (or unlucky http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_confused.gif ) you are. I spend probably around 30 per year on skirt repairs (mostly glue). A skirt should last a good few years before it gets into an unrepairable state. The replacement cost depends on the craft size and skirt type - anything from 80 to 600. <table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">Quote:</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
4) Engine failure... I knnow many craft have decent floatation so they float but if the engine does quit how do you get back to shore? Can they be towed when in "boat mode".
</td></tr></table>They can be towed at slow speed but towing a hovercraft can be difficult due mainly to the deflated skirt drag. I (and a few others) do cruise solo on the coast - it's best to make sure the engine doesn't quit in the first place http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_eek.gif Apart from the slower towing speed, it's no worse than a boat with a dead engine.

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5) Using on a river... What do you do if there is a 10mph speed limit?
</td></tr></table>10mph is really too slow to operate a hovercraft comfortably for any length of time (12-15mph would be OK for most craft). It may be worth finding out the reason for the speed limit or ban - you may be able to get an exemption if, for example, it's due to wake or bank erosion (neither of which a hovercraft generates).<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">Quote:</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
7) Model... I was thinking Flying Fish Marlin or BBV-1. Hovpod would be a possible but they are SO expensive.
</td></tr></table>Absolutely NO comment - I don't want to spark off another "discussion" http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_lol.gif

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9) General acceptance... do you get many objections if operated sensibly?

10) Noise... I have seen figures... 85dB is often quoted for a 4-stroke... but how loud is that?
</td></tr></table>In my experience, if operated sensibly with consideration for other water users there is no problem at all. Noise can be a problem with some hovercraft - again, a little common sense can reduce the impact considerably. 85dBa is roughly the level of a van driving past on the road side. In general, they are less noisy than most jetskis. The main advice I would give is to avoid running up and down the same section of water or beach continually - if you just pass by on your way to or from a destination then there should be no problem at all.<table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">Quote:</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
Am I being unrealistic in my hopes for a hovercraft?
</td></tr></table>A small hovercraft can be almost as seaworthy as a equivalent sized boat. I operate both - the really big advantage of hovercraft are that they can be launched from almost anyplace and can travel over water of any depth (including zero!). You can explore rivers or estuaries without worrying about currents, submerged rocks, sand banks, wiers, etc. At the limit, a hovercraft will not be able to cope with seas that an equivalent sized boat could. This is mainly due to the fact that the hovercraft is on top of the water rather than partially in it and also to it's need for a relatively high (>10-12mph) forward speed. With boat OR hovercraft the passengers will reach the limit long before the craft does http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif <table border="0" align="center" width="90%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td class="SmallText">Quote:</td></tr><tr><td class="quote">
Where could I go to see hovercraft in operation and perhaps talk to some owners?
</td></tr></table>Your best bet by far would be to attend the Severn cruise on 6-7th October (see home page) - there will be a large variety and style of hovercraft present (and plenty of free advice and opinions http://hovercraft.org.uk/images/icons/smiley_icons/icon_biggrin.gif)



There are loads of {bad quality!) video clips on my site that may give you a better idea of some of the kinds of places you can use hovercraft.

peterd51 - n/a
18-Sep-07, 07:27 PM
Hi,



Sorry Arny I've not actually had my hovercraft working yet so I can't really comment on what it's all about...



but I have a general query for the other guys about towing...



I recall seeing a HCGB magazine many years ago...18 or 20 maybe, where one of the members suggested using a tarpauline tied to the front of the hovercraft and dragged underneath by a rope dragged down each side.



The tarp would then be lifted up at intervals along the sides and tied off leaving the back end open for any trapped water to get out.



Basically the skirt would be trapped inside the tarp and this would then resemble the bottom of a boat making it easy to tow, or paddle, or use a small outboard such as the Seagull.



Was this ever tried and did it work or not?



Regards

Peter

Arny - n/a
19-Sep-07, 10:37 AM
Thanks John... a great reply.



I am hoping that we can attend the Severn Cruise.



I can see the "Hovpod/Flying Fish" debate is a hot topic... I don't want to flare up any further debate on that one...



Anyway, from looking at various web sites, videos etc I have already decided that HovPod is not for us... I am keen on the Flying Fish Marlin or, if we are happy spending a little more, a BBV or Vortex. Still undecided on one or two engines?



More will become clear once we have seen some of these machines and maybe there will be other options after speaking to others at the cruise.

Arny - n/a
19-Sep-07, 10:39 AM
Thanks Peter... that sounds like an interesting way to do it.