Aberdeen & Stonehaven Yacht Club has a fabulous fleet of Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) to make up our safety fleet for racing. These boats are loved, nursed back to health and generally pampered by our very own Colin. Colin has painstakingly been maintaining these boats and has reconstructed two hulls already. Gerry has also been working hard maintaining the various engines.
At Loch Skene the Powerboats are kept in the Boathouse. Access to this is restricted and the club is under lock and key at all times, including during racing. Towards the loch side, the boathouse is guarded by a portcullis. Again, this is locked unless it is lowered or raised. All RIBs are tied to the side of the boat house with small strops. Please be very mindful when stepping aboard, the boathouse has several flights of steps leading into the water, that you can fall into, potentially leading to severe injuries. There is enough room for all the ribs to be moored alongside the boathouse walks without need for rafting up.
Danger: Shallow water
When leaving or entering the boathouse please keep the engine raised and motor our, heading towards the radio mast on the far hill. The water is VERY shallow until at least 20m past the spit of land where the stream enters the loch. Proceed out of the boathouse at walking pace until well clear. At that point lower the engine before applying full steam. On the way back in slow down to walking pace and raise the engine well before approaching the spit of land. The same applied when coming into the launch site, keep the engines up and move slowly. If in doubt use the paddles.
The engine water intake is easily clogged with mud as the Rib is driven with the engine too low. Check for the tell-tale to assure you there is water cooling happening. If this flow ceases immediately switch off the engine, check the water intake screen (just above the prop). If this is clear use a bent out paper clip or similar to try and poke the tell tale jet - it may be blocked. If issue persists paddle home and call for help. Propellers are easily bent on underwater obstructions. Give the islands and duck shooting platform at least 2m safety distance. If the prop has got bent - let a committee member know.
At Stonehaven we have 2 moorings. The outer one is very exposed to Easterly weather but is usable at all states of tide. The Inner one can only be used 2 hours either side of high water.
The Outer mooring is available at all states of tide and visible on the harbour CCTV. An old orange sponson (also called the Noodle) is moored here to act as a pontoon and guard against damage on the wall during swell and 4.6m tidal heave. The Ribs are moored with the biggest alongside the noodle. There are small, garden hose covered strops which are exactly the correct length to moor. The grey boat's mooring gets clipped onto the chain on the noodle, the other boat clips onto the main anchor loop in the bow and outside of the sponson on the grey boat. Up to 3 Ribs can be moored alongside this way, but two is best. Bring up the engine and turn steering wheel so steering pistons on the engine are retracted. Access up and down the ladder to the boats is tricky. Easy hauled in from the bottom, getting down is best done with 2 sailors. If in doubt ask. NEVER tie the hauling line to the ladder or railing above. If left you can permanently damage hull and engine.
The Inner mooring is directly outside the club house. It consists of a continuous rope with a turning block on the harbour wall and a (submerged) block towards the middle of the basin. The middle of the line is marked by a buoy and there are loops for the bow to clip the mooring line into and a split tail for the transom. It is possible to moor 2 RIBs into this system, but boats need to be moored in the right order to get everyone off dryfoot. Ask if in doubt, it's complicated and counter intuitive. The Ribs are moored here during poor weather forecasts and ususally during our autumn series.
There is a dedicated YELLOW grab bag for each and every Rib. These are kept safe in the club house at Skene and in the Cruiser Shed at Stonehaven and contain all the usual things. make sure you have one on board before you set out and DO NOT store anything else in them. DO NOT take anything out of them that belongs there. Report if anything in them is wet, broken, rusty or missing to the commodore. This is expensive equipment that can get wet, so please find a different bag for your sandwiches. They are yellow and are clearly marked with the Rib name and colour.
This BLUE dry bag contains all you need to run the races. Stop watch, pens, race sheets, whistles etc. There are some separate race flags and a big black board to mark the course on too.
Check the state of Fuel every time before setting out. We have had fuel theft in the past. Spare fuel is kept in gerry cans located in yellow, flame proof, fuel storage containers in the boathouse at Skene and the Cruiser shed in Stonehaven. For refuelling take the fuel cans out of the RIBs, carry them to the fuel store and use the funnel provided to refill. At Stonehaven you may need a hauling rope to get these cans up the harbour wall at low tide. NEVER refuel on board as this is dangerous, can cause fires, lead to spillage and/or contaminate the fuel. Make sure the sieve in the funnel is in good condition and clean. Replace funnel and gerry cans into the fuel storage and close lids.