I recently realized that I did not post an update about getting The Free Boat on the water.
This past summer we made it out four times. Here’s a recap of each adventure.
For the first trip out the wife and I took the boat to Portage Lakes. We’d never been there before, but West Branch had an extremely low water level condition which kept us away from testing there. We launched the boat and Sheila caught me staring at the back of the boat. “What’s wrong?”, she asked. “Nothing. It floats!”, I replied. In the back of my mind I had wondered if it would float. Sure the hull was solid and I had gone over the transom for months and repaired any issues in the gelcoat. How exciting! It floats!!
If you’ve never been to Portage Lakes it can be a little confusing. Most the channels and lakes are no wake zones. There’s an area for skiing and speeding, but there are restrictive hours for those. We figured it out.
We idled around the lake a bit and the engine ran very well. Then it was time to go full throttle. The engine did not skip a beat. Here’s a short video – Boat Engine.
We loaded up and headed home. Success!
Our second trip out was about a week later and we took our youngest daughter. On the way we topped off the fuel tank and added AMSOIL’s 2 Cycle Marine Oil to the tank. It was another great day for boating at Portage Lakes. We had a blast exploring the different areas and eventually headed over to the swimming area to cool off.
The third trip was all four of us. We picked up a tube on the way out to again, Portage Lakes. We pulled the girls around a bit and then when the lake was open for tubing we tubed. The engine pulled the tube very well and we had a blast. It’s a little difficult to transport the tube in the boat this small so our best option was to pull it behind the boat as we motored around the lake and hey – the girls loved it and other boaters got a kick out the girls just chilling in the tube at low speeds.
We did have one little mishap. We ran out of fuel heading to the boat ramp. We were maybe a football field away. We pulled out the paddles, but a boater spotted us and offered a tow. Thank goodness. Lesson learned. Triple check fuel level during a day of tubing.
Our last trip of the 2016 boating season was to Chautauqua Lake in western New York. Perfect lake to cruise and tube. Headed out with our youngest daughter and my parents for an afternoon. The lake was low which made launching a little tricky, but we had lots of fun. It’s nice to just cruise around and look at all of the homes. We headed to Bemus Point for lunch at the Casino and was able to hear the Bemus Bay Pops practice for their evening performance. We ended the day by tubing and then struggling to get the boat on the trailer – still a skill I need to learn.
These four outings were worth the work in getting the boat ready for the water. Sure it would have cheaper and quicker to go buy a running, used boat, but I don’t believe that the reward would have been so sweet – fun family times. We really enjoyed the boat and have talked about selling The Free Boat and acquiring a pontoon boat. I really do like the look of the “Fiberclassic” boat, but it’s small. We’ll see what 2017 brings.