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Daltona Restoration Project…

June 7th, 2017 No comments

I’d say it was about 13 years ago Kevin and I were out for a few pints in The Fairlie Countryman’s Club. The craic was good talking about all sorts, including me getting electrocuted and blown up in Arrowtown one night, a tale that still emerges from time to time, but that’s a story for another day! There was a young fella there, (my age at the time!) he was saying he had a boat in his yard and he wanted it gone. He was telling us in passing, not trying to sell it. I suggested that we pop around to see it. Kevin was dubious but I figured nothing ventured nothing gained. We finished our pints and went for a look. I loved it and I’m pretty sure Kevin did too even though he had a fear of deep water. The engine didn’t work but we could fix that. The hull was perfect and trailer was well built and strong. He asked for 500, I had 400 in cash which I offered him and the deal was done. I was elated, a whole new approach to NZ fly-fishing had begun! I think it was quite late in that years NZ trip. While I was at home saving for the next trip Kevin got the engine fixed. The boat lived with Kevin in Fairlie but we used it for multiple missions around the South Island. For years we had pretty much trouble free boating. In it’s latter years, around the time she moved form Fairlie to Cromwell to live with me, she became more and more of a liability. Breakdowns were common but I could usually get her going again. Fuses replaced with tin foil, the pull cord regularly manually wound around the fly wheel to pull start it when the battery died or corrosion stopped the flow of electricity, the leatherman out to dissemble the control box to re-attatch the throttle cable. I think my favourite on the spot repair was while out with Mike Wilkinson. He begrudgingly gave me a fresh tapered leader to tie one of the coils back together. I not sure but I think he’s over it now! Funny enough, the tapered leader is still there. I’d say around that time the lid was on as much as it was off. About this time 3 years ago I was out on Dunstan using Daltona to gather drift wood for the fire. She was well loaded up and the engine was straining. It slowed down and died. I got her going again an hour later, Kevin and I got her onto the trailer but shortly after the engine ceased. We made the best of what we had and we weren’t afraid to push the boat out. Now it’s time to fix her up! Kevin and I have been working on her a fair bit lately. One thing I learned from the renovations so far is just how well built she is. I guess she had to be; she was a racing boat one time with a 70 on the back. The timber has, for the most part, not rotted at all. The few rotten bits I have removed and replaced. I removed much the fibreglass floor to allow the ply subfloor to dry. I cut a test hole to check the integrity of the ply floor. It’s perfect! I’m surprised the trapped damp didn’t rot the ply (marine or otherwise) but it didn’t. She’ll get a new fibreglass floor once the ply has dried out completely. We have a 40HP 1988 Suzuki 2 stroke on the way, she’ll get new steering, paint job, everything!! Even the trailer will get some TLC hopefully.. Watch this space! Progress will be documented right here. Sign up for the blog at the top right of the page if you have not done so already!

Tassie Sean is now living near Invercargill. He and his partner have moved over from Darwin. We caught up over the last couple of days with two fantastic float trips down local rivers. 20 fish over 2 days is a great result, especially for the month of June. The majority of fish landed were fresh run silver bars, all from 1 to 4.5lbs. We’ll get out for a fish again before I head to Malaysia in mid July.

Next season is beginning to fill up so if you’re planning a trip and thinking about hiring me as your guide, don’t delay with your booking! Contact me on ronan@sexyloops.com or visit my website http://www.ronansflyfishingmissions.com

Tight Lines everyone!!

Ronan..