Spitfire Restoration – Outboard

This section is being totally rebuilt – very much more to come, keep popping in please and I will place items in as I do them or find them interesting.

My restored Mitcham Marine Spitfire testing the towing and launching.

This dual axle was an experiment to reduce damage to the boat over poor roads, don’t do it. It looks nice, but actually did more damage, so I am back to one axle again.

Returned to a single axle is less aggressive bounce. I was hoping that the double axle would be safer if a tyre blew. Does look more attractive with twin axle though.

Point of interest: The weight of the boat and trailer is remarkably light. The trailer frame weighs 20kg, suspension 12kg, wheels 10kg and the boat 75kg. This is a total of 117kg. I have omitted the engine as it is your choice, but what this means is the boat and trailer are well below the towing weight of the UK law trailer towing and leaves 633kg for the engine and fuel. With that a new driver can actually tow the boat without the ‘B’ licence extension. See this link – https://www.gov.uk/towing-rules The average weight for a 25hp outboard is between 80 and 155kg.

This is the original boat above and on the trailer that was used in the factory to move the boats around. The boat was not a pretty sight.

The boat was fitted with a tiller controlled Honda outboard, this was far too sensitive for the speeds it can reach. After the hull restore and re-coat, I tuned up the motor to 20hp from 15hp, that made even more sense to put steering wheel controls and single lever forward/reverse with accelerator. I found a very old control box which was not working, so stripped it down remodelled it and re powder coated it. I then made an alloy box inset that set into the seat side to stop it digging into the driver. The lever was to long, so I cut it down and welded the top back onto the shortened lever and at the same time, I added a passenger handle (from horsebox supplier).

At this point it was time to change the control arm to remote control, that was so fiddly so I made my own mods to fit the control steering cable, saved about £150. The tilt mechanism is the only issue left to address, but nearly there. When installing other controls, use the ‘skinny’ cables.

I will follow up with more pictures as and when I can load them, but it will be soon.

The Mitcham Spitfire developed into the Almarine Seafire, but with a 20HP outboard the little Mitcham Spitfire is almost as fast as the bigger Almarine with a 30HP.

Before you restore any boat, check the transom, because drain holes, handles, ski hooks and more are simply drilled through allowing water in to the void. The ply inside then tends to soak up all the water, condensation and moisture, with the following result.

Below is a removed stern from an Almarine Seafire I had. Just count the holes and it will be almost self explanatory over 12 and the drain hole is missing. Then look at the second picture with the plywood rotting. Finally there is a 10mm thick mild steel plate embedded into the stern to strengthen it and also if required, bolt an outboard to the boat. This all adds to a new stern if you want to stay safe. It is not an easy repair to get it right, especially with the outboard well still installed, which can be another source of leak if drain holes are fitted as the one below had.

See the Seafire section for more on how to replace a stern.

Much more to come, just have to find the time to compile it.