Beam: 5' 7"
Engine: Mariner 25 h.p. 2-stroke
Country of Manufacture: U.K.
Originally purchased direct from Orkney Boats at Yapton, with a number of small-personalised modifications to suit the fishing that we planned undertake. The rear well was modified to take two fuel tanks within a closed locker, thus keeping the fuel away from possible sources of ignition. The battery was sited in the front locker, again closed, to remove possible sparks from fuel vapours.
The boat was fitted originally with a Mariner 25, with electric start and remote steering, and we had Orkney fit the electronics package that we purchased at the same time - 1986.
The original electronics package consisted of a Phillips Mk4 Decca, which was supplemented with a Phillips MK8 GPS in 1995. For VHF we used a Simtec 56 channel receiver with the original short whip antenna, until shortly after our first trip to Ireland, when we replaced it with a 2.4m fibreglass antenna mounted onto of the cuddy, as this ensured getting radio reception in the sea swell conditions; it also ensured that we would nearly always get the best reception in standard coastal conditions.
For fish finding we used a Lowrance X50, the most powerful LCD sounder on the market at that time, and apart from the standard automatic functions, it could also be 'tuned' manually, which on many occasions turned out to be a real result, as the standard settings were just too vague. The X50 was supplemented in 1996 with a Koden CVS 6" colour sounder, and both these units worked well in concert, though the X50 did record 386m depth before failing to generate enough signal, when we travelled beyond the continental shelf off south west Ireland. Both units have been out dated by more modern units, but would still get our vote of confidence as they were superb, and having the ability to self-tune, meant that we could get more detail of bottom features or wrecks that in standard automatic mode.
The boat and engine performed superbly through out our ownership, though the engine was one of the original Mariners that were built in the Yamaha factory, and thus very similar to the Yamaha model. Fuel economy was the most outstanding feature, and weighed against the slightly limited speed capacity, meant that we did more fishing than most, when balanced against the cost. It was certainly fast enough to get into trouble, but more than seaworthy enough and sea kindly to get out of any predicament that we found ourselves. In 1997 we bought a Yamaha 40 and had works carried out to Orkney suggestions in getting the floor strengthened, and another rib under the cross thwart to cope with the additional stresses of the larger engine, we had a new floor installed at the same time, but the original would have lasted had we not had the work done for the larger engine. The boat obviously went faster with the larger engine, though fuel consumption went down, and the trim was slightly less stable once onto the plane.
We had the cuddy modified in 1990 to take the outriggers that we were using for experimental fishing in Ireland, and this was about the time of our first long distance trips offshore. Bearing in mind that the boat was only 16'6" long, and we were mostly fishing in oceanic waters off Ireland, we started with trips up to 30 miles from land, and graduated to a final trip some 98 miles from home port, well over the edge of the continental shelf.
During the entire time we had Tetsuku, we never felt unsafe, or in conditions that were beyond the sea handling capabilities of the boat. In 1997 we started fishing off intensively Cornwall, and made numerous trips out to Wolf Rock, half way to the Scillies.
Apart from standard wheel bearing maintenance to the trailer, and annual engine services, we never had any failures in the entire set up, apart from one brief moment of concern one spring, when the steering was found to have locked up, mainly due to rust inside the through tube in the engine mounting. We cured this problem with the purchase of a neat little gadget from the 'states, which looked like an oversized lock nut, with a grease nipple, which allowed you to grease the through tube, with the cable in place.
All in all, we just out grew the boat, and this was the final reason for selling, as we had plans for more distant works off Ireland, and in the North Sea. However, at the end of the day she was a fine boat, not overly fast, but certainly economical and sea friendly; should we be in that market again we would perhaps look at the current Orkney equivalent.
In concluding this piece on our evaluation of the Orkney Strikeliner, we recommend some light hearted reading to those considering one of these boats, as it is possible that you are at the beginning of your boating career, and these words might have some meaning.
Cynical views of the rule of boating, read once and laugh, read twice and understand.
1) Leaving the dock is optional. Every return is mandatory.
2) If you turn the wheel towards shore, the houses get bigger.
If you turn the wheel away from shore, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep turning the wheel and then they get bigger and smaller and bigger.
3) Boating isn't dangerous. Sinking is what's dangerous.
4) It is always better to be on shore wishing you were out there than being out there and wishing you were on shore.
5) The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when the boat is on fire.
6) The sail is just a big awning used by sailors to keep the Captain cool. When it rips to shreds, you can actually see the Captain sweat.
7) When in doubt, stay out to sea. No one has ever run aground on a wave.
8) A 'good' return to your slip is one you can walk away from. A 'great' return is one after which you can use the boat again.
9) Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all by yourself.
By Jeri Dake
UK Shark Tagging Programme
Disclaimer: Everything written in these reports are based on personal experience and the individual's opinion only. I have tried my best to present the facts correctly, but I/we take no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions.