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White Fury is repowered with Ford Sabre engines
Having owned the historic motor gunboat MGB81, Phil Clabburn was no stranger to restoring classic boats.
His latest project is the classic motorboat White Fury that has been re-engined with twin Ford Sabres from Mermaid Marine.
“I’ve restored many different boats so am very familiar with this type of project,” said Phil. “The old engines were 180hp Ford Sabres and unfortunately one suffered a catastrophic failure so it was game over. It had age related corrosion that wasn’t detected on the survey.
“I spoke to a number of companies to try and help me fix the issue and Steve Atkins from Mermaid was the only person who talked any sense.
“Between us we’ve ended up with a solution other Omega owners would give their eye teeth for.”
The boat – built in 1976 – was underpowered for its day so while using it in the Solent was enjoyable, Phil found the cruising speed a little pedestrian for the hull design.
“It’s a brilliant design and goes well but the faster you go in her, the better she gets.”
The solution was a pair of 1992 225Ls that were modified by Mermaid Marine to fit.
“The mounting feet are the same as the original engines,” Phil explained. “New engines were out of the question as I don’t have a bottomless pit of money and it would have taken away from the character of the boat. There was the danger of spending more money than the boat is worth.
“The engine installation is a very tight fit – it’s fag packet tight so after some clever and ingenious moving of a few components, the engines fitted.”
The engines were then returned to Mermaid for overhaul, power testing and painting and Phil is in the process of refitting them with expectations of them being ready for the summer season.
“Performance expectations are good,” he said. “A good friend of mine who ‘does propellers’ is expecting a top speed of 32-33kts, giving me a cruising speed in the high 20s.
“The previous performance was a top speed of perhaps 27-28 downhill with a cruise of 23 -24kts.”
Phil added: “Everyone is asking me about the engines. I think what Mermaid has done is superb.”
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