About this site

Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

This site will chart our ongoing adventures.

You can contact us here.

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Previous boats

Our previous boats are all listed here. You’ll see we started with a Fletcher Arrowbolt 21 in 1988. What fun! What a learning curve….

From there to a Cougar Predator 35, a Princess V39 and finally, our Fleming 55.

Play d’eau
(camper hood up) just off Lymington bound for Guernsey – MBM Channel Island cruise 2001.
(Her bottom needed cleaning!)
click to enlarge

Princess V39 – Play d’eau – 1995 to 2013

The first time we used the name Play d’eau was with our Princess V39, bought new in 1995. After eight seasons of great service, we sold her to a good home in 2003, replacing her with another Play d’eau, a Fleming 55.

Our Princess had the optional dark burgundy topsides which we have always thought looked better than the dark blue. A deep vee hull gave the boat an excellent sea performance with precise handling and a smooth ride, even in challenging conditions.

The burgee in the jack staff is that of the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club (Guernsey), whilst the dark blue board on the forward stanchions is the Motor Boats Monthly Crusing Club banner.

Helm and cockpit

The helm instruments were set in a burr walnut console.

Alongside were the Morse single lever engine controls with the Bennet trim tabs and separate Volvo outdrive leg controls.

Princess library photo of a V39
without the burgundy topsides
click to enlarge

The cockpit had two seating areas on different levels. The larger one in the stern had a ‘U’ shape seating arrangement with removable dining table that dropped down to convert to a large sunbed. The cockpit fridge and wet bar were immediately opposite.

The transom door led to the bathing platform. Telescopic davits folded away when not in use, leaving the bathing platform unencumbered, with a hot and cold transom freshwater shower and bathing ladder.

Forward on the raised level was the second seating area with a small removable table. We had a camper hood fabricated to cover the whole cockpit for two reasons: to ensure a dry ride in lumpy conditions, and to provide a great extra bedroom.

Cruise areas

Play d’eau was cruised from Holland to the Isles of Scilly, and from Westminster on the River Thames to the north coast of Brittany.

L’eau Profile
Our Cougar Predator 35
click to enlarge

Cougar Predator 35 – L’eau profile – 1992 to 1995

After our first boat (a Fletcher 21 Arrowbolt with a 175hp Yamaha outboard which we called Rebels Only), we owned a Cougar Predator 35 between 1992 and 1995 and kept her at Hamble Point Marina on the UK’s south coast.

Being sleek and fast, we called her L’eau Profile.

With her twin Volvo Penta AQAD41 diesels driving dup-prop outdrives, she powered to a shade under 50 knots.Having been unused and left on the hard with no cover for three years by her previous owner, she was in a sad state when we bought her.

Thankfully, her hull was perfect so we set about planning a full refurbishment program. Internally, she was stripped back to the GRP and re-fitted with the addition of a gas cooker for weekending.

Cougar Predator Logo
click to enlarge

The engines and duo-prop outdrives were also stripped and rebuilt, and externally she was polished and re-painted before being launched with great excitement.

The only issue we ever had with L’eau Profile was caused by contaminated fuel. The dreaded diesel bug hit us mid-channel when returning from Alderney in an ’emotional’ sea. We limped home.

A strip down of the fuel system and new filters, combined with copious quantities of Soltron corrected the problem which thankfully never returned. Ever since, we have always added anti-bug treatments to every drop of fuel we take on board.

The bright red engineroom of our Cougar 35 L’eau Profile
click to enlarge

Cruise Areas

L’eau Profile proved to be a great weekender and we cruised her for three sunny seasons mainly between the Solent and Lulworth Cove on the south coast, and Alderney, herm, Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands.

The Cougar was a great sea boat of immense strength – we miss her!

Fletcher Arrowbolt 21 – Rebels Only – 1988 to 1992

Our first venture into boating was in 1988 when we bought a Fletcher Arrowbolt 21 speedboat from Quaymarine on the River Hamble, having been assured by the salesman that we could cross the English Channel in her – how naïve was I to believe him!

Calling her Rebels Only, she was fitted with a Yamaha 175hp V6 two-stroke outboard and an inboard fuel tank but little else – not even a bilge pump.

Rebels Only our Fletcher Arrowbolt 21, being towed by our Renault Savannah in 1988
click to enlarge

But she was fast, very fast, achieving nearly 55mph with two up.

We kept her at Hamble Point Marina on her trailer where one hour’s notice was all that was required to have her launched and ready for us to go and play.

As you can imagine, any idea of crossing the Channel was soon dispelled and our cruising ground became the Solent between the Needles and Bembridge, although we’d trailer her on UK family holidays where water-skiing with our sons was often the order of the day.

Did the Yamaha ever let us down? No. It never faltered even for a moment. Did the Fletcher let us down? Only from stress cracks which I suspect were more down to her having been driven hard.

The seed is sown to upgrade

At the time, Hamble Point Marina was owned by the Curtis family of Cougar race boat fame, and whose son, Steve Curtis, was to become the English eight time offshore powerboat racing World Champion.

Maybe seeing these super fast monohulls and catamarans with beautiful Lamborghini engines fuelled the desire for something bigger but still as fast. Maybe being a passenger in a Cougar 46′ monohull when it was test driven at 100mph along Southampton Water was the final trigger. Who knows? Who cares? The decision was made.

It wasn’t too long before my eyes spied a lone Cougar Predator 35 sitting on chocks in a hidden corner of the marina, looking sadly neglected. Asking around, I found she had been bought new by a company that produced snooker tables but that she’d hardly ever been used.

The Fletcher was sold in 1992, and the rest is history….

Cruise Areas

The Solent and Poole.

Piers and Lin
from the Saloon of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.