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F.3) Driver 440 ('11 - '13) "JAMKIN III"


I don't know why, but I have recently been asked the following questions several times:

Did you store this in a garage? No, it definitely didn't see a garage from 2011 and before that it was stored on the previous owner's drive.
Did you service this every year? Nope, only when it went wrong.
Did you winterise this every year? Nope. I sometimes used it over the winter.
Was the engine OK? Nope. It needed lots of work doing to it over the years and eventually the pistons / cylinder gave up. It made me very nervous about using it.
Was the gelcoat original? The white bit was but the yellow sides had been painted over. 

Why did I get rid of it? Destroyed piston and scored cylinder. Seats rotted to pieces, side-panels rotten, floor starting to rot. "Beyond economic repair"


This boat was bought in the later summer of 2011. It was advertised as a 'complete package' on eBay, which it was: it had recently been re-upholstered, painted and a new floor put in.

Driver boats were built by Doug Driver and based on a design by Ray Stapley and produced in the 1980s and early 1990s. Their deep-vee hull makes them good in chop and hints of their origins in Ray Stapley's racing experience.

 Hull number:  440-1627
 Callsign:  2GLP2
 MMSI:   235098521

Why do I like the look of this boat? Probably because it looks like 'proper speedboats' looked when I was about ten - when this was brand new.

As is fairly typical, this Driver 440 has four seats with the rear being a bench affair under which is storage and access to the fuel tank, etc.,

The splashwell allows connection of fuel, controls, steering and electrics to the engine in a fairly waterproof way. Originally this boat would have had pulley-based steering and it still has some of the fittings. Now it has a Teleflex helm. Even rapid decelerations have not resulted in water coming over the transom, but it might be a different story launching/recovering from a beach.

However, as an inveterate tinkerer, it hasn't quite stayed as it was when I bought it.


Addition of tachometer

A tacho was something that would be useful in getting to know the boat, the useful rev-range and the engine speed at WOT in order to know how well the prop is matched to the boat.

Initially I bought a combined tacho/hour meter from eBay that has a pickup wire that fits around a spark plug lead. The lead wasn't very long (so the tacho wouldn't be visible) and I decided I dislike digital displays anyway - a needle is much easier to read and pick up trends.

Aesthetically it doesn't match the speedo perfectly, but its good enough for me. Behind the vinyl covering the dash was an existing hole, so the tacho dropped in nicely.

DIN-hole switch panel

A radio/stereo had been mounted in the dash at some point. The hole was fitted with a DIN 'cuddy' when I purchased the boat. Useful, but I had other ideas...

The cuddy came out and was replaced by a blanking plate (from eBay), to which three waterproof switches were fitted. These were for the bilge pump (rendering obsolete a toggle switch in an out-of-the-way location) and two spare.

Wiring harness

The wiring was extended from the accessory plug on the engine harness. Tinned multicore wire was used, with the connections being waterproof crimp connectors from Vehicle Wiring products Ltd. These connectors have sleeves that are translucent (to allow inspection of the crimp) and, when heated, shrink to the size of the wire and release an adhesive to complete the joint. To ensure secure joints, a ratchet crimping tool was used. 

The wiring was protected by a 20A blade fuse under the engine cover and a six way fusebox near the controls. The fuse was replaced by a 20A resettable circuit-breaker and a spare added to the 'away kit' under the rear seat.

Tool kit.

The collection of 'safety' items under the rear-seat was added-to in the form of a cheapish toolkit in a blown ABS clamshell case. The case was screwed to the floor with a couple of stainless-steel screws to prevent it moving and the tools given a quick spray with WD40 to try and slow their oxidation and eventual demise.

GPS, etc.,

I already owned a Garmin GPS but needed to make a 'console' to house it and a Garmin fishfinder bought from eBay. This was made from exterior ply (I know, I know) and held together with glass tape and expoxy before being given a coat of expoxy, foam and vinyl. This was fixed to the floor with stainless brackets and screws. 

The GPS antenna is up under the dash and doesn't seem to have a problem finding 12 satellites.

The transducer for the fishfinder sits in the 'sump' under the bracket for the bilge-pump and below the level of the bung outlet. This means it is secure and always in a puddle of water. It works fine like this and I don't have to worry about a transom-mounted transucer getting knocked.

DSC Radio

A Cobra DSC radio is installed, connected to the GPS. I also carry a waterproof handheld radio attached to my lifejacket. I have a short-range radio license; my 'regular passengers' have been briefed on how to use 'the big red button' and an MMSI ID plate is placed nearby as an aide memoire should I require it.

Doel-Fin Removal

The Doel-Fins made the trim more effective and made getting on the plane more quickly. However, at full speed the boat became unstable quite quickly, try to ride on the fins alone and being unstable in roll (chine walking) and yaw. Even 25l of fuel in the nose didn't make any improvement and it was, quite frankly, scary. Off they came.  They are advertised as being "designed by an aeronautical engineer" - I am an aeronautical engineer and I'm not convinced they work. They transformed a 13' Delly Quay Dory with which I was acquainted but not this boat.

Steering arm

The steering arm was connected to the wrong hole of the link arm, making the range of engine movement about ±15° (i.e., nothing!). This made manoeuvring 'slightly difficult'. A 3/8" UNF second-cut tap soon refreshed the thread to allow the 'correct' (as per the installation instructions) linkage hole to be used and increasing the range of movement dramatically.

A 'steering system bellows' was acquired, fitted to the steering rod that emerges from the tilt tube and filled with grease. No matter how long it has been left, it has not seized once.

Bow Cleat

The bow handle was replaced by  a much stronger eye in A4 Stainless that uses an M12 stud to secure it to the hull. 25m of anchor rope are terminated with a 2.5 kg grapnel-style anchor.


The speedo had a habit of droppinf to '0' when (no 'if') the boat left the water, the pitot pinging back into its 'raised' position. A new pitot, imported from the US stopped this, although I could have used the pitot in the engine leg just as easily. 

Kill switch

A new kill-cord was bought and terminated with a surfer's wrist strap. I don't believe that attaching kill-cords to a lifejacket or clothing is 100% reliable. A spare killcord is on the boat, with passengers briefed on how to use it to restart the boat and collect me if I have fallen out.

Fuel System

The 22l portable tank held enough fuel for about two hours of mucking about. A 5 litre reserve can is fitted for real emergencies. Understanding how much fuel was in the tank was a bit of a worry for me - I like to know that I can get back to base and them some. It was really difficult to guesstimate ho much fuel was being used. I took a two-pronged approach:

a) improve the fuel tank and stick a sender unit in it whilst doing so, giving me a fuel gauge in another hidden hole in the dash;

b) Try and measure fuel burn and understand fuel burn characteristics of the boat.

Fuel Tank

The 22l portable tank was relaced by a 33l plastimo tank connected to a fuel filler and vent. The vent (which has dual inlets and spark arrestor grille) was difficult to place - I didn't want it venting into the hull, nor where it might get swamped, but it also needed to be higher than the filler.

A durite sender is connected to a durite gauge in the dash. A 10 micron filter/water-separator protects the down-stream components from water and 'bits'.

I've kept the 22l tank partly filled in the nose of the boat to help keep the nose down and as a 'reserve reserve'. The petrol gets 'cycled' through so it doesn't go stale.

Not only has an inboard tank increased [potential] capacity (I don't always fill it, since it is extra weight), but driving to the filling station on the way to launch is easier than lugging a portable tank about.

Fuel Burn

A paddle-type fuel flow sensor was placed in the fuel line and connected to a 'black box' that I cobbled together. Every 0.4ml (approx) of fuel that passes through the sensor results in a pulse being sent to the black-box, which then displays things like fuel burned, fuel remain, and a bar graph of fuel burn rate. The black box is connected to the GPS and logs lat, lon, speed and fuel quantity to and SD card every second; a 'calibration factor' is stored in the SD card to relate the number of pulses per litre and this has been tweaked to improve accuracy. If this and the gauge using the in-tank sender disagree then I am in trouble, but so far, so good.

I'm gradually 'mapping' burn rate against speed. (20 kts doesn't appear to burn much more than at 10 kts, but everything above 20 kts comes with increased burn rate)

Upgraded box is here.


The engine would develop a bit of a cough if running at low speed for extended periods. Sending it to have the carbs 'linked and synched', the compression was found to be really low and the top crankshaft bearing had a huge amount of play in it. Whilst replacing all of the rings, the gaskets were found to be torn. All fixed and run-in over an increasing rev range and six hourse, all is now good.

The engine is a three-cylinder two-stroke Mariner 60 with electric start, hydraulic trim and tilt.

Plugs, filter and gear-oil have been replaced every year. Misting oil has been used to winterise it and the carb bowls drained if it has not been used for a week since the last outing.


Originally fitted with a 14" pitch Solas prop, the engine would rev to over 6,000 rpm at full throttle - beyond its maximum recommended range. This was removed (eventually, using a modified bearing removal tool, lots of swearing and penetrating oil). A 15" prop went in its place. The rpm still went over 6,000 rpm.

Having struggled to find a hub-kit for it a 19" pitch Black Max propeller was fitted. Its only been out a couple of times: driving slowly is difficult; driving quickly is not difficult! The hole-shot is poor and the prop does tend to ventilate if the throttle is opened too quickly (leaving a whirlpool moving slowly away from the stern). I didn't catch the speed achieved and the GPS logger wan't fitted - it started to chine-walk and I backed-off. The weight of the fuel tank in the bow should help keep the hull in the water.

Safety Kit

In addition to a fire-extinguisher, first-aid kit, tool kit, DSC radio, compass, handheld radio and lifejackets, I carry an old ammo box full of stuff.

  • Stainless steel Leatherman-style tool with hammer
  • Chinagraph pencil and waterproof notepad
  • Spare sunglasses
  • Flares (Inshore)
  • Spare fuses (various)
  • Radio procedures reference card
  • Cheapie mobile phone & charger
  • Signage and navigation crib-sheets
  • Camera
  • Spare keys
  • Contact cards
  • Insurance details
  • Laser pointer
No, it won't float, but it won't catch fire, is waterproof (up to a point) and is highly portable.

I also carry two paddles, an anchor and a spare fuel line.

"What'll It Do, Mister?"

The plot below shows speed against distance for a trip out with three passengers, the 14" prop and 22 litres of fuel.

Total time: 2 Hr 41 min (23 minutes stopped)

Maximum speed: 61 kph (38 mph)

The KML file is available at the foot of this page - and, yes, I had used most of the 22 litres of fuel (with 5 litres reserve). 

Why the straight lines? That would be to and from this then.


The original Snipe trailer was disposed of via eBay and an Extreme 550 Roller trailer acquired instead. 

Floatem Poles were added to assist with launching / recovery in a cross stream.

An LED trailer board has replaced the previous one with incandescent lamps. The cable is fitted with strong magnets every 50 cm, allowing the cable to be removed / replaced against the trailer securely and tidily. The trailer allows thetrailer board to be slid-out (for transport) or in (stowed).

In three places additional galvanised eye-nuts were used in place of the standard nuts, allowing ratchet straps to be used on the transom and at the bow. The bow strap is the most important and is angle as near to horizontal as possible - this is the one that in an accident would stop the boat leaving the trailer and crashing through the tailgate of the car.

A high-viz prop-bag ticks another box in the 'legal requirements for towing' form.

Still To Do

  • Sort out he crazing in the gelcoat
  • Sort out the screen
  • Replace the seat bases with ones made in marine ply, not WBP from B & Q!
  • Replace the cleats with stainless steel ones.

And then...

Investigating a metallic noise from the top cylinder, I took the engine apart and found this:

"Beyond economic repair", it went off to the boat graveyard.....

Hugh Neve,
Jul 9, 2013, 11:50 AM