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10190Sea Trials - Sweet Caroline Dory/Skiff/Camper/Cruiser

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  • Don and Dianne
    Feb 28, 2001
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      Well, today was the day! Forgive me for cross-posting, my primary target
      is the boatdesign list but the trials were so Bolgeresque that I had to copy
      you.

      If you were around in 1998-99 when I was casting about for a design to
      provide a "half-fast" (18-20 mph) minicruiser for a couple, I had ordered
      Tennessee plans from PB&F and erected a bow shelter to build it in (somehow
      Tennessee doesn't look like a "she"). Then I got cold feet and decided I
      just had to have a bit more speed and ruggedness. So I landed at Glen-L,
      ordered their "Sweet Caroline" 20-foot dory/skiff plans and noodled out my
      own accomodations and such.

      After much dialogue and research, I concluded that this boat should hit my
      speed target with 25 hp, but more cold feet led me to select 40 hp to assure
      rapid planing and cruising at target speed and part throttle (3/4 throttle
      nominally). My only other real misgiving about the design was the flat
      bottom, which I thought might pound (my remaining teeth out) in a moderate
      chop.

      We launched her today and the results are in:

      She is overpowered with a 40 hp Yamaha 2-stroke, achieving 30+
      mph (GPS), 20 mph at I would say 1/2 throttle (I don't have a tach but
      I have run many 2-stroke outboards and it goes like this: it sounds like a
      fairly coherent machinery noise from idle to about 3000-3200 RPM, becomes
      harmonic from
      there to 4200-4500, and goes into that "on-the-tuned-exhaust" moan from
      4500-5500.)
      I estimate 20 mph at 3200 RPM, to be confirmed when I get a tach.

      It is a very strange feeling to have a 20 footer this fast on 40
      hp - the ubiquitous 20 foot center console around here has
      at least 115 hp installed.

      OTOH, I can see why nobody sells a boat like this to the public.
      One should have some experience to avoid over-driving it in
      sizable chop - it will not stand up to leaping from wave to wave
      at 25+mph.

      If you have seen the report on Kilburn Adams' "Skiff America
      20", this boat is in the same performance box - KA claims 25 mph on a 25 hp
      4-stroke, and I
      frankly was skeptical. I'm a believer now, but of course I'll keep my 40 and
      just
      underutilize it. Fuel mileage was disappointing, but may improve a bit with
      tweaking: 5 mpg for
      the 23 miles covered today during the 2-hour break-in regime... 10 minutes
      fast idle/50
      minutes NTE 1/2 throttle/60 minutes NTE 3/4 throttle except
      5 minute intervals of full throttle allowed. We (3 aboard)
      probably didn't spend 2 minutes at full throttle, because the
      boat is just too skittish above 24-25 mph, onset of "hobby-horsing" at about
      27, saw 30 and just
      didn't want to stay there (the skipper, not the boat).

      This is NOT a negative report, just commentary on the high-speed
      exploration. At 18-20 mph, this is a wonderful boat! It just slides
      smoothly from
      idle (3+mph) to hull speed (6.5-7.0 mph), an almost
      imperceptible little "bogging" move (stern goes down but you have to
      be looking for it to see or feel it - in fact I don't think I could feel it
      with my eyes closed) going toward 8 mph, then it is just
      like a FAST electric boat. going right up through 12, 15, 18, 20,
      then beginning to require closer attention to helm and avoiding huge
      wakes and such past 24 up to scary.

      At these intended speeds, the engine is quiet, conversation
      continues, and it's just, er, genteel... conditions were
      10 knot breeze, just beginning to white-cap on a 1-foot chop.
      None of the shattering pounding I remembered from the "old days"
      as a youth here (Florida Panhandle) when we all skittered about in 12-14
      foot
      ply runabouts.

      I think my biggest problem in making an itenerary will be the
      time spent with kibitzers, spectators, and such. People are just startled
      and intrigued by
      a boat this size that is totally unlike every other outboard around.

      The flared sides and narrow (4 foot) bottom make her a little
      tender for a person stepping aboard on the side rail, must keep
      one hand free to steady before stepping further.

      That's about it for first impressions, for you Fundyists it was almost 80
      degrees F, we took a break for lunch and Coronas at a dockside cantina, and
      finished up with a recovery and relaunch for freshwater flush in the local
      reservoir lake at sunset. Now, to rework those splashing stern boarding
      steps, cut a foam blank into a main cabin mattress, and try to find out why
      my Garmin 12 died late in the day...

      Don Hodges
      www.ECoastLife.com
      Your Emerald Coast Cyber-Vacation
      Small-Boat Building, Fishing, Cruising