Sea Trials - Sweet Caroline Dory/Skiff/Camper/Cruiser
- 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
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
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
there to 4200-4500, and goes into that "on-the-tuned-exhaust" moan from
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
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
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
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
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
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...
Your Emerald Coast Cyber-Vacation
Small-Boat Building, Fishing, Cruising