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Thread: Minimum boat size and type for all around general use.

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    Default Minimum boat size and type for all around general use.

    I'm looking for advice / opinions before I buy my first boat. I've been in a few boats but not much experience.

    Some of the things I would like..........carry 3 people, easily transportable anywhere my Dodge Ram 4x4 can go, capable of handling most of the lakes and rivers in Alaska as well as coastal waters in SE. Not sure whether to go with a vee, semi-v, modified-v, etc. or maybe even an inflatable ? Will be used for a little of everything, waterfowling, big game hunting, fishing, or just reaching areas for camping, etc.

    Also what motor would you recommend with your boat choice ? Anyone have any experience with using a mud motor in Alaska.

    Thanks

  2. #2

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    I don't think it exists. No matter which way you turn, the boat that's ideal for one will be a compromise or unsuitable for another use.

    Now, ask about a raft AND a boat, and you're covering a lot more ground. I am happiest with a minimum boat of about 18' with plenty of freeboard, but light enough for beach launching and recovery. That suits my waters and my uses, but a light boat will beat the snot out of you when it's rough. My choice of a do-all raft is an Achilles around 13'. No it's not a great whitewater raft, and in fact not very good at all for that. But it sure does better than any other with a motor. The only one I've seen that sorta worked on whitewater floats is a friend's, to which he adds a frame and leaves out the floorboards on floats.

    Motor? A 40 horse will flap your ears on the Achilles, but is a good minimum for a light 18's aluminum boat, giving roughly 30 mph with three people yet economical on fuel and trolls slow just fine. I have a 25 horse on my Achilles, and it goes uncomfortably fast with 1 person, and easily tops 30 with three people. Best thing about the Achilles is that it weighs 200# with floor boards and the outboard weighs a little less. You can stick it on a plane with enough fuel for a week and not break the bank.

    Next guy up is going to give you completely different answers reflecting his own uses and waters.

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    20 foot aluminum, lots of choices but something like Wooldridge Xtra-Plus, Sport or AKII........many other brands have something similar. Get a OB, then you can put a prop on for the coastal use. A OB w/ jet in the ocean is APIA imo.

    You will want a min of 140 hp for a 20 foot boat w/ jet and if its a wide hull than more like 175-200 hp. This type of boat will be great for rivers, lakes, fishing, dipping, hunting and big enough to carry a moose. It will be a compromise in the salt and you will need to pick your days, so if most of your use is in the ocean, you might want to look at something with more of a V, which would work fine on lakes but would have some limitations on rivers. You would have to pick your rivers and water levels.

    Something with a widnshield will add some comfort, if you live close to the water and have the ability to go on a nice day than a open skiff is not a bad option.

    Props are more efficent and on the bigger rivers in the interior lotsa of folks run props. If shallow running is something you want to do, you need a jet. Good luck with your quest............!
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    Don't know how a $25k boat will cost you a minimum of $500 every time you take it out. I find day trips out of Whittier or Seward are right around $200, that's fuel for towing to and fro, tunnel fee, launch, parking, and gas for the boat. Last Friday we managed 8 silvers, 6 cod and 2 small halibut in a slow day of fishing, so I don't see the pilothouse as a handicap. An open skiff would have been nice on that rare sunny day, but the kids still seemed to crawl in the cuddy and nap off and on. Then again on those 50F raining days, that pilothouse is worth every hour and dollar it took to build.

    I'd also argue that a boat with a cuddy cabin and pilot house is much more useable to extend the season than an open skiff. Sure when you're single and hard core no problem going out in an open skiff. Add a wife and kids, and suddenly the cuddy and pilothouse are IMHO essential.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    But back to the op, lets cut to the chase, do it all boats suck. If you specify a boat that can be used in every situation, it won't excell at any of them. Yes, a 18-20 aluminum semi-v skiff with a 50horse 4 stroke is a very versatile economical combination. But, you won't have enough hp to haul a moose in a river, assuming a prop drive you'll get hung up on rivers, with a jet you'll hate it in the salt.

    Mudmotors are great on johnboats or freighter canoes in certain rivers, but such rigs are very specialized, not general purpose boats.

    Figure out your primary use, and your budget, and then we can give some good solid advice and narrow down your search. If your primary use is lakes and rivers, then go with a river boat and rent an ocean boat when you go in the ocean. Some of us here are more ocean oriented which will color our response, some folks are more river oriented which will color their responses.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  6. #6

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    No such thing, BUT
    Ocean, Lakes, Rivers the only thing I ever had that could do all that, be easy to haul, didn't cost me a arm & both legs to operate, was still safe enough to go the distance was my 18' Achillies with a 35 Honda, (25hp for a long time)
    But as in any boat you get something you take some thing away.
    go faster more HP take away milage
    for example

  7. #7

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    I have "the" perfect all around Alaskan boat ... and its for sale, lol. At any rate, its a 24' Alaskan bulkhead T-jet that has a 17 deg deadrise and it does well in the ocean, excels in big rivers like the Big Su, Yentna, Yukon and will go in somewhat skinny water if your're an experienced river pilot. Not the absolute best is ever situation but it does better all-around than any other boat I have seen. A boat like mine compares to a Decathalete ... not the best in each event but the best all around!!!

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    You're looking at 2 boats minimum. Get a 21 ft. hewescraft either ocean pro or sea runner for cruising SE. Preferably a hard top. For river and lake find a 16-18' flat bottom with a jet outboard.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyLyndaker View Post
    I wasn't refering to fellow Tolmanites my friend! Just those ignorant Bayliner folks!
    JJeeezzzzzzz, is this really necessary............?
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyLyndaker View Post
    I wasn't refering to fellow Tolmanites my friend! Just those ignorant Bayliner folks!
    ????????????
    We never really grow up, we only learn
    how to act in public

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