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Thread: Wooldridge 17.5 Alaskan?

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    Default Wooldridge 17.5 Alaskan?

    I'm looking for a new to me boat- and the Wooldridge 17.5 Alaskan seems like it might be just the ticket. Primary duty would be hauling the family(wife & 2 young boys) and I on various adventures on the Nushagak river and Wood Tikchik lakes. Seems like this setup with a 115-140 jet would be a good compromise of performance and fuel effciency. ANy one running this setup care to share their experience to help me make up my mind. Any for sale?

    Thanks-KK

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am running the narrow hulled 17.5 with a 90 horse merc and a wooldridge stainless impeller. It gets me and a couple friends out fishing no problem. It will also haul the family with camp gear for a few days pretty good. Probably isn't going to take a party of 4 men moose hunting though. A 115-140 with one of the newer wider hulls would do better but they cost 3-4x what an earlier one like mine will run.

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    What year did they make the switch to the wider hull? What is the difference in width between the 2? What is the max Jet hp for the skinnier hulled version? Lujon- Do you feel like the 90 pushes yours pretty good? How does it do with a moose on board? I've got the bug bad- and open water is still months away!!Thanks KK

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kandiyohi Kid View Post
    What year did they make the switch to the wider hull? What is the difference in width between the 2? What is the max Jet hp for the skinnier hulled version? Lujon- Do you feel like the 90 pushes yours pretty good? How does it do with a moose on board? I've got the bug bad- and open water is still months away!!Thanks KK
    I am not sure what year they made the switch, '98 comes to mind but honestly don't recall. The narrow hull is rated for 115hp and with a 115 prperly loaded I would expect it to get on step with 2 guys 1 moose and light gear/gas. I wouldn't expect to do long Koyokuk moose runs with heavy fuel loads. The 17.5 is a capable boat for running the parks and interior rivers for shorter trips. My 90 gets 4 adults up and moving with fishing gear and fuel for the day without complaint. It doesn't rocket out of the hole like some of the sport jets but it climbs up and goes without complaint. I haven't put a moose in it yet but hope to do some informal load testing this summer. Maybe just load people in it and see what it will haul at the spring jet boat get together.

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    I had a 2004 with a 115 Yamaha 4 stroke, I think they were offered in the wider hull in 2005. However you could still get one in the narrow width. The early ones have a 53" bottom and the current width is 60". If mine had been a 60" I would have kept it, it was a great handling boat and a blast to drive, it was my first jetboat and I thought all jet boats would handle like that........BOY...... was I wrong.

    I found max load with that boat ~1100 pounds, the Yammie was good on fuel and did well. Typical fuel use was 4.6 to 6.4 GPH.
    If I was shopping for one today it would have to be a 60" bottom and I would seriously consider Suzuki's DF 140......
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    I have the 17.5 skinny AK. It handles like a dream. I can get it into some tight places and two guys can usually push it off the sand bar if I mess up. I have the Suzuki 115 on it with a 5 hp kicker. It is butt heavy and weight and balance is an issue. Horse power is not. 2 guys, one moose and normal gear, no extra gas, no problem. If it floats, it will get on step. I am likely taking it to the Nowitna this year and will turn it into a floating gas barge on the way down. We will see. The wider AK makes more sense to me with the 135 jet. Just that much more hauling ability and still with the great handling. You might look at other models like the extra plus, there are some of those around. Give me a PM if you want and I might offer you my 17.5 for not so cheap so I can upgrade. I have seen some older Wooldridge boats with flotation or tanks on the side. It really cuts into the floor space and I did not like it.

    Some folks put a 90 jet on their Alaskan for weight and fuel economy. Makes no sense to me to under power any jet boat though. Good luck finding one. Scour Craigslist in this state and along the west coast too.

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    Owned a 23 Alaskan with a 200 Optimax prop. Even with a 4,000-4,500 load it would get on step within seconds and handle like it was on rails in tight turns. Hit a couple of things underwater that jarred the boat pretty bad, once even almost lifting it out of the water. When I put it back on the trailer could not even find out what or where we hit. Pretty fuel efficient hull.
    As with any flat bottom boat, once we hit any sort of chop it would beat your teeth out.

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    i have a 20 foot alaskan II and have a 4 stroke 140 with a prop and jet and it is a great boat. you should consider a 20 foot for hauling and for fishing place.

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    Wooldridge Alaskan 17'

    Can anyone tell me what class of white water a Wooldridge Alaskan 17' can handle? The falls on the river (Merrimack) near me is said to be a Class 3 rapid. It seems to function similar to a "low head dam." I have seen firemen run it with jet skis. I tried to run it with a canoe and was flipped immediately. I had a life vest on. If I wasn't able to hold on with to the canoe, it would have pulled me under with my life vest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Polestar View Post
    Wooldridge Alaskan 17'

    Can anyone tell me what class of white water a Wooldridge Alaskan 17' can handle?
    Your kidding, right?

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    The Alaskan isn't really a white water boat. The super sport would be a better choice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    2 guys, one moose and normal gear, no extra gas, no problem. If it floats, it will get on step.
    My old 17.5" Ak, narrow bottom, 115 Evinrude FICHT, 4 blade SS. Great little boats, but in my experience, that load would be pretty much the max you could expect to get on step, and then you better dess that Moose right out and pack light.
    Gotta disagree with you on the "if it floats" bit.
    Had her no where near overloaded, and no way was it getting on step. Maybe with a larger engine. Its just not a load hauler.
    OP, save yourself the aggravation and hassle of upgrading, just look for a 20' AkII, Xtra+, Sport or similar.
    Been there, done that.
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    Was in the same "boat" you are in a couple of years ago. Boating in the same areas you do, also with the wife and 2 kids. Looked really hard at the Wooldridge line especially the Alaskan. We ended up with a Custom Weld inboard jet that can pack lots of weight and still run fairly shallow. I am glad I took lots of time and research in looking at MANY different boats before we made the purchase. Our boat might not be perfect for everyone but it suits our needs almost to a "T".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yukoner View Post
    My old 17.5" Ak, narrow bottom, 115 Evinrude FICHT, 4 blade SS. Great little boats, but in my experience, that load would be pretty much the max you could expect to get on step, and then you better dess that Moose right out and pack light.
    Gotta disagree with you on the "if it floats" bit.
    Had her no where near overloaded, and no way was it getting on step. Maybe with a larger engine. Its just not a load hauler.
    OP, save yourself the aggravation and hassle of upgrading, just look for a 20' AkII, Xtra+, Sport or similar.
    Been there, done that.

    You are quite right, it is was max load and our gear was minimal, but quite possible. You are also correct, it is not a load hauler, you have to pick your days to load it up. I have loaded it much less and taken two trips because of water conditions. I wonder what the difference in the FITCH and the Suzuki 115 motors is. I have heard the Suzuki has a bit more displacement and better for heavier loads. Not sure if this is the truth or wishful thinking. That little boat is amazingly agile and fun to hunt out of. Maneuvering sloughs and tight water is a easy and comfortable. If I had it to do all over again, I would probably get a wider boat. At the time, I considered myself much more of a fisherman than a moose hunter. That is changing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post
    You are quite right, it is was max load and our gear was minimal, but quite possible. You are also correct, it is not a load hauler, you have to pick your days to load it up. I have loaded it much less and taken two trips because of water conditions. I wonder what the difference in the FITCH and the Suzuki 115 motors is. I have heard the Suzuki has a bit more displacement and better for heavier loads. Not sure if this is the truth or wishful thinking. That little boat is amazingly agile and fun to hunt out of. Maneuvering sloughs and tight water is a easy and comfortable. If I had it to do all over again, I would probably get a wider boat. At the time, I considered myself much more of a fisherman than a moose hunter. That is changing.
    I've heard the same thing about the Suzukis (old 2 strokes) Heaps of power, so most likely your 115 Suzuki had more jam than the FICHT.
    It would be interesting to see a show of hands here of who started off with an old 17.5Ak, got the bug, and kept upgrading. If you have a jet boat, Moose hunting is just the natural progression. Thats why I mentioned to the original poster to just bypass the 17.5 and got to a 20'. Save some time and money.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
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    The 17.5 is a great starter boat. You can pick em up reasonably cheap and run them for several years to figure it out then sell it for the same price you bought it for. When you put it on the beach learning to read the water you aren't likely to spend the rest of the weekend trying to get it back off.

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    I've run a 16' jon with a 40/30 jet for the last 7-8 yrs, and have hauled moose in it every year. I'd probably never run the Wooldridge where I've ran that thing- not because it wouldn't do it- but because it would destroy it like it has my current jon. I've poked holes in mine and pushed it off many gravel bars it I'm pretty sure a 17 Alaskan with a 115 would surpass my expectations as to hauling a load. Most typical use would be the family going for the weekend which I've done with the boat I have now. I guess I would rather keep packing light and run a boat that I can afford to run vs a bigger one that cost more up front and more when I hit the gas pump that is @ $6.23 right now and sure to go up again this spring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kandiyohi Kid View Post
    I've run a 16' jon with a 40/30 jet for the last 7-8 yrs, and have hauled moose in it every year. I'd probably never run the Wooldridge where I've ran that thing- not because it wouldn't do it- but because it would destroy it like it has my current jon. I've poked holes in mine and pushed it off many gravel bars it I'm pretty sure a 17 Alaskan with a 115 would surpass my expectations as to hauling a load. Most typical use would be the family going for the weekend which I've done with the boat I have now. I guess I would rather keep packing light and run a boat that I can afford to run vs a bigger one that cost more up front and more when I hit the gas pump that is @ $6.23 right now and sure to go up again this spring.
    Depending on the engine that the Ak would come with, a bigger OB can get better mileage than an older, smaller carbed OB.
    My 150 Opti gets heaps better mileage than my old 115 Yammy, and on a bigger boat with a larger load.
    A wider hull makes a monstrous difference both in terms of load hauling and mileage.
    As others have said, the "old style" Aks are a blast to run, and a 115 on there will be a big upgrade over what you have, but I bet if you shop around a bit, and are patient, you'll be able to pick up an AkII or Xtra +, or maybe even a Sport for not much more $$, and they don't weigh much more than a 17' Ak.
    Never wrestle with a pig.
    you both get dirty;
    the Pig likes it.

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    17.5' Alaskan/ Old style, narrower bottom (pre- 2006 +/-?): Good economical boat. Recommend a 115hp. 90 not quite enought hp for the bigger loads. Will carry one person a medium moose and a half tank, Ok. But it's at its limit. If you find one used and in good condition for $12K, or less, it is probably a good deal. Not many come up for sale

    17.5' Alaskan/ New style, wider bottom. Put the 130 Etec on it and it will handle three 200 lb men, a full tank, some gear AND a full load of one large moose. Will get on step in three boat lengths and need about a foot of water, +/- a smideon, to get out- on plane.
    If you do not need a big boat (remember need vs. want), then this particular set-up is the ticket. Would recommend staying away from any engine except Etec 115s or 130s, except maybe a newer Yamaha or the 140 Suzuki. It will work great for a family of four, and a moose hunt for two people. Get a roof rack as seen on the forum here and even carry more.
    These are rarely, if ever seen on the used market.

    Also have experience with and own an Alaskan II, but this thread is about the Alaskan 17.5.

    PS- I do not sell them, I only own them, load them, try new things with them, and run them on the Yukon, Talkeetna, Tanana, Copper...

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    I'm not sold on the Etec- I like the power/weight but no dealer support out here makes me nervous. We have a Yamaha dealer and they are by far the most popular but the Suzuki 140 sounds really sweet. The reality is I will be buying used so I can't pick my motor unless I find a hull for sale- which would be ideal. The rack looks really useful. Slowpoke can you post a pic of yours? -15 here the last couple of nights- open water seems along way off!

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