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Thread: Hewes craft quality ?

  1. #1

    Default Hewes craft quality ?

    Merry Christmas to all!
    Considering the purchase of a used (2005) Hewescraft 26' Alaskan and have heard different opinions on the quality of the boat regarding weld quality & construction. I'd appreciate any & all comments, especially from those that have owned them or spent time on the Alaskan models. It seems like they are currently built using 1/4" material for the hulls/ bottoms and am wondering if those built in '05 would be the same.
    pros & cons valued equally, thanks!

  2. #2
    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim House View Post
    Merry Christmas to all!
    Considering the purchase of a used (2005) Hewescraft 26' Alaskan and have heard different opinions on the quality of the boat regarding weld quality & construction. I'd appreciate any & all comments, especially from those that have owned them or spent time on the Alaskan models. It seems like they are currently built using 1/4" material for the hulls/ bottoms and am wondering if those built in '05 would be the same.
    pros & cons valued equally, thanks!
    Well lets see if I can give a response without causing a huge argument . So I've owned a 2005 22ft Ocean Pro (OP) from 2009-2010 and a 2009 26ft Pacifif Cruiser (PC). I still own the PC. Both were built with the same quality, the same bottom hull, and the same beam. Other than the length and boat layout they are the same with regards to your questions.

    With respect to weld quality, no problems. Construction, no problems other than what you've probably read about the front windows. Overall it's..."what you see is what you get". The Alaskan models are longer versions of the OP models and if I'm correct the same hull are used on both. They are all 1/4" bottoms and plenty tough hulls. If you've read the recent "Glass vs Aluminum" thread you've gotten alot of good opinions. Even though I like our PC I agree that a heavier boat handles rough conditions better and that typically means glass. However some of the better made aluminium's have narrowed the gap (i.e. Glaciercraft, Bayweld, Seawolf, etc). That being said mass produced aluminum's like Hewes, Raider, Duckworth, etc, are less maintenance and in this size class better efficiency. For an in between check out Wooldridge. Certainly a nice rig.

    My opinion, I'd say, skip the Alaskan and get a PC....primarily for one reason. I hated how low I sat in my OP which is setup exactly the same as the Alaskan. Cruising in clean water was no problem but get in bigger water, near the dock, etc I hated it. The PC lets you sit or stand up driving and gives you a better vantage point up high. I'd bet I am 4ft higher then in my OP and that is huge. That benefit is mainly in traffic, docking, and in big water. I'd bet the 26PC w/o the head is pretty close to the Alaskan so why not got PC.

    Finally, don't get your hopes up that Hewes makes the Mercedes of boats. They don't. They make the dodge, chevy, ford pickup trucks of boats. Totally utilitarian with one disappointing problem The window gaskets leak, which causes electolosis, which causes degradation of the aluminum structure around the windows, and is a disappointment. Mine is just now starting to do it and I'll see what the local dealer says. If they fix it great....but I've heard they won't under warranty which would be a major bummer. (That being said, they haven't seen a fight if they don't so stay tuned to find out how it goes.) Basically the boat is nothing fancy, not super well built and not a luxury craft but a good utilitarian boat like your grandpa's truck. It gives me a and my family the affordability to get out and enjoy ourselves. If you want to comb through a Hewes let me know and I'll see if I can find a time to let you comb through mine. I'm happy to do it. Good luck in your search and keep us posted.

    Are you set on the Alaskan or are you looking at other as well?

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    I think Patrick made a fair and unbiased assent of where the Hewes fits into things. The other thing about the Hewes is that there are so many of them, and so many people familiar with them that they sell quickly when priced right.
    2009 Seawolf 31'
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    The only point I would change in Patrick's assessment is that they are a well built boat. They have their issues... windows and some other details that could improve, but I've seen a lot of well used Hewescrafts and they are well built. I haven't dealt with any failures with the Hewescraft hull. They are utilitarian, but they hold up very well to a lot of abuse.
    Casey
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  5. #5

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    I like my Hewes Ocean Pro, but I agree a stand up helm would be very nice. Also, I wish the cockpit drained overboard in stead of the bilge. It makes fish bleeding a mess. Other than that the lighter weight makes for much better fuel efficiency which is becoming more of an issue every year.
    Enjoy

  6. #6

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    I have a 2010 260 Pacific Explorer, which we cut in 1/2 and added 30" to the rear deck last March. In the process I/we learned a lot about how the Hewes' boats were built. The welds were as good as just about anything I've looked at and the structure was impressive, more stiffeners and attention to detail than I expected. I posted pictures of the project on the Hewes Owners Forum under Projects, "lengthening a boat" which is at the bottom of the second page this morning. You can see what I mean by looking at that site. I chose this boat due to the cost and quality. Hewes' isn't about making a custom boat so much as a well made utility boat in a production facility whereas Wooldrige is more willing to customize their boats. I also own a Wooldridge river boat and don't see much difference in construction or quality. The Hewes' PE allowed me to make the modifications I wanted at a cost that was less than having the manufacture do it, and I talked to several manufactures before buying the Hewes. Sure I would love to have a Sea Wolf or one of a few other boats but am very pleased with the Hewes, especially now that I've changed it to "my" boat. A heavier boat takes more power and fuel. It is really what you want to use the boat for and how you want to use it, as well as cost. The hull shape is as important as anything else in this discussion and certainly as important as quality of construction. A well made poorly designed boat will not make you a happy camper, nor will a well designed poorly made boat, they don't all respond the same to the same conditions. Good luck on your quest for a new boat. The Hewes does what it was designed for pretty well.

  7. #7

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    I have a 2011 22' Ocean Pro. Great boat. Have been some problems. Biggest is the seals around the front windows. This last summer was my 2nd summer with it, and the front window seals started leaking water at the bottom, where the seal joins. I called Hewes, and they said it was only like a 60-day warranty on the seals. Aluminum boats are not cheap, so you can always spend more for nicer boats with fancier options. But for the money, its a well built boat.

  8. #8

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    I've owned Hewescraft, Arima and now SeaSport. We spent quite a few days out in PWS in the Hewescraft and I ran the Arima out of Dutch. The Hewescraft was a very utilitarian vessel. It's a solid aluminun boat that is mass produced and held up well for me. The workmanship was O.K., the folks at Hewescraft were very responsive when I had issues with the boat and the fuel economy was fine. But since the Hewescraft is a much lighter boat the ride doesn't compare to the SeaSport (or the Arima) but then the fuel burn rate on the SeaSport makes the Hewescraft look good. For my crew, the smoother ride, the warmth of a glass boat and the quality workmanship of the SeaSport makes it a hands down winner of all the boats that I have owned. One thing to remember is that those of us who own boats (no matter what make or model) and spend time in PWS are doing what many folks dream of all thier lives and if they are lucky get to see ONCE in a lifetime from the deck of cruise ship.
    Ruby at the end of a good day.

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I'm no expert on Hewescraft boats as I've only had mine a couple years, but all the posts above pretty much said it all. I really like mine and it does everything we need it to do. Yeah even a 26' won't handle the worst of weather, but it's handled much more than I ever wanted to. The ride is good with suspension seats. The windows can leak, mostly on the newer boats I believe. I think it started more when they changed to the new paint. Not sure, just my guess. Overall it's a really well built boat that is easy to operate, maintain and afforadable to run nowadays.

    Rob
    27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
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    Member Andy82Hoyt's Avatar
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    tril ron you got it right about PWS. What an amazing place, I bought a 22' boulton in 2011 and spend as much time as I can out on the sound as I can

  11. #11

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    Thanks for the replies!
    The window issue does need to be addressed; how about starting with the boat being warm & dry, then masking off the glass & surrounding aluminum structure with blue painters tape, allowing for a 1/8" reveal onto the glass and onto the aluminum, then "wet glazing" and tooling those reveals with a marine grade silicone, polyurethane, etc. ? pull tape while sealant is still wet, then done! (Glazier in recent past life
    The reason I'm on the Hewes is affordability, front bow access, utility, moderate "v", fuel use; all the reasons listed already by others.
    I'd use the boat for beach landings often during summer months here in Homer, general exploring, halibut & salmon fishing, and just generally goofing off! I can appreciate the PC design but the higher costs of finding a used one & just my intended use seems to make the Alaskan a better choice.
    We'd have to come up with a way to access the beach with a ladder or something (yeah I love those drop-bows that Bayweld does!).
    Thanks again guys and keep em coming!
    Also when the desire for bigger, better, fancier, comes along, the Hewes being affordable would be easier to sell, already mentioned by someone.

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    Nothing wrong with hewes, and I wouldn't say there are any "bad years". Mine was a 2002 26' short cabin.

    I don't know what Hewes does for wiring and panels these days; the 2002 vintage wiring and panels had no place on a saltwater boat. However, the simple layout made redoing the electrical with tinned wire and Blue Seas breakers and fuse panels an easy job.

    Ain't too big a trick to boost the drivers' seat with lumber - the seat boxes screw to the floor.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    I've got an Alaskan 240 and I love mine. I do with I had the 26 PC instead but only because of the V-Berth. My Alaskan is cozy at best with 2 people sleeping on the fold out bench seats. I must be lucky as I haven't had the leaky window issue yet. I have seen a little paint bubbling up around my window for the Marine Head and Cabin Door but that is all. My only dislike is the power issue. Although my Twin 115's do well, I can't get on step with one, so I really wished I would have gone to the Single 250 or 300 with a High Thrust Kicker. So are I haven't nad any motor issues. I am tossing around the idea with the wife to sell mine this spring only go turn my focus on rivers and get a 24' SeaArk with Rear center Console and no fixed seats to be able to load a couple wheelers or a Ranger for hunting. Wish I could afford both as we love our Hewescraft.

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    You might also take a look at Alumaweld. I use to sell them when SBS had their boat and snowmachine branch and our cusotomers all looked at hewscraft and compared. One thing about Alumaweld is the full length welds on the stringers and chime. Hewscraft has a lot of skip welding in their construction, seems to hold up ok, but I like the extra strength of full length welds. Never heard any problems about windows leaking in the alumawelds either. There is still a dealer in Anchorage for them, and occasionally you see them used. Also, you can easily verify the bottom thickness of your hull by looking and measuring the protruding lip at the bottom of the transome. Alumawelds could be ordered with any hull thickness, though the larger boats where almost all 1/4 inch. Bud
    Wasilla

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akfish1 View Post
    The only point I would change in Patrick's assessment is that they are a well built boat. They have their issues... windows and some other details that could improve, but I've seen a lot of well used Hewescrafts and they are well built. I haven't dealt with any failures with the Hewescraft hull. They are utilitarian, but they hold up very well to a lot of abuse.
    AKfish is correct and I didn't mean to imply they weren't well built. The only issues I've had with mine other then the windows have been with accessories such as the windlass and icebox. Not a problem with hewes so I would totally agree that they are a well built boat. Utilitarian but well built. The best comparison I've heard is they are the pickup truck of boats. Not fancy but a work horse.

  16. #16

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    Has anyone had problems with their flooring going soft or rotting? Heard that somewhere in the past but it doesn't seem a common problem, could replace with diamond plate I suppose.

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    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    Big Jim, there's a thread on the Hewescraft Owner's forum where one of the members replaced his flooring as a result of soaked insulation under the floorboards.

    I've got a 2007 Alaskan with the mid-cabin I purchased new, and to be fair I would have bought the PC for the cuddy and tall cabin if they'd had a head available in 2007 - they didn't. The head and the heater were essential to obtain spousal approval, so I went with the Alaskan. Great boat for the money, which is why you see a lot of them out there, especially the 22'ers. Like other posters have said, it's the pickup truck of aluminum boats in AK. Window issues well known, as Vek mentions the wiring is not the most robust - I'm probably due to re-wire into a breaker panel this year, instead of the factory home-runs to a terminal block with unmarked in-line fuses

    For day trips fishing, it's hard to beat. Overnighting can be done, but compromises have to be made. I can sleep four good sized guys in mine, with one of them under the back deck cover (3 in the cabin). The Wallas heater does a good job of keeping the chill off overnight, but I have to load everything up on the roof for transport, meaning my dinghy has to be towed behind instead of sitting up top. Like I said, compromises . . . but not big ones.

    The twin 115's mentioned by Chico are another compromise. I let Dewey's talk me into them instead of the 150's I'd originally wanted. Fuel-wise, not a huge savings. Probably saved $6,000-$7,500 on the purchase price, but I can't get on step on 1. I can however run about 14-15 mph on one (I've tested) if need be, and I don't think any of the high-thrust kickers would get me that fast if I'd gone the route of large single with a kicker.

    Better boats to be had - talk to DMan - he had a 22' OP he sold 2 or 3 years ago to buy his Glaciercraft. That's another whole universe away from the Hewes - both in the quality and build of the boat, and the price.

    Good luck with your decision . . . it's hard to beat the value of the Hewes . . .

  18. #18
    Member DMan's Avatar
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    Default Hewes craft quality ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Jim House View Post
    Has anyone had problems with their flooring going soft or rotting? Heard that somewhere in the past but it doesn't seem a common problem, could replace with diamond plate I suppose.
    I think everyone here has hit it pretty spot on.

    As for the floor replacement with diamond plate, I had a jet boat that had a rotten floor. I replaced it with diamond plate. I had to add additional supports and cross members to support the thinner material. Even at that, the floor was still 'squishy' over my fuel tanks where I didn't have clearance to add more cross members. The 1/8" diamond plate just isn't as ridged as 3/4 plywood. I loved the look, it was lighter, and easier to clean. Only drawback was it didn't feel as sturdy to me in those areas I mentioned. So I guess I am just saying make sure the floor can be beefed up first to make it solid. Lots of diamond plate floors out there that are solid, and then there are some that are not. My 2cents.. :-)

    One other difference in the PC and the Alaskan is the forward slanted windshield. That makes a big difference on those sunny days.

    I have many fond memories in my 22' OP...
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  19. #19
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention that mine has the diamond plate floor from the factory. It pretty solid because it's on top of the wood floor. The wood is starting to swell up now and I'll be replacing it this spring. As well as checking out the foam for water logging. Overall the aluminum floor is much nicer than the basic vinyl covered wood.
    27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
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    Big Jim....my 26' Alaskan is a 2007 model but bought new in 2008. After reading about the 115 hp problems on the forum, I was pleased that the dealer had 135hp twin Honda's scheduled for this boat, and in fact I CAN get on step with one, and I think I get better fuel economy than those with the 115's...you wouldn't think that 40hp total more would make much difference, but it does....of course, the right prop is everything. Another thing...PatrickL is right about what his Pacific Cruiser does for him, but I land on the beach too, and unload a LOT of gear, and that big front door on the Alaskan is essential for me, plus the head that others have mentioned. But, we rarely overnight on our boat. I have yet to have any of the window leak problems that others have had...my boat sits all winter at a friends in Valdez, under a PVC frame and tarp, so it is not exposed to the sun except for all summer when I am up there using it...and sometimes only for 6 weeks or so in the summer. Keep any boat out of the sun when you are not using it and it will have far fewer problems with any rubber/vinyl components. Yep....electrical connections suck, but I just replaced mine with waterproof connectors, and now no problem.

    So, if you plan to beach the boat and unload a lot of people and gear off the bow, better think hard about getting the Alaskan...and, for the rest, I agree with everything all have said. I have a friend with a Glaciercraft and would have one in a minute except I can't afford it...we are very happy with our HC!

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