I live in Fairbanks. I got four kids going to UAf, so budget is an issue too. I want a boat/motor combo that can come out of Salchaket slough, go up the Tanana a mile or so to the Chena and carry me, my wife, our camping gear and a field dressed spike/fork doing it.
My "dream boat" needs to run at least 15mph per GPS loaded with all that, draw as little water as possible, and it has to come in way under $10,000. Certainly a $30k jetboat would meet my needs, but it isn't in the budget.
I have a 17' Grumman square stern and a pretty healthy 7.5 Mercury outboard. s/n on the Mercury puts it around 1980 vintage, but it is tight enough that it runs noticeably better on Mercury 2 cycle oil, and noticeably worse on generic 2 cycle oil from Fred Meyer's. Flat out on the lower Chena, up and down averaged it can do 11mph per GPS. Upstream in the Tanana by the big bluff at the mouth of the Goodpasture near Delta with the throttle at wide F open with just me the wife and our camping gear the combo can barely stand still against the current.
I can't really put a bigger motor on the 17' Grumman, 7.5 is pretty burly already.
One option would be a john boat around 16-18 feet and 40-44" beam, so 16x40 to 18x44, but I would be looking at a 20-30hp motor to make it run, and my wife is not enamored of the aesthetics.
Second option would be a Snipe built by Lund, but they only made like 500 of them and I have never seen one for sale up here.
Third is a Grumman Sport boat. I have an ad on craigslist and that's me with posters in the boat shops and bulletin boards around Fbx. Not looking good. One fella with a beard down past his collar bones suggested the ones in Fairbanks got trailered with the motors on them back in the pipeline days, then the transoms broke loose from the rest of the hull on pretty much all of them and they went to the landfill and I am wasting my time. I am watching CL as far out as Whitehorse with no joy.
Option four is to build up a Rob White sport boat out of cedar strip just from trusting in the reading. I'd rather test drive a Sport boat and then (likely) scale the plans up to a 19 footer and build that.
One thing that would be nice is a wide enough center seat for my wife and I to sit side by side while we are putting around. She says it's "lonely" up in the bow of our 17' square stern.
Option five is a 19' Grumman with a bigger motor. The center seat is wide enough for both of us, and I can rig a remote control for the outboard. I know I would need a bigger motor even with perfect trim, and I am not sure I could get the velocity in a displacement hull at all.
Option six is a hull that will plane on less than ten hp with 800-1000# of freight in it, is commonly available in Fairbanks and costs less than $1000. What is hull number six?