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Thread: Suggestions for a small boat?

  1. #1
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    Default Suggestions for a small boat?

    Any suggestions of what would be a fine, inexpensive motor boat set-up for shorter trips in PWS, Seward or K-bay etc... for general use, mostly ocean beach camping/hiking and just getting around?

    I'm thinking something like a zodiac with an outboard, love to be able to throw it in the truck and not need a trailer. Suggestions on sizes?

    Reasonable, safe, and cheap.

    Thanks for any input!!
    cheers.

  2. #2
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    Start looking at the Lund aluminum V hulls and similar. Something in the 16-18ft range w about 40-50 hp. I'm not sure anything that would fit in the back of a pick up would be safe on some of the waters you mentioned (though I'm no expert on that, but there are others here more qualified than I to address that issue). A 14 foot v hull wold carry your camping gear for you and 1-2 others. I don't think a 10 footer or zodiac in the back of a pick up is going to do it for you.

    On a side note, there are a hand full Marine State Parks in Western PWS that have beach camping that are possibly accessible by a boat that small. (I mean hey, kayakers go out there.) I'd like to try it in my little boat, but looks scary.

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    Also, go check out a book titled the Outboard Boaters Handbook. Lot of good ideas and info in there. I love my copy.

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    Look for a good used 18 foot Klamath. Reasonable priced and good boat if you watch the weather.

  5. #5

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    My suggestion is that small boats and big water don't go together well. Even with a 22 foot boat you have to pick your weather windows.....smaller? I can't imagine actually going out in PWS, Seward, K-Bay, or any local salt in something that will fit in a bed of a pickup. While those places offer the illusion of protected waters, they can be really nasty. I can't imagine being in a 10 foot boat with a 5 hp motor at Perry Island try to motor back to Whittier in 3 foot seas - which is a common sea. Please get something much more substantial to go out in.

  6. #6
    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    I think his "back of the pickup" reference to the Zodiac means it's rolled up. We took 18' Zodiacs out of whittier (not running further than Pigot, South Esther or Surprise Cove) many times back in my younger days. Definitely watch the weather and be safe...but that rule applies no matter what boat you've got.

    The suggestion of a Klamath is a good one. Bayrunner also makes a great 18-20' aluminum semi-vee. I think Klamath and Bayrunner might be the same company nowadays?
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  7. #7

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    I put anywhere from 500-1000 miles on my inflatable every year. I've taken it out in weather that would scare just about anyone. I would take it over any bayrunner, klamath or pretty much any boat under 24'.

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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    Get a boat with at least a 20" transom requiring a long shaft motor. A 25" transom needing an XL motor would be ideal. In a small boat you want as much free board as possible.

    Sobie2
    Last edited by Sobie2; 08-07-2014 at 08:40. Reason: extra thought

  9. #9

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    I have an Achilles SU-16, 16' boat... with a new Evinrude E-tec 50hp tiller outboard. I've been out of Whittier, Seward, dip netting, and I'm about to head out to the inlet for some halibut here in a couple weeks. I go out with 4 people, food and gear for a long weekend and it handles the waters great. I would rather be in my 16' inflatable than a 20' aluminum boat ANY day... The ride is kind of rough when you get over 2' chop but it's definitely manageable. I do have it on a trailer though... I wouldn't feel comfortable with a smaller outboard if you were going to frequent the ocean more than anything. Getting caught in rough seas, especially following seas will scare the crap out of you if you don't have enough power to get you confidently though. I used to have a 14' inflatable and it just didn't have enough space for what I was looking to do. I cruise around 22 mph and my top speed is 28 mph weighed down or by myself. Hope this helps.

  10. #10

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    I too had an inflatable for a long time. They will get you there and back, pound you death when the seas suck, and soak you thoroughly at any chance they get. They also are really cold (generally) and don't have a bed. But, they are cheap to buy (mostly), operate, and simple. They also store away quite nicely on the shelf in garage. However, I don't think I would generally take it over ANY boat under 24 feet.....especially in the rain, wind, snow, chop, and I think the picture is very clear that I love the warm cabin....LOL...

  11. #11

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    Tonyp....You might keep an eye out for a 20' Harvey Dory....used to see them often on craigslist, but not so much anymore. I rebuilt one and although there will be trade offs with anything you might choose I have been very pleased all around. I put a berth in the small cuddy and stay out for days at a time...I can anchor up and be comfortably out of the weather indefinately. 70 hp will give me 30 mph @ 3 gph...25 mph seems like the sweet spot in this particular unit. They are fiberglass lapstrake and were designed in Oregon to run the Columbia and other coastal river bars . They are a very dry boat but you have to slow way down in the rough stuff. I have well under 10K in the whole thing, including the low time outboard and the rebuild. There is also a Harvey 22'3" with a modified v hull..the 20' is a flat bottom. I have one of each...pm me if you'd like to take a look.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    How many people are you going to have on the boat? There is both the minimum size boat to be semi safe in those waters, and then the minimum size boat that will hold the people and camping gear for a few days.

    IMHO for over nighting in those waters the minimum boat needs to be one you can run safely in a steep 4' chop, because I can guarantee you'll face those conditions one time or another when you head out for more than one day, no matter what the marine forecast.

    It's one thing to take a 16' inflatable or 18' skiff out for a day trip, quite another to have camping gear, fishing gear, safety gear for a 2 or more day trip in such a small boat, and have room to get around the boat for fishing. The minimum boat I'd want for that use would be a 20' skiff with at least a 50 horse, but depending on how much fuel and gear you carry that might be under powered.

    Honestly a better option than using an undersized boat is to pay a charter to drop you off for multi day trips.
    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.

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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    I too had an inflatable for a long time. They will get you there and back, pound you death when the seas suck, and soak you thoroughly at any chance they get. They also are really cold (generally) and don't have a bed. But, they are cheap to buy (mostly), operate, and simple. They also store away quite nicely on the shelf in garage. However, I don't think I would generally take it over ANY boat under 24 feet.....especially in the rain, wind, snow, chop, and I think the picture is very clear that I love the warm cabin....LOL...
    Depending on which one you get the getting wet isn't an issue. Mine throws not a drop into the boat. Only time I get anything in is when the wind blows it in. But that's with any boat. I do have a Bimini top on mine though.

  14. #14

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    As long as you are not under powered, you shouldn't have any problems with people and gear. I think it actually helps quite a bit to have my boat weighed down. I cut through the chop MUCH better than if there were only two people and no gear. I NEVER get wet either. I used to get a bit wet with my 14' Mercury inflatable but the Achilles SU-16 is a dry ride. I talked to a guy that has a new Yamaha 70hp outboard and his max speed is just under 29MPH. I get to that speed with my 50hp and I'm still Kenai legal. There have been times where I've wished I had a ridged hull but not once have I EVER wanted more power.

  15. #15

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    I'm running a 90hp on an SU 18. Power is great. Didn't like it when I had a 50. Was terribly underpowered in following seas and bad chop. I top out at 30-31mph empty.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBroncoII View Post
    Only time I get anything in is when the wind blows it in. But that's with any boat. I do have a Bimini top on mine though.
    Any boat??? My cabin cruiser doesn't get wet when the wind blows in the rain - it's like summer inside of it with the stove going.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    How many people are you going to have on the boat? There is both the minimum size boat to be semi safe in those waters, and then the minimum size boat that will hold the people and camping gear for a few days.

    IMHO for over nighting in those waters the minimum boat needs to be one you can run safely in a steep 4' chop, because I can guarantee you'll face those conditions one time or another when you head out for more than one day, no matter what the marine forecast.

    It's one thing to take a 16' inflatable or 18' skiff out for a day trip, quite another to have camping gear, fishing gear, safety gear for a 2 or more day trip in such a small boat, and have room to get around the boat for fishing. The minimum boat I'd want for that use would be a 20' skiff with at least a 50 horse, but depending on how much fuel and gear you carry that might be under powered.

    Honestly a better option than using an undersized boat is to pay a charter to drop you off for multi day trips.
    This is very good advice.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.R. Bauer View Post
    Any boat??? My cabin cruiser doesn't get wet when the wind blows in the rain - it's like summer inside of it with the stove going.
    Yes, any boat will blow spray in with the wind right. Not necessarily into the cabin but into the back is a definite possibility.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    How many people are you going to have on the boat? There is both the minimum size boat to be semi safe in those waters, and then the minimum size boat that will hold the people and camping gear for a few days.

    IMHO for over nighting in those waters the minimum boat needs to be one you can run safely in a steep 4' chop, because I can guarantee you'll face those conditions one time or another when you head out for more than one day, no matter what the marine forecast.

    It's one thing to take a 16' inflatable or 18' skiff out for a day trip, quite another to have camping gear, fishing gear, safety gear for a 2 or more day trip in such a small boat, and have room to get around the boat for fishing. The minimum boat I'd want for that use would be a 20' skiff with at least a 50 horse, but depending on how much fuel and gear you carry that might be under powered.

    Honestly a better option than using an undersized boat is to pay a charter to drop you off for multi day trips.
    I agree with T.R.Bauer that his is sound advice! My 20' boat's floor is right at the water line and from there, I have 28" freeboard along with a lot of reserve buoyancy (side flare). Even with that, but mainly considering my inexperience, I frequent areas that that have a multitude of hidy holes close to one another for when the weather kicks up. Most boats will handle a lot more than sane people want to experience, but its no fun getting beat up.

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