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Thread: Perfect Alaska power-boat that's still Kenai legal?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Perfect Alaska power-boat that's still Kenai legal?

    Not that ALL of us spend ALL of our time on the Kenai, with it's 50hp limitation.

    But, ENOUGH of us spend SOME of our time on the Kenai, that it effectively frames this particular question.

    What type/size of boat would you choose/build that could run many other rivers around the road system and still remain "Kenai Legal" with a 50hp prop or a 35hp jet?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Can't help you with any experience or river insights on boats, other than to say I can't think of a reason to replace my 20' Hewescraft Open Fisherman if I was running the Kenai. Just don't know the other rivers.

    But I can provide some insights on that 50HP limit. I have the Yami 50 on our OF, and most critically, the G-series prop. It's a surprisingly good performer, pushing six people to 25mph while getting up on step quick. Only thing about it, being a "freight" type prop rather than a speed prop, it will only do 29mph with me in it by myself. Going down-current. With the wind behind me. It absolutely sips fuel. We only have to run 10-15 miles round trip to our usual fishing, and even with a full day of trolling we average right at 3 gallons of gas per day. Flat out it's only drinking 6 gallons or so per hour. Sure cuts down the amount of fuel you'd have to carry for long river runs, providing the horsepower is sufficient to get you upstream where you need to go.

    Like I said- I don't have the firsthand experience on the rivers (other than a few rides with others on the Kenai), but I'd sure have to try my own setup before thinking about replacing it.
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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    The 20' Bayrunners were very very popular for many years before the tractor launches at deep creek and anchor point. These not are/were about the biggest most seaworthy boat that you can beach launch with a truck. They get around very well in the salt even with just a 50 on them. Yet flat enough at the stern and light enough that they run the Kenai with ease. I had a 20' with a walkthrough windshield and soft top for many years with a 50 Yami on it. Very versitle boat. It's not a fast boat in a chop. Nice steep V in the bow, but the boat is very light and flattens out towards the stern. Keep the speeds down and the boat will safely handle bigger water than most folks will care to be out in. Just know that in a 2' chop type of day you won't be running at 30mph over the top of it. That said, my Bayrunner has been out of Homer down around flat island and the middle of the inlet countless times. Pony cove countless time. Out beyond the end of the Chiswells. Johnson bay and all points between. Pulled countless pots in Prince William Sound. Launching from Whittier been out into the gulf via both the north and south entrances of Montague. I finally blew up my 50 Yami and Replaced it with a 90 when I did. I had pretty much written of ever fishing the Kenai at that point in my life. The boat was much more user friendly in the salt with the addition of more hp. Didn't gain any more speed. Just way easier to handle big water with the extra thrust. And of course it just jumped right up on step. I can imagine a much better one boat do it all boat than the 20' Bayrunner.

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    Agreed on the Bayrunner with its high bow. I own a bigger Hewes so kind of inclined that direction too. Maybe a high thrust model 50 would be suited well to either of these boats compared to the standard 50's? Especially when it comes to running in the trough, or a Tohatsu 50, they turn a bit bigger prop being a 2 stroke I believe.

    Or how about running twin light 50's like the Tohatsu? Have heard nothing but good things on the direct injected motor and its Kenai legal.
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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Ultra,
    I wasn't thinking about using this boat in salt-water, but, that is something to consider. Mostly, I'm planning river trips.

    Jim,
    Thanx for the suggestion about a high thrust 50hp motor. But, twin 50's = 100hp, which is definitely NOT Kenai legal.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    Twin 50's is Kenai legal. Keep one tipped up and out of the water. No different than having a 9.9 kicker hanging on the back when running a 50. Either one puts you over the 50hp limit. Used to see a lot of Bayrunners, koffler baybee's and alumawelds running twin 50's.

    I just assumed when wanted an all around boat you meant salt as well. Not just a riverboat. Sorry.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Ultra,
    I wasn't thinking about using this boat in salt-water, but, that is something to consider. Mostly, I'm planning river trips.

    Jim,
    Thanx for the suggestion about a high thrust 50hp motor. But, twin 50's = 100hp, which is definitely NOT Kenai legal.

    Thanx, Dave.

    I think an 18' jon boat would be an excellent boat for multiple different Alaskan rivers, especially if you had a jet on it.
    I think this one from BPS would be a great rig, although it would run better with a prop of course.

    http://www.trackerboats.com/boat/?boat=3941

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Combining one of my other threads:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...2252-Sourdough

    Instead of using my 20hp outboard to make the Sourdough into almost a freighter style canoe,
    would adding a 50hp motor make it into the "Perfect Alaska power-boat that's still Kenai legal?"

    Thanx, Dave.


    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    It's not "perfect", but I have a very basic 16' seaark with a 40/30 Yamaha jet. It has tiller steering (so it's light), pull start (no battery), custom oar mounts with full-size oars (so it actually rows well), a water separator on the fuel line, and 2 12-gallon tanks (providing more than enough range for long, multi-day trips). The fuel tanks sit within a custom wooden box that also serves as the seat for rowing and as an extension to the casting platform at the bow. The boat could be improved with a 50/35 jet and a tunnel, and I might opt for a 17' if given the option, but otherwise it's about as close as you'll get to a no-frills, dependable river boat that's Kenai legal.

    If you want something with a bunch of creature comforts that can run long distances and still be kenai legal, you're probably looking to get two different boats.

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    I have a flat bottomed jon I can just put my old 50 hp 4 stroke on if I want and that's my ideal boat. If it rains it's going to be miserable, that's what my rain coat is for!

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    I ran a 1966 G3 with a yami 50hp and prop. Man that boat was something. Light, did 30mph with my family in it. Never got passed on the kenai with my family of 5 in it. Ran it up to curry on the talkeetna river once too. Wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.
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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Using two SeaArks as an example: an 1860 and a 2252, both equipped with a 50hp motor:
    (both have 24" sides, and they each have almost the exact same floor area & volume)

    Would you rather have shorter & wider, or longer & narrower?

    Would you choose differently for hunting -vs- fishing? If yes, why?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    I believe wider would be better if you're running a jet unit. More planing surface. I have a friend with an 1852 I think (not seaark though). He has a 50hp with a jet unit. He's mostly fishing smaller rivers. Likes the boat being narrow and light so he can get it unstuck by himself.

    I have a seaark 2072 with 115hp (both jet and prop). I have definitely found water that's too skinny for it. A friend has the same hull, but with a 50hp prop and no windshield (he runs a tiller). He's had good success on the kenai for dipnetting and sport fishing and some shorter range hunting trips.

  14. #14

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    FYI, Just found out Merury is coming out with a 50/35Jet this year so it will be Kenai legal. The 60/40jet isn't. In order to be Kenai legal before you had to buy the 50hp and then add the jet unit. You still have the lower unit to swap out if you want to run a prop.

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    Member smarion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theultrarider View Post
    Twin 50's is Kenai legal. Keep one tipped up and out of the water. No different than having a 9.9 kicker hanging on the back when running a 50. Either one puts you over the 50hp limit. Used to see a lot of Bayrunners, koffler baybee's and alumawelds running twin 50's.

    I just assumed when wanted an all around boat you meant salt as well. Not just a riverboat. Sorry.
    I bought an older Willie Predator center console last summer. In the process of thinking about this purchase, the idea of putting twin 50's on whatever boat I ended up with occurred to me. The idea still interests me. My interest in this is to be able to run the Kenai since I live here, but to also potentially using such a set up with the second motor while hunting bigger rivers like the Yukon. While jets may be preferable, I am not sure if I would go through the process of changing the lower units just to be able to run a little shallower. Anyway, I haven't seen anyone running this kind of setup and have been curious about their experiences. I have seen a Craigslist ad with a Raider with this set up in the valley, but haven't called regarding their experience yet.

    Sorry for the thread hijack.

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    The big advantage to twins other than the obvious safety factor is the ability to plane a heavier load. Topend speed only increases a small amount. A single 100 will fly by twin 50's. But the torque of the two motors, and having the bite of two props in the water will far surpass going a heavy boat on step vs a single 100. Night and day different.

    Growing up as a kid in MN dad had a 16'Lund with a 20 and a 10 on the back. Pretty typical setup and generally ran with just the 20. However we loaded up with the 4 of us and the dog, and a weeks worth of gear and food and no go with the 20. Drop the 10 and fire it and run the 2 together. That boat would jump right up on step. Same for pulling water skiers, we always ran the mismatched twins and you'd be amazed what that thing would do.

    Like I said above, it used to be very common to see bayrunners, koffler baybee's, maroon boats and others with twins on the Kenai river and in the salt. One could beach launch them with a pickup before the tractor days. Yet still run the river. Those boats sucked with a single 50 when anything other than dead empty on flat water with a single 50. Buy with twins, they were very capible boats.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theultrarider View Post
    Twin 50's is Kenai legal. Keep one tipped up and out of the water.
    Ultra,

    I really like the idea of having twin motors for both safety and better performance on waters other than the Kenai. But . . . . .

    I used to have a salt water boat with twin 150's. Any time that I tipped one up and tried to run on a single motor, steering was a big problem. Most of the weight of an outboard is in the head at the top of the motor, and when that weight is positioned way past center during turns, it takes a lot of steering torque to pull it back over to center. When motors are down, that weight only pivots on the same horizontal plane, but, when they're tipped up, they travel over an arc in the vertical plane, and gravity is a *****. Besides the physical arm effort on the steering wheel, I always felt that I was putting undue stress on my steering system.

    When I tried keeping both motors down, and just shutting one off, to run on a single, the parasitic drag of the second (non-running) prop & lower unit, pretty much defeated the purpose, unless I was just putt-putting around the harbor, or trolling at slow speed.

    Then there's the extra purchase price of a second 50hp motor, twin steering gear, instruments, larger fuel tanks, double maintenance costs, etc.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    I agree Blu.

    Most folks that ran a twin 50 setup on the Kenai spent the majority of their time in the salt, or you didn't bother with it! Likewise, you didn't run the river end to end cruising. Launch at a launch near the hole you intend to fish for the day. Run your mile to the hole and sit and back troll. A single boat is always a compromise anytime you intend to run multiple types of water. You need to prioritize what it is you need and want out of your boat first and foremost. Ideally we would all have a yard full of boats. One for each situation we intend to run and do. Sometimes that is the best and only answer.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Just realized that while focusing on the 50-hp motor limit on the Kenai, forgot that there's also a 21-ft length and a 106-inch width limitation on the boat. So, the SeaArk 2252 Sourdough model is too long.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  20. #20
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    So, I'm giving the idea of twin 50's more consideration, but, on a wider boat, like a 2060 or 2072, and using twin 50/35hp jets.

    A non-operating jet foot doesn't need to be tilted up very far to get it out of the flow of water under the boat, so, steering shouldn't be adversely affected when running on the Kenai with only one motor. On other rivers, I'd use both jets and have 70hp pushing the boat.

    Question - Is there any such a thing as a twin-jet outboard boat with twin-jet-tunnels?
    (assuming that would be a custom fabrication)

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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