Currently I own an older 16' Lowe tunnel hull with a 6" tunnel and a 40/30hp jet. It has handled much more than what I ever expected a jet boat to handle. The places this boat will go without damaging the hull or foot is completely amazing and for an older boat the bottom is in good condition. In the distant future I hope to buy a larger more powerful boat but do not want to completely sacrifice shallow water performance or small creek handling. I definitely want a boat with a tunnel hull but it seems there are no mass production hulls with 6" tunnels. Basically, I am sold on the tunnel hull.
I really like this 6" tunnel jet and I wonder if I will regret if I ever sell it. Most of the water I run is shallow and sometimes requires me to bust out the muscles to get the boat back to deeper water. So with that in mind lets review the options starting from top to bottom.
Wooldridge 17.6' Alaskan 115/80 Jet:
This boat is on my mind and I find myself always cruising Craigs list for a good used Alaskan. I have never been in one of these boats but I hear great things about them, also very few Alaskans are ever for sale. From the Riverjets forum I have heard on multiple occasions this is the best mass produced shallow water running boat made. I have looked at a few of these boats for the heck of it and the tunnel appears to be very shallow. It makes me wonder if they are constantly beaten by rocks in very skinny water. Maybe that is the price paid for the agility these boats are famous for? I wonder how tough it is to push one of these boats of a sandbar covered with an inch of water. I am still looking through the glass and drooling at a distance though.
Roughneck 16' with 90/65 Jet:
These appear to be a 3" tunnel hull. I have also looked at a few of these boats and the foot's have been banged up very badly. I think this setup may be a more practical package for what I am looking to do but I would also like a glass window front with a soft top for family comfort. I could be in the elements all day and it won't bug me, but the family is quite different.
The video's are impressive and an inboard tunnel jet is unique. They were a dime a dozen when I was dipping in my itty bitty 16' jon on the copper. I don't know much about them, never been in one, but a used sportjon would spark my interest.
Don't know much about this boat either. I know it's not a tunnel but it could be on the radar if a good deal came along. Comments?
The more I think about it the more I believe the boat I have right now is my ideal boat. But three adults, including myself, and gear and the boat is about maxed out. The wife would love a spot to get out of the rain with the daughter. But the lure of a more powerful boat is almost haunting me. Don't make me buy an airboat......