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Thread: Tunnel hull and jet outboard question.

  1. #1
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    Default Tunnel hull and jet outboard question.

    I'm looking to buy a new boat for up here. I've found several that I like. Some of them are jet outboards on flat bottom boats and some are jet outboards on tunnel hulls. My question is how bad are the tunnel hull boats with jet outboards when running in chop. I know they'll blow out and cavitate in rough water, but how rough is rough? Is it manageable by going slower in the rough water to keep the bow up and transom down? I want a boat that will run shallow, but I may have to get across some choppy water to get there. How much shallow water navigation is given up by going with a flat bottom with jet over a tunnel hull with jet?

    I was originally looking at a mudmotor for my needs, but I've been talking to a lot of the locals here in Cordova and they say that the jet is the way to go.

  2. #2
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    What type of water are you planning on running that is going to be that rough? Both a flat bottom with a jet and a tunnel with a jet are going to beat you up a bit in the rough stuff. Yes you can slow it down like most owners do and it will be a little easier on you and your passengers.

    What model boats are you looking at?

    How shallow do you want to run?

    How much of a load do you plan on carrying?

  3. #3
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    Default i run a 20' wooldridge

    I have a 20' wolly sport, and have run in 4' chop at low speed(5-8mphish?)no problems. this boat will run shallow also, Much more shallow than I am comfortable with. The question to ask yourself, is what do ya really want to do? If your going to go out in the salt, you better find something with high sides, and a bit of a Vee. If your going to run shallow, get the tunnel hull. There are a few boats out there that do both, but not very well. Keep an eye on this forum, and listen and learn. tons of advice here. Give us some more info, and there may be some more opionions!

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    Not looking to in the "salt" as far as big water goes, but I would like to have the ability to run the edges of Orca Inlet so that I can hunt the mud flats. Also I'm looking for something to get down a few of the small rivers here. I know the tunnel would work perfect for that. Even the Copper River can get choppy though and I wouldn't want to limit myself to just the couple little rivers (I'd call them creeks). The boats I'm looking at are in the 16-18 foot range as I'd like to keep it light enough that a couple guys could push it off if it gets grounded.

    Would a flat bottom with a jet be able to run in say 2-4" of water when the river gets low? They are mainly sand bottoms and there is a channel throughout most of the river so it would just be the occasional flat sand bar that would have to be crossed.

    How hard are tunnels to push off of bars if they do get grounded? Would the tunnel actually suction down and make it tougher to get unstuck?

  5. #5
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I have never heard of a tunnel suctioning down. They seem to go right over most of that stuff. I think if you want to run that shallow a tunnel is going to work real well for you. The tunnel hull will be no rougher in the rough stuff than a standard flat bottom.

    Are you set on having an outboard or are you still considering inboards as well?

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    If I was going to be a permanent resident of Alaska I believe I'd be buying a Phantom Sport Jon. We have one here in Cordova that I've seen run and I really like them. I'm only here for three years and for the money I believe the outboard is the way to go. The boats I'm looking at are a 16' tunnel hull Alumacraft with a 60 Mercury jet and a 17' Crestliner flat bottom with a 60 Mercury jet. Both of them are around the same price and are suitable to duck hunting and getting around in the rivers I want to play in.

  7. #7
    Member alaskanmoosehunter's Avatar
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    I would go with a Sportsjon too....However, it's a little out of my budget right now. (Maybe when my boy get's a little older.)

    I run a 17' with a 80hp jet, it's not a tunnel hull but I can get about anywhere I want if there is at least 4-6" of H2o on step. The best part of a lighter boat is if you get stuck or run too shallow you just get out and push it.

    There is a draw back your limited on fuel/weight at times. For day trips I use a 15 gal poly drum (I can actually fit 17 gal in the one I have.) For me that's right at 22-25 miles up stream and back comfortably. That's enough river miles to get you in trouble. Longer trips I use 2 (15 gal) polys. I run my boat in Seward in the bay (Nice Days), Chitina and lots of local rivers.

    IMO, I think what your looking for is ideal for most of Alaska without breaking the bank.

  8. #8
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Between those two boats go for the tunnel.

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    Default i agree

    go with the tunnel. I think the tunnel, will keep your outboard happier

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    Thumbs up Alumacraft w/ tunnel

    I have an 18'er and love it. Just got back from moose hunting with it and seriously doubt you can get a Sportjon too many more places when on step....just get there faster and haul more weight (IMO, I'm sure the SJ owners will jump allover this one). I think the only way to go any shallower would be to fly. I ran some spots coming back up with 2 people, gear and a moose that had me bracing before going through because I was sure I was about to be high and dry. We ran a couple mild rapids and cleared a couple gravel bars that had gravel sticking out with water trickling through with no problems. Boat actaully pushes water over the gravel bar and raises you up and over without scraping for a short distance (usually)..... but when you do scrape witha tunnel, it's nice knowing that the jet unit is up a hair higher than the bottom of the boat.

    Good luck with which ever you go with and have fun!!

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