We just returned from a Koyukuk moose hunting trip (6 hunters-6 moose !) and my first experience running approximately 600 miles in each direction!
I carried a total of 320 gallons of gas up river (which wasnt enough-next year I will carry 400) and two people total on board and on the return trip we had two unboned moose complete with their heads with about 175 gallons of gas.
The only negative opinion I have about the boat is it didnt handle the river chop as well as a semi V (which was to be expected). But it did ride higher in the water and a couple of times I did not get stuck on sandbars when the Sport Drifters did.
What surprised me the most was how well the boat handled. Even though I have a 200 Optimax prop on it I could control the steering easily while doing some really tight river turns and I do not have hydralic steering on the boat. I was running low 30's and could turn the boat as tight as I wanted to and it would not slide in the corners. On calm water I could easily hit mid 40's without redlining the motor.
We hit some submerged "surprises" hard enough to make us cringe but the boat did not suffer any dents I can find. My boat is the 23 foot version and I would not make the trip again in anything smaller as we were packed to the gills. If I had it to do all over again I would buy the Alaskan XL with its wider beam if they would make it in the 23 foot version but I am pleased enough (which is rare for me) that I have no plans to sell this boat to buy a bigger one.
The external fuel supply using 30 gallon drums and quick disconnect fuel line fittings worked flawlessly but I didnt heed the advice of my friends and get 55 gallon drums. It is a royal pain to change drums and fittings with the 30's and I plan on selling them and going to 55's for the next trip. I also have to rig up an electric fuel tranfer system to make things easier.
There were 3 boats in our group and the other guys had a Honda and Etec. Taking everything into consideration the Optimax absolutely used less fuel than either of the other motors. Plus's for the other motors were the Honda was whisper quiet and the Etec used less oil than the Optimax. Fuel sonsumption for the Etec and Honda seemed similar. I burned oil at approximately 50:1 and the Etec burned at about 70:1. The Etec was also quieter than my Opti but not as quiet as the Honda.
My biggest regret is I did not carry a manual bilge pump. The boat carried a lot of water in it and never seemed to sit right for the electric pump to get the water out. Same for the other two boats. A manual pump would allow you to stand on the stern and pump all the water out.
Loading the boat back on the trailer is a real pain in the butt as Wooldridge is cheap enough that they do not install a keel roller on the trailer even though the trailer is predrilled for it. The boat slides on the trailer easily enough but it takes a couple of guys to lift up the bow to get it to slide up over the bow roller. This is an easy $25-50 fix but it does make you wonder why they didnt install the roller themself to make the job easier. Also, the trasducer bracket welded to the boat seemed misplaced. My transducer would only read correctly at low speeds. I need to play around with where it is installed but the factory installed the bracket about a foot away from the motor and this screws up the water flow and the readings.