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Thread: River Boat Steering Options?? Sit down off center VS Console

  1. #1
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    Default River Boat Steering Options?? Sit down off center VS Console

    Hello

    I had the chance to pick up my first riverboat. Its an older Valco 18', flat bottom, bit of a blunt nose, welded frames but its a riveted boat. Came with a older 135 Johnson with a jet. I'm currently working out if the powerplant is worth a darn or looking into new power. Boat was beat up enough that I'm fixing and reworking much of the boat.

    I'm just on the fence on where to locate steering. I really like the look of the Wooldridge Alaskan, and like the idea of front steering and being able to add a cover to stay out of the rain for passengers and gear, and myself. Then a friend with more experience said he would keep it as a stand up center console for visability and weight distribution. For an outline on my personal experience, sure have been in the shotgun seat a lot up and down rivers, I don't have a ton of experience behind the wheel, at least on a river. Looking to change that next spring! Either way I go, still looking to add a canopy of some sort so my wife would be more comfortable joining me.

    Anyway, would like to hear some thoughts either way. How it is, its pretty much a clean slate, I can build back either way.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member tjm's Avatar
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    No brainer in my book....happy wife equals happy husband...console with a topper for sure
    ------------------------------------------------
    pull my finger....

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    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Best to keep the boss happy.

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    Member c-bolt's Avatar
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    #1...keep mama happy!

    #2...Be happy!

    best of both worlds...This is from when I bought my boat.


    The canopy is not up, but it is in my avatar. The top works perfect, and the position is primo!
    09 River Wild, 3 stages, LS power

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    Member fullbush's Avatar
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    I actually kind of like the center console c-bolt. Theres actually more room to fight a fish that way. Plus if your by yourself the weight is distributed evenly

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    Thanks guys. I never really thought of forward, center steering. I'm working with 16 foot controls and steering. I'll see how much forward I can even take them. I finished up demo last night, need to get a plan worked out

    The engine was sitting for something like 4 years, It's currently frozen, I have some marvel in the cylinders. Trying to break it free before cracking it open to see what I have there.

    Thanks

  7. #7
    Member Music Man's Avatar
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    Center, stick steer
    When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.
    '08 24' HCM Granite HD "River Dog"

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    Down here in S.E. I wouldn't even think about console steering. With the ever changing log jams, hairpin turns that "weren't there yesterday" , pretty much all skinny water, rapids and canyons, Huge logs barreling down stream ready to take you out, a tiller is the only way to go here. I do understand though that it is a lot different in the interior than here.
    My point is tiller is way quicker, but you may not need that there. Sound like you guys would appreciate the comfort of a console on a long haul.

    Good luck

    Oz

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    Put in a standard right hand-sided console and have it as far forward as you can - greatly improves visibility and weight distribution fore/aft; this is one of the best design features the Wooldridge hulls are known for. 18' is large enough that mounting your console off-center shouldn't be an issue with weight distribution L/R - just put gear bags/etc on opposite side of steering location if it's a real issue for you. Chances are you'll have a spouse/buddy/dog/etc riding shotgun with you for ballast anyway

    Canopy is a must - others have already discussed WHY Make sure it's easily/completely removeable for primo sunny days, dipnetting, etc. Side curtains also make a big difference on cold breezy mornings and long runs late in the fall.

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    Thanks guys

    I'm still trying to look around at other boats but so far I'm liking the "wooldridge model" I'm mocking up some ideas with cardboard. The wife thought I had a screw missing, now she knows for sure when she went in the garage and saw me sitting behind a cardboard console! I'm trying to get the height worked out to where I could stand or sit to drive, still working that out

    On another note, my motor is toast. Pulled the heads last night a saw that one piston is in pieces and scored the wall and actually cracked the block. Ya, could get another power head but for 2500 or so to get the old motor running I thinking of just repowering it.

    The boat is a 18 feet, 72 inch beam, flat bottom Valco. I'm thinnking 90hp would be minimum, and maybe 115hp. Boat would be for fishing and hunting with thoughts of putting 2 people and a moose it in for ideas on weight.

    Any thoughts for HP, or general rules of thumb

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    Is it a 72" beam or a 72" bottom? I have an 18' SeaArk tunnel with a 72" bottom and 95" beam. It's got an older 85hp Yamaha (about 60 at the jet) and it does pretty well with up to 5-6 guys and some gear (not a lot of gear), with the wide bottom it gets on step very easily but doesn't go very fast. If you have a narrower bottom you'll get a lot more speed out of it and 90 hp would probably be fine. If it's a 72" bottom, go with the 115hp... I wish mine had it.

  12. #12
    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    I'd go with a 90hp.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

  13. #13
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    Thanks fellas

    Remeasured, the bottom is 60 inches. Beam is 80 inches. Hits do keep on coming, I figured I would go ahead and pull the powerhead. While pulling it the transom had a bunch flex. I took my gerber and could push it 1/2" into wood. Looks like I have some dry rot. Well, glass is half full I guess. At least rebuilding it makes it good for years. I'll focus on the hull I guess. Start looking around for new power. Would love to bolt a new 115 optimax on there but it's not in my cards. Most likely looking for a used unit

    I'll take some pics. It's starting to look like a serious winter project!

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