Thinking about a small 16-18 foot boat

db4570

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I am looking for a new boat. We currently have an 18' bowrider with a Mercruiser 135 h.p. I/O, that we use in fresh water. It's a very nice boat, with one major exception: it can't handle rough water at all. On smooth water it's great. But we constantly find ourselves plowing along at displacement speeds, because with it's wide, hard chines, it pounds like crazy in any sort of moderate chop.

It also isn't really suited for what we are wanting to do with it:

- Something we can camp with, and fill it full of gear without worrying about ripping all the plush vinyl seats and swim deck on our current boat.

- Something we can drag up on a rocky beach on the Maine coast and not worry about damaging it too much.

- We want to be able to take it in fairly rough water and feel secure, and ride comfortably, albeit at a moderate speed. We would use it mostly in the New York Finger Lakes, Adirondack lakes, and the Maine coast and islands around Mt. Desert Island.

- A boat we don't have to be nervous it will get scratched every time we dock it, but that we also can look respectable if we go out to dinner in it.

- Something small enough to trailer, launch, and beach easily.

I was originally thinking about a small center console, under 20 ft. But this summer, on our way to Cape Cod, we passed this incredible boat that had the shape of a miniature lobster boat, without a cabin. After poking around on the internet, and here on this site, it seems like it was either a Downeast pocket lobster boat, a Downeast work boat, or a work skiff, or some similar combination. It was probably 16 feet long or so, and it had a small 20 or 25 hp outboard on it. The bow curved up like a lobster boat. It looked so seaworthy, and classic, that I fell in love with it, just passing it on the highway. I wish someone in our car had been able to snap a picture of it.

The small engine on this boat was also very appealing. I would be happy at a cruise speed of 10-15 knots or so. With our current boat, we are often limited to that speed because of conditions, but it is not pleasant. The boat doesn't handle well, the engine doesn't sound great and isn't in it's real power band, and it plows through the water.

We don't need to go very fast. We just want to travel at a decent clip, and smoothly.

So help steer me in the right direction!

The Holland 14 looks really cool, but maybe a little too small. The Seaway 18 looks really great, but they always show them with a 70 hp engine, which makes me think we are getting into planing territory, instead of semi-displacement, which is what I think we want.

I am attaching pictures of boats I like the looks of.

Thanks for any input, ideas, or suggestions.

David

Westpointer 18.jpg

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400-145-Jericho-Bay_1400x.jpg

00U0U_bCVmuh6rjCKz_1320MM_1200x900.jpg
 

tsharac

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The only boat I would drag up over rocky beach would be an aluminum canoe, but maybe I'm not understanding what you mean.

An older Eastern or Seaway should meet your needs for cruising at 10-15 knots and have sufficient space. Check the brochure for performance and economy numbers.

Enjoy your search.
 

Penzance Point

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That Allied 17 has a 70, no trailer ,20k. Fits your need except dragging on rocky shore
 

Spence

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As somebody points out above you won't be dragging anything heavier than a canoe. If you want a hull you can allow to tide out on the rocks aluminum is your hull material. For more than 30 years, the Maine Island Trail Association has used 18' open aluminum Lund skiffs for thousands of island camping and work trips. BTW if you like camping on Maine islands they're worthy of your support. There's good reason I own a tin skiff and a 24' Seaway.
 

AW_Holland32

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in the same vein as above comments, you should probably plan on having a tough little dingy in the mix. Something rowable and light like a walker bay and factor having room to pull that on board. Besides damage from beaching the weight of a boat like you’re talking about makes any kind of dragging on or off the shore near impossible.
 

db4570

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OP here. Yeah, the dragging-it-up-on-shore requirement might have been too much to ask.

I have seen the park service boats nudge up on the beach to disgorge passengers, and that seemed pretty cool. But they didn't drag the boat up out of the water. Thinking it through, that is a whole other situation.

It would be great to be able to beach the boat like that to unload, and then moor it and use a skiff to get in. One place we visit has that arrangement, and a little skiff available. But the skiff is dragged up on the shore, so we would have to get to it.

David
 

Dorado

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I have an Ellis 20 with a 90 Yamaha 4 stroke. Essentially an oversized skiff. As for the displacement vs planing aspect, it runs well based on what the conditions allow. We came home today in 2’ chop and were comfortable a hair under planing speed. When you get into the rivers it’s fun to have the speed. I think the Eastern with the 70 is the same concept.
 

MAArcher

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Budget?

If you're actually going to beach on rocky shores, I think you'd be looking at a 18' Lund Alaskan. If you're just going to be beaching on sandbars and gravely beaches, I'd guess you could get away with that with the boats you pictured, keel guard and an awareness of what the tides and currents are doing.

Different style than the plumb bowed boats you pictured, but I like the look of skiffs and dory's for the sort of thing you're talking about.


1633999179132.png

Novi Skiff
1633999413751.png

 
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Spence

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Lund Alaskan is a good choice, the Lund SV18 is another. The Alaskan is a bit heavier and fancier, the SV18 is straight out utility
 

Fouraces59

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Take a look at David j Smith Boats on Facebook if you can. Built in Nova Scotia. I have a 14' that will carry a load and has high gunnels. He will stretch them to 16 or 18' too. Not a speed boat but with the right power will get you the speed you want, able to handle things when it gets snotty and able to beach out to off load. here is a picture of the 14 , with myself, my son and nephew and 10 traps. Probably close to 1000 lbs and still sitting pretty high. this is a tiller but he does them as a center console. probably not as fast as a 14 Holland but I think more of a work horse to carry stuff and people safely

1634041890353.png
 

MAArcher

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Take a look at David j Smith Boats on Facebook if you can. Built in Nova Scotia. I have a 14' that will carry a load and has high gunnels. He will stretch them to 16 or 18' too. Not a speed boat but with the right power will get you the speed you want, able to handle things when it gets snotty and able to beach out to off load. here is a picture of the 14 , with myself, my son and nephew and 10 traps. Probably close to 1000 lbs and still sitting pretty high. this is a tiller but he does them as a center console. probably not as fast as a 14 Holland but I think more of a work horse to carry stuff and people safely

View attachment 119223

Cool to see Jay. I guess having a David J Smith boat IMG_0924.jpg isn't as rare as I thought it might be around here!
 

MAArcher

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I think Salty Boats of Maine makes boats from the original Seaway molds:


 

Toots

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I'd say any 20' or smaller DE skiff will fit your needs, other than dragging onto beaches as others have mentioned. That said, the 18 foot eastern is quite small once you start loading gear.

I'd look for a Seaway (wider) or a simple novi skiff if you can be lucky enough to find one. Ellis 20 is perfect for this application IMO.

Just bump it onto the beach, unload, anchor out and swim in. Maybe bring a paddle board and dont forget to throw your shirt onto the island first.
 

db4570

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I think the Eastern 18 looks about the closest to that one was that I saw on the highway, although the Easterns all seem to have 50+ hp engines. The 20hp motor on that one I saw seems a bit unusual for this type of boat. I like that a 20hp is under 100 lbs, and portable. The weight for a 50hp is 200. I'm not too hung up on the tiny motor thing. I just think it would be cool to make it work.

The David J. Smith looks nice, and seems to get good reviews. I wish there was more useful information for them besides their Facebook page.

As far as swimming ashore from the mooring. I occasionally plunge into Maine waters for a quick (like 5 second) cool-off when I am really hot. The idea of commuting that way doesn't appeal too much.

Thanks for the ideas, and keep them coming!

David
 

P18Flirt

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Fouraces59

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I think the Eastern 18 looks about the closest to that one was that I saw on the highway, although the Easterns all seem to have 50+ hp engines. The 20hp motor on that one I saw seems a bit unusual for this type of boat. I like that a 20hp is under 100 lbs, and portable. The weight for a 50hp is 200. I'm not too hung up on the tiny motor thing. I just think it would be cool to make it work.

The David J. Smith looks nice, and seems to get good reviews. I wish there was more useful information for them besides their Facebook page.

As far as swimming ashore from the mooring. I occasionally plunge into Maine waters for a quick (like 5 second) cool-off when I am really hot. The idea of commuting that way doesn't appeal too much.

Thanks for the ideas, and keep them coming!

David
if you have any questions on the David J Smith send me a DM. I have some more pictures too and David's phone number
 

Pcollinsmma97

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If you saw it on the Cape, it could have been either a Williams Skiff or a Ladybug skiff. But both of those are flat bottom and really popular down here. They are plywood construction- straight up lumberyard skiff. I have an 18 foot Ladybug with a 25 HP Mercury 4 stroke. Scoots right along and I absolutely love it. Mine is just a skiff, no console, no seats no nothing except the outboard, its just a bad ass little boat. The new 18 foot without power is sub $5K. Without the motor down it draws about 6 inches and 2 guys can push it back in the water if the tide runs out on you. We fish Woods Hole in it a lot and can get right up tight and shallow to the rocks and not worry about bumping them so much. If you do……well its a plywood boat!

I’d think that for what you have described you want to be able to do, these check all the boxes. The flat bottom has its benefits and its limitations.

I don’t think anyone is building the Williams any longer, they were built here in Falmouth. The Ladybug is built in Plymouth MA. Pretty short money for a sweet little skiff. Here’s the link to his page
Lady Bug Boats | Custom Built Plywood Skiffs
 

Bern

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We had a Seaway 21 we used for 13 summers camping on islands when our family was young. Creative anchoring, watching the tides, some wading and a used 7' Bombard. Worked great, however you don't sleep very well. I'd stick with at least 50 HP for an 18' DE skiff.
 

Penzance Point

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Agree with pcollins. I also have a 18 Ladybug cc,with a new 40 h.p.. Atlantic just put on. It scoots thru woods hole and puts thru the shallows. I use it mostly now in upper Buzzards. If anyone is interested, I'm thinking of going bigger.
 
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