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Thread: Low horsepower planing boats?

  1. #1
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    Default Low horsepower planing boats?

    I'm interested in small, low power, planing motor boats, examples such as Ross Lillistone's Fleet http://rosslillistonewoodenboat.blog...t-reports.html

    or a couple of examples on the late and sadly missed Rob White's web pages http://www.robbwhite.com/photos/index.htm jpeg's 020 and 021

    As a lifelong sailor my experiences of motor boats is limited - small 6-7 meter ribs when we were scuba diving plus the odd fast and fairly uncomfortable ride in friends deep vee power boats.

    We live on the south coast of England, my thoughts are that a low power, small craft might be idea for getting across the Solent, a stretch of relatively protected water between the mainland and the isle of Wight - a dock to dock journey of around 7 miles. Although protected, the tides are big and run fast, which causes nasty wind over tide waves, steep and powerful maybe a couple of feet in height and frequent. The biggest hazard is motorboat wash, it's not uncommon for a 50 foot plus motorboat to come tearing past at 40 knots, often far to0 close.

    I'd be really keen to hear advice, experience and opinion on this type of motorboat, the small size, light weight, easy to launch and keep, low power outboard and economy are very attractive combined with reasonable speed. Crew will be two adults and a growing child so safety is a major concern.

    Are these boats viable as safe and seaworthy in the area described or would we be better off with something like Sam Devlin's Candle fish or a power dory (the latter are not popular in UK so I have no real point of reference).

    Intuitively I'm thinking of the smallest boat that can be used safely and reliably, clearly we're not thinking of going out when a gale is blowing, but the afternoon winds often gust up to F 5 or 6 on a sunny day.

    I also confess that I am intrigued by Rescue Minor - too many boats not enough hours in the day

    Look forward to hearing your views

    Thanks Max

    http://bursledonblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    A feller around here was building a Rescue Minor, though I don't know if it was to Robb's alterations or not. He got it strip planked and then moved to Washington. It was a much bigger boat than photos or reading had led me to believe. If the Ocean Pointer is not too large, it is a beautiful, beautiful boat, and meant for 25 hp, maybe even less. Tom Hill's skiffs might also be an example of low power planing boats.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Thanks Dave, your comments on Rescue Minor seem to confirm my own intuitive impression that she's a big boat.

    For my purpose the ideal would be something in the 15-18 foot range - which could be kept on a small trailer if that size fulfils the criteria for seaworthiness and safety.

    the Ocean pointer is a nice boat no doubt, while it's a relative thing 25HP isn't low power in my mind - I don't want to be prescriptive at this stage but I had in mind 5-10HP

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?



    Atkin scandel. 3hp=9mph, so he says. Believe one has been built in ply. Add some decent bouyancy and you have a good fleet alternative.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    How about a PT Skiff? Or a Vivier Koulmig? Or a Welsford Rifleman, or one of Mark Bowdidge's designs?
    Last edited by Clarkey; 10-14-2012 at 04:01 AM.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Bolger's Diablo fits the bill. They are usually fitted with motors around 20-25 hp but I read of one owner who used his on a lake where HP was restricted to 10 or less. He reported the boat would plane with 10 hp and a light load.
    Goat Island Skiff and Simmons Sea Skiff construction photos here:

    http://s176.photobucket.com/albums/w...esMan/?start=0

    and here:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37973275@N03/

    "All kings are not the same."

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I second the Diablo, it planes very easily tracks like it is on rails and is a very easy to build. I got about 18 MPH out of the Honda 15 we had on it. It currently has a 2 stroke 28 on it and it screams.
    Great boat.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?



    This is the Diablo with the 15HP on it

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post


    Atkin scandel. 3hp=9mph, so he says. Believe one has been built in ply. Add some decent bouyancy and you have a good fleet alternative.
    Wouldn't that just pound to bits in Solent chop though? Fleet may stand more of a chance with its fine entry.

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    Default

    Boy those sound like big waves and these are little boats. Maybe OK for a couple of experienced fishermen but a wife and child? Probably nobody would drown but plenty of potential for wet and scared.

    10 hp would be a minimum to get up on plane with something light and flat like a Diablo and maybe not even then with 300 or 400 lbs of crew and gear. You would need to be able to run the motor sitting in the middle of the boat to get over the hump and for safer steering in waves.

    I live on a river with lots of big speeding powerboats like you describe and when we have an F5 wind blowing against the 2mph current it's wet and very uncomfortable in my 24' runabout. Lots of guys fish with 16' aluminum skiffs with 10-25hp OBs but they don't go out on days like that. Actually, neither do I.

    Denny Wolfe
    Denny Wolfe
    www.wolfEboats.com

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Depends on how you built it..... planeing in a solent chop is going to cause anything other than a really narrow hull or deep V to pound, and any small boat under 15ft will probably be quite wet too. You are asking a lot from a small size,and so as always,some design compromises may have to be met. The Bolger Diablo is a good design also, but not as efficient with the low power motor you wish to use.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    It isn't that the waves are particularly big but they manage to feel extremely solid and 'square'. I remember crossing from Hayling Island to Cowes several times in a 4m Avon Searider (early RIB) with a 50hp evinrude lark on the transom. It was somwhat exciting but I was glad it was fast enough to be effectively immune from tidal effects. I imagine that I would want something capable of maintaining 12-15 knots in most chop just to get around.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    If your experience with displacement boats was uncomfortable, I don't think you're going to like a small planing boat, afaik displacement makes for a much smoother ride.
    If at first you fail, you need to expand your sample size.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Given your sailing background and where you are, I'd consider a sailing boat converted to power. I've crossed the Solent many times in a Wayfarer, if you were to build I'd think of something like an Albacore, with slightly less rocker and more deck.

    Much as I hate to include myself in the Oughtred cheerleaders, the Fulmar is basically a Wayfarer and his plans are apparently comprehensive.

    Wind against tide on some of the Solent obstacles can create some spectacular seas, I can remember being overtaken by a Flying Fifteen (I might have been on a Laser) it was if it was in another dimension and if it had exited that dimension it would have fallen on my head.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Fleet looks a very strong contender. What about John Welsford's Trover.



    John's words "She has a narrow flat bottom panel with a very fine entry to reduce wave impact, this planing shoe gives her the ability to plane a heavy load with a relatively small motor. The chine panels are well veed to ease her motion in a seaway and the topsides are flared enough to keep her dry inside. This shape is a well proven one and ideal for the shot sloppy waves of the lakes and estuarys that she is intended for."

    http://www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/trover/index.htm

    I like the small bow transom, it will ensure decent forward volume when going through the infamous Solent wind against tide chop. Narrrow planing shoe means she planes early, beaches nicely and saves lots of money by not having to buy expensive solid wood keel. She is quite rib like, without the expensive collar, although you could add two side tubes to the upper hull panels if you wanted.

    Hope you find just the right design, we have a nice 8hp motor which could suit such a design. She would be good for us in the Western Solent, and Poole harbour trips to Studland and Old Harry.

    I know a nice man who might be persuaded to cut a couple of kits for us!!

    Brian
    Last edited by keyhavenpotterer; 10-14-2012 at 10:04 AM.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Ii think conversion to a RIB would be a good idea for the Trover, here is a ready made way http://www.dinghydogs.com/

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    A big favourite of ours is Joel white's Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff. 15 to 20 hp though.





    Trover with those side buoyancy bags would be tough like a Land Rover.

    Brian

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Sticking with the original criteria and length/power does not give you much choice really. I have plans for Uffa Fox ankle deep, which he designed especially for motoring around the Solent,and its a great bit of work, but at 25ft with 2 9.5hp she would do 20mph through anything without slamming. Im not sure the lines would work on a smaller boat, the planing lines lift her head 12in and reduce her displacement from 1200lbs to just 600lbs. One day......

    I used to run across to the IOW from Chichester in a small Robert Tucker Caprice yacht, i would not fancy doing it in a small outboard boat with wife and child unless the weather was spot on. And, not one to rely on anything mechanical unless its a Perkins AD3, a bit of sail may not go amiss,so how about the Goat Island Skiff? Planes well with a small motor apparently.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I seem to remember reading that in order to achieve planing it is necessary to have a power to weight ratio of at least one horsepower to each 40 pounds of all up weight.Extra weight means more power and that requires more fuel,which in turn adds to the weight and so on .

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Seems to me that skiffs are more likely than anything to plane with a 5-10 hp. I remember a guy not far from me (though I didn't meet him) who used to have a photo or two on google of him jumping a Diablo over a water skiing ramp. I think they are somewhat homely, though I have built two gypsies and they have almost identical construction methodology and a similarity of look.
    Last edited by davebrown; 10-14-2012 at 10:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    This may suit what your looking for: The Bosun's Mate 23
    http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com...s_Mate_23.html

    It was designed primarily for what your describing and we have a number of them being built in the top end of Australia where the wind constantly blows 20-30 kts with tides runing at 6 kts plus with a lot of chop etc, where the islanders use them as transport between the islands etc.
    There is also a few being built out in the Pacific for the same reason.
    They're typically powered from 10Hp to 50 Hp pending application.

    regards
    Mark
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    http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I have considered building a Bosun's Mate 23 for fishing on the Columbia River, Oregon bays, and over the bars into the ocean... weather permitting. Similar duty, I'd think, to what you're describing.
    David G
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    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  23. #23

    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Bowdidge View Post
    This may suit what your looking for: The Bosun's Mate 23
    http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com...s_Mate_23.html
    A 23' boat for a 7-mile dock-to-dock hop with 2-3 people sounds huge. Of your designs, wouldn't, say, Magnum 12 be enough?
    http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com...Magnum_12.html
    Of course, I have only seen the Solent once.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    As Mark ,(Mr Bowdidge) has already commented here, maybe he would care to comment on what he thinks would be a satisfactory boat for this purpose, and if indeed the 23 Bosuns Mate(nice)is his personal choice, as a designer, would he actually reccommend any of his sub 15ft power boats for operating in the conditions expected?

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I'll be interested to see what Mark has to say, but meantime I can speak to the other design of his I am considering. The Sandy Straight 14:

    http://bowdidgemarinedesigns.com/Bow...Strait_14.html

    Both of those boats are set up well for fishing. I have to decide first whether fishing expeditions will be limited to myself and one other... or whether I want to be able to take several folks. Then I have to decide how important going out into the rougher waters is to me. Larger groups and rougher waters would argue, I'd think, for the Bosun's Mate. Neither are particularly complex builds, though there will be more material in the Bosun's Mate.
    David G
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    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Nice boat, but 15 to 30hp! How much will it really need to plane 3 people? Nice easy construction, sensible boat.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Thanks for the overwhelming response, perhaps I should fill in a few more details which might avoid some of the comments made so far. Although my experience of motorboats is limited, I've been sailing for over 40 years, in the past 25 years we've owned 8 yachts and have sailed inshore and offshore, I haven't kept track of the miles, but I guess somewhere around 30,000 NM including a voyage my wife and I sailed 2 handed to west Africa, across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then back across the Atlantic to home.

    Our son has sailed since he was 16 days old, and we are more cautious and safety concious sailors since he came along.

    My description of the sometimes nasty Solent conditions is because sooner or later we will get caught out, heaven forbid that I'd try and plane into a 2 foot chop, but I want to know that with the right handling, speed and strategy the design can cope and be navigated safely. Intended use is fair weather, smooth seas and hopefully for 99% of the time we will get it right!

    I've lost count of the times I've crossed the Solent including in our old Wayfarer and even our 12' Cormorant (cat boat) and on that subject i agree with John Welsford the wayfarer is a fine boat with a huge reputation founded in the remarkable achievements of Frank Dye, but there are better cruising dinghies. So back to the case in hand, frequent contributor here James mcMullen has repeated shown that with the correct planning, care and design selection a small, lightweight boat can be safe and rewarding I agree whole heartedly.

    In this part of the world the RIB is the ubiquitous motor boat, but strapping on a 50HP outboard onto a rubber dinghy can't be the only answer. sadly we've lost the lineage to local working craft which evolved for the conditions.

    Intuitively the likes of Flint and Rob White's boats seem to me to have the ability to provide ease of operation, getting to where we want to go briskly if not quickly, speed isn't the objective, but small kids have a limited attention span and would much rather be digging on the beach than short tacking for another 2 hours against a foul tide.

    Both boats I mention seem to be used in coastal locations, but I have no detailed knowledge of the conditions so can't make a comparison. Equally if i have the HP wrong then so be it, but as a principle I'd rather carry a 10HP down the slipway than a 25 HP any day. if that means we can only achieve 6-8 knots rather than 12, we'll still be there quicker than we can sail.

    The Bosun's mate 23 would probably work fine as would a nexus dory, but they seem a bit big, the Jerico bay skiff looks like it might fit the bill but is it really used for coastal work and in what conditions?, ditto Trover but "lakes and estuarys that she is intended for" doesn't really sound like the Solent.

    Thanks again for responses so far look forward to more comments and insights.



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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I think that realistically a 6hp four stroke or 8hp two stroke is the absolute maximum I would like to carry down a typically slimy Solent slipway. That being the case, I think that your first idea of 'Fleet' really is on the money. Small enough to row if the engine quits and probably ok to self rescue. Maybe a Welsford Rogue is worth a look too? I think a robust spray hood would be very good idea whatever you go for.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sailing Dreams View Post
    Thanks for the overwhelming response, perhaps I should fill in a few more details which might avoid some of the comments made so far. Although my experience of motorboats is limited, I've been sailing for over 40 years, in the past 25 years we've owned 8 yachts and have sailed inshore and offshore, I haven't kept track of the miles, but I guess somewhere around 30,000 NM including a voyage my wife and I sailed 2 handed to west Africa, across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and then back across the Atlantic to home.



    With your experience you know self bailing, self righting, flotation, and self rescue are keys for small boat / small people survival in big water. If these factors aren't considered and accounted for one way or another, then you know wishful thinking is involved. You'll note that most of the suggested small skiffs simply have no decent way of keeping the water out and then getting rid of it when it gets in. You won't get self righting in a small power skiff unless you build in removable water ballast, but that may be overkill if you have self bailing, flotation, and self rescue provisions.

    You won't get planing with low horse power if you're much over 10 degrees of deadrise at the transom, 5 degrees might be a better limit, but you don't want a pounding flat bottom. You'll need a long shaft motor and a self draining motor well for sure.

    You have a difficult quest but it may be possible, just focus first on designs that keep the water out, and provide rapid means for getting rid of it when it gets in (it will get in). Good luck!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I suppose another approach may be a multihull - maybe like the Selway Fisher 'Trican' 15' trimaran motor canoe?

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    As Mark ,(Mr Bowdidge) has already commented here, maybe he would care to comment on what he thinks would be a satisfactory boat for this purpose, and if indeed the 23 Bosuns Mate(nice)is his personal choice, as a designer, would he actually reccommend any of his sub 15ft power boats for operating in the conditions expected?
    G'day sailing Dreams,
    In regards to your comments above, we too lived on a yacht for 11 years, clocking up over 30,000nm cruising the Pacific, Indian oceans crossing the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere on numerous accasions. One of the biggest challenges is the right dinghy for the types of conditons that one encounters in all types of weather. Overall, the worst style of boat I've had is a flat bottom boat. Not only for it's sea keeping ability's and ride, but also for the fact that everything and everyone got wet. During this time, I came up with the idea for a new dinghy, one with higher sides, was easily driven and capable of planing with minimal power. That design later become known as the Mushulu 12 ( http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com...ushulu_12.html ), a design that I built a number of for other yachties as well. Twelve years later, I expanded the concept to the Mushulu 14 (http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com...ushulu_14.html )and Sandy Strait series. However, the Sandy Strait 14 is not a boat I would recommend based on the fact that as a family boat, it does not have enough seating.

    The reason I mentioned the Bosun's mate, that as a design its easily driven, dry, with plenty of room on board. Also, when the horizon turns grey, its a style of boat that is designed to take what may come, but based on what your first mentioned and being that this forum is based on tradititonal style boats, that is why I mentioned it. As for me personally now, I'd be building an EdgeTracker 426 or similiar ( http://www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com...acker_426.html ), smooth ride, dry and quick, requiring only a 20 hp to get up and go.

    Anyway, that's my thoughts on the matter, however with all our designs, I draw from our personal experiences based at time at sea (both in recreational and commercial) and what can get thrown at you. So based on this, I tend to design for open waters, but that is just me.
    Ps. If someone happens to ask me a question over the next couple of days, excuse my delay in responding as we're driving down to Brisbane to attend a Naval Architect Conference.
    regards
    Mark
    -------
    www.bowdidgemarinedesigns.com
    Last edited by Mark Bowdidge; 10-15-2012 at 05:45 PM.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    That Edge tracker looks like a good deep and capable boat for its size, however,it is way more boat than Fleet, in every sense. The Mushulu 12 is closer in size,but still a nice deep hull. I think if the OP, SD really does pick the weather then a Fleet would be fine, espcially if fitted with a lightweight canvas sprayhood. There is a mass of "off-the-shelf" plastic and polyethylene boats in this size range, but a good ply boat will be lighter and should in theory,need less power for the same performance. As always, you pays your money and makes your choice, and its a shame there is not a lot more designs for this purpose availiable for home builds. The only other boat that springs to mind,would be any of the Dory/Skiffs in John Gardners book either the 14 or 16,known for easy planing, but possibly too wet and uncomfortable heading into weather?

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Given your sailing background and where you are, I'd consider a sailing boat converted to power.

    I can remember being overtaken by a Flying Fifteen (I might have been on a Laser) it was if it was in another dimension and if it had exited that dimension it would have fallen on my head.
    There's the germ of an idea..... locally designed sailboat - suitable for conversion.

    http://www.uffafox.com/f15chine.htm - add an outboard trunk just forward of the rudder.
    Someday, I'm going to settle down and be a grumpy old man.

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    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    One other issue, i dont believe Ross has released plans yet for fleet, or am i mistaken?

  35. #35

    Default Re: Low horsepower planing boats?

    I ve been using this Phil Bolger designed seahawk.

    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...k-last-weekend

    It has been powered by a 6 hp since new. It'll hold three American adults so about 700#s. But while it will still plane with that load its not nearly as happy and I wouldn't want to make a 7 mile trip in 2 foot chop with three aboard. However I routinely make 12 mile runs down the York river to the Chesapeake bay with a passenger in 1 foot chop and 10 mile per hour winds. In those conditions the boat rarely pounds but is a little wet. Three up planing with a 10hp and lower motor seems like your asking a lot.

    I've been thinking about stretching a seahawk out to 18' to 20'. This might make the boat ideal although I wonder if it would still row as easily.

    I'd suggest building a seahawk as it goes together quickly and cheaply and see if it works for you. You'll be able to sell it for the materials cost if not.

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