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Thread: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

  1. #1
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    Default Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    I'm moving slowly, but with increasing determination, towards building a small power boat for use on the Chesapeake Bay. Although my eye is constantly drawn by small daysailers the truth is my Cape Dory 28 is easy enough to single hand that a ~18 foot daysailer would be redundant and one boat or the other would be neglected. I increasingly am seeing a need for a small power boat, capable of running my wife and I and our two dogs out to the local beaches and swimming holes for an afternoon picnic. The sailboat is just too slow to make this practical on a busy weekend or weekday evening. Key considerations are:


    • Must be lightweight. I was gifted an old (1997) half ton Sierra that appears reliable, but I'd like to hedge my bets and keep the weight low enough our sedan could tow it a short distance. Total weight including trailer would have to be less than 1200 pounds.
    • As I said, primary use will be by my wife and I and our two small (<25 pound) dogs.
    • Economical to run. I'm a sailor through and through and anything over 20 knots seems recklessly fast to me. I also have no interest in spending exorbitant sums on a large outboard. I expect to power this boat with a used two-stroke 20-25 hp motor because that's what I know how to fix and that's what I can afford.
    • Remote steering for the outboard, either center or side console.
    • Relatively simple construction. Plywood is my comfort zone but I'm intrigued by strip planking. The availability of a kit is a plus.
    • I don't expect to be out in adverse weather (I don't fish) but I'd like to know it could get me home if things turn snotty unexpectedly.
    • The boat will live in the water over the summer and be trailered home over the winter.
    • Obviously, it's got to be pretty.


    The two boats I've found that match this brief almost perfectly are Doug Hylan's Point Comfort 18, and the popular Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff. Both come in around 400 pounds, use an appropriately sized outboard and are lovely to look at. I've long coveted the Point Comfort but there's something about the Jericho Bay that has captured my imagination and I'm finding it hard to even theoretically decide between the two. I am interested in the relative stability of the two designs. I'm quite comfortable on small boats but my wife is not and I'd be inclined to pick the more stable design for her sake. It looks like the Point Comfort has a somewhat lower freeboard which could be an advantage since I envision occasionally beaching the boat and hopping out on shore when we have the dogs. I don't know how to compare handling since I have little experience with power boats and don't know how the two designs might respond to different conditions. I'm also open to other suggestions for similar boats. I do know that the Jericho Bay Skiff plans will have less detail then the PC18 plans, and I've never built a strip plank boat before, nor built a boat over molds. My experience is entirely with stitch and glue boats. Maybe someone who's built one or seen the plans can speak to whether or not a strip-planking novice could figure them out. I do have some reference books on building strip plank kayaks. Thanks for any guidance and suggestions!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Check out Rich Jones Jericho Bay build thread in Building/Repair.


    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...-Lobster-Skiff


    Jeff C

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Maybe take a look at the CLC Peeler Skiff?

    https://www.clcboats.com/shop/boats/...wer-skiff.html

    Meets all the requirements and comes as a kit.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Pete Cullers Chesapeake file bottom series might intrigue. Lot's of lay-out options. Easy moving, planes early, and that bow will deal with the chop.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Our Jericho Bay is easily run with a 25hp motor. You would be fine with the weight on the 1/2 ton of course, but the sedan might be questionable given boat, motor, trailer. I think the point comfort would weigh more.
    We stay in the water a couple months over the summer no problem. Lives on trailer in garage over winter.
    Jericho does have a high free board for beaching and getting the dog off or on. I can't speak to the PC. I have to pick our boy up and place him in over the side. He is 55lbs and it isn't easy.
    Remote steering isn't an issue. We did a side console.
    It is a step up from stitch and glue, but strip is strip and not too tough. Just know what you are getting into and it sounds like you do.
    Both great boats. Peeler skiff as a kit would accelerate the process a great deal and might be a good intermediate step. CLC makes great kits.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Vivier Kerisper ticks all your boxes. Kit only, ply, 20hp 18 knots, 220kg on engine/ 160 without. Side console. Same length as a Jericho but a bit beamier. I guess Clint Chase could supply the kit for you. Jericho is nice though...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Thanks for all the input. Chris, I've looked into the Peeler. I do like that it has a comprehensive kit available but I'm a little averse to flat bottom boats. It seems like it would be a compromise in performance, especially since the bay gets choppy fast even in relatively light winds.

    Ian, I did a little googling and couldn't find a comprehensive list of Mr. Culler's plans and where I might obtain them. That boat is absolutely lovely, I've admired it before.

    Thanks for the input on the Jericho Bay. Do you know what your fuel consumption is, approximately? How much fuel do you carry?

    Thanks for pointing me to the Kerisper, Edward. I hadn't seen that one before. It's a pretty boat. I don't especially like the design of the console but that can be easily changed.

    Maybe I'm underestimating the weight of a trailer. I reckoned a 400 lb boat plus 100 lb motor would get me about 900 pounds with the trailer, well under the 1200 pound capacity of our Toyota. I did a cursory search on some manufacturer's websites and couldn't find any information on the weight of an 18 foot boat trailer.

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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    The PC18 is almost three feet longer then the standard 15'6" Jericho Bay skiff, so there is that to think of unless you stretch the design (I added 6").
    I had been seriously considering Sam Devlin's Candlefish 16 before I chose the Jericho.
    He first designed it with about a 5'6" beam and then increased that about a foot for more room and stability.
    The Jericho is rather narrow at just over 5' beam. I'll be using mine on small lakes, so any rough weather will be comprised of 6" swells! The Candlefish could handle rough water if needed.
    Check out Devlin's website. I think he also has a Candlefish 18.
    Since you're experienced at stitch and glue, this might be right down your alley.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazer View Post


    Thanks for the input on the Jericho Bay. Do you know what your fuel consumption is, approximately? How much fuel do you carry?


    Maybe I'm underestimating the weight of a trailer. I reckoned a 400 lb boat plus 100 lb motor would get me about 900 pounds with the trailer, well under the 1200 pound capacity of our Toyota. I did a cursory search on some manufacturer's websites and couldn't find any information on the weight of an 18 foot boat trailer.
    I'm sorry, but I don't have fuel numbers on our Jericho. I use a 6 gallon portable with a 30hp etec and it runs forever. (I think it would be fine with a 25hp, there was no weight penalty to go to the 30hp so I did)

    I think you might be close on the weight. I call it 500lbs for the trailer, 500lbs for the boat, 125lbs=150lbs for the motor (I'd go with power trim/tilt again)...add some fuel and you are quickly closing in on your 1200lbs. Boat weights have a way of creeping up in my experience. I'm not sure where the 400lb number comes from, but I suspect that is with a tiller steering and minimal internal structure.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Thanks, Rich. I looked at the Candlefish series. It doesn't look there's an option provided for a console but I'm sure I could work out how to add one.

    That's good info on the weight. The 400 pounds for the boat is the figure provided on the Wooden Boat Store page. It makes sense the finished boat would be higher with a console etc. If I abandon the weight requirement then that expands my options greatly. Harry Bryan's Handy Billy 18 ticks a lot of the same boxes, for instance. I don't want to go too much more complex since I'd like to build this boat in two years or less, working part time.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    One thing to be looking at is weight distribution. A design expecting the helm to be at the transom with a tiller steered outboard will have a different static and dynamic trim with the helm weight and a console amidships. Not a big problem, and one which PTT will cure, but something to be looking at at the outset, as well as designed 2 or 4 stroke engine weight. Assume you've also looked through Bowdidge's catalogue? He's got several series depending on the V for flattter or choppier waters. Not kitable but there's alot less to powerboats than building sail boats. It's just a simple chined hull in most cases from a construction point of view ideally suited to plywood.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazer View Post
    Thanks, Rich. I looked at the Candlefish series. It doesn't look there's an option provided for a console but I'm sure I could work out how to add one.

    That's good info on the weight. The 400 pounds for the boat is the figure provided on the Wooden Boat Store page. It makes sense the finished boat would be higher with a console etc. If I abandon the weight requirement then that expands my options greatly. Harry Bryan's Handy Billy 18 ticks a lot of the same boxes, for instance. I don't want to go too much more complex since I'd like to build this boat in two years or less, working part time.
    I saw on Rich's thread that he is estimating 250 pounds into the hull. Rich has a lot of experience and likely will build right down to the designed weight.
    I wish I had weighed mine to be able to give you an accurate weight. Console certainly can be made fairly light weight, so given this, maybe you are back under your 1200lbs constraint by a safe margin and you mentioned short local trips with the sedan too.
    Two years or less is very reasonable depending on the great variation that "part time" can entail.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by jtdums View Post
    I saw on Rich's thread that he is estimating 250 pounds into the hull. Rich has a lot of experience and likely will build right down to the designed weight.
    I wish I had weighed mine to be able to give you an accurate weight. Console certainly can be made fairly light weight, so given this, maybe you are back under your 1200lbs constraint by a safe margin and you mentioned short local trips with the sedan too.
    Two years or less is very reasonable depending on the great variation that "part time" can entail.
    I have to point out that my 250lb. estimate is for the hull as it is now. It does not include the weight of materials for the interior.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Here's some to look at - plans for sale by our host -- https://www.woodenboat.com/boat-plan...574&ssrnd=5347

    And here's another plans index - from Duckworks -- https://duckworksmagazine.com/r/plansindex.htm

    And, if I understand your design brief, here's the one I'd build (unless it's just TOO slow) -- Redwing 18

    https://cmdboats.com/rw18.htm?cart_i...f038115a4fc37b

    David G
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Pete Culler's plans are at Mystic Seaport. The one in #4 is the 24 footer built in Maine. He did them in 16' and 18'. They are V bottom ( file bottom), totally traditional for the Bay, and deal with that short chop well. May be challenging to plank in plywood because of the twist up forward. The one in the photo I think may have been written up in WB.
    Ben Fuller
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Have you considered a Simmons sea skiff?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    My uncle had one of the 24' Culler boats. Neat boat, handled chop well and easily driven, but a lot bigger than what the OP has in mind.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    I'm surprised no one had mentioned BandB's Marissa 18

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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    ALthough the GLen-L catalogue has a fair amount of dated stuff...the Wee-Hunk is a viable addition to the Point Comfort 18 and Jericho skiff list. Its a S&G light dory style hull. Easy to build and definitely matches your power requirement....and more likely to be closer to your weight max. the pics in their catalogue dont really do it justice. The relatively beamy, flat bottom would be a much more stable platform than the Jericho which has a narrow canoe-like hull; or the Point Comfort which is also a full ft narrower beam. For 2 people and dogs - the wee hunk will be a lot more forgiving I would think. Anything except a Spartan-built 16' stitch n glue design will be tough to make your weight limit which will still be hard to achieve. So the wee hunk might be the most pragmatic option.

    pic907-4.jpg
    wee-hunk.jpg
    Last edited by pacificdoryonmymind; 11-14-2020 at 03:58 AM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by pacificdoryonmymind View Post
    ALthough the GLen-L catalogue has a fair amount of dated stuff...the Wee-Hunk is a viable addition to the Point Comfort 18 and Jericho skiff list. Its a S&G light dory style hull. Easy to build and definitely matches your power requirement....and more likely to be closer to your weight max. the pics in their catalogue dont really do it justice. The relatively beamy, flat bottom would be a much more stable platform than the Jericho which has a narrow canoe-like hull; or the Point Comfort which is also a full ft narrower beam. For 2 people and dogs - the wee hunk will be a lot more forgiving I would think. Anything except a Spartan-built 16' stitch n glue design will be tough to make your weight limit which will still be hard to achieve. So the wee hunk might be the most pragmatic option.

    pic907-4.jpg
    wee-hunk.jpg
    This would be great for beach landings/ picnic stuff. Flat bottom would make that easy. Stable at rest and slow speeds, but I personally would question just how "forgiving" that flat would be in Chesapeake chop at any speed.

    I admire that Marissa 18 by B&B and think its a good suggestion. That is a lot of boat driven by little horse power and available as a kit from a well recognized designer.

    I think the Redwing is a lot of boat, but a lot more complexity. Maybe the picnic version would simplify some of that...and it would seem the OP is looking for a least a turn of speed when necessary.

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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by jtdums View Post
    This would be great for beach landings/ picnic stuff. Flat bottom would make that easy. Stable at rest and slow speeds, but I personally would question just how "forgiving" that flat would be in Chesapeake chop at any speed.

    I admire that Marissa 18 by B&B and think its a good suggestion. That is a lot of boat driven by little horse power and available as a kit from a well recognized designer.

    I think the Redwing is a lot of boat, but a lot more complexity. Maybe the picnic version would simplify some of that...and it would seem the OP is looking for a least a turn of speed when necessary.
    These are all flat bottomed boats except the Marissa which is a totally different deal. The Marissa is also a very complex build (by S&G standards) by several orders of magnitude - although I agree, its a sweet design! The rest of them (Jericho, redwing, point comfort 18 etc) would all pound in a chop when going over 15-17 knots. THe difference being that the wee hunk would be more stable with more room for several people and dogs to shifting around without heeling the boat over in a precarious moment.
    B&B 056.jpg
    Marissa8.jpg
    B&B 077.jpg
    Last edited by pacificdoryonmymind; 11-14-2020 at 04:27 PM.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Small power boat for the Chesapeake Bay

    Well now that I've let this thread slip sufficiently far down the page I guess it's a good time to resurrect it. Thanks to everyone for their input. Lots to think about. I had seen B&B's Marissa. I'm nearing completion on a B&B Two-paw 8, which will be the tender for my Cape Dory, so I know the quality of the plans and the outstanding level of support available from the designers. That said she's quite a different beast from the Jericho or even the PC18. They do have a forthcoming design, the 17 foot version of their Jesse range, that might be closer to the brief but is still a step up in complexity from the designs I'm currently contemplating. The same would be true of the Handy Billy too, but that design has more of the traditional flare I'm looking for.

    It's sounding like the 1200 pound weight limit is generally regarded as unrealistic for the size of boat I'm looking for. That's fine, by the time I start construction I'll have had the truck long enough to have worked through any issues it might have. So if we toss the weight requirement out the window then we open up a great deal more options. One that's caught my eye is Atkin's Rescue Minor. This is, of course, an entirely different kettle of fish from the other designs in that it is an inboard and a tunnel hull. The great advantage it has is that I already have the motor for it. I've been collecting motors from a gentleman who disposes of insurance write-offs so I have a three cylinder Yanmar that would be perfect for it. I do prefer inboards and am comfortable maintaining and installing them. It's a bigger boat too so probably more stable for my wife and dogs.

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