A friend showed me a picture of a boat being built at the NC Museum in Beaufort, NC yesterday. I immediately recognized the likeness to the 30' New Zealand powerboat that has drawn so much interest among boating dreamers. A short quiz established that this is indeed a new build of Offset Harbor's version of this striking boat. It was able to have room in the museum shop due to the COVID driven shutdown of so many public functions.

I will try to visit the museum soon as the construction is well along is well along and will not be there long. The original is named WHIO and Offset Harbor's version is named AROAH.

It will be interesting to see if the new one retains the characteristics that garnered so much attention for WHIO. WHIO ran at moderate speed with a very clean wake at low fuel use. Many changes must have been made because of so much one-of-a-kind custom work on both construction and power of the original. WHIO was powered by a marineized Toyoto engine coupled to an original and optimized large diameter propeller which likely contributed to much of the performance. The new boat is powered by a Beta diesel of lesser power and a more obtainable drive system. I suspect that it will have nice handling characteristics but lower speed potential than WHIO. Time will tell and end speculation in that score.

AROAH will retain many characteristics that caused me to have lesser praise for WHIO than so many boat lovers who I considered allow their dreams to get the better of their reason. It is expensive to build even if Offset Harbor has been able to make it simpler in construction. The 7" beam is pretty narrow and surely contributes to the performance at the cost of creature accommodations. A need for a large diameter custom built propeller indicates that a "normal" system will offer lower performance. Hopefully a realistic cruising galley and a permanent head has been added. The steering mechanism of a stick and cable is time honored by many small boat fishermen and saves much space on such a narrow boat but I much prefer the standard wheel set up. If AROAH proves to be a boat that meets the wishes or needs of many boat owners or builders then my comments mean very little as boats are essentially love objects and few of us that build them actually need or have to have a boat.

As with a beautiful woman, a beautiful boat justifies itself and need lesser reason to exist.

To be continued,
Tom Lathrop