A Shallow Draft Fisherman

During the last many years I have had the very good fortune to design a number of shallow draft motor boats. These boats are not like the generally accepted tunnel stern models which are, after all, conventional hulls with a hollow in which the propeller turns. Rather the designs of the shallow draft boats I have designed are developments of the justly famous Seabright skiffs; small boats that have always been able to put to sea in safety, and this despite the weather. Seabright skifts, and most of the other skiffs that were used many years ago are quite in a class by themselves. The subject of this design article is a wholesome development of the fishing boats of the New Jersey sea coast. Here we have Little Water, a very shallow draft skiff that has a bottom which some Smart Alec, posing as an expert, in a recent chrome plated contemporary called, "weird and wonderful." I often wonder why writers think boats are funny. I know boats are fun which is an entirely different matter.

Anyway, Little Water is a boat designed for fishing and has an overall length of 24 feet 3 inches; a water line length of 23 feet 6 inches; a breadth of 7 feet 8 inches; and a draft of 1 foot 2 inches. The freeboard at the bow is 3 feet 8 1/2 inches, at the lowest place, 2 feet 4 5/8 inches, and at the stern, 2 feet 6 3/4 inches. The displacement to the designed water line is very close to 5,000 pounds.

The profile and deck plan of Little Water show a trunk cabin with comfortable forward and side decks and a large cockpit, the latter being 10 feet 2 inches long and 6 feet wide inside the coamings. A fish box will be located beneath the cockpit seat. The motor will be installed under a box as shown. The deckhouse is low and fitted with ample glass for light. The cockpit floor is 10 inches above the water line and will be self draining.

The cabin is small. The boat, however, is not intended for cruising but rather for the usual day time trips made to some favorite fishing grounds. There is room for two to sleep, a small galley fitted with sink, Primus stove, shelves and lockers. Opposite the galley there is a comfortable seat with locker above. It would be a simple thing to install, beneath this seat, a small toilet and there is room enough for it. Cabin headroom under the house top beams is 4 feet 8 inches and under the companionway slide, 5 feet.

The forward topsides are of conventional round bilge form and have ample flare and flam to assure dryness while the after sections slightly tumble home. It will be noticed that there is considerable flare from the L.W.L. to the 2nd L.L. The purpose of this is to prevent the stern from tripping in a following sea; the outward flare increases the buoyancy as the hull heels down. The keel, of course, is of pure Seabright type with its valuable box deadwood. The drawings of the lines show how the propeller and rudder are installed and show why it is the propeller can be partially above the water line thus permitting so little draft. There is a reverse curve in the line of the top of the box deadwood, and this on both sides of the center line. The 1st buttock line carries a reverse curve and the other two are reasonably straight. This then forms an athwartship hollow extending from the center line to buttock 3, the highest point of which stands at a point slightly forward of the propeller. Thus when the propeller is set in motion water sucks from the twin tunnels each side of the box deadwood, raises to the top of the hollow, and is ejected through the small orifice at the bottom of the stern. And all this with a minimum of resistance.

The motor shown in the plans is a Gray Six 226. The weight of this motor with aluminum crankcase is about 600 pounds and the cylinder displacement 226 cubic inches. Kermath, Red Wing, Universal, Scripps and several other manufacturers make motors of approximately the same cylinder displacement and of about the same weight and power as the motor specified. Any one of the above will give excellent results if properly installed as shown in the plans of Little Water.