Monday, March 29, 2010

Maine Boatbuilders Show : Episode 4

While I've said that I tend to gloss over the power boats at the show, I want to do a little justice to my favorite power boats of the show. While I admire these boats, I really ascribe to Mac McCarthy's thinking. That thought is that the best boats you can have are the ones you can pick up with one hand and take places that other people can't go because they float in only 3" of water.

As I may have noted, one of the major reasons that I don't have much interest in large power boats is that my pockets aren't deep enough to keep one. Another is that I'd need to get more training to properly handle such a large boat. For boats of this size, dockage, maintenance, hauling, fuel and insurance costs are huge - and we haven't even factored in the purchase cost! I have no real purpose to keep a boat like this because:
  1. I lack deep pockets (as noted above)
  2. My DW doesn't want to be on the water - at all.
  3. I don't own a camp on an island or on the water.
  4. I live far from the coast.
  5. I don't fish.
  6. Because of (2), the thought of using such a boat as a floating "hotel" is nixed.
So, irony being what it is, I'll probably wind up with one of these in my lifetime.

As you can see in the pictures below (and at the beginning of the post), the fourth and fifth section of the first floor are dominated by large power boats, many of which resemble the coastal lobster boats which ply the coast. For many people, these are "picnic boats" for getting out on the water for fishing, picnics along the coast and islands of Maine and as a mobile weekend camp.

As an engineer, the thing that amazes me is the systems integration in these boats. You've got the main power, hydraulics, ventilation, pumps, docking thrusters, electronics for illumination, entertainment, cooling, etc. and navigation in the form of radar, sonar, GPS plotters. You've also got to add things like trim tabs, and gyroscopic stabilization to help damp out the waves to give a smooth ride in bad conditions. All of this gets wrapped into a elegant shell with finely appointed cabins including beautiful wood and metal work. The workmanship is really incredible and the technology is awesome.

Some of these boats even lack propellers and are powered by diesel engines that turn turbines and steer using hydraulically controlled "buckets" to direct the flow of water from the turbine. The upside of this propulsion method is that they can run in shallow water and you're less likely to have problems snagging lines or other debris in the water.

While most of these boats are fiberglass hulled with wood trim, some are actually still wooden boats.

One of the first boats I saw that I found interesting was Mischief by CW Hood Yachts Mischief - a Wasque 26 model. It was of a scale and type that I could actually see using.

The other power boat that piqued my interest was this one from the John Williams Boat Company.

The boat is Maisie McGoo, a Stanley 38 powered by a 540 hp Cummins diesel engine. Let's just say that I didn't bother to ask how many gallons per hour it burned at cruise. Woodwork, fit and finish were fantastic.

Maisie's launching - photo by Joshua Harding. Pretty, no?

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