Right boat for the Potomac River

Designs for inboard or outboard power

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Greg_B
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Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Greg_B » Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:36 am

I live in Alexandria, VA, and I'm trying to decide on the right boat to use primarily on the Potomac. I'm up in the air about the Squirt, Zip, and Malahini. I see posts and pics from people launching squirts on the Isle of Man, Martinique, etc. I also read comments on the forum that the Zip is tricky except on lakes. Can anyone comment about which of those three designs is inappropriate/dangerous for the Potomac? I'd appreciate any general thoughts on the issue. Thanks in advance!

Hercdrvr
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Hercdrvr » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:38 pm

I ran my little Squirt 140 miles on the Tennessee river at the Gathering last fall, but it's a very small boat. Other builders were about to send out a search party for my wife, dog and me after we'd been gone 5 hrs.

A Zip is a nice size to build in a standard size garage but they seem overloaded with 4 adults.

I'm currently building a Malahini, biggest I can build in garage. For me its the first boat going up the size scale suitable for 4 adults comfortably. No offense to all the Zip owners.

As far as running on the Potomac river, it depends on the weather. The 3 boats mentioned are all pretty flat and will beat you up in rough water.

As I've often heard here on the forum, choose the biggest design and then stretch it %10 if plans allow.

Good luck, they're all good boats
Matt B
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gap998
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby gap998 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:01 am

Hey Greg,

Take a look at the Nimrod and imagine it with an enclosed deck like a Zip/Malahini; possibly a good compromise for rougher water?
Gary

Planning a whole fleet, but starting with a Zip...I think.

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Bill Edmundson
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Bill Edmundson » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:25 am

Greg

Good advice from Matt and Gary.

Bill
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Dave Grason
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Dave Grason » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:13 am

Hercdrvr wrote:I
As far as running on the Potomac river, it depends on the weather. The 3 boats mentioned are all pretty flat and will beat you up in rough water.


Yes and this is because all three designs use plywood for the hull material. In a rough, afternoon chop, a plywood boat will do a considerable amount of pounding.

As far as interior space goes, I can tell you for certain that the Zip is too small for me alone. I'm a big guy at 6"1' and 350lbs. I know this because I'm building a Zip myself. If I climb into the hull and take a photo, I look like a hog on a hamster. (I wasn't this size when I started this project.)

That being said, I can also tell you from attending the Gatherings that there is an amazing amount of difference between the Zip's interior room and the Malahini's. You can think of the Zip as the little Miata for the lake and the Malahini is the Camry.

If you want to get away from the pounding of a plywood hull, you will need to look at the cold-molded designs starting with the Monaco. The cold-mold process allows for compound curves at the bow. This makes the boats entry into the aforementioned afternoon chop a completely different situation. Cold-molded hulls are much smoother and more comfortable. They are also inboards and that also improves the ride. But they require more build time and are more expensive.

If you are really serious about making the best decision, you are certainly invited to attend a Gathering. Here you can ride in any and every boat in attendance and see for yourself what design you prefer. I know that the afternoon chop on Nickajack is going to be very similar to the Potomac.
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Dave Grason
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Dave Grason » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:26 am

Here is an update to my previous post. I was looking at some photos of the Harry Nice Memorial Bridge. If I wanted to boat farther downstream from this bridge, I would most definitely be looking at an inboard cold-molded design. That really is some big water down there. I'm not saying that the smaller designs couldn't handle it - especially if you picked your day. But going to a cold-molded design would be about 3 gazzilion percent more comfy.

LOL, Haha I said "gazzilion" percent. Not THAT is a scientific empirical term if there ever was one. :lol:
Isn't it amazing!! The person that never has the fortitude to pursue his own dreams, will be the first to try and discourage you from pursuing yours.

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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby BillW » Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:47 am

Greg,
Even though we love our Squirt, it's not our primary boat. We have an 18 footer, and that one is too small when the grandkids come along.

The Squirt is amazingly sea-worthy considering it's size, but it is a tiny boat. My wife and I weigh 280 combined, and there is room
for a small lunch cooler, and nothing else. Our Squirt is as fast as the 18 foot skiboat, but the speed can only be used in very protected
water.

A Squirt is lots of fun to build and play with, but is very limited as a practical boat. Our Squirt can be seen on the Glen-L Boatbuilders Blog,
back up a couple of previous pages to Bill and Linda's Squirt.

Bill

Greg_B
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Greg_B » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:04 pm

Thanks for the advice. I'm leaning toward the Nimrod based on your comments. Now I just have to pull the trigger on the plans!

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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby bobinpowayca » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:19 pm

Howdy, I would suggest the Geronimo(which I'm building). Maybe it looks a little homely but with the high freeboard, wide beam and hogged sheer it would do okay in the chop. And better to fend off the sharks and scallywags as you approach the tidal basin :lol:
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Moeregaard » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:50 pm

I'm with Bob regarding the Geronimo. I've put four full-sized humans in our Zip, and even in the protected water of our local lake I was getting a little nervous due to the lack of freeboard--especially at the transom. If you regularly carry heavy loads, or get caught out when the weather comes up, you'll really appreciate having that extra freeboard. And, no, I don't consider the Geronimo to be homely. It just has a more purposeful look than our Zip.
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby garrech » Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:56 pm

Our Squirt can be seen on the Glen-L Boatbuilders Blog,
back up a couple of previous pages to Bill and Linda's Squirt.

Bill[/quote]

Your Squirt looks awesome by the way! I don't mean to hijack this post, but how long between the two different finishes and the windshield delete?

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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Adrock1 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:36 am

Dave Grason wrote:Here is an update to my previous post. I was looking at some photos of the Harry Nice Memorial Bridge. If I wanted to boat farther downstream from this bridge, I would most definitely be looking at an inboard cold-molded design. That really is some big water down there. I'm not saying that the smaller designs couldn't handle it - especially if you picked your day. But going to a cold-molded design would be about 3 gazzilion percent more comfy.

LOL, Haha I said "gazzilion" percent. Not THAT is a scientific empirical term if there ever was one. :lol:


Dave, do you really think the cold molded runabouts ride that much smoother? The reverse curvature possible with that kind of construction certainly helps give a finer entry and perhaps a drier ride but they are still often flat bottomed or nearly flat bottomed at the transom. On plane a boat is pretty much riding on the aft third of its hull and if that section of the hull is fairly flat it will ride like it's flat no? I've never had a ride in one of these old classically styled runabouts so I can't speak from experience but I've always heard they are better suited to protected waters precisely because of their relatively flat bottoms and low freeboard.

My personal experience with planing hulls is that a smooth ride at speed is more dependent on the amount of deadrise at the transom. In other words, a deeper vee at the aft end of the boat, the planing surface, is what smooths out the ride. Certainly a fine entry helps but that alone doesn't make a smooth ride at speed.

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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby Greg_B » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:28 am

This forum really is great, and like with all good conversation, it's making me think more and more about my needs/wants. I have some experience with the Potomac as a former owner of an Albacore sailboat, which is 14-feet long. I'm stating the obvious, but the river is much different in March and November than in July and August.

I have a couple of little kids (6-yr-old boy and 3-yr-old girl), so I cannot imagine ever loading in more than two adults and two children, and I'll probably only take out the boat on a day when I can expect (as much as that is possible) the weather and the river to be at its safest. Because I have a couple of small children, I'd like to work on the boat with my son - my daughter is a bit too young, I think. I'm very hesitant about getting into a project that I cannot complete for five years. I'd like to have it done in a year or two, so we can enjoy the boat while the children are small. So those are my priorities:

A project to work on with the children
A boat to use when the weather and river are safest even if it means a limited-use boat
A finished boat in time to enjoy while the children are still young enough
Creating an opportunity for my children to talk (preferably when I'm dead and gone) about how crazy their dad was to build/try to build a boat

I have tried to imagine the Nimrod (horrible name aside) with decking like a classic runabout or utility boat, and I like the picture. One of the more recent posts makes me wonder if a 15-ft (stretched to 16.5-ft) Nimrod is a safer, drier, more comfortable ride than a 16-ft Malahini or a 16-ft Audeen. If anyone has experience with the ride of any of those boats (Nimrod, Malahini, or Audeen), I'd love to hear an opinion or random thoughts, even.

Once again, thanks to all who have commented so far.

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hoodman
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby hoodman » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:41 am

Have you been boating on the Potomac at all? If not I would suggest getting out there in a rental or maybe go with a friend just to check things out before picking a design. It's hard for a lot of us to make a call on it because I bet most of us have not been on the Potomac. If you keep your eye on the weather you might be just fine in a smaller boat. Conversely, there might be days when you wouldn't want to be out there in anything under 20 feet.

I'm not convinced that the hull shape of the larger cold molded boats smooths out the ride (compared to sheet planked) so much as the sheer mass. The lighter the boat, the more you are going to bounce around on the chop. Since 2009 I've owned a flat bottomed jon boat. I've had that boat out in just about every kind of weather there is on the local lakes (some of them quite large). It handles boat wakes pretty well provided you don't take them straight on. In severe windy conditions, you just have to slow down. I've never felt in danger, of course she should float even if full of water. It's more about size and mass when it comes to comfort on the water. Of course the more weight the more power you need to move at the same speed.

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vupilot
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Re: Right boat for the Potomac River

Postby vupilot » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:20 am

Check youtube to see the ride of boats you are interested in. Here is a Malahini in 2-3 ft rolling chop on a white capping lake lanier. A lake known for chop when the wind kicks up. https://youtu.be/Pg7SBjxN6w4

Here is my Zip in 2 ft whitecaps with about 25 mph winds. This is the most I will beat my boat up, anymore and Im slowing way down. https://youtu.be/byT35xhyACg

Here is a video with many of the boats you are deciding on in action. https://youtu.be/fCFK28qbhTI


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