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Design Comparison: shortened Key Largo or Miss Mist?

Posted: Wed May 29, 2019 11:08 am
by acflynn
Hey everyone, I'm a new member, and I had a comparative question between two designs, the Key Largo and the Miss Mist.

I've been eyeing a Key Largo, as I love the barrelback and old 40's design (and prefer the more practical utility layout), but due to garage space, I would have to reduce it about 5% to ~18'2" or so (normal length is 19'1"). The Key Largo page also says that for a V8 one should go up to the 20'1" length. Can a shortened Key Largo handle a V8? Is it weight-related issue? Or will the design not handle the potential speeds? Not looking to "floor it", but am planning on doing watersports.

As it stands, the Miss Mist has also looked like a possibility just because of it would be the same (yet full) size at 18'2" and still fit, and would be a full 12" wider in beam (7'1"). On the site various euphemisms have been expressed, such as "husky" and "practical", and has a "generous vee" for a softer ride, but it's not as gorgeous (to me) as the Key Largo. Elsewhere on the forums it's been mentioned that due to it's plywood construction (vs cold-molded) it would be both a faster assembly and less expensive, so those are considerations as well. Additionally some members have mentioned that this design can handle 300+ hp, faster speeds, and rougher water, so perhaps its design is indeed more sturdy.

I've never used CAD software, but just a quick-and-dirty scaling of the sketches on the Glen-L site provides the comparison between the two designs.
Miss Mist vs Key Largo.jpg
As I mentioned, I like the pre-war Chris-Craft look of the Key Largo, especially the barrelback and the stem, but the Miss Mist has that attractive Zip/Malahini line as well, and looks a little higher in terms of freeboard. I'm not sure I'm sold on the Miss Mist windshield, however charming it may be.

The extra beam of the Miss Mist is evident here: a foot wider than the Key Largo. I'm not sure if it's an optical illusion, but the cockpits all look the same in size, just that the positioning is different. The Key Largo has the longest back deck and most-forward cockpit, while the Miss Mist seems to have the smallest rear deck and the cockpit is practically a whole row behind the Key Largo. I'm not really wild about the hard and straight carling on the Miss Mist - perhaps it can be slightly modified to be curved like the other two.

I also did look at the Monaco, and while attractive, powerful, and good value in terms of # of passengers per foot, it looks a bit too low in the water for my taste. More 60s than 40s-style.


Re: Design Comparison: shortened Key Largo or Miss Mist?

Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 2:27 pm
by PeterG
You might look at the Biscayne 18 too for a comparison since you are attracted to the 40s vintage hull style, though the split/dual cockpit is not. I do not recommend shortening the Key Largo, you'll create many issues, like fitting the engines (less space between the frames). A shortened version with the V8 is not recommended because the reduced hull size means reduced displacement making the V8 version sit lower in the water than it should. That will affect the ride, low speed handling and getting on plane. That's why the V8 version is a foot longer, to handle the added weight of the bigger engine. The more modern hull styles will handle higher power engines better and some vee to the hull bottom means a better ride when there is some chop on the water, so these are all considerations. The wood speed boat designs evolved from the 1920s to the 1960s with increasing power and consumer demand for smoother rides and certain styles like the open cockpits. Going to a retro design is fun but sometimes a little less refined than newer ones. The Key Largo/Barrelback and other similar designs will tend to pound a bit more on choppy water due to the flatter bottom and the more vertical bow will tend to bite into wakes and pull to one side or the other more so than modern raked bows. These are all considerations that you're best to chat with others here on the forum, also try to get to the gatherings.

Re: Design Comparison: shortened Key Largo or Miss Mist?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 5:39 pm
by acflynn
Thanks for the information, PeterG - that makes sense. I had thought that the Biscayne would be the right length, but as you mention that design may have the same shortcomings as the Key Largo with regard to hull design, weight, and performance. I would assume that the same length limitations apply to reducing the Tahoe 19 down to 18' as well, correct? (The Monaco just sits too low in the water for my tastes).

Looks like I'll target the Miss Mist, which for me is the maximum performance, utility, and comfort that will fit in my 18'2" garage confines. It's a fine looking craft, looks to have a bit more freeboard (which I like), bigger beam (7'1"), and based on the fact that the design has been built as far back as the mid-50's, will have that authentic 'vintage' look, even if it isn't pre-war.

Thanks again!

Re: Design Comparison: shortened Key Largo or Miss Mist?

Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 7:09 pm
by PeterG
Great choice in the Miss Mist, sounds like it fits your wants and needs. It should be a bit easier to build in plywood versus cold molding. And don't worry if the windshield is not to your liking, you can put whatever you want to on your boat. That's the advantage and beauty of building your own boat because it's YOUR boat to do what YOU want.
So jump in, the water's fine! Ask any questions you have, the forum is a great resource. Post photos so we can see too and most of all have fun!

Re: Design Comparison: shortened Key Largo or Miss Mist?

Posted: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:04 pm
by acflynn
Well, it's been a while, and I've been contemplating this further. So in mid-June I decided and purchased the study plans for the Mist Miss. I think that will allow for max size (in my garage), with a vintage look that's more 50's than 40's with V8 performance. The 50's look could be more of a blessing, as I'd like to do a period-correct look with modern technology beneath - not sure if that's a "resto-mod" or a "retro-rod". The 50's look will also allow me to be a bit more kitschy with accessories, hardware, and upholstery, so I'm now digging the vibe of that.

BTW, Gayle or anyone else: Any idea when the Mist Miss plans originated? On the boards there has been reference to 1950's, but haven't seen anything definite.

One thing that didn't sit right with me was the windshield in the original design sketches. As PeterG pointed out above, I can put whatever I want on there, so I did some sketching, and came up with something I like a bit better. Keep in mind, I am now enamoured with the wood style vent windshilds, and grabbed several images of 59/60 CC Sportsman, Lyman Runabouts, and even some Streblows and Grand Craft models.

But it wasn't until the article from a few days ago (July 16th) that I saw what I was looking for - a Yellow Jacket Cruisette windshield. There's a great 8-minute video ( about the old Yellow Jacket company of Denison, Texas, of which Roy Rogers was a fan. At the 1:15 and 1:26 marks, they show their Cruisette with pretty much the right windshield formation for me.

Here is the original Mist Miss design, along with the YJ Cruisette design, and a sketch that I whipped up, and though it's really not that different (maybe a nod to longer Chris-Craft cruisers), it frankly made me smile each time I looked at it, so that must the way to go . . . right?
The light blue is to appease my wife, who said offhandedly that she could live with a color that pretty, and the copper bottom looks great and ties in to our Arizona location. Still hoping to start construction late September - it's 114 degrees today.
Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

Re: Design Comparison: shortened Key Largo or Miss Mist?

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:30 am
by BayouBengal
Looks like a great color combination, and great work on the windshield. Really looking forward to following your build.