This week-end in Cedar Key was the soft launching of the Sponge Docks Skiff. Unfinished as she is, I wanted to put the outboard on her transom, splash her and zip around. I’ve had in mind to do a few tests while she’s on the epoxy, unpainted and all. First, I was going to run her with only the skids on her bottom. We took good care to keep the inboard edges sharp and to round off the outboard ones but the boat has no chine flats or chine rails. To my surprise, she got on a plane very quickly and did not have water coming up the topsides, a common expectation for boats that don’t have sharp edges at the chine. Also, she is very dry and rides gently, both characteristics not to be expected of a low-dead-rise full-bow vessel. I’m quite impressed with the traditional Garvey concept, it works magnificently! Of course, fore-deck space is huge for a boat that size and stability is impressive, thanks to her Whaler-type beam.
We were running her with a 15hp Evinrude outboard, 2-stroke 1994. Weight-wise, we can assume the boat at 250lb, outboard + 5 gallon of fuel 100lb, 3 adults 480lb. So she was smack on the number as her displacement on her line is 840lb. So with 3 guys on board, she did a comfortable and sustained 17kts (19.5mph), good trim angle and sharp and responsive handling. No skidding around, natural banking angle. Hitting moderate chop she remained dry, as all the spray was directed away from the hull, nothing over the bow.
The next day i took her out by myself and was pleased to see 20kts (23mph). She does ride bow-high with a single rider by the outboard so she’d benefit from a cooler full of ice in the bow locker. That being said, the outboard was not trimmed all the way down so that might help, but it was to be expected. I banked aggressively to see how far she’d let me take her before spinning out and was pleased by the result, she felt like a jetski (not surprising, she ‘s much lighter than an average one).
I took her on the beach at Atsena Oti Key and she got a full inspection by many knowledgeable folks, not the least of whom was multihull guru Jim Brown himself. The comment I heard the most all week-end is how spacious she is and how much bigger than her actual 13ft LOA she looks like. People liked her sheer lines, traditional sailors and local fisherman alike, and that pleased me to no-end.
From here on, Tom and I will take her in the shop and get her finished up in steps. Today we glued up her rope rubrails, then we’ll add traditional chine rails for in-water-test no.2 Also missing was transom drain plug and fuel tank hold-down-straps. Few details, and then we’ll paint big black lines on her and take her out again to compare performance (and also get Thomas to enjoy the fruit of his labor). For those of you who are interested, the kit is already for sale and plans are as well.