|Below were my notes after initial test:
Saturday took the boat out on the water for the first time just outside of Gordonsbay old harbour .
Conditions were OK to choppy with a 1-1.5m swell and 8-11mph winds.
Designing and building this skiff had very specific parameters , function , and characteristics it had to abide to, to be able to be a true flats skiff . Because it is also a first of its type built locally in SA nothing to compare it to and also performs like nothing I have been on .
Length - 5.05m
Beam - 1.70m
Dry Weight (excluding motor)- 192kg
Draft - 12cm unladen , 22cm with 2people on the stern with motor in up position .
freeboard from Waterline - 40cm
power - 15-30hp.
Speed ( Stock Standard Mercury 15hp 4 stroke tiller long Shaft)- 1 crew ( 122kg +136kg ) (45kg gear) (25l Fuel ) - 17/18knots (0-plain 2-4sec)/ 2 crew with same gear/fuel - 15/16 knots (0-plain 3-4 sec).
plaining threshold - 11 knots.
Got to the slip reversed the trailer into the water , as soon as the trailer wheels touched water the stern started floating.( retrieving was also interesting as you have to be far forward for the stern to rest on the trailer). The skiff was on my AceCraft trailer and the stern hangs 60cm off the back just due to having a different waterline profile that is very long .
off the trailer got on the boat and the first impression is the level of stability it is not tippy even a little bit, with my Gymnastic physique I am able to walk around on the gunnel from Stern to bow in dead calm/flat water .
Got out of the harbour mouth , Twisted the 15hp merc and onto the plain she went almost instant and started accelerating , so much so that had to reduce power just to adapt to the water conditions sitting at 13-14 knots , turned around into the chop and got up to 17/18knots WOT.
Went over a 1.5m swell dead on - did a bit of a belly flop - this boat doesn't like belly flops , took the next 5 swells at a 30degree angle and smooth as it comes
lesson 1) if it can cut through it rides soft and dry , jumping it likes less. 14-16knots in these conditions was its happy place and had 1-2 horses in hand ( Having a horse or 2 in hand was almost comical as we crossed our fingers that it would plain ) it plains easy because it has a very long water line and big low deadrise planning surface.
when the boat jumps on the plane it doesn't make a bow wake it has to get over , it just accelerates - I like this, as it is important to do this in shallow water.
Then Came the Acid test : 2 crew( 122kg / 136kg ) / 45kg gear weight/ 25l of fuel . Twisted the throttle and up on the plane she went a second or so slower but not labouring at all , got to 15/16knots WOT and almost wanting a extra 2-3 knots with extra weight.
What I like
* Plains easy with a 15hp in salt water with few horses in hand , it performs perfect with the 15, going to a 30hp will give you better speed on flat water and little more torque and more horses in hand not that you may need them but if for some reason , also of the opinion a 30hp is going to be a tad over power at max operating . a 30hp with electric start , T&t will be very convenient, a 15/20hp with these features would be perfect.
* Boat is dry
* It is comfortable for its small size and very stable.
* Stupid Skinny , with crew aft and one on the bow 16cm Draft with both crew aft 22cm Draft
* You can tow and launch it comfortable with a citygolf sized car.
* uncluttered deck , lots of storage under deck
* Fuel consumption +- 80km on a 25l tank with 4stroke 15.
What needs to be tweeked .
* Would like the inside planning strakes 10-15cm Shorter - creates a little chine slap with single crew but quiet with 2 crew.
* Having the pole platform a extra 10cm higher - 1st go around its ok but extra 10cm would be more convenient.
* Need to reinforce the Hatch lids a little more or go on a diet
* adding a little seating box on deck with grabrail .
* Raising inside deck from 350mm to 320mm to gunnel
Some Aspects getting used to :
Tiller steering + Tiller steering plus extention turning to starboard easy - turning to port less versatile while seated.
Standing on the poling platform is a little freaky but will get used to it in time
boat likes as much weight as possible forward.
Being openly critical , but all in all I think here is something special , special in a sense where this is a craft that is so simple and effortless to own and use and being able to fish in waters that other craft cannot .