Power, elegance on display at show

ON THE OUTDOORS

October 18, 1998|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,SUN STAFF

Henry Hungerford pushed the throttles forward and headed for a charterboat passing into the Severn River outside Annapolis Harbor. The 22-foot catamaran shot ahead, twin hulls riding lightly over the wavelets before easily knifing through the charterboat's wake at 30-plus knots.

"On these boats, that wake is nothing," Hungerford said during one of many demonstration rides aboard a Twin Vee Awesome 22 last week at the United States Powerboat Show. "We need some waves, some real rough water, to get a feel for what these boats can do. Give me 20 knots of wind on the nose and three- or four-footers and I'd really show you the difference between these cats and a normal 22-footer."

However, on Thursday at the mouth of the Severn, the wind was light, the waves and wakes were inconsequential and Hungerford had to be content with speed trials and handling demonstrations.

And the 22-footer, powered by twin 70 horsepower, four-stroke Suzuki outboards, performed well, coming up on plane at low rpms, running quietly and dry at more than 30 knots and turning nimbly at high speeds.

Jim Snyder of Williamsport, who keeps a 31-foot monohull at Kentmoor Marina on Kent Island, was aboard for a test ride Thursday and came away impressed.

"I have a Wellcraft that I use mostly for fishing," said Snyder, "but this [the Twin Vee] is really different -- smoother, stable, spacious for a 22-footer -- and those four-stroke outboards are so quiet you almost don't know they are there."

The Hungerfords, Henry and his brother, Bryant, own PowerCats in Cambridge, a dealership for Twin Vees, a line of plain, no-nonsense powered catamarans that are at the bottom of the price range for power cats. The Awesome 22, with T-top, bait wells, basic instruments and twin outboards, is show priced at $33,771, one of the bargain fishing boats at the show.

There are also great deals available on models from virtually every major manufacturer, but two, one-boat displays stood out for fishability and value -- a 28-footer from Canaveral Custom Boats, Inc., and a 30-foot fisherman from Evans Boat Construction in Crisfield.

The 28-footer from CCB in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is rigged as a cruiser with twin diesels that give it a cruising speed of 28 knots. But the custom-built hull also is available as a convertible, flybridge and hardtop.

"These are built one at a time, and we have been building them that way for years," said Mark Smith, president of CCB. "We don't do a lot of national advertising, the family owns the plant and our overhead is low. That translates to value for the buyer."

The CCB boats, which range from 28 to 46 feet, are based on the Delta Boats built by Mark's father, H. Gene Smith, whose designs included lifeboats that could withstand fires on the water and had diesel engines that would start even when upside down.

"We encourage total customer involvement in customizing the layout and look of every boat we build," said Smith, adding that the hulls are hand-laid glass and there is no wood or foam coring in any structural areas of the boat.

The base boat comes with a single engine (gas or diesel), head, vanity, galley, vee-berth and pilot house, with ample headroom throughout.

The price range for the CCB 28 is $80,000 to about $140,000 for one rigged as the show model is. And while the boat is not inexpensive, it appears to be a lot of customized product for the money.

Gene Evans, president of Evans Boat Construction, had added a new twist to a design that has been built successfully for 17 years.

Instead of the inboard or inboard/outboard models that have been used by commercial and recreational fishermen in many areas of the Chesapeake Bay, Evans has equipped the 30-foot Fisherman with a 150-horsepower Yamaha outboard and enlarged the pilothouse and cabin.

With the 150-hp engine, Evans said, the 30-foot Fisherman should cruise at 22 to 24 knots and top out about 33 knots. An optional 250-hp outboard will add another 5 knots.

Most of all, it is a serious fishing boat with 200 square feet of cockpit, more than 100 gallons of fuel and a design that was built for the shallows and chop of Chesapeake Bay.

The base boat with a 150 Yamaha and a nice list of standard equipment, Evans said, costs $33,600.

"It's still a very simple boat," said Evans. "But that's what I wanted, a boat you can go out in and fish on all day and just hose it down when you get back to the docks."

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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