Search for Toy Boat 2 – Design and Selection Parameters

Like all good engineers, I spent a fair amount of time putting together a list of requirements, goals, and constraints:

Requirements & Goals:

The first thing I did was to make a list of the capabilities I needed in an offshore boat:

  • Adequate speed – In my experience, a comfortable running speed in the ocean is somewhere around 20 -25 mph. Assuming a 10+ hour fishing day, a maximum running time of 3 hours (+ 3 hours back) would still leave me 4+ hours to fish. That meant I could potentially fish 60 – 75 miles out.
  • Ability to run in reasonably rough water – In Southern California, I would need to be able to run at cruise speed in 2 – 4′ fairly long-period swells, with maybe 1-2 ft wind chop, and 5 – 10 knot breezes
  • Ability to survive really rough water conditions if needed. Comfort not a priority.
  • Space to mount electronics: radio, sonar, small mapping GPS unit (maybe more!), plus enough generating and battery capacity to power everything (including the bait tank).
  • A bait tank capable of handling 2-3 “scoops” of live bait like anchovies or sardines
  • Adequate range – Using the 1/3 – 1/3 – 1/3 rule (“Use 1/3 of your fuel to get out, 1/3 to get back, and keep 1/3 in reserve for bad weather, etc.”), I would need enough gas to go 60 * 3 = 180 miles.
  • Adequate room and storage space to allow two people to fish comfortably. This included the ability to handle a large number of fishing rods – I really enjoy light tackle and salt water fly fishing, and estimated that I would need to carry between 5 and 10 rods per person- several spinning or conventional rods, plus several fly rods.
Toy Boat 1 - Tracker TV-17

Toy Boat 1 – A Tracker TV-17


I also had a couple of other constraints:

  • Size – I wanted to be able to keep the boat on a trailer in the garage, which restricted the total length on the trailer to 19′ 6″, the maximum height to 7′, and the maximum width to something well under 8′ (had to be able to get out of the other car!).
  • I wanted to use as much stuff from my old boat (a well-equipped V-hull aluminum bass boat) as possible. A quick assessment:

Toy Boat 1

Item Will it go to the new boat?
Hull No
Motor & oil injection system Yes
Engine controls Maybe
Batteries (3) Yes
Trailer Maybe
Sonar unit, speed/temp Yes
Safety gear, horn Yes
Electric trolling motor Yes
Anchors and other ground tackle Maybe

Search for Toy Boat 2 – Design Implications

  • The desire to use the old motor (a 90 HP Johnson 2-stroke) had some immediate implications. After a bit of research (see our post “Do You Really Need that Much Horsepower?”, it appeared I would be OK with a hull up to around 1,500 lbs. This automatically limited the size of a fiberglass hull to 18 feet or less. This meshed well with the garage length limit, which also restricted LOA (length over-all) to somewhere around 18′ (allowing 18″ for the motor, and assuming that the trailer would have a removable or folding tongue).
  • There are not many aluminum hulls in the 18 ft. range that are rated to handle 90 HP. Most aluminum hulls in this size range are rated for outboards in the 50 – 60 HP range.
  • Handling and seaworthiness requirements implied a V-hull of some sort, preferably with a fair amount of deadrise through the transom, flared bow with a pretty sharp entry, and some intelligent use of chines and strakes to control spray.
  • Based on various rules of thumb, I thought I should be able to achieve 2.5 – 3 miles per gallon at cruising speed. This implied a fuel capacity of 40 – 60 gallons, plus possibly some additional portable gas tanks.
  • Maximum fishing room implied something like a center console layout or a small walkaround cuddy cabin, with as much under-deck or enclosed storage as possible.
  • Live bait requirements implied a livewell size of 40+ gallons. We’ll be posting something soon about sizing livewells.

Toy Boat 2 – Hull Selection Criteria

To summarize, I began looking for a hull with the following characteristics:

  • LOA of 18′ or less
  • Beam of 90 inches or less
  • V-hull, some deadrise thru the transom, chines or spray rails
  • Fiberglass or heavy aluminum construction
  • 40+ gallon fuel tank, or room to safely store addition fuel to get to 40+ gallons
  • Under-deck storage
  • In-gunnel or under-deck rod storage
  • Enough deck space behind the console seating for a 40+ gallon bait tank.