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Willis Boatworks Old School 22 - Hull #6 - Build Thread

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Willis Boatworks Old School 22 - Hull #6 - Build Thread

Old 08-24-2017, 10:49 AM
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Default Willis Boatworks Old School 22 - Hull #6 - Build Thread

Time for a build thread that isn't one of the typical hulls you see around THT. A couple weeks ago, our build on a Willis Old School 22 kicked-off and we're going to try to document as much as we can along the way.

The Basics
Where We Are Now
  • 28-Aug-17 - Coosa stringers glassed in
  • 24-Aug-17 Initial layup done, stringers cut & getting glassed in.
  • forgot to keep this list updated for a while....
  • 1 February-18 - Out of the mold, boxes & deck in, console extended and tacked into the boat


How We Made This Pick

As should be plainly evident from the specs or a picture of one dry, the Old School 22 isn't an offshore go-fast boat. We were in the market for a skiff replacement that wasn't as wet as the prior Jones Brothers Bateau and had a bit more space aboard along with a T-top. We already have a larger offshore boat, so we focused on boats that were well suited to skinny water, sandbar hopping, and offered us plenty of utility space inside for dogs or dive gear.

I'm a fan of "fishing in the boat" rather than "on it". Almost all the bay boats we looked at had very little inside-the-boat floor space which is what we wanted for keeping the dogs inside the boat (not bow riding) and laying out dive gear. We also troll for Spanish and do a good bit of nearshore fishing, another reason to have a cleaner transom where you can walk-around the leaning post while on the troll and not dance on a raised transom deck typical on a bay boat. The Old School 22 seemed to have the right balance here and being an entirely custom build, we had a lot of latitude on the layout.

The construction was another deciding factor on this choice. The build up of this boat is entirely composite. Stringers are glass + Divinycell. The transom is Coosa. The only wood involved is the snazzy helm pod and Willis' signature forward locker door. Having owned and sold a few boats in the past, I personally believe that resale will always remain a little stronger on a composite boat where any doubts or questions about the integrity of an old wooden stringer simply isn't an issue.

Before deciding, we were able to sea trial one and crawl around on a second. It was incredibly helpful to actually get in them both and it led to us changing our plans from a coffin-box style layout originally envisioned to a bow seating arrangement much like those built before. It was a comfortable layout for 3 people to sit in the bow and chat and still allowed walk-up access to the bow-locker when anchoring without standing tall on seats or the cap. The boat was initially priced/spec'd with a 150 or 175 outboard, since our typical sandbar runs or hauling dive gear around means a fairly heavy load, we opted for the fly-by-wire Suzuki df200ap. I've always been a Yamaha fan, and have had some first-hand let-downs with a buddies Suzukis, but the price disparity between the Yamaha and Zuke 200's was hard to ignore. Suzuki has a strong following & service network here so I'll swallow my personal bias this time around.

The sea trial was done on an afternoon with our typical, unrelenting SW winds that don't seem to have stopped at all this summer. Winds were 15kts with the usual big wind driven chop that comes right through Beaufort Inlet at Harkers Island. The boat was remarkably dry running into this chop compared to other skiffs and bay boats. The boat also rode considerably softer than the JB skiff which I attribute to the heavier weight, bow, and judicious use of the trim tabs. The boat we sea trialed was hull #1, given the design of the hull I was worried how much the stern might slide. Up on plane and the wheel hard-over to port the stern did indeed slide. Because of this, we're adding a couple inches to the keel/skeg on our build. The sea trial took us down Shackleford Banks a ways and we then slid through a break in a sandbar which was less water than I'd even typically try to get my JB skiff through - an impressive upside of having the prop pocket on this hull.

We're doing an in-floor fishbox style compartment (although it'll be used for storage only), a thru-hull transducer, t-top + radio box and fixed navigation lights (we run at night a good bit) as well as some work to recess the floor inside the console for additional storage space. A custom ladder is in plan as well although the specifics of the design aren't worked out yet. We also insisted on a new center console design with more space to flush mount all electronics and have the t-top tie into the console rather than the floor.

We're hoping for an October delivery. It's a custom boat build and luckily we live close to the shop to check on progress regularly, we've stressed that getting it done right is more important than making any arbitrary date but we still stop in and hassle AJ Willis about the date for good measure.
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Last edited by bpevans; 02-01-2018 at 07:21 PM. Reason: Adding the obligatory photos for the THT crowd...
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:02 AM
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Should be a cool thread, thanks for sharing
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Old 08-24-2017, 11:04 AM
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very cool
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:04 PM
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:51 PM
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Seems like you guys thought the build through very well and will turn out to be a really cool build. Thanks for sharing. Also pretty cool about the modifications you're doing to the keel.
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Old 08-24-2017, 02:24 PM
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Default Sea Trial Day - June 30, 2017 - Old School 22 Hull #1

Here are some photos from the initial sea trial. This was the first mold produced hull, hull #1 that the owner graciously allowed the builder to borrow for a sea trial. It was very helpful to spend some time on this boat to get a feel for the layout and an idea of the ride. The admiral decided almost immediately the grab rail in the bow was something we didn't want, we wanted more flush-mount real estate on the console, and are going to get the wheel mounted lower within the helm pod.
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Old 08-24-2017, 04:32 PM
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Beautiful line's. Can't wait to see the process.
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:09 PM
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Hard to beat a Custom Carolina boat. Some of the best boats built come from the coast of N.C. I lived near HI for many years.
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Old 08-28-2017, 09:56 AM
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Coosa stringers now glassed in to the boat.
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:29 AM
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Awesome looking boat. Willis Boatworks is top notch! I have a 50 foot Willis that I am very happy with.

In a year or so, will be looking to have them build me a 60 footer.. Juniper plank on frame!

JSeas
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:43 AM
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Interesting bottom design, Looks like upside down U shape in the center. Please explain
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Goofballdev View Post
Interesting bottom design, Looks like upside down U shape in the center. Please explain
Shallow-draft, a classic Harkers Island design that was originally designed as an inboard straight-shaft prop pocket. On their website, they still have some that are built this way like the local 24' "Bucket" which has a diesel in it. For us with an outboard it works out as a tunnel to run shallow getting to sandbars.
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Old 08-28-2017, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bpevans View Post
Shallow-draft, a classic Harkers Island design that was originally designed as an inboard straight-shaft prop pocket. On their website, they still have some that are built this way like the local 24' "Bucket" which has a diesel in it. For us with an outboard it works out as a tunnel to run shallow getting to sandbars.
10-4. Thanks!!
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Old 08-28-2017, 06:36 PM
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i have seen the boat in the pics in the ramp... quite lovely looking
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:54 PM
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Nice
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:31 PM
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Stopped by the boat shop after lunch today and found the crew making molds of our stringers. Future 22 Old School's will have glass stringers moulded in versus the labor intensive and fit coosa stringers in our hull. Coosa deck cores in the shop and waiting now.
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Old 08-31-2017, 04:56 PM
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my neck hurts on those sideways pics...

but I will follow this thread. Those are classic boats with great lines! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:10 PM
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Yeah, still not sure why photos uploaded from the iPhone are orientated so poorly but look fine on iOS

Added some builders photos here.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:11 PM
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A very interesting bottom, for sure. Classic lines and pleasing to the eye.
How does she ride with a OB in the chop? Her entry looks very sharp and rear end flat with a pocket. I bet she gets on plane in a heartbeat, corners well and is economical to run.

A video of her running would be sweet, hint, hint.
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:15 PM
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Keep posting. Nice lines
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