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Why are the boats in Alaska underpowered?

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Why are the boats in Alaska underpowered?

Old 09-24-2020, 03:36 PM
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Default Why are the boats in Alaska underpowered?

I was in Alaska over Labor day and I noticed an overwhelming majority of the ocean boats I saw seemed underpowered..... I think several I saw wouldn't even be considered seaworthy by THT. I'm talking about 28'+ (metal) pilothouse boats with twin 150s or a single 250. So what's the rationale behind it?
Old 09-24-2020, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
I was in Alaska over Labor day and I noticed an overwhelming majority of the ocean boats I saw seemed underpowered..... I think several I saw wouldn't even be considered seaworthy by THT. I'm talking about 28'+ (metal) pilothouse boats with twin 150s or a single 250. So what's the rationale behind it?
Too rough to go fast, plus a lot of the aluminum boats are lightweight compared to the plastics. You rarely see the big motors of Florida here on the west coast of Canada either. The fetch between here and Japan is pretty substantial.
Old 09-24-2020, 03:53 PM
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Aluminum is much lighter than glass. What you speak of has been the norm for decades.
Old 09-24-2020, 04:11 PM
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Would you be in a hurry to freeze your nads off
Old 09-24-2020, 04:30 PM
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Nobody ever says speed up when you see icebergs.

Im guessing most boats are to make a living or for transportation not a hobby to get to the fishing grounds the fastest.
Old 09-24-2020, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by magua View Post
Would you be in a hurry to freeze your nads off
I was gonna guess the same thing but I’m just a dumbass from warm sunny South Carolina.
Old 09-24-2020, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenny Powers View Post
I was in Alaska over Labor day and I noticed an overwhelming majority of the ocean boats I saw seemed underpowered..... I think several I saw wouldn't even be considered seaworthy by THT. I'm talking about 28'+ (metal) pilothouse boats with twin 150s or a single 250. So what's the rationale behind it?
I'm one of your underpowered Alaskans, and while I can't speak for everyone else, here's why I don't hang the biggest outboards I can find. I have a 26' (28' including bracket) aluminum pilot house boat with twin Yamaha 115's. I live in Juneau, and fish the waters of the Inside Passage. One of the first reasons is fuel. It's expensive. Currently just shy of $3.00/gallon, but its been as high as $5.00/gallon+. At a cruise of about 25-26kts I'm burning roughly 12gph. I commonly run 25-40 miles each way for halibut. In the work boats I used to run, we had twin 250's to twin 300's, and would easliy burn 25-30gph at cruise. I'd prefer not to have that fuel bill every time we go out!

Another reason, at least where I live, is that with the long and narrow fetches of water we fish its pretty common to be running into steep and narrowly spaced 3' wind chop. This keeps our comfortable running speed down to about 20kts or so. No need for monster power.

The biggest reason, however, is that we live in a place surrounded by towering, tree covered mountains. And we get rain. Lots and lots of rain. Which frequently washes many of those trees into the water. In a nutshell, its common to have a lot of large debris in the water. Much of it floats just under the surface, and at a certain speed you have no chance to avoid it if and when you actually see it. I've hit deadhead logs at 20kts, and while it gave me a minor dent, there was no structural damage and we simply went about our day. Hitting that same log at 40kts would probably not have been so forgiving.

Don't know if this helps answer your question, but there you have it!
Old 09-24-2020, 04:42 PM
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Very expensive fuel in Alaska. High HP engines reputation for complexity and expensive repair/maintenance.
Old 09-24-2020, 04:42 PM
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Less drag in 33 degree water....
Old 09-24-2020, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by double tap View Post
...The biggest reason, however, is that we live in a place surrounded by towering, tree covered mountains. And we get rain. Lots and lots of rain. Which frequently washes many of those trees into the water. In a nutshell, its common to have a lot of large debris in the water. Much of it floats just under the surface, and at a certain speed you have no chance to avoid it if and when you actually see it. I've hit deadhead logs at 20kts, and while it gave me a minor dent, there was no structural damage and we simply went about our day. Hitting that same log at 40kts would probably not have been so forgiving....
Same holds true for much of the Puget Sound / Inside Passage.

The other part is Rocks. The charts are pretty good but not 100% and you will go from 50'+ of water to just a few in a matter of a dozen or so feet. At speeds north of 20-25kn you aren't going to be able to react if you are a bit off of the mark. Sure there is mud around to go aground on if you are lucky but the topology that makes it all so beautiful continues below the surface.
Old 09-24-2020, 04:53 PM
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Large HP motors in lower 48 are a status symbol and a result of small pee-pee syndrome.
Old 09-24-2020, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by slickster View Post
Less drag in 33 degree water....
S'plain that to me scientifically, please?
Old 09-24-2020, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LWLoadie View Post
Large HP motors in lower 48 are a status symbol and a result of small pee-pee syndrome.
Probably not a lot of Mercedes either!
Old 09-24-2020, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by NC_Native View Post
S'plain that to me scientifically, please?
Everything shrinks up and retracts in 33 deg water.
Old 09-24-2020, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by colecaz View Post
Everything shrinks up and retracts in 33 deg water.
Wouldn't that cause the water to become more dense and thereby cause MORE drag?
Old 09-24-2020, 06:24 PM
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I don't think the aluminum boats in the Northwest have the deadrise as the fiberglass boats on the east coast, less drag, lighter, requires less HP to get up on plane and cruise.
Old 09-24-2020, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by NC_Native View Post
Wouldn't that cause the water to become more dense and thereby cause MORE drag?
No. If the water becomes more dense that would increase the weight of the water also increasing buoyancy. Therefore less drag.
Old 09-24-2020, 06:38 PM
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Probably because folks in alaska don't need to show off in their go-fast center consoles with high hp for the purposes of comparing one's unit to everyone else while wearing their poser salt life gear.

There I said it.



Old 09-24-2020, 06:44 PM
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Y’all don’t have rednecks up there. Sometimes more motor than necessary is just for the fun factor. Fast and loud is fun. Some do it to show off, others because well, it’s fun.
Old 09-24-2020, 06:45 PM
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An inappropriately large engine in just about anything is one of the great joys in life.

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