In late August on a blowy afternoon of westerlies gusting to 25 knots, I set out in a small outboard skiff to run from an island retreat, across East Penobscot Bay and down Eggemoggin Reach—a trip of some 15 miles. As I departed the island, conditions appeared lumpy but manageable, but about a mile out it got unpleasant, with a nasty standing chop kicked up by opposing wind and tide. I knew I really had no business out there in a lightly built 16' skiff vulnerable to being blown about in the gusts and smacked hard by the confused seas.In spite of her light weight and moderate power (20 hp), my strip-planked Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff, PINK SLIP, handled the snotty conditions like the little lobsterboat that she is. Her straight keel prevented her from slewing in the seas, her fine entry kept her from pounding badly, and her flared bow sections knocked down the worst of the spray and had the reserve buoyancy to resist burying in the steep chop. I can’t say the trip was comfortable, but by throttling back and trim- ming my load slightly forward—weight redistribution is essential in coaxing the best out of any small boat— the skiff ran reliably and responsively in semi-displacement mode at 13 knots. I relaxed more as her seakeeping abilities became clearer, punching her into waves at higher speeds than I had initially dared. The boat continued to track well, responded promptly to the helm, and resisted bow steering, even coming down the wave backs. Boaters with better sense had already quit the Reach as I made my way down to Brooklin, feeling a bit foolish for being out in those conditions and lucky at my choice of boat. By the time I reached my mooring I had shipped only a few bailing scoops’ worth of spray.This is a forgiving boat.
Stay On Course
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