I’m sitting in my truck in a parking lot just off I-95 in Lewiston, Maine, awaiting the arrival of Ray Frechette, of Great Falls Boat Works, and his Core Sound 20. It’s a beautiful day—not a great deal of wind, it’s true, but the air is fresh after weeks of sticky humidity, and the sky is blue and full of the promise of an early fall. We are meeting here, before going down to the coast for an afternoon of sailing, because it is a mile or so from one of Ray’s garages, in which he has a Core Sound 17 that he wishes to show me; as he put it on the phone, “that way you’ll see the two boats and know that, really, they’re the same, just stretched.” I have seen pictures of the CS 20 on the designer’s web site, but when Ray pulls in off the road I am unprepared for the sweetness of her lines.I have never been too keen on hard-chined hulls, considering them to have a tendency to slab-sidedness and flat sheers—all well and good on a flat-bottomed rowing skiff, but on a sailing boat? For today, my bias turns out to be ill-conceived: the Core Sound 20 has a sweet sheer, a gentle-radius curved deck, and, with her hull painted cream with contrasting red bottom paint and dark green covestripe, is anything but slab-sided.Designed by Graham Byrnes, the Core Sound 17 was a development of his earlier Spindrift 10-footer and Bay River Skiff 17. The latter, inspired by the traditional work-ing skiffs of the Hatteras area in North Carolina, was conceived in the late 1980s as a “good utility boat that could be rowed, motored, and sailed. A boat that was rugged, yet not too heavy, and could be used for both line fishing and crab potting either commercially or for pleasure.... The bottom shape is a moderately shallow V form, with a shallow V running aft. This allowed very shallow draft without the inherent problems of flat-bottomed boats, such as pounding and poor directional stability.”

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