T29R & T29CC — By Capt. Bill Pike — November 2002
Lookin’ for Fun?
|Part 2: Exciting, yeah, but not for the faint of heart!|
After another hour of increasingly elaborate, exhibitionistic, and extremely enjoyable antics in the marina, Ohler and I headed for nearby Narragansett Bay to record some test numbers. Seas were running two to three feet in open water, a lively state of affairs but hardly challenging for the Runabout. This assignment is based on some earlier testing I'd done on the Center Console in Florida some months before (see spec box for test data and equipage specific to this vessel). Although the Gulf Stream had been dishing out four- to six-footers at the time, the T29C--with the same hull form, displacement, and propulsion package as the T29R--had performed respectably, although she'd routinely taken dollops of spray over the bow while blasting head seas, despite the presence of a high, forward dodger.
Narragansett Bay was different, though. Thanks to the big, sculpted-teak, skiff-type windshield on the Runabout, I stayed bone-dry while zooming around, playfully experimenting with the two steering systems onboard. In Helm Mode, achieved with push-button ease, I employed the Nardi wheel conventionally and with good response, thanks to Teleflex SeaStar hydraulics and the single-lever Teleflex control. In Power Steer Mode, also achieved with push-button ease, I steered by rotating the JetStick knob, which assumed a straight-ahead orientation once I released the knob. I commenced a series of increasingly tight figure-eights, an exhilarating exercise that gave rise to the caveat I mentioned earlier.
Shallow-draft, waterjet-propelled vessels like the Runabout and Center Console--and like many PWC, for that matter--are typically capable of extreme turns, primarily because there's little machinery or hull form in the water to resist lateral motion or slide. While the Runabout carves broad, mannerly turns at moderate speeds, I discovered right quick that she's also capable of what Ohler calls "The Bat Turn," a wild-and-crazy maneuver something like a PWC spinout, complete with G-forces galore and plumes of spray. Exciting, yeah, but not for the faint of heart!
But while the feel of running these two boats is quite similar and they share a host of fundamental similarities, they're appreciably different in terms of layout. The identical modified-V hulls, for example, combine a tough Kevlar/E-glass outer skin, an inner skin of carbon fiber, and an interstitial layer of Baltek AL600 end-grain balsa, all combined into an extra-light, strong matrix using SCRIMP. Then there's the Plexus-secured stringer systems. Made of equally tough composite, they immobilize two beefy, 50-gallon cross-linked poly fuel tanks in tightly molded receptacles and help support everything from the Rule bilge pumps onboard (with Ultra Plus float switches) to the sanitary plumbing. Then, too, there are the toerails--intricately scarfed amidships, hand-shaped and tapered from bow to stern, and preserved under a minimum of nine layers of tung oil varnish, they're gorgeous. But then everything about these sassy, classy speedsters is gorgeous.
"Hey, Bill," said Ohler after we'd finished packing up my boat-test paraphernalia. It was darn near dark and, for a Florida boy like myself, darn near freezing. "Wanna spin `er around in the big slip one more time?"
"Heck yes," I replied, wondering if there might still be enough folks around the marina to constitute an audience.
The Hinckley Company Phone: (207) 244-5531. Fax: (207) 244-9833. www.thehinckleyco.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.