This year the Wood Composites students built three Fly Fisher 22 saltwater center consoles. Designed by Michael Berryer at Van Dam Custom Boats, in Boyne City, Mich., they have moderate freeboard and moderate deadrise, making them suitable for comfortable inshore use in a 1- to 2-foot chop, and will typically be fitted with a 150-hp Yamaha 4-stroke or Evinrude E-TEC 2-stroke.
These boats have beautiful lines - even the transom looks comely - and the varnished mahogany transom and Sipo coamings and toe rails make them collector items. You can buy one for $48,500, about half of what they'd go for if they came out of a craftsman's workshop.
They're built of four layers of cold-molded Alaskan yellow cedar with a Sipo toe rail and cockpit coaming. The bottom is 3/4 inch and the sides 1/2 inch thick. The hull and deck are sheathed with fiberglass cloth wet out in epoxy for added abrasion resistance and painted with Awlgrip. They look like they came out of a fiberglass mold. The console and leaning post, which are non-structural parts, are made of Divinycell foam-cored fiberglass to reduce weight.
There are a number of intelligent touches - for example, a pair of high-capacity rectangular scuppers with conduits leading a few feet from the aft end of the cockpit to the transom. The deck has a sort of reverse camber, pitching down as you move inboard and away from the hull sides, with the center third of the deck flat. This lets an angler stand on the side of the boat, with the deck ending up level with the boat listing over to one side 3 or 4 degrees as the fish is played and brought aboard.
Personally, I'd have to try this design out myself to see if it's for me. Even on a deck with no crown I tend not to fall over, at least if it's not too close to cocktail hour.
Attention to detail shows all over, including the gunwales, where oversize holes are drilled, filled with epoxy, then redrilled into the hardened epoxy to attach the stainless steel rubrail. www.vandamboats.com
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This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue.