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Also keep in mind that a tall walk around like that one you mentioned is like a sail in the wind. They are tricky to manuever around docks. Not a bad choice once you are comfortable with boat handeling but not my first choice for a beginner. Sounds like your wife and kids will not be of much help around a dock so your going to do the docking, running up to the bow to tie the bow lines, spring lines, run back to tie the stern lines, etc. Well you get the idea. I own a 28 walk around and have been running a boat for over 30 years. Believe me, when you need to back into a slip with a cross wind and full canvas up, your going to wish you had a center console.

Also, where will you dock it. Broadside docking like the one you're looking at ( I found it online I think) is great for that boat but bow in is a PITA when your wife and small children have to climb over a bow rail. Backing in usually isn't an option with outboards sticking out.

I'm sure I'll think of more stuff.
 

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PursuitWA makes a good point about docking. I'd think that trailering a 26' on a regular basis will be a PITA, so that leaves a mooring or dock.

Good luck with whatever you choose, but remember K.I.S.S. The more little bells and whistles you have the more repairs you are going to have.
 

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Am pretty new to power boating myself.Only 6-7 years. What i have done in the last few years is take a US Power Squadron class which was free, picked up a few good Coast Guard books and the maps and tide charts of the area i boat in. Never be shy to ask another boater a question.
 

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Buy the Bible of Boating

Buy a copy or get one from the Library.
Chapman's Small Boat Handling.
Study each chapter and learn it, if you do you will be better than 50% of the knuckleheads out there before you even fire up your engines for the first time!
Good Luck!
Rob
 

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Honestly, reading any book does nothing for you if you do not understand what you are looking at out there. There is nothing to compare to experience.

A smaller boat equals less, draft, more maneuverablilty, and less wind resistance while operating in a tight area.
 

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Does all this really matter anyway?

I've found in my experiences, that once someone has it in their mind the size and kind of boat they want or the boat they see and say "that's me", that's usually what they end up getting. Yes, they ask for advice from different sources, but usually go with their first thoughts.
I did it. Had to have that 32 ft'r. I was gonna do alot of "Montauck Fishing", sharks, tuna, etc... Had to have the sleeping, cabin, galley, enclosed head and all that.
The happiest day I've had in boating was when I downsized and bought my 23 Criss-Craft.

ng622 will learn the way a lot of people do, buy first, then after realizing the cost associated with maintainance, hauling, accesorizing, fuel, etc.. the rethinking kicks in.
Maybe he'll get lucky and get his dream boat right off the bat and everything will work out OK.
Maybe he wont, and it'll be a lesson learned.

Whatever the case, I hope ng622 will keep us updated on his journey into the wonderfull world of boating and fishing. :)
 

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Hopefully ng will have good luck with whatever he decides and will take the proper lessons needed as a first time boater.
We all have given our advice here, however good or bad it sounds to some. As the saying goes, "to each their own". He could very well turn out to be a "natural" and have no problems with the safe operation of his boat. Many people pick stuff up very quick. I know I do. Handleing big boats was not a problem with me, it was all the costs associated with keeping the big boat that was my problem.
If those aren't considerations he's worried about, then I wish him good luck in whatever he buys and hope to see pics of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
With the risk of sounding redundant, thank you all again for the advice. It seems that some of you are of the opinion that by posting the listing on the Wellcraft meant that I was ignoring the advice about a smaller boat. That is not the case--i just saw the listing and wanted to know what others thought of it. The info I got on the potential issues with the engines was exactly what I was looking for.

One question, though, is there a big difference between a 23' and say a 25' or 26' in terms of boating difficulty. I am concerned about the cabin size being way too small on a 23'.

I will certainly keep you all apprised as to the status of my boat search. Although after speaking with my wife over the weekend, I think the purchase may not take place until Spring 2007--we have a new baby at home and she wants her a little older before I leave her at home alone with the other two. lol

However, I did purchase Chapman's today.

Thanks again,

Nick
 

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The biggest difference b/w a 23 and 26 is probably the point where you go from 1 engine to 2, unless you are talking inboards, or IO's.

I am curious to see if others can chime in on the FICHT engines. I've heard very bad things about them and they basically put OMC out of business as we knew it due to waranty repairs. I did not own one though so I have no first hand experience. I could be wrong though.
Anyone know for sure on the FICHT issues?
 

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As far as size of boats.. the problem I'd have w/ my 26 ft 8.5 beam as a "family" boat is it's just not all that comfortable.. definitely a seaworthy trailerable fishing machine with tons of deck & space, but even just with my girlfriend onboard it's not setup for pleasure-boating. You can't even picnic on it, there's really not any good places to sit without the wind blowing the plates over (yah you guys will make fun of me but I tried ;) ).

Sleeping on it ain't too fun either - great for 1 person taking a nap, but not a good nights sleep oro something that you could live aboard for more than mabye a bare-bones overnight.

There is a comfortable pleasure boating alternative w/ that 26 length & 8.5 beam - but ain't gonna be a seaworthy fishing boat.

If you want both you need a larger boat.. my buddies 32 ft. BHM is great for all purposes.. huge deck, stand up head/shower, multiple sleeping quarters, full galley, heat.. thefishingfreaks Grady Marlin 28 ft. w/ a 10.5 beam was great for all purposes and with nearly the same amenities.. again, you need that extra beam to make cabin space.

The 25 ft. range fishing boats just don't have squat for inside-oriented amenities. You barely have the space for rods, life jackets, and some extra gear before the cabin is just a closet.

On the FICHT's :

I was in merc marine tech school last winter. Some of the guys were younger and had only been in yards for a couple years, some of 'em had been at it alot longer. Talk to them and you get a totally different impression of the FICHT's - the guys I talked to really liked 'em. I'd ask a mechanic at a shop that worked at a shop w/ alot of high-HP OMC products since the late-90's.

My understanding is that yes, a subset of the early models had issues (and it was only like the large V6's or something), however - OMC came out w/ updates to those issues that made them reliable engines.

Would I buy one? Not without researching it and "clearing" it with a competent mechanic, however, my understanding is that if it's a 150 HP or under OR if it's had the updates, no worries.

Does that mean I'd want to take on an older pre-bombardier FICHT? With the updates, for the right price, mabye.. the problem with ALL high-tech engines is if anything goes wrong in the top end it hits the shop and you've got these $1500 parts that don't last forever.

The Opti's were far worse.. Merc never actually figured out how to make some early opti's run right. OMC at least has/had a fix available.
 

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I don't mean to offend anyone and I am not an expert but I would like to post an alternate view. My first (and only boat) was a 32 foot twin inboard. Many people warned me that it wouldm be too big and it was tough getting insured but I don't regret it. We still have it and I'm glad we didn't go smaller.
 

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Big Boat

Ya Flounder,
Your post proves that a twenty footer is too small for the ocean. Beating your brains out offshore in a twenty footer is crazy, guessing at the weather and inlet conditions is a gamble. I never said it couldn't be done, just that is is less than ideal. It is obvious you have never handled a large vessel, less draft and weight of a smaller boat equals more response to wind and current.
Reading a book gives you the theory, experience comes later. That is how any educational system in the world works. At Maritime you do four years in school to learn the theory, then through experience you master your job.
If you want to bash for suggesting to someone that they learn first is something I cannot understand. I certainly wouldn't want to be on a boat captained by someone that is learning as he goes...very spookey!!!
 

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Leakey's Right

The Ficht was a great design. OMC was stubborn and didn't address the minor problems in the right way. Way too much down time for what should have been a simple fix for them. News travelled fast and they crumbled due to lack of sales. Some were upgraded and run awsome. Some weren't. Finding out which one you are buying is a trick. Why gamble, there are millions of boats for sale, pick one with reliable engines. Optimax is shakey too. Yamahas and Suzukis are very reliable. Too bad the Americans can't build a decent product.

NG Good Luck. IMHO you won't be dissapointed if you buy something that fits your needs from the start.
 

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Is it a secret that the yamaha HPDIs are incompatible with ethonal? As I understand it from frustrated owners and a yamamaha dealrer, there is a problem witht he HPDI filter that makes the engines crap out with the new gas. The non-HPDI 2 stroke yammies are bullet proof. Also, I researched ad nauseam about repower options for my Robalo. The yammy 4 strokes are heavy and have not been around a long time. They are also underpowered. The Suzukis are the best but service is a problem. I settled on the Merc Optis for financial reasons and also because the earlier problems were due to a defective part that was supplied by a vendor. Mercury invested millions in reasearch and testing to make the Optis the best 2 strokes out there. They are more fuel efficient and have more balls than 4 strokes.
 

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Good advice

I would reccomend the Parker2120 sport cabin. It is my third boat. The first two i owned were 17 skiff and 17 center console. There is a world of difference from an open boat to a pilothouse. I found that out the hard way trying to dock with a steady 25 the first day i got it. the pilothouses are like a kite on the water but with practice it gets easier. I have a family also and there is nothing better than closing the doors and windows when the rain starts dropping. with a pilothouse you never will get wet from taking spray over the bow.good luck in your purchase.
 

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I have a 2002 200HPDI, purchased new in and now has 175hrs on it. Engine runs fine, only problem I had with filter was when I ran out of gas and sucked some dirt into the micron filter. It was explained to me that even new fuel filters and water separators do not have the filtering capabilities of the internal micron filters that are in those engines (there are 2 of them). Filter replaced (the cheap one-90USD) and the engine runs like new again.
 
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