A Fast Outboard Cruiser

THE latest member of MoToR BoatinG's ever-increasing list of practical designs is Little Hughey -- a little cruiser powered by an engine hung on its transom.

The principal dimensions of the outboard cruiser Little Hughey are as follows: 20 feet over all; 19 feet on the water line; 7 feet 2 inches beam; and 1 foot 3 3/4 inches draft. She is a big boat of modest dimensions. The freeboard -- 3 feet 10 1/2 inches at the stem and 2 feet 9 5/8 inches at the transom -- is a little greater than I would like to have seen: But this feature goes a long way in providing the 4-foot 9-inches of headroom in the cabin. It will also have a strong tendency, combined with the flare and flam, to keep the little boat dry in rough water. Further, with the topsides painted a dark blue, or black, and the top strake painted buff, white, or left natural, the freeboard will appear less than it actually is. In all probability more than one builder who undertakes the building of Little Hughey will answer the urge to gain full headroom by increasing the trunk cabin height or by otherwise spoiling the boat. I gave the boat ample headroom in an attempt to discourage such changes.

Recently, we have had letters, from two builders who have completely destroyed both their boats and potential investments, by changing the building plans. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why a chap goes about changing a plan; creating a freak and otherwise wasting his money and time, when, with a little further searching, a plan suiting his exact requirements may be found. I'm sure he would not think of doubling the dose of a doctor's prescription or ignoring the advice of his lawyer. Yet, when undertaking the building of a boat, his inventive nature comes forth! And, in most all instances, the resulting product is indeed tragic.

As far as arrangement goes, Little Hughey provides a lot of room. Forward there is space for ground tackle and general stowage. Standing on the edge of the forward bulkhead, or on the floor of the rope locker itself, with your body through the hatch in deck will be a secure spot from which to handle anchor lines. The water closet, tucked under the berths and located on the centerline, may or may not be installed as personal preference dictates. Its weight, of approximately 35 pounds, will not affect the trim of the boat. I should build a short-legged stool, upon which to sit when working at the galley work-top and stove. Such a stool will give headroom and the companionway hatch will provide ventilation.

Among many advantages of using outboard power is the usable space provided in the cockpit and clear entrance through the companionway. No box or raised floor is required to cover the engine, as is generally done in an inboard-powered boat of these modest dimensions. The cockpit does not show place to sit. A settee across the aft bulkhead could be installed; or seats along the aft bulk-head could be installed; or seats along each side of the cockpit. I left these out so that the individual builder, or owner, could determine where the seats might best be installed and still prove convenient in starting and handling the outboard engine. Here again the distribution of weights will not affect the trim of the boat as long as the material used is kept within reasonable weights.

A self-bailing compartment is shown between the water-tight bulkhead at station 11 and the transom. This compartment will be fitted with two drains, drilled through the transom and will eliminate the possibility of the boat being swamped by a following sea washing over the comparatively low cut-out for the engine. It will also keep any spilled gasoline or oil from getting into the cockpit.

A lever steerer is shown on the plans and this will work very satisfactorily -- aside from being the utmost in simplicity and inexpensive.

The dependability of the outboard engine has long since been proven. From the days of a "twist-of-the-wrist" to the present-day engines, tremendous steps have been taken in all phases of improvement of the outboard. The 22 h.p. engine shown on the stern of Little Hughey weighs but 110 pounds -- a long step indeed from the weight/power ratio of outboard engines of yesteryear. If the plans are followed closely, weights are maintained as shown, and materials not increased in thickness, and the boat kept as light as possible a speed of 17 to 18 miles per hour will be obtained using the motor specified. With the flat sections aft a larger engine may be used with greater speeds available. However, I would not go over 33 h.p. in this matter.