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Messages - Brian.Dixon

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Well ... that's what most people in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest do.  Set it up to be the highest it can be for average planing conditions, then drop it a hole. .. more or less cav plate submerged by 3/4".  Renn put a hydraulic jack plate on his Jumbo and experimented ... trying to max his efficiency / mileage.  His conclusion is that the jack plate didn't help much - immeasurable difference in mileage, if any.  But what he DID say was that having a hydraulic jack plate was super hand for when you get grounded on a bar ... raise the motor as far as possible and motor off the bar while passengers push!  Been there, done that, and it doesn't take much of a grounding to be stuck pretty good.  If it were me?  I'd buy a hydraulic jack plate, be glad to have it, and just get a short one that keeps the outboard close to the transom.  Just my personal opinion ... 99% of the people with Great Alaskans go without a jack plate.  Getting stuck once might change your mind.


Realizing even further that with the downward angle of the transom and the upward angle of the water column out the back of the boat, I'll gain about an inch there, so will only be off 1 5/8", which is just about 2 holes worth anyway. Leaning toward bolting the bracket on there and seeing how it goes. Hoping the engine was WAY too deep. 2nd coat of paint on the transom, will probably let that cure up real well and mount later this weekend. Plenty to do with the wiring and other things until then anyway.

All good ... just make sure that you're getting cooling water when you try it out - it'll be fine until you get on plane.  I expect you'll get cavitation at about the same time though.  If you get that far, it's the WOT wake that you want to tune height for ... it rises from a point further behind the boat than when planing slower.  The modest deadrise and long straight run of the Great Alaskan's hull produces a smooth wake that doesn't rise much behind the boat.  I'm sure you'll let me know, but I suspect you'll need to lower that bracket. 


The stern on your 28-footer will handle the 53# just fine.  This is why I tell people that boats are like wives ... the stern gets heavier over time :)

Personally, I'd patch it up and fill the original holes with epoxy, make a new aluminum plate if you need to and drill the holes in the best and most optimal spot .. hang everything and go fishing.  If it makes you feel any better, I went through a very similar series of disappointments with a Bob's Machine bracket, and in the end, the bracket got in the way of the steering gear and had to be discarded.  Sux, but then you move on ... blue skies, blue seas .... what problems?  I see no problems!  The SeaStar jack plate was probably optimized for a big fat deep-V fiberglass float-tel that creates a huge wake ...

Yes, brackets/jack plates are heavy.  Most are rated for 300 hp ... that's a lot of beef!  But that's why they're well built.  Just be glad you didn't go all silly and put a 24" bracket on the boat (yes, someone did that!).

Yes on LifeCaulk - it's the #1 choice for hardware (above the waterline and not necessarily permanent) nowadays.



Thanks for the kind words!

Very roughly figuring out the added weight, using 22' of deck that's 8' wide (this is LARGER than what you are doing), I calculate 3.6 cubic feet of extra wood ... at around 40# per cubic feet of fir plywood, that's only about 140#.  Your boat won't even know it's there ... Carry on.  Don't skimp on the under-deck structure.


Those nailer strips look like a good idea for spreading out the pressure from the screws.  Did you wrap them in plastic so the squeeze out does stick them to the hull?
They do work well for that reason. I just use blue painters tape on the bottom of the nailers, much easier & faster than wrapping in plastic.

I like those strips ... they probably help smooth the curves as well.  So the non-adhesive side of blue painter's tape does not stick to epoxy?  Or maybe some remnants remain but sand right off?  As long as the wood strips come off, then who cares? :D



Just buy Hydrotech (Meranti) from Edensaw or someone for the bottom panels and chine flats, then your pine plywood for everything else.  I have proven (to myself) that a guy who's handy with even a 5" random orbital sander can do a pretty fine job of fairing without doing any long-boarding.  And, you only need to fair the outside of the boat from the waterline up to the roofs ... the profile view as the boat sits on the water.  It's entirely OK to see some wood grain and fiberglass lines inside the boat ... it gives the boat a nice 'charter boat ambiance' that I love... No need to do bristol work on every nook and cranny ...



All colors look good on a Great Alaskan!  I'm partial to classic colors, personally, like the burgundy above, or marlin blue, or clover/sage green.  But that turquoise one down in the Bahamas really looks fantastic, and so do the cream colored ones.  Take a look at Sunbrella bimini cloth colors while you're thinking ... you may find that an awning or cover color that strikes your fancy might go with one color better than another ... either an accent (contrast) color, or in the same color family.  Paint jobs look best when selected as a 3-color system, e.g. darker on the hull, light on the decks and superstructure, navy grey on the roofs etc.  That's my opinion ... worth what you paid!  :D


First, the Great Alaskan series of boats were designed to be overly-strong, even if built with just exterior grade softwood (read: fir plywood) plywoods.  That said, note that there are typically some trade-offs that I feel justify using something other than a softwood plywood ... you may well decide the trade-offs are OK with you ... you'll still get a fantastic boat in the end.  The Radiata Pine is definitely in the softwood plywood category.

Here's the trade-offs and thoughts that I have on plywood selection:
  • There is a fair amount of difference in hardness between softwood grain and the wood between .. sanding tends to highlight the grain, not hide it.  This has typically already happened to some degree right from the factory, so the boat will end up needing more fairing (time, cost) than if it were built from hardwood species (especially mahogany or pseudo-mahogany products)
  • Softwood ply is ... softer.  For at least the bottom panels and chine flats, I prefer a dense hardwood that is more resistant to impact damage.  If using softwood plywoods, I would suggest using them from the chines upward
  • Hard smooth hardwoods save labor and cost when it comes to fairing - Meranti, Okoume are good choices (but expensive)
  • I don't worry about the cost of the plywood, instead preferring to buy the best product available because as a percentage of the total cost of the boat project, the plywood is only 10-15 percent ... not enough to worry about.

I think that's about it, or close enough anyway.  Many have built Great Alaskans with good ol' fir plywood and been happy.  Perhaps the best money saving compromise is to go with a good mahogany type hardwood plywood for the bottom panels and chine flats, but use your pine plywood from the chine flats upward (and for decks, web stringers, superstructure etc).  If you want a yacht finish, it'll cost you time and effort in fairing later, but the level of finish is very individual choice ...


Guys, please. This is a build thread. Enough of the banter about other things. I really don't want that on this thread. That's half the reason I've been hesitant to post trip pix here. Let's stay focused.

Agree ... Very interesting stuff.  A) I would not avoid posting trip pix! B) We have an off-topic area for things like the above.  And c) A little diversion here and there won't hurt either ... it's our forum.  We can flex a little and at the same time respect all parties.


As you can see I dry the kelp first, then use the leaves crumbled into soups right when you serve it, or on top of a stir fry or whatever. The stems can be rehydrated and used like pasta or pickled, which is turning into quite a large cottage industry up here - pickled bull kelp is a big seller. I also harvest a few other kinds of kelp and greens that grow on the beach, all delicious. Learning more as I go!

Yeah, pacific cod...but most people up here call them grey cod.

Well ... I'll gather some the next time we head over to the Oregon coast ... :D


NOW we're cookin' with gas!  Catch pix are NEVER out of place around here!

Looks like a p-cod to me ....

What do you do with the kelp?  Never heard of harvesting it ... put it in smoothies for all those trace minerals and sea-nutrition?




Given my remarks above, the rule of thumb is to keep the fuel CG somewhere around the typical location of the aft pilothouse bulkhead.  Other thoughts ... the ideal trim of a Great Alaskan at rest is the bow trimming higher than the stern by 1" to 2", definitely not down at the bow, when the boat has half fuel, most of the gear, and no people in it - self-draining when unattended at a dock (you can also add slope to the cockpit deck to help on this topic).  You want water to drain aft in other words.  The other side of the coin is that boats, like wives, tend to gain weight in the rear over time... fishermen, ice boxes, more gear than planned on etc.  You don't want to trim too low at the stern on the first pass either.  Before you worry too much about this stuff though ... don't.  As I stated above, close is close enough and these boats are big enough to be forgiving of slightly non-optimal layouts (all boats are non-optimal in one way or another!)



Awesome feedback and I agree on hydraulic jack plates.  A short (close to the transom) hydraulic jack plate is my favorite way to mount an outboard on these.

So ... I see ZERO pictures of shrimp or dead fish ... were you merciful and let them all swim, unmolested, for next time?  :D


How do you go about determining the COG?  This seems like an important step for placing a big item like a fuel tank.

The CG is around 9' forward of the transom on a 26' GA.  Slightly farther forward on longer GA's or Kodiaks.  The thing to keep in mind is that it's not an exact science, and that items have more effect on trim the further they are from the CG.  That's why I suggest tanks and batteries, or other heavier items get placed so that they are nearer the aft pilothouse bulkhead.  Close 'nuf...


I know the area well! Iím in Newport for the next week and see there are a few GAs at the Marina. I hope I can see them and talk to the owners. Iím impressed that you're so personally involved in the comment boards and all. Great design! Thanks.

Yeah ... those Great Alaskans ... they're becoming some kind of an infestation in the PNW and Alaska!  Just sold plans to a new builder in Russia, and another in Singapore ... they're truly getting around!

I like everything about boats, especially boats like the Great Alaskan, and that's the main reason for the existence of the Great Alaskan and my involvement.  Continued plans sales appear to keep covering operating costs, so I expect I'll be around a good long while.


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