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Topics - Brian.Dixon

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See attached for the Yamaha DF-115 thru DF-140, and the Suzuki DF25 thru DF250!

If you have motor installation and related specs sitting around ... reply and attach here!

Great Alaskan FAQ / Love the boat! Can I build it in ALUMINUM?
« on: February 16, 2021, 07:17:09 AM »
    The question mentioned in the subject line gets asked often enough that I think I ought to post a short FAQ on the topic.

    NOTE that there are a lot of aluminum or fiberglass boats on the market already, they cost a lot, and they all get less than 1 or 2 miles per gallon.  The are the RIGHT solution for sum, but the Great Alaskan was designed for the rest of us - very seaworthy, BIG, custom-built to your requirements, tougher than commercial (polyester+gelcoat) fiberglass boats and not as tough as aluminum, and cheaper to operate.  End cost is 25-35% the cost of a commercially-built boat in its class, and gas mileage runs 3-5 miles per gallon (depending on size and accommodations/weight).  But there are trade-offs.  Noting that I do NOT design for aluminum and cannot answer aluminum-related questions in detail, the following are the trade-offs as I see them.

Aluminum Boat Pros
  • Tough, good for rough beaching (bad rock beaches)
  • Weatherproof
  • Can be stored without shelter - any weather conditions
  • MIG-welded (wire welded) boats are relatively fast to build

Aluminum Boat Cons
  • Expensive.  At $8-$10 per pound for marine aluminum, a 26-28 ft Great Alaskan weighing approximately 4900 lbs costs close to $50,000 in materials alone
  • Noisy and 'cold' on the water
  • For the Great Alaskan, you will need to seek out an aluminum boat building expert that can specify structure/construction details for an offshore boat of this size (or give up on the Great Alaskan and pick out a nice design at - Specialty Marine or equivalent)
  • The number one factor in terms of boat efficiency ('gas mileage') is boat weight (displacement) - Aluminum versions of wood/glass/epoxy boats generally weigh between 1-1/2 to 2 times MORE than the wood/glass/epoxy version - Aluminum is NOT lighter weight (aluminum is 160# per cubic foot, wood-glass-epoxy is 45# per cubic foot).  Aluminum boats BURN MORE fuel per hour and require HIGHER horsepower
  • Requires welding equipment, knowledge and skill (MIG/wire-welding, TIG)
  • If you hit a sharp rock or obstacle with an aluminum boat, it tears open a hole that stays open, maximizing in-flow of water
  • Aluminum is denser than water - aluminum boats sink unless significant flotation is added

Great Alaskan Pros
  • Tougher and more weatherproof than off-the-shelf fiberglass boats - Epoxy resin IS waterproof while polyester resin (commercially-built boats) is NOT waterproof.  Wood/glass/epoxy boats can be stored outdoor with minimal shelter
  • Lowest-cost construction of any boat in its class, finished cost generally running 25% to 35% of the cost to buy an equivalent commercially-made fiberglass boat, even cheaper when compared to equivalently-sized and capability aluminum boats
  • Quiet and 'warm' on the water, the construction materials naturally deaden noise (better for fishing!)
  • Lightweight, yet overly-strong for its size, and utilizing a monohedron/prismatic hull form, there is no other boat in its class that gets better fuel mileage
  • Compared to commercially-built fiberglass boats, the Great Alaskan has a LOT more interior room since 'hollow structural elements' necessary in fiberglass boats are NOT necessary in wood/glass/epoxy construction.  Aluminum boats are similar.
  • I've been helping builders build Great Alaskans for over 16 years and love doing so - I cannot offer any assistance on an aluminum build
  • If you hit a sharp rock or obstacle with a (plywood) wood/glass/epoxy boat, the wood tends to be self-closing, tending back towards its original shape and limiting the in-flow of water
  • Wood is less dense than water - There is enough wood in the Great Alaskan to keep the boat afloat, even if swamped or capsized

Great Alaskan Cons
  • You trade labor and hours for the discount on the price of a finished boat.  The total cost is the lowest that you can find for a boat in this class, but it does take time and effort to build versus welding aluminum or buying a commercially-built boat
  • While tough with a 3/4" thick bottom and heavy fiberglass, and able to be beached on sandy or rocky beaches without damage, wood/glass/epoxy is tougher than commercially-built polyester+gelcoat boats but not as tough as aluminum
  • Long term maintenance is minimized by at least keeping the boat out of hot sun typical of lower latitudes or heavy snow and ice typical in higher latitudes

There you go!  If anybody can think of more pros and cons on either of the above, let me know and I'll add them to the list!

Happy building!



It kinda hit me today that with all the videos that people are posting, that it might be a good idea to start a YouTube channel or play list to get them all available in one spot when people search for them ... so far, I know of the following ... if anyone has new links that I'm not listing below, please let me know so I can get them added too - First stab will be done by end of Monday the 4th.  Here's my list so far

- Anthony Lyndaker / Cook Inlet Boats overview of the Great Alaskans, it's lines etc
- Jason Buehler boat flip time-lapse, parts 1 and 2
- Bob in Olympia (RBob) roof and roof painting review
- The ongoing video build blog from Randy Henry in Silverton, Oregon
- The two speed-record (44 mph) videos originally from Adrian P in Gresham, Oregon.
- Dennis Jeffrey's hole-shot video
- Roger B in Spain, hull flip details
- Dan Boccia in Alaska, reviewing his accommodations when they were being built

What else?

Announcements / MINOR UPDATE - For those planning on twin outboards
« on: June 01, 2020, 09:00:59 AM »
FYI - I made a few minor updates on the outboard transom cut-out depth for those who plan to use twin outboards.  If you are interested, see the transom lofting for both standard and Kodiak models of the Great Alaskan.  Impacted files:

  • Standard Great Alaskan Construction Manual, part 1 of 1
(metric and USA)
  • Standard Great Alaskan Sheet 008a (and Sheet M008a metric)
  • Kodiak Addendum (metric and USA)
  • Kodiak Addendum Sheet A005b (and Sheet MA005b metric)

Announcements / TWO new METRIC drawings DONE... 2.5m maximum beam
« on: May 07, 2020, 10:49:29 AM »
FYI for Euro builders - It has come to my attention that the max trailerable width in Europe is 2.5 meters and 2.55 meters, depending on where you live ... I have now released 2 new drawings that when used, result in a maximum beam (at the sheerline) of 2.5 meters.  The standard Great Alaskan is 2.565m, FYI, so this is a small adjustment that only affected the lofting of shelves and the shelf molds:

Sheet M002c2-5 - Shelf Lofting 2.5m Beam
Sheet M010c2-5 - Shelf Molds



I'm starting production of printed plans using the latest set of documents ... which I'm calling v3.  I have ONE SET of printed plans that were printed before the metric conversion.  The plans INCLUDE the Kodiak addendum and full download rights for all the latest from our website.  These are imperial (USA) plans.  The changes that occurred in the latest version are:

- Some clarifications added to the Kodiak Addendum
- Dan Boccia's notes on custom-made aluminum tanks - what to do, what NOT to do.
- All drawings have been transferred to my new drawing template format that supports the production of USA and Metric unit drawing ... but no content has changed.

Message me if interested.  I'm asking below my production cost ... only $75 shipped (USA destinations only)

Thanks, I'll update when they're gone.


« on: April 20, 2020, 02:25:52 PM »

The long awaited METRIC plans have been released! 

  • Download plans purchases - Choosing metric or standard USA plans will send you an email with an appropriate, imperial or metric units, ZIP file containing all manuals and drawings (PDF format).  BUT ONCE you register at our website, you may download plans documents in EITHER format
  • Printed plans purchases - Choosing printed plans will send you an email (with download link) as above, and printed plans in the units of your choice will be mailed to you (free shipping).  AGAIN, ONCE you register at our website, you will be able to download plans documents in either format.

Have fun!

Off Topic / Oldy but goodie...
« on: February 14, 2020, 02:28:08 PM »
Missing Wife Found by Alaska State Troopers

The day after his wife disappeared in a Kachemak Bay kayaking accident, an Anchorage man answered his door to find two grim-faced Alaska State Troopers.
"We're sorry, Mr. Wilkins, but we have some information about your wife" said one of the troopers.

"Did you find her!?  Tell me!", Wilkins asked.

The troopers looked at each other.  One said, "We have some bad news, some good news, and some really good news - which would you like to hear first?"

Fearing the worst, the ashen Mr. Wilkinis said, "Give me the bad news first ... get it over with".

The trooper said, "I'm sorry to have to tell you sir, but this morning we found your deceased wife's body in Kachemak Bay."

"Oh my God!", said Wilkins.  Swallowing hard, he asked, "What's the good news?"

The trooper continued, "When we pull her up, she had 12 twenty-five pound King crab and 6 large Dungeness crab clinging to her, and we feel that you are entitled to a share in them."

Stunned, Mr. Wilkins demanded, "If that's the good news, then what's the really good news?"

The trooper smiled and said, "We're going to pull her up again tomorrow..."  :D

Experimental Postings / Test Pick again
« on: January 10, 2020, 07:04:54 AM »
This is a test pic:

Announcements / NEW Spray Rail alternative drawing
« on: September 23, 2019, 09:44:53 AM »

FYI - I just uploaded Sheet 012Alt, an alternative spray rail shape and location.  This version has good up-sweep towards the bow for a more sporty look, and at the stern end, the rails sweep upward 1-1/2" from their lowest location.  This 'smile' shaped spray rail helps the boat look better on the water even if loaded a little heavy in the stern... old boat painters trick :)


PS: Scroll waaaay to the bottom of the file list on our website's Downloads page.  I need to fix the sort order, but for now, the new file appears down at the bottom of the list.

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