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Topics - Brian.Dixon

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Great Alaskan FAQ / Pantograph-Arm Windshield Wipers
« on: August 16, 2022, 04:57:40 PM »
Info from Todd J:

Announcements / The NEW Glacier Boats of Alaska Gear Store is ONLINE!
« on: April 16, 2022, 02:52:38 PM »

Glacier Boats of Alaska GEAR STORE!

Up and running, both hats and decals available.

NOTE1: For those that told me up front what you wanted, I'm reserving hats/decals for you - but you'll still need to order online through the check-out process.

NOTE2: Hats are delayed, but should be here by the end of April or so


test pic

Great Alaskan FAQ / Accurate motor size (hp) calculator link
« on: October 29, 2021, 01:17:48 PM »

From Dan Boccia, 29-Oct-2021:

"Had a great season with my boat, love it more every time I use it.

Here is the best engine size calculator I've found online:

For reference, my boat, built with okoume plywood (lightest available) plus foam core for much of the cabin, with 9.5 ft cabin, 100 gal fuel, anchor winch, 3 people, loaded for shrimping, fishing, with dinghy, safety gear, spare parts/tools, the engines, a fridge, heater, complete electronics and everything else for a multi-day trip in Alaska weighs 6750 or so. Maybe even a bit more, little things add up! So my first recommendation, as soon as you get your trailer, drag it across a scale and get it's exact weight. Then once the boat is on the trailer, drag it across again to get the hull weight, then you can get a spreadsheet started with all the accessories you plan to add to the boat. My boat was built super light, with no overkill on the glass schedule, so the hull and cabin are as light as you can probably get it, and on top of that I camp for days at a time on my boat so it has more accessories than a pure fishing vessel would have.

Pay attention that this calculator uses statute mph, so you have to convert from knots to mph. Brian designed the boat to cruise around 22 knots, so I use 25 mph for the low cruise, and practically speaking, the boat goes up to about 28 knots at reasonable fuel burn for me so I used 32 mph at the high end. The result is 225 hp for low cruise, and 288 hp for high cruise.

My typical rpms are low 4000's to around 4500 rpm when conditions are decent, going around 25-28 knots with my 250AP Suzuki V6 - same block as the 300 hp. There is no way I'd want that to be a 4-cylinder 200 hp engine - it would be wound up pretty high much of the time.

A note on props: I went with a prop that put me a little lower in the recommended rpm range, around 5600-5700 rpm (recommended range 5500-6100) so that I would get more efficiency at cruise...I'm generally very easy on the throttle and could care less about hole shot. That said, when I'm in heavy seas and need to hit the throttle more aggressively to make a move, it's probably a bit hard on the drivetrain, so the sense of security with that larger engine feels reassuring.

So, if your build is going to be light, with minimal equipment, and you don't pack hundreds of pounds of might be fine with the 200....but don't take anyone's word for it, use the calculator!"

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)

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