"Hot & Cold Folding Doors"

The late Reg Butler, my instructor at the Landing School of Boatbuilding and Design, had a saying for boats that were loaded down with every creature comfort known to man. He used to say the boat was equipped with " . . . hot and cold folding doors." Since that time in the mid 80's, boats have probably surpassed even his wildest dreams of bloated extravagance. Does a 20' center console really need three or four fish-boxes when everyone is pushing for catch and release? How many pumps does your 20 footer have, 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . more? How often do you burn through that 120 gallons of fuel in your bilge during a days fishing? Do you really need a $15,000, 225 hp outboard to push a 20' boat?

Now I have no problem with boats being built and equipped this way, although I would never own one of them myself. Each boater has to decide for him or herself how much is too much. But if you are contemplating building a small sportfishing boat, give a little thought to which items you need and which items you want. It may be helpful to make a list of wants and a list of needs. Use your lists to pare things down to a more manageable level. In the end, you may find that less is more. Less cost, less weight, less maintenance, less complexity . . . more speed, more fuel economy, more time and most important, more fun!

Boating is growing more costly and more complicated every day. With our everyday lives already a mass of complication, confusion and challenges, do we really need to carry those things into our boating time as well? Sometimes I feel a little like a man out of time, yearning for the days when boats were simpler and more efficient. Then I wake from my daydream and remember how much better the average boat is today! Maybe the best compromise is a boat that combines the simplicity of the past, with the technology of today. Try to keep that ideal in mind as you choose the design for your next boat.

Timm Smith
February 17, 2003