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Maine Downeast Boat / Lobster Yacht Buyer's Guide



 
           
   

Downeast / Lobster Style Hull


 
   
Maine or Downeast style semi-displacement boats have pronounced keels. Typically the keel of a traditional Downeast styled vessel starts at the base of the boat's Stem (the forward most element of the hull) and runs aft longitudinally (forward to aft) along the fairbody(the hull section between the chine and the keel) ending at the rudder Skeg (an extension from the keel to support and protect the rudder). Boats that are constructed with a built down style keel traditionally have a fine entry and a round chine which is responsible for the excellent sea keeping ability that these boats have in an on coming sea. The flat sections of the hull that start around midships and run back aft are responsible for the boat's ability to carry speed and the boat's stability in a following sea. Traditional Downeast boats offer superior sea keeping ability and typically cruise between 15-22kts depending on the power option selected.
   
   
" Built-Down" Skeg models are those where the hull goes flat into the keel. Skeg boats are often faster as there is less wetted surface (underwater area) holding the hull back from reaching its top speed. These boats have a hard chine that keeps them up on plane and makes for a less forgiving ride, but the plus side is that these boats tends to cruise from 25-30kts. Skeg boats also tend to be more shallow at the Fairbody which makes it more difficult to conceal the engine under the cockpit sole and subsequently requires the use of an engine box instead.
   
   
In addition to the other differences that exist between between individual makes and models of Downeast Style Boats is the characteristic shape of the boat's Chine (The corner edge where the hull transitions from a horizontal plane on the bottom to a vertical plane on the sides). Boats are constructed with either a Hard Chine (Planing Hulls) or a Soft Chine (Displacement Hulls). Downeast boats that are constructed with hard chines are typically faster than round chined boats, they are also less forgiving in heavy weather. At the end of the day, the trade off is enhanced stability verses faster top speed. Deciding which hull shape is the best style for you should be a product of how you intend to use your boat currently and how you intend to use it in the future.
   
   

As you can see there are inherent benefits to both of the Downeast styles discussed in the paragraph above. Deciding which boat is right for you should be based on the way you intend to use your boat. If speed is important for Canyon fishing then perhaps a Skeg boat would be a more appropriate choice. If you want the safest most comfortable ride around and don't mind sacrificing a little speed, then a keeled boat should be a better choice for you.