Design #520 Wyoming

Added Cabin Accommodations option

©Phil Bolger & Friends

51'6"LOAx8'3" Beam over the rub moldings x 6"+ Draft Approx. 10,000 lbs. Displacement in light cruising trim.

The original Wyoming plans were commissioned by a Georgia man as a fast day boat and occasional spartan cruiser on the I.C.W. With a 150 hp two-stroke motor which he already owned she was intended to be able to maintain 16 knots with very little wake. She was practically a two-to-one scale-up of our Sneakeasy 26' x 4' runabout. Several of those had been built; they went quite fast with no wake to speak of and modest power; for instance, 18mph with 18hp.

The boxy shape didn't keep them from looking very stylish. They were designed to be assembled from prefabricated panels cut out and finished flat on the floor. The big boat was laid out to be assembled nghtside up, only the finished bottom panel having to be turned over in building. Boats of this construction can be built in very few man-hours; hardly "instant boats" in this size range, though in fact another 50' hull of our design was built in one day under rather unusual circumstances.

There was some interest in the bigger boat for her low cost. A good professional builder offered to deliver one for $25,000 complete except for motor (about fifteen years ago!). High berthing costs (mostly from lack of imagination as to where to put her) and equally narrow-minded suspicions of supposed poor behavior in rough water (we'd try to avoid it in any boat!), eventually kept any of them from going ahead as far as we know, except for one in Australia that was fitted out as a live-on-board with a lot (!) of added superstructure. That one was powered with two 9.9hp Yamaha high-thrust four-stroke motors, which drove her at full displacement speed.

Recently we drew an optional layout on the Wyoming hull with more accommodations, including an aft cabin, but without making any significant changes in the basic construction. She is "more rational" now as you can now lock your misbehaving children into the aft-cabin, making Wyoming a sleek, in all ways economical boat for a family to do backwater and inshore exploration with; or strap them into the bowcockpit.

Two Tortoise punts on the housetop will not maroon anyone aboard if one crew has "to get away from it all". We'd mount them on "flat" davits for easy no-scrape deployment, perhaps side-by-side to leave the rest of the housetop a "no step" photovoltaics farm. In that case you'd have up to 12' x 7' clear sur face to locate a lot of wattage to do without any generator, as there's no outboard of any power yet to offer more than marginal amperage of charge-current for those house batteries.

Certainly the longer deckhouse and added joinerwork make her somewhat heavier. And she won't be quite as fast and will have a little more wake than the original design. But since it takes something like three-quarters of a ton to sink her an inch deeper, she will still run elegantly over a great range of speed. For displacement speed, the nice Yamaha 4-cylinder 4-stroke T-50 high-thrust, turning a 14" x 11" prop, will cruise her well throttled back at eight knots, offering enough prop for good maneuvering. Her range with the designed tankage of 200 gals should be well over 1000 miles.

The 9.9hp large 11-3/4"-prop back-up motor, mounted off-center to port on a stock lifting outboard bracket, would get her back to shore in case of terminal trouble with the main engine. It has its own portable separate fuel tank to allow for the terminal trouble being dirty fuel, or no fuel. A bigger four-stroke like the Honda 130 would give her a much higher cruising speed and still show good mileage at the displacement speed due to the four-stroke motor's dramatically higher fuel-efficiency at reduced rpm over the initial 150hp two-stroke. Either way, that aft-cabin structure will shield cockpit and helm superbly from noise, possibly risking starter-trouble from repeatedly "starting" the already idling engine.

These boats steer and maneuver well except for being blown around in strong winds on the beam. The centerboard shown on the original design would be useful in strong winds on the beam. We think it would be possible to give her a bow thruster at moderate cost, in the form of a 65lbs thrust Minnkota electric trolling motor in a watertight well in the forward cockpit. Retracted, with the bottom opening covered, it would not have the drag or the corrosion problems of through-hull thrusters, and would be more effective than most of them due to its 11" x 4" prop. It would be useful in berthing with an offshore breeze, and getting away with an onshore one. The ability of the trolling motor to swing through 360 degrees would allow it to combine with the main engine at maximum lock and idling speed to push her straight sidewise. There would be a number of ways of arranging such power for single-handed control from the helm.

Though these boats are primarily meant for riverine and moderately protected inshore waters, they can deal with a coastal chop, anything that is likely to blow up suddenly on a good weather forecast. After all, a sailing boat of very similar shape and construction made an uneventful east-to-west Atlantic crossing.

There is a lot of value in her. She's fast to build, consider Home Depot-style furniture kits for her galley block and loose chairs and table for "lounging" instead of dinette, will run swiftly with moderate power, and can be "parked" economically as well, assuming smart search for dryout backwater mooring to "plant" her 6"+ draft at minimum mooring cost. Atlantic and Gulf coast offer endless hide-aways of that type. Even the most sore-headed harbormaster/"controllinski of the realm" should pronounce her an addition to the scene, always assuming you'll hold your water and keep a stack of pump-out receipts. And with the "guest cabin", a liveaboard situation is feasible in relative comfort and some style, without foregoing having friends stay over. With for instance the 700ah battery bank shown you can leave a laptop, TV, reading lights, and anchor light going for a while.

Plans of Wyoming, including the optional layout, are available for $300 to build one boat; five 22" x 34" sheets of plans with a keyed specification; from Phil Bolger & Friends, 66 Atlantic St., Gloucester, MA 01930-1627. Fax (978) 282-1349.