boats 40 turnabouts

Give up? The answer is simple: it's a runabout, plain and simple. Actually, everyone thinks they know all about runabouts. Some think they are the little tenders that are used by daysailers or large motor vessel when they get to a port and someone has to go ashore from a mooring, while others think of them as a basic 15-foot aluminum-hulled fishing boat with a 5- or 10-horsepower motor on the rear.

Really, people do think that runabouts are those types of craft. Indeed, there's even a group that is probably convinced that the pontoon-style craft favored by the military and some boatyards are runabouts, but no, they are not runabouts.

Today's runabout is really a bowrider with a closed front deck. Remember the bowrider is the craft with the helm amidships (usually on the left, but possibly on the right, depending on the operator's preference) and a wraparound, raked back windscreen to protect the cockpit, that is is either hooked in the middle for full coverage or is open in the middle to give folks access to the front area of the boat where the two to four seats or benches are located. They ride in the bow, in front of the helm.

The 2012 runabout, like the bowrider runs from 15 to 30 feet and features a deep-V hull for greater stability in heavier seas. Like the bowrider, you can mount either outboard engines or a sterndrive motor, the choice is up to you, however, remember that some sterndrives don't swing easily out of the way for towage and require a higher trailer for the extra clearance or actually require removal by crane at a public dock and that can be expensive.

Sterndrives also require their own engine housing, usually about center of the cockpit, which, while they do make convenient tables in nice calm water, also take away from the amount of available space behind the helm. So, it depends what you want to do with the runabout and how fast you need to go. For example, if the runabout is being used by the authorities for drug interdiction, then you'd probably choose the fastest either sterndrive or jetdrive you can find and that would mean the engine cover would be a rather large affair.

On the other hand, if you plan to use the runabout as a personal craft, you'll probably want to mount either a single, large 100-horsepower outboard (maybe larger) or maybe dual 75s. Remember, though, that the outboards will cause the runabout to be a little rear-heavy and while this means you can plane more easily, it also means that in a heavy sea the if you are running across a heavy swell and broach, you can actually have problems with stern-heavy handling.

Most boaters hardly run at the 10/10s required to get to that point, but it is something worth noting. Indeed, the turnabouts of our youth were ChrisCraft models with dual 50s mounted. We had lots of fun scooting around local harbor in the nice weather and we never had a problem with rear-mounted twin Evinrudes. She was a very weatherly craft that road nicely in just about any weather and being kids we hardly ran at 10/10s.

We just wanted to make sure you knew about what you might be in for.

So, what is the 2012 turnabout, then? It is a sleek, deep-V-hulled craft in the 15-30-foot range that features a covered bow and hatch for access to the bow/stowage area (that's what it is used for). Slightly wider than past models, she also has more freeboard and handles well in all kinds of weather. The runabout also features a wraparound windscreen and can feature a cloth top for protection. With dual outboards mounted she makes an ideal day-fisher or ski boat.