New skiff by Hellsbay this year is the Biscayne. Since everyone that releases a new skiff over hypes their boats, I do not get easily impressed with new skiff these days. To be honest, though I’ve heard about this skiff being test etc. I just did not pay much attention to it.
When I was down at one of the demo day recently, Todd asked if I wanted to do a test ride. Running Saltyshores, I get asked quite often about boats. This is only logical since people see me ride in a variety of boats, especially polling skiffs. This way I figure I can give an honest, ridden in opinion instead of just reading the specs and guessing.
The boat we demo had a 70hp Yamaha 4 stroke. I’m well over 200lbs and Todd is also over 200lbs. With the 70 once it got on plane and the “pad” it got up to 40mph. Pretty impressive I say with a 70. The ride quality was very soft and road high in the water. Hitting waves head on and side ways it was quite comfortable.
The boat in my opinion is as dry as a sub 17′ poling skiff could possibly get. It was blow 10-15mph that day and we ran into the wind, quarter seas into the wind as well as quartering with following seas. I am noting to going to say the cliche of “not a drop on me”, “bone dry” etc, but I will say it was impressively dry.
Even with out sponsons the trim tab usage was very minimal. With out sponson it also allow the boat to turn quite sharp, grippy feel. Reverse was easier and it made spinning while poling much easier than with sponsors.
With a sharp entry I expected it to be a bit tippy but with a 70″ beam it was quite comfortable and stable. This his how oblivious I was to the release of the boat. I thought I was riding in a 18′ boat because it rode so well. It completely slip my mind that it was powered by a 70hp(probably wouldn’t run a 18′ so well).
Besides the ride quality the hatches were quite impressive too. Yes they open closed like any other hatch, but on the Biscayne the drains were huge. This doesn’t mean much to most people but if you ever take a big wave or get caught in a bad rain storm, getting water inside the hatches is one of my peeves. The bigger drain area allows water to drain out quickly.
The Biscayne is a definitely a worthy contender in the ever popular skinny water poling skiff arena.
Weight – 595 lbs.
Draft – 7″ with engine & fuel
Length – 16′ 4″
Beam – 70″
Recommended Power – 60 hp – 80 hp