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Curmudgeon Emeritus
1996 Scout 192 Sportfish
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4,931 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
'Twas the Saturday before Christmas, when all through the Keys
Not a creature was stirring, not even a rat in the trees;
The rods were hung by the door with such care,
In hopes that Brian and his IslaMarine 10wt soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of Bonefish danced in their heads;
And mamma in her OluKai's, and I in bare-feet,
Had just settled our brains for a post football sleep,
When out on in the bay there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my slip to see what was the matter.
Away to the dock I flew like a flash,
Tore open the screen door and tripped over the trash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen salt mist,
Gave a luster of midday to objects with a list,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But an IslaMarine 10wt sleigh and a 90hp Suzuki-deer,
With a young driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he ain't no St. Nick.
More rapid than a school of hungry jacks his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Lorelei! now, Pierre's! now Green Turtle Inn!
On, Twisted Shrimp! on, Morada Bay! on, Hog Heaven!
To the end of the Jetty! to the slip by the dock!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As palm fronds that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with a sunset, there up in the sky.
So across the bay in the skiff he flew
A box full of lures, and Brian too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The smooth humming of the Suzuki-dear hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the dock Brian came with a bound.
He was dressed in a t-shirt and a sandal on his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with fiberglass resin and soot;
A bundle of lures he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a local just opening his pack.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Laying fiberglass in a mold; then turned with a jerk,
Setting his finger aside a throttle he did pose,
Giving it a nod and up the bow rose;
He sprang his sleigh, to his team gave a holler,
And away they all flew like a crazy ass trawler.
But I heard him exclaim, as he headed to Snake Bight—
“Merry Christmas to all, and keep those lines tight!”

So it began, early Saturday morning before Christmas 2018 my son and I checked out the new Islamorada 10wt.

This year my family broke with tradition and decided to spend Christmas in the Keys. We booked a room at the 'Inn'. La Jolla Resort to be exact. We were pleasantly surprised when offered an upgrade our stay in their new 'Lodges' property.

From their website;

"The Lodges
Whether you are looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation or have an itinerary full of Florida Keys activities, you'll find the vacation you've been looking for starts at La Jolla Resort and Lodges.

The Lodges at La Jolla Resort offer two private residences overlooking the bay, with unparalleled privacy and nearly 2 acres of tropical trees, private boat docks and some of the best unobstructed sunset views the Keys have to offer. Complete with fire pits, outdoor seating, chaise lounges and plenty of room to unwind and relax, the Lodges are also available for private gatherings, events, and weddings of up to 120 guests."


We stayed in "Lodge Bahia" a Bayfront Three Bedroom House with three private bedrooms and two bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining area and living room. More importantly it has a private dock with a jetty which came in handy as the winds Christmas weekend picked up and our family fishing tank the 192 Scout was all nestled gently in her birth.

Saturday morning came and after a cup of coffee and ham biscuit my son and I idled from La Jolla nearly next door to the World Famous Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar, Mile Marker 82. It was too early for one of their incredible Cracked Conch Sandwich - Tenderized conch steak lightly breaded and flash fried, served with Out Island sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion - $15.50. However I did eye their Conch Republic Breakfast - A generous portion of fried dolphin, two eggs, cooked your style, grits or home fries & your choice of toast - $14.50. Alas it wasn't to be as Brian called 8:30am sharp confirming our meeting.

Brian idled the 10wt over and tied up next to us. After the morning pleasantries it was time to get to business.

(broken into sections due to post limit)
 

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Curmudgeon Emeritus
1996 Scout 192 Sportfish
Joined
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4,931 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Why the 10wt?

The IslaMarine 10wt is a Chris Morejohn / Brian Floyd collaboration. Chris regarded by many as 'The' quintessential skiff designer and Brian known for his prowess rigging and repairing all things that float bring a refined approach with the 10wt making improvements in places that most would never know to look.

I’ve written about Chris in the past. He is most famous for his groundbreaking designs as one of the co-founders of Hells Bay. He has an innate ability to convert thought into skillfully crafted drawings. His drawings are part artistry and part technical. You can catch up on Chris’s latest drawings here.

Brian is owner of IslaMarine located on Islamorada in the Florida Keys. IslaMarine bills itself as a full service boat repair and storage facility specializing in custom rigging and restoration of skiffs all makes and models. His customers travel from miles in all directions for repairs and upgrades.

The collaboration was a brainstorm to address specific shortcomings they felt needing addressing. First was to get more wetted surface under the skiff for enhanced stability and address support of today’s real world loads. Modern skiff are expected to support more weight than ever before. From heavier 4-Stroke engines to a vast array of electronic "must haves" such as large GPS's with 3D sonar, a motorized shallow water anchor or two, trolling motor, live well and the batteries to power these accessories. Not to mention rods and tackle. Hulls designed 20 - 30 years ago simply do not cope.

The proof is in how these skiffs float at rest. Some of the classic skiffs once heralded as the pinnacle of their time when loaded with these modern necessities squat like a sumo wrestler. Adding complexity to this balancing cocktail is the size of three modern average 'Mercan anglers. I've been on many high dollar skiffs where relieving oneself off the stern corner means to dance with the rub rail cresting the water’s edge.

If you line up all of Chris's most popular designs there is a certain DNA to them. A visual presence that despite measuring time with calendars look timeless. It's up close where the refinement of years of experience start to take shape. Some refinements are in the last place most look, the stern.

Chris and Brian modified the latest version of a rounded corner stern for the 10wt. This element is becoming popular in skiff design as it serves a real world purpose when executed properly. The difference a rounded stern makes will be instantly noticed by any season platform poler. In this version the 10wt incorporates a rear step to control stern wash and to help to keep water from sticking to the transom. Having spent a lot of time poling some of Chris's designs from the mid 90's the difference the stern design makes is a tangible improvement. Under pole the skiff doesn't feel "stuck" as turbulent water washes on the transom impeding forward motion.

Brian's influence on the design may not be as visually evident at first but are in the places that over time matter most. The hull has a bonded grid stringer system all the way to the transom. This means the hull, stringer and cap are bonded as a complete unit maximizing strength and rigidity. Brian claims this increased strength helps to control stress cracks around the engine well, a common Achilles heel of older skiffs. Some older skiffs use the deck cap as a strengthening member leading to these stress cracks. By bonding everything together this reduces the forces on the engine well reducing the potential for cracks.

Access and ease of use are very important to Brian. Spending as much of his career repairing and refurbishing skiffs Brian knew that when he built a skiff he'd do it in such a way that performing minor maintenance or major over hauls access to and replacing common components with ease was a must. To do this Brian designed the skiff to be completely rigged after all of the major components are bonded together. For example it’s much easier to rig a boat when the deck cap is not in the way. The wiring and rigging is tossed into the hull then covered with the cap.

To accomplish this rigging tubes are larger than most to insure all control cables, wiring etc. pass through with easy. This came from a challenge where to replace the steering cables for a customer their entire boat had to be de-rigged. Every wire, cable and hose pulled through the rigging tube because of a lack of space to pass the new steering cables. These improvements may not seem like much on day one of the new boat ownership but as someone who had to replace the fuel tank in his boat I can tell you from experience this kind of attention to detail is highly appreciated 20 years later.

Hatches are large with wide accesses openings. The hatches use pneumatic lifts to help hold them in place. As Brain explains you only have to get knocked in the head from an unexpected falling hatch so many times before you use these to hold all hatches open.

The deck cap in the pictures is not the final version. New molds are being prepared (target date is mid first quarter 2019) but in principal the layout remains mostly the same. The inside of the hatches are lightly finished fiberglass and gelcoat. There are no hatch liners. I like this as liners add weight just to make the inside of a hatch look pretty. Also every usable square inch of space for one’s gear is available, a precious commodity on small skiffs. My biggest gripe, are the hinges. I'd prefer hidden or flush mount hinges to protect anglers like myself who foolishly prefer to fish barefooted.

A livewell resides behind the rear seat between the two large stern hatches. There is a possibility for a larger live well under the seat of the console. The console is proportioned appropriately for many different sized operators. A lot of thought to reduce fatigue on long runs was put into the layout. Inside the console are all the electrical terminations and for weight balance the house power battery is stored here.

Just forward the console is a great utilization of unused space. The 10wt incorporates a small anchor/wet storage locker in the cockpit floor behind the front bulkhead. While it’s a small detail it’s one I wish more builders would consider.

The front hatch houses the fuel tank. The tank can be completely removed through the hatch opening. No cutting the deck required to remove a leaky tank. In this preproduction model the tank is 22 gallons but will be 28 gallons in the final production version. The space in the forward hatch is expansive but as common with pointy bow skiffs the further forward you go the less the space become usable.

Under the gunwale there are fore and aft rod holders and tubes. The layout is good but I'm not a fly angler by habit so my layout would be different to support more spinning gear.
 

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Curmudgeon Emeritus
1996 Scout 192 Sportfish
Joined
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4,931 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
How does it ride and perform?

I would say exactly as expected. Anything less and I would have been disappointed. I’ve had the fortune to run many Morejohn hull designs there are certain expectation I have for how his designs should feel. While each have some differences generally the ride should be soft, dry and compliant when needed but have the ability to skip like a flat stone in chop. In nasty conditions the large spray rails should keep the occupants dry while a hook on chine helps push water away in calm water.

Turning should be tight and easily controlled with the throttle. Turning is less about rotating the center point to change direction as it is about changing the boat axis and carving a turn. With the 90 Suzuki powering this skiff whole shot was efficient and well mannered. Mid-range power was strong and generally everything I would expect from a Suzuki. Top speed pending load and occupants will be in the mid to low 40's.

More time is spent standing with a pole than sitting with a throttle. Again the 10wt performs as expected. With an angler on the front deck the person on the platform has complete confidence and balance under their feet. The skiff poles, tracks, turns exactly as it should. I was able to control the skiff poling with one hand into a brisk breeze. It was so good I lost my focus of reviewing the boat and started to focus on trying to catch a fish. How foolish of me...

Overall I would say that the IslaMarine 10wt realized every expectation I had. They took everything that was good and made it a little bit better. I have to admit there was no one significant features or performance aspects that stood out. This isn't a negative. It just proves how good the basic design is and how much effort it takes to make it just that much better. The entire skiff feels more refined, more thought out and well, more Morjohn. The most significant differences are hidden to most who only see the boat on a trailer or sliding across the flats.

Why should someone consider the 10wt?

It's a proven design that's been tuned based on years of experience and feedback. The design and implementation come from a duo with considerable recognition in the industry. If you follow Chris Morejohn via Instagram you find him sailing into the Pacific Ocean on his sail boat the Hogfish Maximus. And by his own admission this could be one of the last Morejohn designs for quite some time, if ever. It may be an opportunity to own what certainly should be a future classic.

I’d like to thank Brian for taking time out of his schedule for this review. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Tech specs
Length- 18’0”
Beam- 75 1/2”
Waterline beam- 56 1/2”
Draft- 7”
Deadrise- 5 degrees to chine and a 15” flat running pad.
Max HP- 90
Fuel Tank- XX gallons
Weight as tested 1500 lbs. wet and full of fuel.
Price as tested mid $40's
No included in base price, GPS and cup holders/rod holders are available as optional add-ons
 

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Very well written review. I took a brief ride and concur with you! If that's your son in the bow compartment he has grown quite a bit since I saw him last.
 

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Curmudgeon Emeritus
1996 Scout 192 Sportfish
Joined
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4,931 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Great review! Curious to get a better feel for the size of this skiff. Is it in same size category as Marquesa / HPX18 or its a bit smaller?
Based on published specs (not sure exactly where MHP and HB measure their beam) the IslaMarine 10wt is about 5" narrower in the beam. LOA is about the same.
 

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Curmudgeon Emeritus
1996 Scout 192 Sportfish
Joined
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4,931 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Very well written review. I took a brief ride and concur with you! If that's your son in the bow compartment he has grown quite a bit since I saw him last.
Hey Mitch, hope you're doing well and Happy New Years. Yup that's Scooter. He's growing up so fast. Next year he starts driving. :eek: Where has the time gone? I'm really thing about selling the family fishing tank and buy a poling skiff. He's old enough to learn how to pole.

Cheers!
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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4,511 Posts
Great review.

Looks like a "Whipray 18" to me.

Needs to have a 115hp rating to compete with other boats its size.

Especially when a TM, PP, 12" GPS, and 50 pounds of sound get added like it was supposedly designed for.
I suspect the "12 Weight" will meet that criteria.
 

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Thanks for the review capt. I love your honest and non bias thoughts on each skiff you don’t review. Good job and tight lines!
 

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Love the boat, been following it on FB throughout the build. I think it's great that they left the liners out of the hatches. They need improve the rod storage assuming the configuration is the same on the other gunnel. Two fly rods per gunnel isn't going to cut it fishing in the keys.
 

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Love the boat, been following it on FB throughout the build. I think it's great that they left the liners out of the hatches. They need improve the rod storage assuming the configuration is the same on the other gunnel. Two fly rods per gunnel isn't going to cut it fishing in the keys.
The photo is showing the aft facing rod tubes. There are also 3 going forward. Totaling 10 tubes. I will be making some changes to the configuration.
 
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