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Author Topic:   Tunnel Whaler
JimU posted 01-23-2001 04:05 PM ET (US)   Profile for JimU   Send Email to JimU  
As I was decompressing after the close of duck season and cleaning up my tunnel drive aluminum duck hunting boat I had a radical idea; find an old 13 foot Whaler, modify the keel at the stern to accomodate 6-7 inch deep
tunnel, which my duck boat has, put on a tilting jack plate and a 35-50 hp engine with a doel-fin, put a nice camo or olive drab paint job on it and have the ultimate shallow water boat for duck hunting and otherwise bumming around in shallow Louisiana marshes. Any thoughts on such a project?
outrage posted 01-23-2001 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for outrage  Send Email to outrage     
There is a guy in Texas who manufactures Transport boats who has cut a tunnel in a few 15' whalers. I have talked with some the owners of the tunnel 15's and they love it!! They have a manual jack plate with a 70hp Johnson.
I have never been in one, but I think it is a good idea.
dchris2 posted 01-23-2001 09:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for dchris2  Send Email to dchris2     
I have know idea what your talking about,but judt do it. Time to kick ass on the politicos
Dick posted 01-23-2001 10:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
Much easier that cutting a tunnel add a 5" extension to the transom and hang on an outboard jet.
JimU posted 01-24-2001 03:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
Outrage: any info on the Texas guy? thanks JIM
David Reid posted 01-24-2001 06:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Reid  Send Email to David Reid     
Go to:

Click on the links button, then go to Tran Sport Boats.

Several months ago the owner pretty much confirmed to me that their mold was taken off an old Whaler Low Profile 19' they've still got in the yard. He puts the tunnel in all sizes manufactured, up to 22'. Uses closed cell foam sandwich construction and sells to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. and some coastal police units. I've not seen one in person, expect the interior finish and trim to be sub-Whaler, but the profile sure looks great. Given where the bowling ball folks have taken the BW line and their latest close of the CPD, I've got no problems with the idea of buying a Whaler clone. I understand that some do though. Not sure I'd try doing the tunnel thing on an old hull myself, but I'm not very adventuresome.

Landlocked posted 01-24-2001 07:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     

The jet-outboards are great on bedrock/cobble streams but in my experience don't do too well in coarse sands. A few years back, we bought one to dedicate to a hydro project in Central Georgia. Had to cover about 30 miles of river regularily with less than 1' of water and all sand substrate (very poor access only a couple of ramps). Spent all of our time cleaning sand out of the thing. Ended up switching back to a prop and putting it on a tunnel hull. You had to find a hole to get it up on plane, but once there you could run wide open in less than 1' of water with little to worry about but the occasional cypress stump... but that's another story (bummer of a day). If my next boat isn't a whaler, it'll be a polar-craft tunnel hull.

Dick posted 01-24-2001 08:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I never have had that problem as long as you keep the RPMs up. I spent 17 years in Alaska running jets on the rivers and the only time I clogged one up was my own stupidity. Have never run a tunnel, sounds interesting.
Landlocked posted 01-24-2001 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     

What was the bottom like up there...If it was mostly bedrock/cobble I'd say a jet drive was the ticket. My only jet experience was with sand. Memory is fady but I think we had a 25 or 30 hp johnson with an aftermarket jet-drive mounted on a 16' lowe work-boat. (tiller drive)

We tried using it on the main job site which was the Oconee River D.S. of Lake sinclair and found it useless. We then relocated it to a Chattahoochee job with similar results. Just wasn't designed for Ga. sands. Ended up buying a new lower unit and switching it back to the prop...

Tunnel hull set-up was perfect. Keep in mind it was a company boat and time was money so perhaps we took chances we shouldn't have but the thing was like a 4-Wheel drive - it would go anywhere... quickly...

A tunnel hull Boston whaler would be like a 4WD Mercedes.... Get ya anywhere - in style.

Dick posted 01-25-2001 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
The river bottoms were mostly sand and silt with some gravel. The key to a good jet powered boat is HP hang on as much as the boat will handle. Under powered jet boats are worthless.
Landlocked posted 01-25-2001 08:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Landlocked  Send Email to Landlocked     
Perhaps hp was our problem... It was a light boat though. We were limited in the size of motors we could use because the boat had to be carried to the water at a couple of locations.... Anyway, we got the job done.

Main point, I was really impressed with the Tunnel hull. - right up to the day that I tore the stern off the boat - oops. One can have too much confidence.

TRIDENT posted 01-25-2001 11:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRIDENT  Send Email to TRIDENT     
Jet powered boats are not really suitable for the Texas coastline because we get a lot of shallow grass beds and oyster reefs in shallow (<24") water. I hear those jets suck up oysters, etc and then you are stranded miles from the dock. No thanks. Tunnel hulls are ideal, but lose some of their efficiency, speed and handling versus a V or cathedral hull. I run my Montauk pretty shallow, but not nearly as shallow as my fishing buddy's flat bottom tunnel drive rig. However, I can blow right by him in a chop!
TRIDENT posted 01-25-2001 11:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for TRIDENT  Send Email to TRIDENT     
I saw a Montauk for sale in Houston with a tunnel hull cut into it. I bet it made a pretty nice flats boat.
JimU posted 02-02-2001 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
After hearing from you guys, I researched Transport Boats out of Palacios Texas and their modifications of Whaler hulls to tunnel. They said they had done a large number of them and they worked fine. Cost on a 13-17 foot is $400-$500. As soon as I find the right (cheap) 13 footer I plan to have them put in a tunnel, hang on a jack plate and 45-50 hp engine and go "Tunnel Whalering" (Will probabably be a year long project. . .in time for next duck season.)

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