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Author Topic:   Whither Euro-Styling?
jimh posted 11-27-2001 11:35 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Some Observations:

--Euro-style sport boats--

We are up in Midland, Ontario this summer, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, at the end of nine days of cruising in Georgian Bay. We are queued up near the launching ramp, waiting to haul the boat out and start a 310-mile drive home, but we really are not in a hurry.

There is quite a bit of activity at the ramp as it is early afternoon and people are just coming down to the lake to launch their boats. We are tied up to a floating dock in this little canal, right off the ramp, along with three other boats. A local fellow launches his Euro-styled 18-foot bowrider, and brings it over to the floating dock to wait for his wife to come back after parking their trailer.

This floating dock is really a very low dock. Its deck is only four inches above the water. So when you are standing on the dock, your boat is floating rather higher than you might normally encounter it. Of course, with a classic Whaler, the gunwales are at a nice height. You can step up on the flat top of the gunwales and step aboard the boat without any problem. Getting on or off the Whaler at this dock is no problem. You don't give it a thought.

The dock could use more floatation, too. If you stand right at the very edge of the dock it will tip a bit and your shoe might get wet. But it is just a dock to tie the boat up for a minute before or after launching, so no big deal.

I look over the boat that has just launched and it now tied up in front of me. It is some recently made I/O powered 18-footer, with a plush interior of uphostered seats, lots of vinyls and carpeting. The sides of the boat curve upward and inward from the tiny rubrail toward the cockpit. There is no flat place to step anywhere. Every surface on the boat is curving and steeply sloping. There is the usual Euro-transom and swim platform on the back, but it is not quite full width; it too curves into the hull, very stylish and Euro-looking.

The sides are rather tall and the cockpit rather deep--you know the look. It is like 95% of all the 18-foot bowriders made in the last decade.

The guy is aboard, at the helm, idling the engine. He has the kids, and the swim toys, and the cooler--all the stuff you need in a bowrider when you've got kids 8-12 years old.

Finally Mum comes down the dock. She has parked the trailer and it is time to go boating. Mum is in her late 30's, kinda short, a bit on the stout side.

Dad is all set to go, the kids are ready, the engine is warmed up--but one problem:

With the low deck, the bulging sides, the sloping surface, it seems Mum cannot get on the boat! The boat is floating so high compared to this low, low dock, and the cockpit is so far inboard from the gunwales, and the surface of the boat so sloping (and of course no non-skid anywhere) that Mum cannot swing her leg up high enough or far enough to get herself on the boat!

The minute she lets go of the lines the boat blows off the dock a few inches more and there is no way she can traverse the gap between dock and boat.

A few harsh words between Mum and the skipper. The kids are getting edgy. They want to put all those toys in the lake.

Finally in desparation they shove the bow out away from the dock, swinging the stern in so the swim platfrom comes a little closer and the boat starts to pivot, and Mum can just make the step off the dock and onto the swim platform.

From there she climbs uphill (rather unladylike) over the curvy rear deck and plops into the cockpit. Daddy put the I/O in gear and off they go.

I am watching all this and I can't believe it. Here is a boat designed so you can hardly get into it at a dock! I bet Mum loves boating after a few more Sundays like this!

Euro-styling--you've gotta love it!

Tom W Clark posted 11-28-2001 12:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
Aye! I'm with ya on this one, jimh. Euro-style sport boats? B.u., in my opinion. Euro-styling looked good on my old 911S though....
Whalerdan posted 11-28-2001 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
Euro Styling? I don't get it. During the time I was in Germany I think the only boats I saw were barges. Were does this term come from. Are boats in Europe built like this, and if so, why would North American builders copy them? I mean we build a lot more boats over here and would seem to have more experience and knowledge in regards to practicality, esthetics, and performance. A friend of mine has one of these. It's a 19 footer and I bet a 13 foot whaler has more deck space. Still he thinks it's the cats meow. The whole thing seems like the emperors new coat to me.
Bigshot posted 11-28-2001 09:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
The bigger Italian/French Yachts have the swim platform built in and they are more rounded(ie:Sunseekers). I think it is a way for the companys to add length and therefore make it more appealing. SeaRay has ALWAYS included their pulpits in the length, now Whaler does along with thier "euro" swim platform.
george nagy posted 11-28-2001 09:49 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
I think that these "euro style" boats resemble sneakers, they come from China. I efectionately call all of the sea ray and similar boats "sneakers" especially "sunsneaker". I must admit though I have seen several "sunsneakers" upclose and they look like there are serious business. They appear to be the "real mcoy" if you will of the "mediteranean style day cruiser" which they are designed to be. Thier drive system and engine config is alot more than any sea ray or other "sneaker".

Another boat type I would like to share with you fellow whaler owners is the "steaknife". This is the so called 30' range center console fishing boat with twin, but almost always triple outboards. I wonder wjat it must be like fishing on a boat that is so long and has such a short beam. Must be a throw-up machine. I bet they are hard to turn too.

Well these are my thoughts of certain boat designs dreamt up over the past ten years and remember most of us have hull designs concieved nearly 20 years ago, some of us longer. Our boats classic and simplistic designs are a large part of why these boats are still around and sought after so dilligently. I wonder where all these sneakers are going to end up in the next 10-15 years. I think in the trash beacause as all raticaly designed things they fade quickly and let's face it none of these cutter gun boats will hold up too well either. Does anyone know how much it is going to cost to dispose of one of these "sneakers" Huh! the mess and all that hrmful stuff leaching into the environment. I think us whaler owners should get a tax cut, well I'm beggining to ramble now. Until later enjoy boating with the "sneakers" and the "steaknives".

jameso posted 11-28-2001 10:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for jameso  Send Email to jameso     
I compare the boating public of today with the motoring public of the 50's and 60's. No choice of different type vehicles
High pressure sales
High prices!!
Look the Jones'es have one!
Uninformed or misinformed,,,tell them it looks good over and over and they will believe it.
I recently visited a "boat dealership" mostly Ski Doo type stuff, looked at the larger Bombardier craft, 18+ feet LARGE engine, very inefficient pump drive and less usable space than my 15 classic. Costs 25+ and gets about 1/2 mile per gallon, OH I WANT ONE!!AND YOU CAN YOU FINANCE IT!!!
But let's be real this is the United States we have the right to buy as we please,,Thank God for that.
jameso posted 11-28-2001 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for jameso  Send Email to jameso     
I agree with WhalerDan, I have spent considerable time in Europe and have never seen this type of hull. One type of hull that I have seen in Japan and Asian waters is the long craft with a narrow beam that is really sea worthy, I fished off a 30 footer in the china sea last year that really impressed me.
Jim Armstrong
JFM posted 11-28-2001 10:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
If you have trouble getting on your Euro style boat, get a Tiara. They have a door built into the gunnel that you can crawl on board (I know from first hand experience). Regards, Jay. P.S. Sorry they don't make an 18'
bigz posted 11-28-2001 10:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Cute story JimH.

Since she wasn't able to climb on the gunwale and then step down into the cockpit just wondering if it was the high freeboard or her agility ability --- :)

High freeboard has nothing to do with the term "Euro style"! Miss use of the term when applying to outboards. In outboards it applies to the transom design -- as we know just about all outboard boat manufactures have switched over to what is nothing more than a modified bracket referred to as the integrated transom system or as you like to use the term "Euro" transom.

In the case of this I/O sleek designed craft your referring to in the story, well you could even draw a relation to very early inboard Chris Crafts and Centuries to name a few with swept back windshields -- slope tails etc. and relatively high freeboards ---

Anyway the term "Euro Style" in proper context refers to the overall style of the craft. You witness this in numerous sailboats, large cruisers and many many yachts today -- it encompasses not only the exterior elements of sleekness but also the design manipulations of providing crafted accommodations that push the extremes in to days boats. For instance a 35-38 footer today might have in accommodations what say a conventional designed hull of days gone by you would need at least 45' to achieve.

On a smaller scale guess you can apply this to Whaler, GW, Hydro Sport etc the ability to get more into a smaller boat in reference to amenities than you could ever contemplate in the older style hulls this would include the integrated transom. Though in it self the transom design doesn't necessarily mean the boat is "Euro Styled".

I have a test report from '91 on the 27 WA ----- it refers to the new Euro style transom 27 --- also on the 23 WA was the first attempt to incorporate the bracket as an integrated part of the boat unlike the hang on Whaler Drive. Interesting.

David Ratusnik posted 11-28-2001 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Ratusnik  Send Email to David Ratusnik     
Having owned a 23' I/O euro-styled Chris Craft for 4 years I can identify with jimh's story. I thought the story was going to end with the owner turning the prop hub or banging up the blades on the ramp as he left it. Euro-styled I/O's draft a ton in addition to having about 1/2 the occupancy rating of a similar length Whaler. My 23' Chris Craft was rated for "6" people. Although, in all fairness, they look good especially from the exterior. David
lhg posted 11-28-2001 03:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I believe the "euro" transom name came from the Italian boat designs of the eighties. It basically refers to a side profile of the hull sloping down 45 degrees from the top of the gunwales to the engine mounting height.

It is so widely used because it is a major money saver on hull production costs, a real "el cheapo" detail. The blob boat designers like it for outboard boats because it eliminates the "notched" transom shape, nowadays considered "not cool". But, like everything else, it is a design gimmick whose day will pass. And it adds cheap, but mostly non-useable, footage to the selling price of the boat. It's now almost impossible to determine the REAL hull length of a boat you're buying these days, largely because of the Euro and bow pulpit stuff. As we know, the Sea Ray folks are masters at this, with their triple digit naming convention, now being applied over to Whalers also, a HUGE mistake if you ask me (more dilution of Whaler's unique identity, and closer identity with Sea Ray, a mid-priced brand). But the triple digit number can now no longer be construed as a mis-representation legally. It's just a number. How did the Whaler 26' Conquest of last year happen to get named a "275" this year? Clearly they want you to think you are buying (and paying for) a 27'-6" boat. Next, will it become a "Two Seventy Five"? I think the Defiance should just be named a "Three Fifty" and be done with it.

I just had occasion to be rafted alongside some brand's "2900" ( think it was Pursuit). The actual boat length of my 25 Outrage (actually 24'-8") was LONGER!!

With Euro transoms, the hull molds at the transom are made straight across, at the outboard mounting height, usually 25" for a single, or 30" for twin 25" engines. Then the top inside liner mold simply comes down to meet it, forming the splash wells and platforms.

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