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Author Topic:   Spruce Creek Navy - 12/02/00
jimh posted 12-01-2000 05:26 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
This topic thread is for comments on which first appeared December 2, 2000, and featured photographs of Clark Roberts' Spruce Creek Navy.
compounder posted 12-01-2000 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Clark that's quite a fleet you have there.
I'm envious! I am situated on a creek just off the ICW very much like yours. Great to be able to explore creeks, rivers and the ocean!!
kingfish posted 12-01-2000 08:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
What an idyllic spot! What an idyllic life-style, too - just dinkin' around with Whalers all day and it never gets cold...seems like never-never land to me. Can I be one of the lost boys?

Your 15 looks like it's ready for anything, what with landing lights, an ejection seat and all..."Whoa, look out, here comes Admiral Roberts, flying in just under the radar!"

Nice looking boats, Clark-


Clark Roberts posted 12-01-2000 09:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Kingfish, the landing lights are by "Raritan" and have a wide (30 degree) beam. These are necessary at night to see the reflectors on small channel markers in the flats.... a handheld spotlight works to a degree but is "flashy", lights up the boat and requires a hand to hold it.... with the fwd mounted lights there is no reflection to kill night vision and also hands are free to steer, throttle and pray!
Happy Whalin'... The Old Man and the Sea
jimh posted 12-03-2000 04:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Hey Clark,

Is that really the NAV light on the cowling of the outboard seen on your 11-Custom CC ?

That is a cool idea.


Clark Roberts posted 12-03-2000 05:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Jim, yes , that's the stern nav light. There is a quick disconnect and a service loop of wiring to allow cowling removal.. this set-up is common practice around here... now, the law says that the white light must be higher than anything else on the boat but the Fla. Marine Patrol has boats with this set-up so why "be holier than the Pope"... etc... I wouldn't recommend anyone else do it ... I use it only on my small Whalers... Clark
djmerrill posted 12-03-2000 09:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for djmerrill  Send Email to djmerrill     

Great shots of some neat boats. Many owners seem to get hung up on perfectly original boats. Your boats demonstrate that Whalers were built to be used and mondified to suit their owners needs!

Two questions about the sources of your mods: Who made the center console for your 15? Also, how did you go about fabricating the swim platforms? Are they whaler OEM?

FYI, I also mounted the stern running light on my parents 15 sport. The boat is used to run down to marinas and public docks in Annapolis, and ends up bending the post if it drifts underneath them. After straightening/replacing it for them a few times, I finally rigged up the cowling mounted light. No problems so far...


Clark Roberts posted 12-04-2000 06:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Doug, I get most consoles from a local marine surplus dealer ( in Daytona Beach, Fla. He has no std stock but now and then gets a nice one in. I buy the swim platforms from same place and "chop and channel" to fit! It's a time consuming and tedious job working with the stainless and the tricky angles etc... but worth the effort..... Happy Whalin... Clark
Romano69 posted 12-06-2000 12:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for Romano69  Send Email to Romano69     
Hi Clark-
Your 13' "Dive 1" whaler really looks good.I as wondering what kinda speed u get with the rig u got on it.-Thanks
Clark Roberts posted 12-06-2000 07:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Romano, the engine is a 25 Yamaha (short shaft - 15" , transom is 20")with a 13" pitch "PowerTech" stainless prop on an Altus power trim/jack plate with 8"-10" set-back. Plus a Doel-Fin ... Pilot seat is positioned back about 12" from std. remote steering position (closer to position of tiller steer set-up)... this works because porpoising can be controlled by the power trim! As to absolute top speed... about 30mph... once I tweeked 32mph... per gps..very high speed for a 25hp. The set-up (engine height, right prop, optimum weight distribution and trim ..engine tune, condition of bottom etc...etc..) is the secret to great performance... Dennis Scott (Scottfarm) has begun to fine-tune the set-up on his Montauk/75hp Merc, and is getting some impressive results... so good in fact that he won't post because of anticipated skepticism.... some may doubt 30+mph with a 25hp. Oh well.... Happy Whalin'... Clark
... Spuce Creek Navy
CDN posted 12-06-2000 07:50 AM ET (US)     Profile for CDN  Send Email to CDN     
Hi Clark-

What sort of performance do you get with the 15hp Mercury on your 11' Custom CC? What sort of prop do you run?

Hice little boat! I'm considering getting a 1997 11' Super Sport for inland lake fishing. Trying to decide between an 15hp or 20hp Mercury, or 18hp Nissan/Tohatsu.


Clark Roberts posted 12-06-2000 08:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
CDN, the 15hp was a good performer for one or two persons... not very good for 3 people... ran out at about 18-20mph... prop is a std eqpt. 3 blade aluminum... I would suggest the 18 or 20 hp if you plan to carry 3 people and/or lots of gear... Happy Whalin'.. Clark...Spruce Creek Navy
CDN posted 12-06-2000 08:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for CDN  Send Email to CDN     
Thanks Clark!

I've been to leaning to the 20hp Mercury, although it's quite a bit more expensive than the 18hp Nissan/Tohatsu, but still trying to decide.

BTW, for others 2ho may read this, Mercury does not market the 20hp in an electric start, remote, short shaft. Have to take a 20hp short shaft manual, and have the dealer order the starter, alternator, and control, integrate them, then install on an 11' Whaler. Nissan/Tohatsu does make such an 18hp setup already integrated under one part number, and is MUCH less expensive than doing the above. Mercury does have a promotion offering six months same as cash or rebates on motors 9.9hp or larger until 12/31/2000. Problem is there is only one delaer for Nissan or Tohatsu in my area, and it is an auto parts store, that does the motors on the side. Is not set up to do installation, so I'd have to do it myself.

Still dickering with the Whaler dealer on the leftover 11' Super Sport. Has been sitting in the dealer's yard uncovered for 4 years and wood needs complete refinishing, and one board replaced. Wants $4650 as is. Seems high. I lowballed it for $3000. Hope to get it for $3800. Would have full 10-year warranty. Otherwise, plan to get a leftover 2000 13' Sport with 30hp Mercury from anothter local dealer. (They have two left.) 2001's with 40hp are $1000 more.

Clark Roberts posted 12-06-2000 10:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Seems as though we should move this discussion over to the "Performance" section!???
CDN posted 12-06-2000 02:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for CDN  Send Email to CDN     
Good point. Guess I got carried away here.
bigz posted 12-07-2000 03:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Well well finally Commander Clark has exposed his semi-serect SCN operations center to the world wide net --- heh heh --

Now all he has to do is get Jim photos of the other "ships" of his Whaler fleet to complete the picture --- and invite us all down for a little Spam and coffee or diet pepsi --- TZ

Clark Roberts posted 12-07-2000 04:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Tom, you realize that your 27 "Amy's Whaler" is the flagship of the SCN's NE Flank... Jim's 20 Revenge is flagship of SCN's Upper Mid-West Flank... and a fellow from Hawaii wants emblem decal! It's a small world... Whalers are everywhere...

bigz posted 12-07-2000 04:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Yes they are everywhere it seems Commander --

You got "little red" "El Nino" that old 13 and the new addition Montauk which are located at headquaters sure all would like a look see at them tooo -- Z

chad posted 12-08-2000 05:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for chad  Send Email to chad     
Do you have a jack plate on your Montauk? If so how has it effected shallow water performance. Thanks for posting the pictures. Looks like a great set up on the creek. chad
Clark Roberts posted 12-09-2000 07:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Chad, no jack plate on Montauk! My previous 17 was a 1980 Newport with 90 Merc on a Bob's Machine MJ-5 (5 inch set back) jack plate... engine was back five inches and up about 3 inches plus. handling was great and naturally it drew 3+ inches less water than without jackplate.. accelleration and cornering were also great... no down side. and additionally it freed up the transom well since all cabling and wiring were farther back... Happy Whalin... Clark... THe Old Man (Top speed was impressive.. close to 50 mph with a Quicksilver 20" pitch High Five prop) .. shallow draft was my goal ,, not speed.... nice by-product though!)
Seanc posted 01-19-2001 11:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Seanc  Send Email to Seanc     
Mr. Roberts:

My complements on your fleet. I have a sport 15 that has no interior. I want to do a center console. Could you be more specific on the components that you used to achieve your great design?

Best Regards,

Sean C

Sinclair7 posted 07-27-2001 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sinclair7  Send Email to Sinclair7     
Clark Roberts,
This in reference to the pictures you have on the site. I want to convert my 13 footer to a center console. Could you describe in detail how to mount the console to the deck. Have you had any trouble with the consol? How did yourun the teleflex and other lines?
HookedOnHer posted 08-22-2001 12:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for HookedOnHer  Send Email to HookedOnHer     
Captian Roberts, glad to see you have other interests, but don't be gone to long. When you find this I hope you and your wife are home safe from your trip out west. My question is concernig your 15' and the height you put your motor. I have a 15' stripper w/70hp,and 5inch setback. I am concerned on how high I can go with out having water preasure problems. My boat is a little heavy already toward the back. I have a wooden platform that covers backquarter. now with the addition of the bracket and ss prop I will really be sitting low toward back in. Also do you have the need for any wedges with the bracket on???

triblet posted 08-22-2001 02:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
Captain? Nah, with a navy that size is at
least Commodore, maybe Admiral.



Clark Roberts posted 08-23-2001 05:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Hooked, my 40 merc is up about 4" (pretty high) and I have no cooling problems. General rule of thumb is back one inch, up one half inch. I believe that the Doel-Fin helps out by putting a cap on the prop and channeling the water!? I use no wedges. Your 70 will indeed be heavier and ss prop and bracket will add some weight but that shouldn't effect cooling water flow. A press gage (I only have temp gage and it seldom comes off the peg) would be good and a temp and a press gage would be ideal. I suggest that you jack it up and test but keep an eye on the "tattle tale" water stream and watch that temp gage. Thanks for the kind words! Trip out west was great. Good luck on your project and happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
HookedOnHer posted 08-23-2001 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for HookedOnHer  Send Email to HookedOnHer     
Captian, thank you for your reply. I understand what you said about the rule of thumb 2to1(back then up). My question is about power trim and tilt. Can you use it at that hieght. Making turns and having motor jacked,and then with trim bringing motor more out of water sounds kind of risky? I guess you just practice and make mental notes with your trim guage on how high not to go?? Any advice here.
Clark Roberts posted 08-24-2001 07:17 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Hooked, T&T no problem... I have found no down side to jacking engine up, however, if trimmed out too far it may cavitate on hard turns but this happens when engine is mounted at std. heights.. depends on the specific set-up and fine tuning and the correct prop... jack it up and let 'er rip! Just keep an eye that rpm and temp! Happy Whalin... Clark.. The Old Man and the Sea
lhg posted 08-24-2001 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I must say I am getting confused about running a non-racing equipped outboard at elevated transom heights of 3" or 4" (meaning the anticavitation plate, at planing and normal trim speeds, is running this high above the flow of water off the transom).

On most outboards I have seen, without special racing water pickup installed, the top of the water intakes is about 2" below the anti-cavitation plate. Raising the engine higher than this (which will vary with individual engine water pickup design) would put the top pickups out of water, inducing air into the cooling water, with subsequent risk of burning out the top pistons.

I tried lifting my twin 115's about 2 1/2", and at planing speeds I was getting a lot of continuous steam out of the exhaust relief ports, even though the water pressure gauge showed adequate pressure. Something was definitely wrong, and I dropped them down 1".
The excessive steam disappeared.

I would assume that if you are going to run the top pickups out of water, they should be plugged to prevent the impeller from sucking air into the cooling water.

Clark Roberts posted 08-24-2001 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Larry, my 15 has 40 merc jacked up about 4" and my 13 with 40 Mariner is back about 9" and is a short shaft on a 20" transom so engine is up at least 5 inches.. I have no cooling problems and have run the 13 for 110miles non stop throughthe everglades...etc.. not a problem... maybe it's the Doel-Fin trapping the water but in any case the engines have water contact all the way to anticavitation plate and no cooling holes are exposed...The fin rides just on top of water at speed... don't want to add to the confusion but those are the facts of my set ups... others may have different experiences... Happy Whalin'... Clark... The Old Man
lhg posted 08-24-2001 10:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Clark thanks for the reply - we could have a definition problem here. If your Doel fin, which is attached to the anti-cavitation plate, is just above the water passing under it, then that would not be running 5" above the water passing under the plate, which is generally what is meant by elevated transom heights. That would be more like 1" high, even though it could be 4 or 5 inches above the boat transom. Setback brackets allow the extra engine height relative to the TRANSOM because of the rising swell coming off the transom, plus boat planing attitude. this is how the enhance performance. But when the AC plate is five inches high, (above the WATER FLOW) almost all of the water pickup slots would be above water flow, and the top of the gearcase bullet would be at surface level, with much of the blades running surface piercing. Racing engines set up like that have a separate water scoop installed, ususally on the boat bottom, to grab the water for engine cooling, and the regular slots are completly plugged.

I just wanted to at least give my definition, since if a person mounts an outboard directly on the transom, at a 5" elevated height above water flow, he is going to starve it for cooling water and blow up the engine fast.

Clark Roberts posted 08-25-2001 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Larry, well put and the mystery vanishes! My reference to mounting height is in reference to keel (bottom of the hull at centerline) and not height above the water flow! My purpose in raising engines is to reduce the draft (for shallow water capabilities) and the performance increase of doing so is a bonus! Clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
dcattley posted 04-22-2002 10:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for dcattley  Send Email to dcattley     
Clark (are you still out there?),

I was paging through the cetacea and came across your photos of the 11'. I just picked up an 11 for my kids and was wondering how you mounted the 15hp Merc. I cannot really tell from the pic but it seems like you lifted it and let it ride on the lower bolts? Any details would be appreciated.


Clark Roberts posted 04-23-2002 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Dave, the engine was mounted as high as the "C" clamps on engine would allow. I used a piece of black rubber about 1 1/2" high on top of transom (you can see in photo). Before the CC conversion I had a 9.9hp Merc tiller which performed fine so long as two did not sit in stern. With a passenger forward it did great. BTW, even with a 20hp the 11 is reluctant to plane out with two in stern (two small kids maybe so)... Happy Whalin'... Clark... SCN
dcattley posted 04-23-2002 05:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for dcattley  Send Email to dcattley     

Is your engine a 15" or 20" shaft length? I have a 15" shaft length and by the looks of it, raising it 1.5" puts the anti-cavitation plates well above the plane of the hull bottom. Is that not a problem?


Clark Roberts posted 04-24-2002 07:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Dave, the 15hp Merc was a 15" shaft and as I recall the anticavitation plate was a little more than an inch above the bottom of hull. I ran a "Doel-Fin" and no problem at all. Try raising your engine as high as possible and test run, keeping an eye on the "tattle tale" cooling water stream. Should be no problem ... Happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
Highwater posted 06-10-2002 06:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    

I just purchased a 15' and would like to mount the engine as high as possible. I was thinking of using the CMC manual adjustable jackplate with 4" of setback. However, I am concerned that this may raise the engine too high.

Without any jackplate, my anti-cavitation plate is righ in line with the bottom of the hull. How high do you estimate I can raise the engine?

Clark Roberts posted 06-11-2002 09:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
David, suggest a bracket with 4-6"set-back and you should be able to raise engine so that anti-cavitation plate is 2-3" above hull's bottom. General rule of thumb is back 1" and up 1/2" but testing is the only way to determine for sure.. run engine as high as possible while not blowing out the prop on hard accelleration or turns and while maintaining cooling water flow/press. I am running a 70 Merc on Killer (the 40Merc is now on a 13) and the 70 is up about 5" on the same bracket as the 40 was mounted. The 70 is really too much power to handle at WOT and I will soon mount it on a 1977 Montauk (with a 6" set-back CMC manual jack-plate) . A temp gauge and water press guage are a good idea when engine is jacked up high. Rainsing an engine and moving it aft on a jack-plate generally give better performance, economy, handling and certainly less draft! Go for it! Clark... SCN
Highwater posted 06-11-2002 01:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
Clark, as you have lots of experience mounting engines of various weights and hp, I wonder if you might have an opinion about how much weight would be too much weight to put on the back of a 15'. If I moved the battery, fuel, and seats forward on my 15', do you think it would be alright to mount a 335-pound Suzuki DF70 on the back? It will hang on a CMC manual jackplate with 4" of setback.
Clark Roberts posted 06-11-2002 06:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
David, I have personally tested a 15 with a 304lb Merc 90 (no bracket) and it was ok but very tail heavy... 335lbs may be too much even without a bracket... I really don't know for sure so can't recommend!!! Maybe someone else knows the answer... Happy Whalin'.. Clark... SCN
Highwater posted 06-16-2002 11:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
Clark, I know that your 15 did fine with a 40 hp engine as long as you were not carrying a heavy load. Since I often carry a heavy load, I am concerned that I might be dissatisfied with the performance of my 15 if I replace my 70 hp Nissan with a 50 hp 4-stroke. If I carry 800 pounds of people, gear, and fuel, do you think that I will be able to go at least 30 mph with a 50?

My wife and I will be heading down the ICW beginning Thursday, June 20. We may be passing near Spruce Creek on Monday, June 24. If there is a restaurant that we can get to by water, we would be delighted to take you to lunch. Best regards, David.

Clark Roberts posted 06-19-2002 07:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
David, thanks so much for the offer but I'm in Cedar Key and will be here until the 27th so will miss you! Boondocks (just south of the Dunlawton Bridge at Adventure Harbour Marina... East side of channel) is a #1 choice and is really great... another is Inlet Harbour Restaurant (floating dock) right at Ponce de Leon Inlet! It is on a side channel to the East of Marker 2... BTW , my 15 with the 40 would not perform satisfactorily with 800lbs... maybe someone else can advise on the 50hp 4s combo... Happy cruising .. Clark... SCN
capngeo posted 09-14-2002 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for capngeo  Send Email to capngeo     
Must have read my mind on the center console 11! Do you have a source for that console? I'd like to rig mine out just like that!
lhg posted 09-14-2002 02:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Clark - Did you head over to Cedar Key just so you could be in a tropical storm?!!!
Clark Roberts posted 09-15-2002 07:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Captgeo, I think I got the console at a surplus dealer and don't know the origin/manufacturer... sorry! Larry, that Cedar Key trip was back in June I believe but bad weather does track me down now and then... Clark... SCN
wetdogsoup posted 11-28-2003 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for wetdogsoup  Send Email to wetdogsoup     
as an aspiring 15' owner I sure appreciate the customization you've done to your "fleet". With the CC setup, how/where did you run your control cables?

Thanks, dfw

Clark Roberts posted 11-29-2003 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
DFW, the std 15 hull has no cable tunnel (as on my 15 Killer) so I bored a tunnel from drain sump to console for cable run. This is a big job but worth it. The center console 15 has a tunnel molded in so it's great for conversion to a real "stand-up" center console. On the little eleven footer I ran the cables across deck (rearward)and fabricated a little hat section cover for it and it worked out great. The 15 is a great hull for a narrow stand-up center console. I now have a 3 cyl (51 cubic inch) 40hp merc and it is a real performer! Happy Whalin'.. Clark... SCN
PS> is "rearward" a real word?
donovanmc posted 12-07-2003 11:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for donovanmc  Send Email to donovanmc     
Hi very impressed with your line of whalers. Wondering about the ten inch set back Jack plate. I have a whaler and would like to place one of these on my own 13' footer. Can you tell me where to find it.



Clark Roberts posted 12-08-2003 08:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Mike, the jack plate on the 13 Alert is actually an aftermarket trim/tilt unit originaly made by Altus and recently available from Honda. Check Honda dealer or find a used one. With the 10" setback you can use a 15" shaft (short shaft) engine and get some serious performance and shallow water capabilities. Notice that the classic 13 has a very sharp transom angle (more than any other boat that I know of) so total setback from keel is maybe 20 inches. This allows the water coming off keel to "well" up at speed high enough to give prop a good bite and also to cool engine. Trim and tilt is a must for optimum performance. Happy Whalin'... Clark... Spruce Creek Navy

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