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Author Topic:   Is the 170 MONTAUK a Wet Boat
Jonathan posted 01-24-2004 03:18 AM ET (US)   Profile for Jonathan   Send Email to Jonathan  
I regularly read posts of the 170 MONTAUK running up to 3-foot chop in 20 knot winds. But I haven't heard too much on whether or not it remains dry under these conditions. It would be interesting to hear if tabasco got very wet on Long Island Sound in the 3- to 4-foot wave he mentions in the Cetacea article
I have been following posts on the 170 MONTAUK for the last three months. This forum is outstanding. Thanks to everyone in advance.

erik selis posted 01-24-2004 06:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for erik selis  Send Email to erik selis     
Welcome Jonathan,

The 170 MONTAUK is in most conditions a very dry boat. Taking on a 3-4-foot chop and not getting wet depends on many different factors. Speed, angle on which you rid into the wave, motor trim, wind direction vs. wave direction, wind speed, wave frequency.... In this kind of chop you definitely need to get your bow down and find just the right speed. If you get the wind head on you won't get wet. However, if the wind is coming from the side you will get some spray on you or your passenger. I have been out in these conditions a couple of times with a head-on wind and nobody got wet. On the other hand I have also been out in 2-3-foot chop and my passenger got very wet. This was my own fault. I was travelling too slow with a strong wind coming in directly from the starboard side. Just to show that getting wet has alot to do with who's driving the boat and how he or she handles the situation.


jimh posted 01-24-2004 02:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If one can really proceed dead to windward in 4-foot chop at 20-knots in a 170 MONTAUK I would be impressed to meet the helmsman. He must have amazing tolerance for pain.

In order to raise waves to 4-feet there would have to be considerable wind blowing, so making way into them at 20 knots ought to produce a boat wind of at least 40-knots. In those conditions I would expect spray to be abundant and to carry a long distance.

I am sure the 170 MONTAUK is a great boat, but it is, after all, a 17-foot boat with a rather wide beam for its length, and I don't imagine it makes progress into 4-foot waves with a 40-knot boat wind without raising some spray. And that is not to mention the comfort of the ride at that point.

The worst situation would be to be making way at right angles to the wind and waves, which would tend to blow any spray across the boat. I don't think the 170 MONTAUK possesses any ability to repel that spray, other than to dry to throw it away from the hull as low as possible.

In my experience many times wave height is over estimated by those experiencing them from a small boat.

LabRtvr posted 01-24-2004 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for LabRtvr    
I think that the 170 is drier than most 17 foot boats however with a stiff wind and moderate chop I always seem to get wet. When its cold the gore-tex goes before leaving the dock. When heading into the wind I have a difficult time getting and keeping the bow down without going so fast that the ride is very uncomfortable. Sometimes its almost like the stern is digging a hole, but then it jumps up on top and the boat takes off. This is when you thank the guy at the factory that installed the stainless steel rail around the windshield as you better be holding on tight. I have considered adding a Doel-fin but haven't decided yet.
Maximus posted 01-24-2004 05:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Maximus  Send Email to Maximus     
Drier...maybe marginally. More comfortable...definitely. The extra 500 lbs and deeper Vee make a huge difference over the old 16 foot hull. Your back will thank you.

It's a seventeen foot center console, you have to expect to get a little wet.

Moe posted 01-25-2004 12:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The 170 and 150 hulls are identical except for the 170's slightly larger physical size and considerably heavier weight. I can only imagine the 170 is a little better when it comes to spray (and a lot better on ride), but I can tell you about the 150 Sport on Lake Erie, where there are no ocean swells, no tidal currents, and all waves are steep, wind-driven chop. So all of my discussion here is about the wind and waves coming from the same angle. Riding in the 150, my eyeballs are right at 4' off the waterline, so it's pretty easy to distiguish wave height in the 3-5' height range when down in the trough, a lot easier than trying to estimate lower wave heights. I've spent a lot of time testing and analyzing what works best to keep us comfortable and dry, and agree with erik that it's mostly the operator.

Let's make sure we're using the same language when talking wave heights.

With a 3' significant wave height (that which will most probably occur with a forecast of 2-4'), the average of the highest 1/3 of the waves being 3', we're talking about the most frequently occuring wave being 1.8', and the highest 10% being 4' or more. I call that 2-4'. On Lake Erie, it can take only 15 knots of wind to generate that, depending on wind direction. We almost never get wet in it unless I'm not paying attention. We can scoot along at quite a good clip (we don't have a speedo or GPS), jumping from wave to wave, altering course to take the larger waves at a better angle.

With the seated position of the 150, we partially stand with our legs bent for waves much above 3', when the boat gets motor-screamin' airborne, so if we come down hard, and that depends on wave spacing, speed, and angle, it won't be a pain in the posterior. This happens much less at about a 22 degree angle than it does head on. The standing position in the 170, as well as its weight to cut into the waves, should make 2-4' seas more comfortable than in the 150. 170 owners who use cushioned mats at the helm have it even better.

With a 4' significant wave height (that which will most probably occur with a forecast of 3-5' but could also occur with a forecast of 2-4'), we're talking about the most frequently occuring wave being 2.4' and the highest 10% being 5' or more, and I call that 3-5'. We have to put on the rainsuits for it, slow down considerably, and "tack" sometimes to maintain minimum planing speed and get where we're going. We also wear the PFDs and kill-switch lanyard. And we still get wet, but we've never taken on near enough water to have to pull the plug on the 150's self-bailing hull. The 170's hull isn't self-bailing, but the bilge pump should run very little keeping the hull dry in these conditions.

The amount of spray generated for a given wave height depends on speed, wave spacing, and trim, but much more on the angle toward the waves. Here's a picture I came up with to illustrate this:

Waves coming head-on +/- about 22 degrees generate very little spray if the boat is trimmed up enough to keep the front flare from impacting the waves directly. If it does, it sends spray out forward and to the sides up at about a 30 degree angle. With wind coming in over the bow, this spray can come back into the boat if the bow is trimmed low. The boat rides much smoother at about a 22 degree angle to the waves than it does head on to them. At these angles, it's important to keep the bow trimmed up, not only for the above reasons, but to keep the bow from punching into the top of the face of a wave taller than the one we just came off of. That generates a lot of spray.

Once the oncoming waves approach much past that 22 degrees or so, spray increases. Even though the boat's speed relative to the waves is going down, the waves are beginning to impact where the sponsons come down to the waterline and present a flat surface to them.

Waves coming at about 45 degrees produce the most spray, and with the boat moving forward, the passenger area of the boat runs right into where the wind is blowing it. Sometimes we just can't avoid it. If the waves are close to 45 degrees to our course, we try to run awhile 22 degrees to one side of our course, then run 22 degrees to the other side for awhile, to minimize the time directly at 45 degrees. We can still get wet when crossing through our course line with waves above 3' at 45 degrees, so the key is to watch for lower wave heights to turn.

Beyond 45 degrees, the waves are impacting the sides more directly, but the boat's forward motion relative to the waves is going down further, and the boat is now rolling more in response to the waves, both creating less spray than at 45 degrees. Any spray coming in tends to be aft of the passengers. We can still get wet in 3-5' with waves from this direction, but it isn't as nearly as bad as at 45 degrees.

If our course is at 90 degrees to the waves, we aren't going to be heading 90 degrees to the waves. We're running at a shallow angle into them to stay on course. To minimize spray, we typically run down the trough or back side of one wave a bit going with the waves, then cut up and over the wave at an angle depending on wave height, perhaps take the next one that way, stabilize by going down the trough or backside again, then cut over the next wave or two. This pause between cutting over waves breaks up the rocking oscillation that can develop and swamp the boat, from continouosly cutting across the waves at a shallow angle. We seldom get wet doing this. We also use this technique when running at a shallow angle in following seas.

That's my take on it after spending lots of time trying different approaches. For 15 and 17 foot boats, I'd say the 150 and 170 would be drier than most, but as with any boat, you have to pay attention if you want to minimize getting wet.

jaccoserv posted 01-31-2004 12:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for jaccoserv  Send Email to jaccoserv     
Jonathan was talking about 20 knot winds, not traveling at 20 knots.
jimh posted 02-01-2004 10:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Good point--I guess I read too much into that.

Even in larger boats, making way into 2-4 foot waves and 20-knot head winds can be quite an experience.

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