Long John
by Larry Pullon

Hey Chuck,
I was up on the White River trout fishing last Saturday and came across an interesting boat design. The boat caught my attention when I noticed how easy the little 9.9 outboard moved it against the river current. At a glance it appeared to be just another boxy jon boat (although longer and narrower than you usually see) but, after a little study I realized this was no "box" at all and certainly not something "off the shelf".

I nearly always carry a camera on outings - "nearly" being the key word! You know I am actively gathering information for the "skiff" I want to carry on Tentboat and this boat was a virtual floating laboratory! Since the owner looked like he was done for the day, I asked if I could look the boat over - maybe take some measurements. He said, "Be my guest."

So, while he cleaned his catch I went back to the car where I just happened to have a tape measure and notebook pad and in about ten minutes had recorded about everything I needed to know about the design elements. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in what I was doing I failed to ask about the boat's history! But, I would guess it was a home made fiberglass hull - at least twenty years old.

Attached is the data I recorded. If anyone wants to put it into a boat design format - "be my guest" (send me a copy!). You will notice she is long - nearly twenty feet, making it possible for her to achieve a good pace with a small outboard. With so much flare I did not realize she was so narrow until I started taking measurements - at the waterline she is 31" at the transom, 41" amidships, and 29" at the bow. Note the bottom is not a rectangle - narrows at both ends. While measuring I also noted lots of fore and aft rocker (5" aft, 7" fwd) - this would help such a long boat stay nimble in the currents.

There were two seat mounts amidships - not sure, but they appeared to be glassed over six gallon plastic buckets! I saw three 1"x3" stringers equally spaced across the bottom and running the length of the hull. Inwales and gunwales stiffened the shear. There were 16' benches (thwarts?) at each end - the aft bench had a seat for operating the boat. When I asked, the owner confirmed the center "bench" (which was 20" wide) contained flotation and a small simple livewell to keep fish fresh. The outboard was mounted on what looked like a pine 2"x10" board that was offset and reached 5 inches above the transom. The motor offset lets the operator and motor counterbalance each other and makes operation much more comfortable than with a center mounted motor.

Of course this boat should only be used in protected rivers where there will not be high winds or waves - but for its purpose I have seen few better.