The Hippo


Nov 21, 2019








Cobalt 220 bowrider. Courtesy of Goodhue & Hawkins.


Every year at Lee Mills in Moultonboro, a strange, mostly unseen migration takes place. Steamboat owners from across the country gather at the annual Steamboat Meet. David Thompson, the meet organizer, said this is the 42nd year they’ve done it and there are about 50 to 60 steamboats that line the shores and plug slowly through the water, letting out the occasional blast of their steam whistles. 
“They come down from Canada, there’s been guys that come from Florida and Texas, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, Ohio,” Thompson said. “They come from everywhere,”
And Thompson said more than 1,000 people visit the meet over a single weekend during the 10-day affair. 
The boats vary in size from 8 feet to 35, but Thompson said they are most often built to be about 20 to 25 feet long. They’re constructed out of wooden skiffs, and the engine is usually located in the center of the boat, with its signature smokestack jutting up through a canopy.
Thompson said some are propelled by paddlewheels but most use propellers. They can be driven with a steering wheel, steering stick or tiller. Most steamboats in America burn wood, though a few can burn oil or liquid petroleum.
There are only a few places that can be commissioned to build such a steamboat, the closest being in Rhode Island. But for the most part, Thompson said, steamboat enthusiasts tend to build their own.
This year’s Steamboat Meet will take place Sept. 19 to Sept. 28. Visit for more information.
Free Antique Boat Events
• New England Lyman Group Boat Show
When: June 6 at 8 a.m.
Where: Wolfeboro town docks
• 42nd Annual New England Chapter Antique and Classic Boat Show
When: July 24-25 at 8 a.m.
Where: Meredith public docks off Route 3 Daniel Webster Highway
• 40th Annual Alton Bay Boat Show
When: Aug. 8 at 8 a.m.
Where: Alton Bay town docks
• New Hampshire Boat Museum 
Vintage Race Boat Regatta
When: Sept. 17-19
Where: Wolfeboro town docks
• Lee Mills Steamboat Meet
When: Sept. 19-28
Where: Lee Mills, Moultonboro
• Antique Boat & Car Rendezvous
When: Sept. 26 at 8 a.m.
Where: Wolfeboro town docks
Lake Culture
A day on a boat on Lake Winnipesaukee is entirely different than a day spent on a small lake. While there’s plenty of room to just cruise, there are popular destinations as well, including public docks and sandbars. 
Cynthia Makris, president of the Naswa Resort in Paugus Bay in Laconia, has a few ideas. The first is, of course, the Naswa, a family owned resort that started 80 years ago as a water bottling business. Lodging options were added later, and now the Naswa is a big draw, with boaters docking to eat at one of two restaurants or hang out at the beach bar, which often hosts live entertainment.
“Powerboat Magazine voted us one of the top 20 boating hotspots in the country,” Makris said.
If you want to stop in a lakeside town, like Meredith, Wolfeboro or Alton Bay, there are public docks where boaters can tie up and get out to do some sightseeing or shopping.
Another popular option for boaters looking for something to do on the lake is a sandbar — a long, narrow sandbank where boats gather and throw down anchors. People often swim in these areas, or just hang out onboard, eating and socializing. Some boaters tie up to other boats.
Sandbars include the Witches, Margate and Small’s Cove.
“There is one at the end of Paugus Bay known as the Graveyard,” Makris said. “The biggest one is Braun Bay. On Saturday or Sunday in the summertime, there could be 100 boats out there. … They drop anchor and just hang out, listen to music and swim.”
Build a boat
The New Hampshire Boating Museum in Wolfeboro (569-4554, offers a number of exhibits and programs, including a boathouse tour and vintage boat rides. One of their more popular programs is a boat building class.
Adult & Family Boat Building
Saturday, July 11, through Sunday, July 19, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Youth Boat Building
Monday, Aug. 3, through Friday, Aug. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Boat options:
Six Hour Canoe: A one person plywood canoe, $695
Kayak: One person kayak – max weight 160 pounds, $995
Bevin’s Skiff (A 11’6″ skiff that will accommodate several adults and can be adapted to handle a small outboard motor), $1,155
Optimist Sailboat Dinghy, $1,095
12′ 6″ Paddleboard, $995
*There is a $60 registration fee.
The Ghost
Finally, if you’re an orphaned, playboy billionaire who’s just sick and tired of organized crime in your city, and you have a penchant for high-tech gadgets and cars, a firm in New Hampshire may have the boat for you. 
Juliet Marine Systems in Portsmouth recently developed a state-of-the-art watercraft, designed to battle asymmetrical threats like piracy, called the Ghost. Its aluminum and stainless steel hull is nonmagnetic and difficult for enemies to target with sonar or detect by radar.
Perhaps most important is the Ghost’s futuristic propulsion technology, in which a pair of nacelles in the water “supercavitates” the water around it (creates a gas bubble through which the nacelles travel). This is technology usually found in torpedoes.
It provides better fuel efficiency and a smooth, steady ride by reducing drag by a factor of 900. You can sit back with a mug of coffee while your 38-foot armored boat cruises at 33 miles per hour. Its developers may eventually get it to go twice as fast.
If your Ghost’s cabin area isn’t stocked with missiles, it can seat up to 16 fellow crime-fighters or captive criminals. You may want to paint it black for extra stealth. And your butler may advise you buy the $10 million stealth gunboat in bulk, through a defense contracting shell company, to avoid suspicion and keep your secret identity safe. 

Making Waves
From canoes to yachts, your guide to boating fun

By Ryan Lessard

So you want a boat.

Despite the old joke (or perhaps warning) that the two happiest days of boat ownership are the day you buy a boat and the day you sell it, the allure of the open water, whether it’s a small pond or the vast Atlantic, still pulls people into to the world of boating.
With New Hampshire’s 18 miles of coastline and 944 lakes, some Granite Staters will always connect good weather with the season of hitting the water. According to the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles, some 94,000 boats are registered in New Hampshire each year. More than 89,700 of those spend all their time in lakes, while more than 4,300 are strictly seafaring.
Charlie Jacobson, a salesman at Silver Sands Marina in Gilford, says the allure of boat ownership is not complicated.
“They’re fun. [They’re for] going out on the lake, swimming, water-skiing, fishing,” Jacobson said. “It’s a pleasure craft. Not something you need. They put the word pleasure in there, and there’s a reason for that.” 
If the boating bug has bitten you, here are some ideas for boats that might make your summer on the water a little sweeter. From the simple canoe or kayak to the high-priced yachts, what follows is a brief look at some of the boats that might catch your eye and a bit on what it takes to own one.
All prices listed are rough estimates.
Registration and Certification
If you want to own a boat in New Hampshire, keep in mind that you’ll need to register it — though if you have a canoe, kayak or a sailboat smaller than 12 feet long, you’re off the hook — and, if your boat’s horsepower is higher than 25, you’ll also need to get certified. 
If you have anything with a motor, regardless of size, or if your sailboat is longer than 12 feet, you’ll need a pay the state two kinds of fees: registration fees and boat fees.
The boat fees vary by boat size, age and style. There are more than 330 possible fee amounts; you can call 227-4030 for help calculating your fees. By statute, the minimum boat fee is $10, but some of them are as high as $1,761 for a new, 52-foot yacht.
Registration fees are determined by a combination of boat size (from $24 to $92) and the addition of certain flat fees that help to fund N.H. Fish and Game search and rescue, the authorized retail agent if your boat dealer handles it for you and various funds for conservation and public access. It adds up to another $20.50, and if you plan on using your boat on the ocean, add another $2 to that.
If you aren’t already a certified boat operator in the state and you’re older than 16 and using a boat with greater than 25 horsepower, you’ll need to enroll in the state’s Boating Education Class. 
“There’s a full-day course that can be divided into two days where you go and study and get lectured to,” Durgin said. 
After that, you take an exam. If you pass with a grade of 80 percent or higher, you are issued a boating safety certificate. The class costs $30 and the card is another $10. 
Specialty Wooden Boats
So what kind of boat is best for you? Antique boat shows are filled with boaters who are willing to pay a premium for a high-quality wooden boat, hand crafted to custom order and sometimes just as formidable in terms of speed and maneuverability, if not more so, as its fiberglass counterparts.
The 28-foot-long Lyman Islanders are a good example of a wooden, motor-driven runabout, though they are often traded as antiques these days. More often, wooden boats take the form of rowboats like peapods, skiffs (flat-bottomed, with a pointed bow), which can be outfitted to be sailed or rowed, or sailboats like larger schooners (a sailing ship with two or more masts).
Nathan Greeley has a boat building and restoration business in Portsmouth which has worked with all of these and more.
For those looking for classic beauty combined with power, Durgin recommends the Hacker-Craft brand of boats. 
“The Hacker-Craft is a vintage type of wooden boat,” Durgin said. “One of the highest-thought-of wooden boats in the world.”
They can range in size from 18 to 50 feet long and they can cost anywhere from $250,000 to about $450,000. They are each built to order with custom designs and Durgin said it takes about 900 man-hours to build, though there are also some pre-built boats at the Goodhue & Hawkins Navy Yard.
Durgin said they also ride differently from fiberglass boats.
“They not only ride on top but they also part the water. They’re heavier. They’re narrower than a typical fiberglass boat,” Durgin said. “They’re a lot sleeker and go through the water with a sharper entry.”
Toteable Boats
Less expensive options start with “toteable” boats, typically small enough to fit inside the flatbed of a pickup truck or can be strapped to the roof of a station wagon. 
Kayaks are available at stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods in Concord, Nashua or Portsmouth for as low as $200 to as high as $770. At Bass Pro Shops in Hooksett, they range from $250 to $1,600. You can also find them at L.L. Bean or Eastern Mountain Sports. If you want to go up-market, stores like Fay’s Boat Yard in Gilford specialize in Hobie brand kayaks, which usually range above a grand to upward of $6,000 to $7,000. There are several varieties of kayaks, including single-seaters, dual-seaters, standing kayaks, raised-seat kayaks and two kayaks connected to form a catamaran.
Paddleboats are another fun, low-maintenance approach to a relaxing tour of a lake. Also known as pedal boats, they are available for between $400 and $850 and can seat anywhere from two to five people. They’re usually around seven feet long.
Bass boats are the flat, plastic molded boats, about 8 feet long, with a raised seat or two. If you’ve seen the bass fishing shows on the Outdoor Channel, then you’ve seen these boats. They run from $500 to $1,800 and can be equipped with an outboard motor (the kind that hangs off the back). Some are even pre-wired to work with auxiliary trolling engines to provide more delicate maneuverability for wiggling into those hard-to-reach fishing destinations.
Canoes offer some old-school fun in the local pond for one or two people at a time, usually. They’re generally sold new for anywhere between $400 and $865. They are usually around 14 feet long with a width around 3 feet at the middle.
Small Boats
Once your boat gets long and heavy enough, you’ll need a trailer to transport it. Even small utility boats like Jon boats and V-bottom boats, which can be from 10 feet to 16 feet long and made of aluminum, will need a trailer. Jon boats have a flat bow (front) as opposed to the oft-seen V-shape where the center comes to a point.
Bill Irwin, co-owner of Irwin Marine in Laconia, said depending on accessories you can get a bundle package from $2,500 to $10,000 for a utility boat like that. The boat itself ranges from $1,500 to $2,500 on the low end, while the trailer and engine are each between $700 and $1,000, Irwin said.
You can also get a used, 14-foot sailboat from Fay’s Boat Yard for $4,700. The prices and sizes tend to go up from there for sailboats.
Steve Durgin at Goodhue & Hawkins in Wolfeboro said he sells a brand of higher-end small boats called Rossiters. They range in size from 14 to 23 feet long and have a V-shaped bow. They generally range in price from $18,000 to $75,000.
“Rossiter is a smaller outboard-powered boat made in Canada,” Durgin said. “It has a high level of finish and handles the water on Lake Winnipesaukee and oceans very well.”
Durgin said they can come in handy for teaching a young person how to drive a boat.
“In New Hampshire, if you’re under 16 years old, you don’t need a boating safety certificate to drive one of those boats,” Durgin said. “If it’s under 25 horsepower, it’s legal for you to operate.”
And while Rossiters handle larger bodies of water well for a boat as small as 14 feet long, Durgin said it’s still best only to take out a small boat like that when the water is calm.
In general, if you’re going out on something other than a small pond, Durgin recommends getting a bigger boat.
“The bigger the lake, the bigger the waves. The bigger the waves, the more the boat needs to bridge from one wave to another in order to be comfortable,” Durgin said.
Mid-Sized Boats
If you want to take a fun cruise with family or you want the speed and maneuverability needed for water sports, you may want a mid-sized boat. Here, we’ll define mid-sized as between 17 feet and about 30 feet. And for the most part, these include bowriders, cuddy cabins and pontoons. 
Bowriders, one of the most common types of runabouts, are defined by the open compartment in front of the steering wheel where friends and family can seat themselves at the bow of the boat even while the boat is speeding through the water. They can be used for a delightful cruise through the lake, or for water sports. Bowriders are all made of fiberglass and almost all of them use sterndrives, which are a combination of inboard engines and outboard drives (where the propeller in the rear moves right and left with the steering wheel). This is not to be confused with straight inboard, where the propeller is stationary and the steering wheel controls a rudder.
Irwin Marine sells a lot of bowriders, Irwin said, including a number of models made by the Sea Ray brand. Sea Ray makes sleekly designed bowriders from 19 feet long with a 135 standard horsepower engine and room for 11 people to a 29.5-feet-long boat with up to a 380-horsepower engine and room for 14 people. And there are about 20 options in between. Their V-shaped bow comes to a slightly rounded point and they often have a high deadrise between 19 and 21 degrees to help slice through the waves.
They range in price from about $26,000 to $114,000 and options include a roughly $5,000 tower that goes over the steering wheel section to hold a canopy or water sport gear. Some models include a refrigerator for $1,100 and a VHF radio for another $1,000. And that’s just to name a few. The trailer for the 29-foot bowrider is about $12,000 while a trailer for the smaller, 19-foot boat can range from $130 to $1,800.
Another brand of bowrider is the Malibu, an inboard ski boat. 
“[It’s] more or less a specialty boat for skiing or wakeboarding or surfing,” Steve Durgin at Goodhue & Hawkins in Wolfeboro said.
They usually range in size from 20 to 22 feet, according to Durgin, and the price can range from $75,000 to $220,000. The standard horsepower for these models is 350 but can go up to 550. Like the Sea Rays, seating starts at 11 and goes up to 14.
Durgin also sells is a Cobalt bowrider. He said that’s a higher-quality boat.
“Cobalt is the Mercedes of boats,” he said. “It’s considered the best by many people.”
Cobalts have a watersports line of about eight current models and a BR series with about nine models. They range in size from 20 feet to 30 feet, and the bowriders range in price from $48,000 to $120,000. Horsepower for the 20-footers is usually around 220 to 300, while the 30-footers range from 300 to 430. 
Used bowriders at Goodhue range widely in price based on year, model and what shape it’s in. But Durgin said a used bowrider that passes inspection can sell for as low as $10,000.
Lakeport Landing and Paugus Bay Marina in Laconia sell mid-sized boats made by major brands like Formula, Chris-Craft, Avalon, Bayliner and Checkmate. Brands like Formula produce cuddy cabin boats, which are popular on bigger lakes like Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam because their speed and size allows them to handle choppy waters and bigger waves well. Cuddy cabins are similar to bowriders, but instead of having an open bow for seating, the front space is used as a small sleeping cabin.
Another type of mid-sized boat, commonly seen on smaller lakes, is the pontoon. 
“They’re affordable. They’re easy to maneuver and to use,” Irwin said.
Pontoons are platform-style boats that float on two, tube-shaped aluminum hulls and provide a lot of space for more seating.
“They give you tons of room,” Irwin said. “It’s like having your living room on the water.”
Irwin said what you gain in space you usually lose in speed, but some models come with a third, center tube that can make your pontoon handle more like a runabout.
Irwin said they range in size from about 17 feet to 30 feet, with larger models able to seat up to 25 people. They can be outfitted with either a sterndrive or an outboard motor.
Bought new, pontoons can range in price from $20,000 to $80,000. Used, they’re closer to $5,000 to $50,000. Irwin said you can also buy pontoon trailers for between $2,000 and $5,000. Durgin sells a luxury pontoon called the Marker M27, which can come equipped with a Bluetooth-enabled stereo system among other things. It’s run by an outboard engine with up to 350 horsepower and seats about 14 people.
Cruisers & Freshwater Yachts
Some may want to watch a high definition Blu-ray on their flat-screen TV or sip chilled Champagne with a special someone while anchored at a quiet spot on the lake. For more luxury amenities, there are a number of large, fiberglass boats that fall under the category of cruisers or yachts. Some of these can be used in saltwater as well.
Sea Ray makes a number of boats it classifies as sport cruisers. 
“Sport cruisers are gonna have a cabin that you can sleep in and stay overnight,” Irwin said.
They also often have a small dining area and a bathroom. 
The Sea Ray 260 Sundancer is an example of a smaller cruiser, at about 27 feet long. Its cabin has room for four people to sleep, which would be great for a small family. It even has a shower, with a 20-gallon water tank. Its standard horsepower is 300. It starts at about $108,000.
Of Sea Ray’s seven sport cruisers, among the largest is the 370 Sundancer, which is 37 feet long. It’s powered by two 370-horsepower sterndrives. Its extra space is enough to sleep up to six people. It starts at about $449,000.
About the same size is the Sea Ray 370 Venture. It won the 2014 Boat of the Year award by Boating magazine for its unique concealed outboard motors, which provide more space, less noise and lower maintenance costs. It starts at about $428,000.
Cobalt makes a boat in the sport yacht category, the Cobalt A40.
“Sport yachts are bigger. They’re basically a yacht which is usually from 40 feet and above,” Irwin said.
This 40-foot yacht, which Goodhue & Hawkins sells, is so spacious the cabin area includes a master bedroom and a living room. It’s twin sterndrives range in horsepower from 335 to 430. Two 15-inch touch screens at the helm provide you with navigation charts and engine functions and can be integrated into the optional radar.
Durgin said he sells this approximately $700,000 boat about once a year.
Irwin said most sport yachts generally start at half a million dollars and go up from there.
Lawrence Bussey, the owner of Northeast Yachts in Portsmouth, calls these “motor yachts” and said some of them, up to 75 feet long, fetch up to $2 million or $3 million.
The Sea Ray 410 Sundancer is 41.5 feet long and, to put its below-deck space in perspective, it takes five full steps down the stairs to get there from above deck. It boasts a spacious master bedroom with a full-sized bed and a 24-inch LED flat-screen TV and Blu-ray player, a living area with a sofa that converts to a bed, a galley with a fridge and freezer, bathroom and shower. It sleeps six people. The cockpit has an ice-maker and a built-in ice bucket that come standard. Its twin propeller pods beneath the hull can spin with up to 459 horsepower. 
The 410 Sundancer starts at about $730,000. And that’s the entry-level model for Sea Ray’s sport yacht category.
To put it into greater perspective, the Sea Ray 580 Sundancer is 60 feet long and its interior cabin is so large it has room for two staterooms with a queen-sized, innerspring mattress in the master and a bathroom and shower for each stateroom. It can fit six to eight people. One of the optional arrangements is to actually replace the aft stateroom with two crew quarters. Of course, there’s still a TV (32-inch this time, plus surround sound). And for those keeping score, it takes seven steps to walk up the stairs between the cabin and the top deck. Its twin V-drives (inboard engine with propellers jutting out from the center of the hull toward the rear rudder) come standard with a 765-horsepower engine but can also work with an optional 1,051-horsepower V10 engine. The Sea Ray website stops listing prices once you get to this boat, but it’s safe to say you’re going to spend at least $1 million. And that price gets higher as the boat gets bigger. Perhaps the largest and priciest yacht Sea Ray makes is the L650 Fly. It’s 65 feet long and has three levels. 
Other options for sport yachts can be found at Silver Sands Marina in Gilford, where they specialize in Carver brand boats.
Ocean Boats 
The kind of boats you take out to sea are a little different than most of the freshwater options out there. Mostly, they’re bigger. But center console boats are about the same size as sport yachts, usually between 25 and about 40 feet in length, though sometimes they can be as small as 15 feet. Designed for offshore fishing, primarily, they use outboard motors. Some 40-footers can have up to four of them at 350 horsepower each bringing the boat to 70 miles per hour. If you want to know what it looks like, look no further than the Showtime original series Dexter. A 2001 Century 2901 center console called the Slice of Life featured prominently in the eponymous protagonist’s, well, recreational activities. The 29-footer had two outboard engines and, incidentally, was on sale on eBay for $75,000 shortly after the show ended.
Lawrence Bussey of Northeast Yachts sells center consoles. He said they typically range in price from $25,000 to $225,000.
Similar to center consoles is the multi-hull power boat, which has a fishing-friendly deck, but instead of a single V-shaped hull it has two V-shaped hulls and nothing but water and air in between. This lends it greater stability when you are casting a line.   
Ocean Yachts
If you are an avid fisher and enjoy the finer things in life, a sportfish boat may be the right choice for you. They have long fronts where you can often walk along the railed edge of the bow when not in motion. Sportfish boats are also easily identifiable by the towers above the enclosed cockpit and outriggers (long poles that extend beyond the side of the boat) that can drop bait lines farther from the boat to catch big game fish. 
Bussey said they range in size from 28 to 75 feet and can range in price from about $50,000 to $500,000. They often have plenty of cabin space and amenities. Higher-end models have multiple decks and they have a wide array of engine options available, including outboard, sterndrives, pod drives and inboard engines. They can often cruise at 30 miles per hour for several hours.
Another good boat for ocean cruising are downeast boats. Bussey said they range from 28 feet to 65 and it’s usually a custom-built boat with lobster-boat-style hulls.
“We’re finding that more and more people across the country are looking at these downeast boats,” Bussey said. 
He said prices can start at $200,000.
For longer-range cruising vessel, Bussey recommends the recreational trawlers. Shaped just like commercial fishing trawlers, they can be up to 100 feet long.
“It’s generally a more rounded hull shape that is designed for extended cruising,” Bussey said. “You might be off shore for a week or more at a time.”
He said trawler owners often like to take their yacht through the “great loop” by taking one of the northeastern coastal rivers to the Great Lakes, through Chicago and south by way of the Mississippi, through the Gulf of Mexico and up the East Coast.
Bussey said there are yachts known as mega yachts, which can be as long as 160 feet. They often cost $1 million and higher, and almost all of them are custom vessels.
There are also super yachts, which range in size from 180 to 300 feet, according to Bussey, and the sky's the limit when it comes to price.
One example is the Mirabella V, which cost $50 million. Its construction was commissioned by former Avis CEO Joseph Vittoria and it was only one of a fleet of super yachts Vittoria owned until he ultimately sold them all. Mirabella V’s specially woven sail was made in a textile mill in New Ipswich.
The super yacht so large, it is perhaps better classified as a ship, especially since it requires a crew of 16 to operate and it contains a 29-foot boat, or tender, in its garage for shuttling passengers aboard. 
As seen in the May 14, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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