We have the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show coming up, which usually means we have some new releases to show you and I am going to talk about one of those today. By customer request, we have decided to bring back our legendary 20 Flats boat. For about the last 15 years, I have had people pushing me to bring this boat back to life and after seeing the condition of the tooling, I decided that if we were ever going to do it, we needed to do it now.
I think the first question to answer is, why did we stop making it in the first place? This boat is a very difficult boat to build because of the number of separate pieces there were in order to create the boat. The man-hours on a 20 flats boat used to be as much as it took to build a 30-foot CC and the 30-foot CC cost 4 times what the flats boat did. I know this because back in the mid 90’s when we were building these boats, I was the guy that built them. I literally put all of those flats boats together with my own two hands. It just did not make financial sense for us to continue to build these because there were no margins in building them. So, we eventually piled all the molds together and stuck them in a field.
Here we are over 20 years later, and I am looking at these molds outside over by the fence with trees growing up through them and I realize that it is either time to throw away this tooling or save it. We bring the molds inside and I tell the team to first clean up the hull mold the best we can, and see if we can build a new plugin it so I can build a new hull mold because this old hull mold is shot.
They begin prepping the hull mold and in a meeting with my engineering team, they mention they are going to take a shot at recreating the tunnel and then we will dial it in from there. I ask the team “What are you talking about? The tunnel is in the hull mold?” and they reply that it is not there, which to me is physically impossible. I go out to the hull mold and low and behold, the hull mold is somehow missing the tunnel. I climb in the mold and I can see a faint line where the tunnel once sat and slowly, I realize what happened.
When we developed this hull, we spent more time testing it than any other hull we had ever done before because it was a stepped hull with a tunnel which had not been done yet. It literally took us 6 months to figure out the width of the tunnel, how deep the tunnel needed to be, realizing how much change just the radius on the sides of the tunnel affected it, etc. That is when I realized that our tooling guys probably just made the tunnel adjustments with plywood and glassed and gelled over it with tooling gel, and after all these years the tunnel just completely deteriorated. Poof!…..it was gone!
After remembering how hard it was to get the tunnel right, I told the team to find one of the old flats boats and see if someone would allow us to scan it with our Faro Laser Scanner. We found one in Tampa and the customer was nice enough to allow us to block it up so that we could scan it in order to replicate that tunnel perfectly.
With the new tunnel insert in place, we built a new plug out of the hull mold, pulled it, flipped it, and then began checking all the measurements in order to start fairing it and truing it up. Once taking all the measurements, we found that the old tooling was pretty shot and not very true. In other words, my suspicions were right when I thought that it was time to throw out all that tooling. It was all shot and this was going to be a little harder than first anticipated. Big surprise right….?
After many weeks or truing up the hull plug, we began making the new hull mold and I was thinking about how all of these boats used to go together back in the day and all the little quirks that it used to have because if we were going to bring this boat back from the dead, it had to be better than it was back in 1995.
Hindsight is always 20/20 so, when you get the chance to redo a boat from the past, it gives you an opportunity to make a few adjustments to it. Like, I remember wishing we had raised the cockpit floor an inch because sometimes when three big guys would get on one side of the boat water would want to come in through the cockpit scupper drain. Or having people requesting a windshield for the console that was not designed to have a windshield and us making one for it that looked like what it was, an afterthought.
As I nitpick the few little things that we could have improved on, I also thought about what made it so “Legendary”. It had a trolling motor that completely stowed away under the deck and deployed through the bow after opening the hatch. To this day I don’t think I had ever seen this replicated before. Nothing to get your line snagged on or the need to worry about someone trying to steal it because nobody even knew it was there.
Then there was the console. At the push of a button, you could go from a sitting console height to having it electrically raise so you could also run the boat standing up allowing you to gauge the depth of the water as you run along. Four baitwells, rod lockers, plenty of storage, and that hull! A stepped hull with a tunnel that was super stable and allowed it to run in shallow water, with the help of the jack plate of course.
As I said earlier, if we were going to bring this back we need to do it by keeping all of the core dynamics, but it also had to be better than it was back then. So, what did we do?
First, we raised the cockpit floor that inch that I spoke of earlier. Then we raised the top deck 1 ¾” to adjust with the cockpit floor adjustment. People did not like the clamshell scuppers on the sides of the hull back then for the cockpit drains, so we need to make them flush. People used to break them off sometimes when they ran the boat up to a dock or up on a trailer.
I used to create all of the storage compartments by cutting up fiberglass panels and glassing them into the hull and painting them grey back then. Now, we will create strong storage bins that we will glass to the bottom side of the deck to create much cleaner storage compartments. What about that hideaway trolling motor? Well, trolling motors have changed a lot over all these years with the vast changes in technology.
I told the team that we need the most advanced trolling motor out there. They now have auto pilot and can even hold position and self-deploy. Well, that makes that a no-brainer. That is what we need for the new flats boat. Only one problem. With all of that technology, the trolling motors have become MUCH BIGGER! It just would not fit. No matter what we did, it just continued to kick our butts. It got to the point where the team felt that the new trolling motors will not allow us to set it up like the old boat. I told them that there was no way that we could release this boat and have it go backward in any way. Every aspect had to be better than the old boat and they stayed on it, and with the latest mockup, I think they got it figured out. We will find out shortly as we are building the actual fiberglass parts now and beginning to build the real thing.
Oh yes… the old hull was Kevlar. What can we do to take that up a notch? First, we’ll infuse it. That technology for us was not even around back then. We have also been working with a couple of companies to create a new hybrid for us here at Intrepid that we are really excited about. The new flats boat is built with a Carbon fiber/Innegra™ woven hybrid. I’m sure everyone knows what Carbon Fiber is, but what is Innegra™? Let me take a few quotes right from the Innegra™ website :
Q: What is Innegra™ S and Innegra™ H fiber?
A: Innegra™ S, an olefin fiber, is our primary product and the lightest commercial fiber available. (.84 g/cc)Innegra™ H (patent pending) is a series of hybridized yarns containing Innegra™ S co-mingled with a high modulus fiber such as Aramid, Basalt, Carbon, or Glass. Specifically engineered to meet industry demand for lightweight, damage and impact resistant composite solutions. It can be used in most reinforcement and composite manufacturing processes and has numerous applications in a wide range of industries.
Q: What type of commercial products contain Innegra™?
A: Innegra™ has been used in F1 cars, police shields, kayaks, canoes, surfboards, stand up paddleboards, windsurf boards, kiteboards, paddles, helmets, Bauer hockey sticks, HEAD tennis racquets, ropes, and more.
As you can see, there are lots of benefits of using this and we are excited to be a part of pioneering it in the powerboat industry. We have done tons of testing of this product and we are excited to introduce it first on our new flats boat.
Whereas the old hulls were stamped with KEVLAR on the back corner of the hull under the HIN # you will now see “CARB-IN” stamped there. This is yet another revolutionary step in our ever-evolving push to lead in innovation.
I could literally write another couple of pages about the rest of the changes we have made, or you can come to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show and see it and ask me about it in person. It was really fun bringing back this boat after all of these years and to do it better than we did back then has been quite the challenge. I look forward to everyone getting a chance to run the boat and to see the other new boat that we are going to release. I will talk about that boat in next month’s newsletter, so stay tuned…
INVITES YOU TO THE TAMPA CONVENTION CENTER SEPTEMBER 7 – 9, 2018 TO VIEW OUR 327 OPEN AND THE 407 PANACEA IN-WATER BOOTH NUMBER 261.
It has been a few years since we attended the Tampa Boat Show, but we have seen such a huge interest from our customers along the West Coast lately, we could not pass up this opportunity.
We hope to see you there.
INTREPID SALES TEAM
Peter Orlando, Glenn Cotton, Joe Brenna, and Mark Beaver
From all of us at Intrepid Power Boats, we hope you enjoyed a wonderful boating season. As the summer sky transforms to autumn, September brings the best part of the boating season up north and the beginning of great weather in the south. In either case, thoughts about the next power boat flood brain waves.
Of course, that passion is helped along by the plethora of great boat show venues to see new product this fall. In fact, starting September 7-9, Intrepid will be in the water at the Tampa Boat Show. On October 20th, at our Dania Beach sales office at Harbour Towne Marina, please join us for The Intrepid Drive for Perfection VIP event, which will include multiple Intrepid models in the water and exotic luxury/sports cars from Formula 1 in Miami on land.
Footballs may be flying and leaves may be falling, but driving for perfection never stops at Intrepid. We hope to see you this fall.
Summer’s been good this year for me, I hope the same is true for everyone in our extended family. I’ve had a chance to do some lake boating and visited the Northeast to enjoy some time on salt water. This is the best time of year to do things like that, so I highly recommend taking full advantage of any similar opportunities that may present themselves. Time on the water with family and friends is priceless. To fully enjoy that time though, it’s essential to keep safety in mind. One rule that I always follow is to file a float plan before leaving the dock. It’s important to let someone know when you are going out on the water and when you plan to return. There are many rules to follow, but this one is basic.
One of our friends sent the picture below this week. It was his lucky day, but I don’t think the White Marlin alongside his 43 would agree with that thought! To me, it was a reminder that fishing tournaments are right around the corner. I’m hoping that we can take a similar picture of a Kingfish coming into Seas the Day while we are fishing the Wild West tournament in October.
I recently saw an ad for a product that could be useful for a lot of us. We’ve all struggled with snaps on canvas that don’t want to come loose. I’m always afraid that I’ll tear a canvas cover when I try to force a snap that won’t come undone. Snappi Canvas Snap Cleaner and Lubricant looks like it can provide a good solution to this problem. You can see what they have to offer by opening the link below.
As always, you can contact me directly with any questions or concerns you may have about your Intrepid. We are working hard at our factory to prepare for the boat shows that are right around the corner. If you find yourself in the Tampa Bay area, please contact me so we can arrange a plant tour. Enjoy the rest of the summer.