ProGuide Drew Price heads out to cross the big waters and building weather of Lake Champlain in his Towee Calusa Pro to get at fish in distant shallows. www.masterclassangling.com
Many small skiff builders love to talk about new colors or price or sexy accesories but they seem to grow suspiciously quiet when it comes to conversations about things like big chop, big water, storms, seakeeping, floatation, etc - and for good reason. The average small skiff performs poorly at best and it downright dangerous in many cases. So once you build a skiff that is light, tough, drafts a true 4" fully loaded, poles and rows like a Ferrari and performs well with prop, jet or surface drive power (wait, you guys did already do that - right?), big water performance and safety is what quickly begins to seperate the men from the boys in our world.
Let's set up some context here so that we can have a meaningful conversation. Weather can quickly exceed the capabilities of any smaller boat - period. Most any boat under 22 feet and without some pretty serious deadrise and hullweight have a tough time in heavy chop or are dreadful to ride in even in light chop with a short or uneven frequency. Even more so for small, lightweight technical skiffs. I have been tossed about in 22' panagas and bay boats more times than I care to mention in what "looked like" manageable chop from shore but was something much more when we actually got into it. A few particularly hairy trips back from American Shoals Light on the reef off Cudjoe Key in my old Whaler Montauk 17 (Jesus, please let it stop pounding...) and more than one 20 mile trip back to Grassy Key from the entrance to Rocky Channel when an unexpected Northwest wind stirred up the Gulf into big whitecaps - both in a Mitzi 15 and in a Redfisher 18 then later in a Towee Calusa that I can recall offhand. Same story for some big TVA lakes in the Southeast. The point is that it is pretty common for the weather to exceed the normal capabilities of any smaller boat pretty quickly no matter where you are. No matter how conservative and careful you are, it's pretty much a question of when and not if it is going to happen to you and if you are an avid outdoorsman, it will happen from time to time. Weather, by its very nature, can change rapidly and in unexpected ways. The real question here being - how will your skiff perform?
It is very rare that you would never find yourself needing to cross big water to get to unexplored shallows. At Towee, we have placed a premium on big water performance and safety in all of our skiffs from day one. Lets face it, getting caught out in the snot with a small. lightweight skiff isn't fun - it can be a painful, wet and frightening experience but from our bow design that helps minimize pounding to our slightly higher gunnels that keep you drier to our floor system that is designed to be incredibly tough yet ever so slightly give and even slightly twist when needed to absorb the tremendous shock loads of big waves or rocks, we do everything that we can to keep you reasonably safe and dry when you find yourself in the rough stuff. And speaking of safety, we not only have the most flotation foam of any skiff in our class but we have also worked closely with our USCG reps over the years to place that foam in the most effective position (we DO NOT put flotation foam in our floors and I would not leave the ramp in a skiff built by a builder who does). We do everything that we can to put our customers in a skiff that will bring them back to the ramp safe and dry.
We are certainly not encouraging owners to put themselves in positions where conditions exceed their own capabilities or the skiff's capabilities but we aren't shying away from the the conversation that many just do not want to have - it can get very real, very fast out there and the consequences of poor decision making in your choice of equipment, route and even "go - no go" decisions can lead to disaster and even loss of life.
In addition to our own adventures, we regularly get calls, texts and emails from customers who have their own stories to tell. From our open water duck hunters on the Great Lakes doing things that this skiff was never designed for (..you guys are crazy), to a couple of Bahamas crossings (that we know of), to some pretty sketchy white water transits that we would never endorse - Towee customers are known for using their skiffs to get to places others simply can't. We do everything that we can to build a skiff that you can depend on to get you to where you need to go, do the job at hand - and get you back home.
If you think you could benefit from the quality, durability and performance of a Towee, now is a great time to head on over to our website www.toweeboats.com and hit the button to request a current pricing guide, drop us an email to email@example.com or simply give us a call - we love to talk skiffs. Find out where your Towee can take you.