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Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me!
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I have a friend who is wanting to buy a new jon boat after having had a 14' MonArk convenional flat bottom hull for years (since '85). He sent me this message yesterday:

"I am in a quandary and need thought leadership. I am getting ready to buy a new jon boat, and want to get a tunnel hull. I want to buy a Weld-Craft model 1548 which is 15' long and 48" wide at the bottom. It is rated for a 30HP, but I intend to put a 25HP Mercury carbureted 2 stroke on it. The boat will be a tiller steered model with no console. What difference could I expect between buying this boat with sponsons or without? I suspect the sponsons increase cavitation problems, particularly in waves and possibly reduce speed from drag, but improve shallow starts. Any ideas? What would be some other differences?"

Anybody have any experience / thoughts on this one? Help a brother out.
 

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Sponsons on a Jon Boat

I had sponsons on a 14 foot Jon boat down in South Florida and they improved performance.

They helped get up on plane faster and IMHO, improved load carrying capacity and stability. I really liked them and if I bought another jon boat , it would definitely have them on it. C2
 

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To Endeavor to Persevere
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I have a 1452 Alweld with sponsons and wouldn't know how to act without them! They make it so much more stable and help it get on plane quicker...especially when your by yourself! The Whaletail helps too! :)
 

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I have 'em on a 2070 Alweld with tunnel, running a 115 etec on a jackplate, so maybe not exactly the same, but I wouldn't be without them. I figure the buoyancy of the sponsons floats the engine, so I get the full buoyancy of the boat for me. They act as trim tabs too, so no skying the bow ever. Finally, in "jack plate mode", I jack all the way down and trim up so the prop runs in the water rising out of the tunnel. You may be able to do the same and run the prop a little lower than you might think with the tunnel.

good luck.
 

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I had a buddy that did this on his (don't remember the model). His only complaint was that it kept the bow down a little too much for his liking and made the boat pound a little in a chop. He said it definately helped the boat plane better and float more level/shallow. Overall, he was glad he did it.
 

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I have an Alumacraft 1756 tunnel with sponsons and a jackplate. It can easily get up in 12' of water. The sponsons keep the bow rise to a minimmum this is what they are for. They also make the boat feel like a much larger boat. My 17' rides like an 19'. Make sure that you get a cavitation plate for your motor and the prop pitch is for power not speed. Because of the drag and larger feel I would go with the 30hp and a 4blade power prop.
 

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19ft Boatright.
Does not like to turn in reverse. The good thing is that it runs so skinny with the spontons and tunnel that you dont need reverse. Go with the spontons. I added them to a 16ft alweld before I bought my new boat and it made a world of difference, expecially if you load your boat down like I do. Plus they make great steps while wading.
 

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sponsons

I have a 1552 weld-craft with the tunnel and sponsons and I love the boat. It planes easy turns good and runs very shallow. I have added flounder rails and HONDA air motor. This is my 5th boat and I think it is my best all around rig ever, still have a 18ft Kenner.
 

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If you live around Pasadena, Texas, go over and talk to Glen at boatright. He can tell you and show you everything you need to know AND he builds one heck of a boat. Cost is a little more BUT you can pass it down through your kids, granskids, etc.
He custom builds to your liking.
I just sold a 2072 Weldcraft after 20 years to my son-in-law. GREAT boat. I had pontoons on it and loved them
My new Boatright is a 1972 w/pontoons. I expect my son will get it after I get it broke in.....about 20 more years.
Go with the pontoons!
Good luck.
 

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Ok not to hijack. But I have my 16' sea ark and if I wanted to add sponsons it wouldnt be much trouble since I work at a fab shop. How should I make them? I know the shape and all but what about length from the transom, and fill them with foam I imagine?
 

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Mine are 18" long with 2 steps. The bottom step is a little longer. Make them a little longer than your feet. Good bathroom for guys and gals.
The width MUST match the turning radii of you motor, at all hights. DO NOT fill with anything. Make them extremely air tight and leave it at that. If the foam gets waterlogged.....not good!
Make them (all sides) and then attach to boat.
 
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