How to make a 24’ runabout out of two 20’ boats

Words © by Chris (Seabuddy) Brown

This classic 24’ inboard/outboard boat is waiting for a customer to specify a vee-drive shaft drive in the traditional inboard manner. All the other features and desirable traits of a runabout are in place. She runs, rides, and turns like a gem.

Sold 24' Runabout running

Sold 24′ Runabout running

The Cherubini 24’ was created by the company using their 20’ boat model. As a family, they have been building boats back to 1937. The current boat company goes back to 1975. Over this time they have worked their magic in many ways. This is an article about one of their magic moments in a long history of inspired boat building.

Hand crafted highly detailed and finished wood deck.

Hand crafted highly detailed and finished wood deck.

It looks like they bought the molds and rights to a water jet powered 20’ runabout from an out of business boat builder. They changed that hull to be a stylish, real sweet running I/O boat. Yes, other power is offered from the factory, but all the units seem to use inboard/outboard power.

Powered by stern drive, I / O Mercury Marine big block engine

Powered by stern drive, I / O Mercury Marine big block engine


I/O engine room

I/O engine room

I now want to drill down to how they created a 24’ boat. They took TWO examples of their sweet running 20’, cut them down the middle (but on an slant) added 4’ in the center, put this all into one boat and blended all of this using their boat building expertise into a 24’ boat. No flat spots, no seams, nothing that does not pass close inspection. I could not do this. Kudos to them.

Two aft sections and one bow of the 20' runabout, stacked on a trailer

Two aft sections and one bow of the 20′ runabout, stacked on a trailer

BTW, they went from a V-6 Mercury Marine GM block powered 20’ boat to a 496 cu. in. displacment, again Chevy GM block, Mercury Marine engine in the 24’. Both boats run much faster than most true classic boats. The 24’ can top 65 MPH with its big block engine.

prototype 24' runabout hull

prototype 24′ runabout hull

Has this type of thing been done before? Most say, yes. There are plans and drawings for the classic Donzi 16 and the Donzi 22 models. No drawing or plans for the Donzi 18 boat. The story goes that the 16’s bow and aft sections where cut and two feet were added in the middle to make the Donzi 18.

Prototype running under power

Prototype running under power







It is $39,900 for the boat, inboard motor, trailer, tower, bimini top, speed control, ballast, and music system.


It is called by a new name, Wake Tractor. And it is coming in November. Wake Tractor is made by Bryant boats but marketed by a new company run by Ben Dorton. And as its own brand of boat company. BTW, his Dad, John Dorton, is chairman at Bryant Boats.

Manufacturer’s comment “It’s all about the wake,” John Dorton said. “The wake and the music.”

It’s powered with a inboard 5.7L engine from Crusader, one of Correct Craft’s companies. That is an inboard “ski boat” for under $40,000. That is a wow price.

She is said to have a rugged exterior finish, be easy to trailer, and have a durable interior. What is missing? Lots, but let us all wait until November to see. There is no question that the bow is clipped off to fit inside a garage and the seating is very different.





Manufacturer’s comment…” the Wake Tractor opens up a whole new realm to enable people to connect via social media, Ben Dorton said, using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and video integration with monitors.

“We knew we had to make it become that tool to communicate with friends,” he said. “They can connect GoPros to the tablet at the helm and record the ride. And when they’re done after, they can share it with everyone.”

The Wi-Fi-based boat will be driven off a smart tablet, where all of the gauge readings will be displayed. It will have Bluetooth connected to the system so the stereo head unit can be eliminated. We need to keep those millennials to continue to love boating.”

“The Dortons also see the Wake Tractor appealing to Gen Xers, and even baby boomers looking for second or third boats. But the design is geared to the Gen Y group, John Dorton said.”

“We need to keep those millennials to continue to love boating.”

This 18’ boat has the hull of a 21’ in the water, so it gives that quality of a 21’ wake. And it is lighter so the 350 inboard engine works perfectly with the passenger / ballast load.

Manufacturer’s comment “The boat has simple ballast systems. And Ben Dorton says it has a great ride. “It’s not as good as a $120,000 X Star, but I can go out and do the exact amount of tricks and flips and spins as I can do behind any other boat,” he says. “The wakesurf wake is as good if not better than most of the $120,000 boats.”

The seating configuration is social, passengers can easily watch the driver, and riders are easily able to get in and out of the boat. “They can connect GoPros to the tablet at the helm and record the ride. And when they’re done, they can share it with everyone.”

The marketing will revolve around video, Ben Dorton says, adding that the group has tapped a young marketing firm in Tennessee that is also run by millennials. The website is going to look more like a social media site than a traditional website, with live blogging. “It’s going to be very interactive,” he says.”

Winter Storage, new part now available

I cover or shrink warp my boat for the winter. Do you? Maybe this is timely for both of us then. Venting / breathing under that cover is important to properly protect your boat and all the seats/parts/materials/electronics in it.



Marine manufacturer’s comment…”Boat Vent 3 is an improvement on Boat Vent II, which made its name in the marine industry over the last two decades through adding value to covered boats by venting and tenting, preventing mildew and mold. Molded from the highest UV inhibited plastic on the planet, it can be installed to virtually any boat cover. Boat Vent 3 features four major improvements over Boat Vent II: – 40% more venting – Overhanging top to allow in less moisture – 30 teeth on the washer for a better grip – Ergonomic reversible nut for easy installation.”


These folks have been inventing/making/delivering within the marine industry for better than 30 years.

Lyman wooden Boats – Clinker Built

Clinker built means that in this style of planking each board edge overlaps the other plank edge and they are clinched nailed to the ribs (plus, screwed to the frames) such that each plank edge is shown. Some feel that the horizontal lines of the side planking laps give a sense of motion or speed to a boat compared to a carvel-hull.


These boats ride differently than a hard chine boat design. The hull shape uses a round-bilge shape and with the plank edge proud, they give good maneuverability, are seaworthy, and soft riding. Particularly in a good, hard chop. Take a ride and feel the difference for yourself. Other brands that built some wood clinker built boats were Chris Craft (in their Sea Skiff division in the Chris Craft plant in Salisbury, MD.), Hubert L. Johnson, Luhrs, Hutchinson, and Century boats.


Most of the Lyman boats were finished with a a semi-gloss white paint on the lapstrake (clinker-built) hull sides. Today, many boats have been re-finished in high gloss white paint, when they are restored.


These boats were finished with a special color Lyman exclusive formula stain and then varnished for their deck, seats, transom, and windshield. This Lyman mahogany filler stain with many coats of varnish over that would be the proper choice in seabuddy’s mind. Lyman boats was also known for its use of ribbon striped (sometimes called tiger striped) mahogany veneered marine-grade plywood on their fordecks. That material grade is more expensive, but to me it is worth it. Again, take a look for yourself at your next classic boat show.


Lyman Boats made the most boats at its production peak in 1955, with over 5,000 boats produced in sizes from 13’ to 20’ in length. As the founding family died off and fiberglass took the lead as the quicker matieral of choice for small boats, Lyman Boats made their last boat in 1973.


Bernard Lyman personally built his first boat in 1873 in his spare time, and then by 1875, he made boat building  his full time way to make a living, according to Tom Koroknay, now known as “Doc Lyman”, the Lyman expert. Special note: While Bernard was the brand’s founder, his son, Bill, led the company into a great boat building company during his time in running the company.



Improved Macerator for holding and/or fishing tanks


Most of us have a black water holding tank plus some of us have fish box and livewell receptacles. These almost always are rigged with a Macerator in the discharge plumbing line.


Manufacturer’s comment…. “Typical macerators allow waste spills during maintenance. But, Raritan’s macerator pump with wastewater valve is a direct replacement that eliminates these messes. It also allows users to remove the pump without disconnecting plumbing.

For maintenance, owners simply shut off the valve and remove two screws. The pump slides out without any spillage.”


Got a minute and 28 seconds? Click on this Raritan video to see how this pump improves your boating life…

The Raritan web site is

This pump has special features like a proprietary rubber impeller, stainless steel bolts, and offers a Smart Macerator Control choice that adds life to this marine pump.

Beaneteau First 35 Carbon Edition Sailboat


Boat Builder’s comment… “The First 35 Carbon Edition offers a level of equipment and finishings never seen before in its category with, as standard a carbon mast, a lead keel, a wheel in black composite, and a first-class Raymarine electronics pack.”

See this boat at the …

United States Sailboat Show
City Dock, Annapolis, Maryland

Thursday, October 8, 2015 (VIP Day)
10:00am – 6:00pm

Friday, October 9, 2015
10:00am – 6:30pm

Saturday, October 10, 2015
10:00am – 6:30pm

Sunday, October 11, 2015
10:00am – 6:30pm

Monday, October 12, 2015
10:00am – 5:00pm

Builder’s comment… “A smart innovation on many levels, the rocking wheel on the First 35 frees up space between the stern of the boat and the cockpit without weighing the boat down with a second helm station.”

Her designer is Farr Yacht Design with the Interior design by Nauta Design. She has an LOA of 35’ 7” and a light displacement of about 6 tons. Stop by this boat and study her multi-position tilting wheel pedestal. It is a new and good feature for a boat cockpit of this LOA length boat.. It has a helm person controlled “swing” from port to centerline to starboard. This Beaneteau new idea is very practical. Plus the wheel has a good feel to it.

Is she more racer than cruiser? In this Carbon Edition Seabuddy thinks the answer is yes. But she is still a comfortable family cruiser.

Under sail, this wheel design lets the helmsperson to be on the weather rail with the wheel in easy reach. And then shift the same wheel for a tack. See this sail boat at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show.

Coming to your Winter Boat Show


Builder’s comment… for 2016, Action Craft’s 21 Coastal Bay ACE Premium Elite redefines the idea of one-boat-does-it-all. Truly versatile, it excels inshore, and on bays, rivers and inland lakes. And with its hull design, upgraded stringers and technologically advanced materials, it’s a commanding presence offshore.”

Not yet on the company’s web site…

Seabuddy is leading a bit on this new model because it does go offshore and well as doing the flats shallow water work with a special bottom design in multiple ways .

Boat Builder’s comment… “The 21 Coastal Bay ACE Premium Elite utilizes Action Craft’s patented Qui-Dry hull and pocket drive. The combination provides the 21′ boat a mere 10–12″ draft, yet with its extended gunnels—the highest in the premium bay boat class—it’s eminently safe and comfortable when heading offshore. At 1,850 lbs. and an 8′ 4″ beam, it’s a soft and dry-riding design.”

A jack plate will be standard and with the boat’s notched, cut away, pocket drive and with all of these features shallow water is an easy go. Also, a 8’ Power-Pole will come with the boat. Best power is not yet selected but figure on something in the 150 to 250 HP class from various outboard engine manufactures.


Higher gunnels on this boat makes for a different experience offshore. Seabuddy is sorry he does not yet have a running photo of this boat. It will tell a lot once I get one.


This might be a $50,000 – $70,000 boat but a bigger engine will drive that towards that upwards price point. This brand is mainly sold in the Southeast part of the US and has had new mgmt. since 2012. These folks do it right. Look for it at your winter Boat Show. Check it out for your self.



Keith Black Hemi Engines


A Hemi powered race boat gets respect. If it is a Keith Black Hemi engine race boat an entirely higher level of respect is given to the racer. In Hydroplanes and quarter mile race boats, a Keith Black Hemi is considered a top contender.

Keith’s first marine Chrysler V-8 Hemi was built in 1956. Black built this, his first Hemi, for his team of Black, Hallett and Greer for their 7 Litre Hydroplane. That boat, SEVEN GRAND, set a competition record of 86.455 MPH. Black’s Hemi made 375 Hp running alcohol through its fuel injection system.

Chrysler Corporation wanted to get more marine business for their Hemi engines. They made Keith Black the man to develop their marine Hemi. Black also made the engines for the Unlimited Hydroplane Miss Chrysler Crew.

Hydroplane Seven Grand

Hydroplane Seven Grand

He used two blown 426 Chrysler Hemi engines in the  Miss Chrysler Crew. Note, two Chryslers are only 852 cubic inches in displacement, against the 1700 cubes of the converted aircraft engines, used at this time frame in the Unlimited Hydroplane boats.

Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane

Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane

The Miss Chrysler Crew Hydroplane was a 40 % bigger version of the Miss Crazy Thing Hydro, which had one Hemi engine. Both boats were designed by Henry Lauterbach then of Portsmouth, Virginia. Henry designed a 29’ 2” long hull with a beam of 11’ 10”. Most other hydros were longer, up to 35’ in length.  U-77, her racing number, was also lighter by about 1,000 lbs. She also had a non-trip chine on the inside of the sponson. This allowed her to slide more in the turns. The engines and their Casale gearbox weighted in by about 300 lbs lighter, compared to an WW II aircraft engine and its gearbox. U-77, Miss Chrysler Crew won the UIM World Championship Regatta in 1967.


With this inside track relationship at Chrysler, Black expanded into quarter mile drag boats and cars. The GREER-BLACK-PRUDHOMME  quarter mile land dragster in the early 1960s had a 236 wins to 7 losses. Greer, a successful machinist, and Black, the premier drag boat engine builder, proved the perfect match for PRUDHOMME to the young Van Nuys, Calif. driver.

Drag Boat w/ Black under a hat

Drag Boat w/ Black under a hat


Handy Boat Cabin Handles


Holiday Gift Idea?

Here is the feature. It has a lighted shaft with highly polished 304 Stainless Steel mounts/ends. Seabuddy picks the 18” length here, but other sizes are available. This one comes from a MI based family business and sold through various retailers, like

The 1.25” diameter makes for a comfortable hand hold. This is also the one that is specified by most original equipment boat builders on their up-scale cabin cruiser boats.

More here…

Regal Marine / Volvo Forward Drive / save $35,000

regal forward

Wakesurfing will be the talked about tow boat sport next summer. Perhaps the right boats is one with a Volvo-Penta Forward Drive or spend about the $35,000 more in my headline above and get a Inboard Ski Boat. Both put the prop under the boat. There it is safely, far away from the water sports participants.


Seabuddy hopes that a boat buyer, when his family begs for a good Wake Surfing Powerboat for 2016, gets them to sea trial both a Volvo Forward Drive Boat and a Inboard Wake Surfing Boat. Should Dad say that the Volvo powered boat saves enough of the family fortunes that an extra new car can be purchased?


Here, I match the Regal Marine 2100 RX Surf Edition with a Volvo-Penta Forward Drive for a 50 MPH package, which makes it a faster boat than the inboard. Plus, instead of the engine/transmission, shafting, prop, strut and other underwater hardware from many sources, like the inboard does, all of this driveline comes from a single source (all from Volvo).


OF course, the $35,000 is a number I picked and until two boats are priced head to head, the difference is just a estimate.


Wake Surfing is done at 10-12 mph and surfing right behind the boat, riding the wave created by the boat’s wake.You only use a ski rope to be pulled up to this speed, then it’s a surfing ride only on the boat’s wake. No bindings on your board, no rope to pull, so one can do this for hours.


The Volvo Forward Drive is essential to make the right wake and do so safely or you need to get an inboard ski boat. The Volvo puts the props far forward under the hull, about 26’ compared to most outdrives. That is a big difference. Plus, Volvo makes the props “Pull” the boat, not “push” as with other drive trains. This matches up with a IPS Volvo system that has been out for years now. The exhaust does go back, under the water with the Cat cleaned up exhaust going into the wake. In the Regal this model also has an extended swim platform. Anyone in the water around the stern is well away from the props.


Get the 300 Hp Volvo-Penta engine that Regal picked with the prop set and reduction gears to get the best performance. Seabuddy understands that they studied, tested, and specified for the best performance around Volvo’s three reduction gear choices and six stainless steel prop set choices, that are just for this new Forward Drive. By the way, each set has a front prop and rear prop and are shaped differently from other Volvo DuoProp sets. They have their own part numbers.


On a sea trial try the around the marina and float maneuvering behind the driver’s seat and say “this package is easier to control” than what I am used to. All that drive her admire how well the package moves around in the water.

seabuddy's photo from the Miami Boat Show introduction last Febuary

seabuddy’s photo from the Miami Boat Show introduction last Febuary


uncovered at the Miami Boat Show last Feb.

uncovered at the Miami Boat Show last Feb.