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October 26, 2001

SeaCraft 20 Master Angler

This SeaCraft is still the same classic 20 that proved itself so many years ago.

From stem to stern, you'll find nothing sticking out to snag a line. The bow uses pop-up cleats and bow light; the stern cleats, located under the gunwale, feature large hawse holes - just like big boats - for the dock lines to pass through.

It's hard to honestly refer to this as a center-console with the helm so far aft. But it sure makes for great fishing room forward and amidships. SeaCraft pulled a plug from a 30-year-old hull to make the mold for this boat. Fortunately, you won't find a single change made to the original hull; it's still the same classic 20 that proved itself so many years ago. Thanks to the experienced input of Lefty Kreh and Flip Pallot, the SeaCraft 20 serves as a monument to functionality. You'll be hard-pressed to find a cleaner or simpler boat.

The small "button" seat (like that at a diner counter) replaces a leaning post to provide more room. After all, when the boat's under way, most passengers stand alongside the console holding on to the windshield guardrail anyway.

The console even looks old-fashioned: It has an Edson aluminum destroyer wheel with a great "suicide knob." Brushed-aluminum plating backs the waterproof, old-style push/ pull switches, and the chrome-bezeled gauges all have that classic look as well. Just add electronics.

Every hatch, molded with deep drainage gutters, has a gasket around the opening to make it quiet and dry. Forward of the console, a centerline box, much like those found in the popular professional guide boats in Key West, provides storage for fish, ice, equipment or tackle. Separated into two sections, the front box uses a third of the space. A large in-deck storage area forward of that will accommodate your anchor and line, cast net in a bucket, and the like.

The SeaCraft 20 consists of three parts - hull, liner and deck - all built with more desirable vinylester resins, bi- and triaxial as well as knitted fiberglass, and Airlite coring in the hull. You'll find beefy stringers designed to provide strength while also tying the hull and liner together. The bottom also sports three distinct deadrises that make a transition to quite wide, flat chines aft for good roll stability. These same chines, however, keep you from using trim tabs to lean the weather side of the boat up very much in a beam-sea chop. Oh, well, everything's a compromise.

I'm one of those who truly appreciate "old-fashioned" when it comes to boats. With its simple, traditional lines, I'd own a SeaCraft 20 in a heartbeat.