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October 26, 2001

Tautog 21 CC

Unfortunately, it's not shoal-proof.

The ergonomics of this boat's helm station are as good as I've seen. If it came with any gauges, they'd be right on the console face and in plain view. While the helm seat did send me crashing to the deck when it cracked, I don't think that would happen with a smaller helmsman. In fact, except for its falling apart, this helm seat is one of the finest I've ever had the privilege to test.

Every hand-laid Tautog hull uses three layers of uni-axial genuine fiberglass chop, and all spaces are filled with Styrofoam "peanuts," which the manufacturer claims work every bit as effectively as balsa or Divinycell coring. This hull is truly bullet-proof.

Unfortunately, it's not shoal-proof. In an interesting design innovation, the manufacturer has mounted the Tautog's trim-tab controls on the transom instead of on the console. Toward the end of our morning out, I had gone back to adjust the tabs, since they were a little sticky. I left Shtupner at the helm, but he dozed off, and, at just under 20 knots, the Tautog 21 ran dead onto a rocky shoal.

As Futt called in a mayday to the Coast Guard, I couldn't hide my disappointment at the amount of seawater pouring into the Tautog. I really felt that running into rocks at that speed should have made a much smaller hole through the hull. Nonetheless, the Tautog is one of the best boats I've ever sunk in.