John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.
MAY 2011
 
   
Length overall  18' 1"
Beam  7' 2"
Draft  less than 12" (engine up)
Deadrise  6 degrees
Weight 905 lb
Fuel 20 gals
Max HP 90 hp
Base Price  $20,394

With gas prices rising again, there's a lot to be said for a well built utility skiff that's efficient to tow and run. In recent years, fiberglass has dominated the skiff market around the Chesapeake, but aluminum offers some serious advantages, especially weight (less of it) and durability (more of it). The G3 1860 CC DLX is a prime example. It's a center-console johnboat with a 6-degree V-bottom, a vinyl-coated interior, and a number of built-in features like livewells and rod holders that suit it well for both inshore fishing and utility use--from trotlining for crabs to family activities like beach picnics and towing inflatable water toys.

On a trailer and fueled up, the 1860 CC DLX weighs under 2,500 pounds, making it easy to tow with a compact crossover SUV. Because G3 Boats is a Yamaha company, the logical power is a 50- to 70-hp four-stroke outboard. This family of four-cylinder engines doesn't get the attention that the company's new V-6s do, but these engines have quietly earned a reputation for power, efficiency and durability from Florida to Alaska. Depending on engine choice, top speed will be in the low to mid-30s, with super-efficient cruise (6 to 10 miles per gallon) at 18-22 mph. The engines are also light enough to enable the 1860 to rise onto plane at low speeds (to avoid pounding in a nasty afternoon chop). G3 Boats, Lebanon, Mo. 800-588-9787; www.g3boats.com