Glacier Bay Island Runner 2670
NOVEMBER 2002
 
   
Length overall  26'
Beam  8'6"
Draft  16" (engine up)
Draft  22" (engine down)
Displacement  4,800 lb (dry weight)
Fuel Capacity  180 gals
Water Capacity 15 gals
Max hp twin  150hp
Approx tow weight  8,200lb (with aluminum trailer)
Standard power  twin Honda 130hp four stroke outboards  
Base Price  $93,000 


Bill Scherr stands at the helm, with its adjustable wheel and hydraulic steering.

What distinguishes the Glacier Bay line from other power catamarans is that their twin hulls are displacement hulls, not planing hulls. Sure, they're sharp and narrow, and don't displace nearly as much water as a comparable length deep-V monohull; but while a catamaran with planing hulls rises up on top of the surface and runs over the waves, the Glacier Bay's displacement hulls cut through the waves.

The bigger the wave, the more important this characteristic becomes. I've read the stories about Glacier Bays making fantastic runs from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, 728 miles across the Atlantic to Bermuda, and from Seattle up to Alaska, crossing vast open stretches through mountainous waves in gale-force winds, and I wanted some of that. Surely the rocky coast of Maine would provide a true, manly test of the catamaran's wave-eating prowess, even if only for a few hours. We arrived at the Gowen Marine pier in beautiful downtown Portland and looked out on the absolutely calm harbor, peering out past the islands in hopes of seeing some big water waiting for us out there, only to see wisps of haze over the horizon between the fir-crested rocks.


Gowen Marine's mustachioed manager, Bill Scherr, met us with a hearty handshake, and led us in single file down the long metal staircase that runs alongside that bulkhead, built with massive granite blocks, down past the high-water mark with its salty slime of exposed growth to the floating docks. There, among the workboats and yachts, sat the distinctive form of the Glacier Bay 2670 Island Runner.

Bill flicked the switches that lowered the props of the big Honda 130 hp four-stroke outboards into the water, and with the engines purring so low it was hard to believe they were on at all, we pulled away from the dock, out from inside that deep canyon of a slip, and along the Portland waterfront, with its commercial trawlers and ferry boats lining the piers.

As we coasted through the harbor, I had time to admire the topsides layout. The helm deck is protected by a wrap-around windshield made of tempered safety glass. This model had a hard top over the helm deck. The helm deck is slightly offset to allow for a 14-inch-wide side deck to starboard, and while the port side deck is useable, it's a thoughtful touch to make one side particularly accessible.

The foredeck is open and protected by a high stainless-steel rail. There's a comfortable bench seat up there as well, along with a deep anchor locker and a bow pulpit with a roller.

The helm has a custom molded dash assembly with plenty of room for electronics. The helm seat module has a built-in 32-gallon live well behind, plus a large tackle box and storage. There's a bench seat to port with a built-in niche for a 54-quart cooler under the cushion.

The cockpit has combing pads along the gunwales. There's has a sink with a sprayer built into the transom, two large fish wells in the sole, four stainless-steel Lee rod holders, anodized rod racks under the gunwales, and lots of other standard features for the fisherman.

We picked up speed and ran around Diamond Ledge, in between Great Diamond and Cow islands, marveling at the massive 'cottages' perched on the boulders and nestled in the pines, and out onto Hussey Sound. There, where we ought to have really opened up and put the boat to the test, we were daunted by what Bill referred to as 'dungeon' fog out beyond the islands.

Now, I've always been led to understand that these 'Down Easterners' never let a little thing like impenetrable fog keep them from going out to sea. I asked him where he kept his sack of potatoes, that I'd be happy to sit up forward and toss spuds off the bows and yell if one went 'thump!' on a rock instead of "splash!" But he just looked at me funny and pulled at his walrus mustache and offered to show me a vista of Pumpkin Knob that I was sure to enjoy on our way back to port.

He let me take the wheel as we headed back down Diamond Pass. In the open space between Fort Gorges and House Island, I did my best to give the boat what workout I could. The instruments on the dash confirmed the manufacturer's test figures, with a top speed of just over 38 mph at 5500 rpm and a comfortable cruising speed of a notch under 23 mph at 3500 rpm. You can expect to burn 25.8 gallons per hour at wide-open throttle, and 10.8 gph at cruising speed. With a fuel capacity of 180 gallons, you can figure out for yourself what kind of range you can expect, because the last time I tried to make that calculation in front of the reading public, I had to stay after school.

From the helm, the boat had a smooth, solid feel. The hydraulic steering provided steady control, and the wheel tilts to suit the driver. Visibility all around is excellent. Acceleration was good , certainly, there was no rise in the bow. We spun tight figure eights in the middle of the channel, running up a wake and cutting through it with hardly a bump. There was no noticeable banking in the turns, except for a slight, curious pull outwards, not in. At rest, it proved to be quite stable, making it a good working platform for fishing or other water sports.

Down below, it's pretty basic, with a big queen-sized berth and an electric-flush marine toilet. No frills here, but plenty of storage under the mattress in the starboard sponson. Two overhead hatches and a small portlight on either side provide light and air. A canvas covering over the aft bulkhead allows easy access to the back of the helm dash to install or service electronics.

The 2670 Island Runner is towable, with a beam of only eight feet, six inches, and a tow weight of about 8,200 pounds, including the trailer. The basic tunnel shape and low profile of the hull gives it a low aerodynamic drag at highway speeds.

The hulls are hand-laid fiberglass reinforced with Kevlar and other high-tech materials, with three additional layers of mat and roving reinforcing the bottoms, yielding an average of 7/8-inch of solid glass in the stem and 5/8-inch on the bottom. All of the cross beams, bulkheads, transom and decks are built from XL-10 marine plywood, fully laminated and guaranteed for life. The ply used in the transom is 1-1/2 inches thick, and encased in structural resin and fiberglass for the extra strength needed to hold up to the extra weight of four-stroke outboards.

'When we decided to get into the catamaran market, we spent a lot of time looking for the right builder to represent,' Bill explained. 'We figured, if we were going to bring a Ft. funny-looking' boat to the State of Maine, it had better be a well-built one. We were impressed with Glacier Bay.'