No announcement yet.

How seaworthy is the 20-ft

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How seaworthy is the 20-ft

    I'm thinking about buying a 1976 20-footer for inshore and some near-shore (5-10 mile range) fishing. How seaworthy is this hull?

  • #2
    All depends on how comfortable you are in a small boat offshore and how confident you are in the rig. With a good motor and a good day I would be totally comfortable in a 20 Mako 30 miles from shore. That would probably be my limit in that hull. If you step up to one of the deeper V hulls like the 21, 224, and the 23s I would be comfortable pushing to the safe limits of my fuel supply. In my 224 my record is 118 miles round trip to look for some tunerfish. If you want to fish farther from shore I would go for a 21 or up hull, but the 20 is fine for anything nearshore. With the expected price of fuel this season my boat will be staying real close to shore.


    • #3
      I've only had my 83 20 for a short time but it feels solid and seaworty. As noted in a recent post, it runs flat (and a little wet) probably because of the modified V. But it also runs about as shallow as my 17 Whaler did (without being pounded to death.) I don't like the bilge cover in your engine well (I bet more than one sank because of it.) I would seal that or change it to an Armstrong cover. Moving the batteries to the console would also improve your chances if you get water in the bilge.
      Tampa, FL [br]Mako 20C Merc 200[br]


      • #4
        TampaTom is exactally right.[]


        • #5
          I run/ran mine 20+ miles off cedar key quite a bit. I'd say 3 ft seas are about the comfort limit. Anything over that and your airborne or creeping along at idle.

          Make sure the bilge cap is secure or you'll be constantly having to

          reposition it back over the hole, or worse, having to take a swim to retrieve it.

          Like TampaTom stated, the bilge in these gets very wet. Even with the cap secure.

          Also, the fish boxes fill up with water. You have to get on plane, pull the plugs to drain them (at least this is how mine worked).

          After the first swamping you'll want everything out of the bilge.

          I primarily use mine inshore. With a jackplate mine will run in 14" with a passenger and a full 25 gal livewell (+/- 10 gals in your fish boxes).
          1974 20\'[br]2005 Sabalo 22\'[br]Gainesville Fl[br]


          • #6
            Hammertime and myself fished a 20 out of Marathon with 2 boys and 3 men. We fished out to @ 25 miles. A solid boat. I buddy boat my 21 out to 60 + . Did 63 this weekend out of St Augustine.


            • #7

              I currently own a 1991 Mako 231, but my last boat was a 1991 Mako 201. It was well built but was kind of a wet boat (modified vee). However, I would regularly go 10-15 miles offshore in it and not worry.



              • #8
                hi dave i had the 1973 19 ft.......good little bay boat.......5 to 10 miles.....sure......i used to run mine from oldsaybrook ct across to montauk li ny. about 20 miles across.......ON A NICE DAY at anchor in the rough, iused to take some water over the transom.....good luck jim........ []
       203 982 6322 bethany,ct custom t tops /leaning posts/ arches/hardtops/towers etc


                • #9
                  I just bought a 1974 Mako 20', and have had it out in the bays for a couple of weekends now. Couple of comments:

                  - It is a "modified vee", so is perhaps not quite as good in real rough water than one a bit bigger. It also does not have that amidship rise in the gunwale that I believe starts at the 21'er. Combined, I think this means that it creates a little more splash when it hits a wave (rougher ride), and if the wind is blowing, you'll catch more splash due to more splash being created and due to the lower gunwale (wetter ride).

                  - Power. I have a 2000 Suzuki 140 two-stroke on mine. I haven't gps'ed it, but in a flat bay at 5100-ish WOT it feels fast enough for my needs. However, max power on this hull (and probably yours) is 200hp. So 140 is a bit below the 75-80% minimum mentioned in another thread (though it is still enough to get an adult up on a comp slalom ski). I feel having more power might help keep the boat on a higher plane in rough water, and better power through 1-2' chop. If I were to repower, and especially if going offshore, I would want at least a 175 on it, if not a 200. Faster cruise speed, better gas usage, lower motor wear, etc. 175 vs 200, just remember that old ratings were (I think) for "block" hp, which is lower than the "shaft"(?) rating used on newer motors. So a 200 today is a 225(?) of 1970's, which may be pushing it... Also watch motor weight ratings, especially with heavier 4-strokes on an old transom.

                  - Access plate to bilge is probably a design flaw, which you should definitely either seal, replace w/ an Armstrong, or at least put a couple bungee cords across. Also echo problems about fish boxes, and moving batteries from bilge to console.

                  - Old gas tanks on these can go, but you can replace via the access hatch under the console.

                  - There is wood in the stringers and transom. If you want to keep this boat long-term, you may at least need to alu brace ($?) or replace (with a composite!) the transom ($2-3k job to have a shop do). That said, if the thing passes the "motor lift test", you're probably ok for a while.

                  NET - to answer your question. Solidly built seaworthy hull, but if I was going 20 miles offshore in my boat, I would make sure I had filed a float plan with someone, and equiped with things like a backup bilge pump, full flares/smoke, handheld and regular VHS, sea anchor, etc. I would also try and buddy-boat whenever possible. A 20' boat 20 miles out is just inherently a risky situation, so you can do it - but be aware you're at risk, be really careful, and take precautions.
                  NYC & L.I. - 1974 \"Classic\" Mako 20\' - Suzuki 2006 DF150 - Fly & Light Tackle, C&R[br]My boat:[br]Personal website:


                  • #10
           203 982 6322 bethany,ct custom t tops /leaning posts/ arches/hardtops/towers etc


                    • #11
                      [^]thanks bif for the dunkin doz..... lol jim []
             203 982 6322 bethany,ct custom t tops /leaning posts/ arches/hardtops/towers etc


                      • #12
                        Thanks, I would not go 20 miles out w/o another boat along, just inquiring about das boot.

                        Also, can someone clarify the "motor lift test" limits? If there's any flex, does that indicate a soft transom?


                        • #13
                          mine flexed a little and the wood core was soaked
                          1974 20\'[br]2005 Sabalo 22\'[br]Gainesville Fl[br]


                          • #14
                            i had a 74 20 fter with a 90 140 evinrude its very 110% seaworthy i would go out in any thing
                            Prev Boats[br]1974 18ft Fleetcraft 74-97[br]1974 20ft Mako 95-99[br]Currently[br]1978 25ft Mako CC 99-??


                            • #15
                              What is the "motor lift test"? Question: At one of my top inside corners of my transom and the bottom corners of transom-same plane wher motor mounts-there are slight cracks in the gelcoat. Is that normal for 20+ year old boat? What should i do or look for?

                              24\' Scout w/ 225HP[br]20\' Mako w/ 200HP[br]17\' Bristol Skiff w/ 40HP [br]14\' Alumacraft w/ 15HP[br]MT Pleasant, SC