Skippers on the Maine/New Hampshire coast tend to favor seaworthiness and efficiency over raw speed. Seaway Boats, originally designed and built in Maine but now a division of Eastern Boats in Milton, New Hampshire, fit this model.
My sea trial day for the Seaway 18 Sportsman center console skiff saw a 15- to 18-knot afternoon southerly pushing 3-foot seas. That’s enough water to make most hulls of this size slow down to their minimum planing speeds, and the rest to drop off plane and wallow in displacement mode, but this little Seaway simply put up her proud bow and let her super-sharp entry slice through the slop. Generous spray rails attached just above the chines damped all but the heaviest spray, while her molded keel kept her tracking straight at speeds in the high teens. Her interior is simple, but features a full hull liner. Seaway offers a variety of options to fit her to specific tasks (especially fishing) and dress her up.
For inshore coastal waters where conditions like these are the norm, Yamaha’s new F70 4-stroke is a great match for the 18 Sportsman. With 2 aboard and full fuel, she planed off at 10 mph (3500 rpm), with her most efficient range of cruising speeds 14 to 21 mph (4000 to 5000 rpm) and a top end of 29 mph (6300 rpm). Fuel economy through her cruising range was 5.7 to 6.3 mpg (statute), good numbers for a 1,100-pound hull that can ride as comfortably as this one does. Judging from our time with her, she can hold those speeds in any water a prudent skipper would take her out into.
Base price for the Seaway Sportsman 18 with Yamaha F70 and galvanized trailer is $33,000. For 2012, the builder will also offer a version without an interior liner, making that model a bit lighter and less expensive.
- LOA: 18’
- Beam: 8’
- Draft: 12”
- Weight: 1,100 lbs.
- Fuel: 40 gal.
- Max power: 90 hp