May / June 2021

Building SCOUT

Problem-solving in custom boatbuilding
SCOUT

Like any custom project, the 43’ outboard-powered cruiser SCOUT presented her builders, Hylan & Brown Boatbuilders of Brooklin, Maine, with a list of challenges to be solved in the design office and on the shop floor. The engineering of her electrical system posed similar challenges, which are discussed beginning on page 77.

My shop was recently commissioned to build a unique powerboat—a 43' custom cruiser called SCOUT powered by twin 200-hp outboard motors. She was designed by Reuel Parker, who had designed and built an earlier version of this boat, the first of his Commuter 36 design, called MAGIC. After MAGIC was destroyed in Hurricane Irma in 2018, her owner, Erik deBoer, sought a larger and more sophisticated replacement for her. In addition to the outboard power, she would have integrated swim platforms, an enclosed pilothouse, and berths for four. She would also have the significant power demands of an electric stove, air conditioning, bow thruster, and assorted other requirements and conveniences.

It was a challenging project with a particular set of problems that included materials, finishes, and a sophisticated electrical system. Such custom boatbuilding requires identifying and solving a list of problems. The larger and more complex the project, the longer the list. We tackled SCOUT’s list of challenges methodically and launched her in the spring of 2020.

Problem solving in our shop usually begins in our design office, but Erik came to us with a custom design in hand from Reuel. He planned to operate the boat from Key West, Florida, and had in mind occasional trips to Cuba. So, she had to be capable of venturing offshore in comfort while also being able to negotiate shallow stretches of water and even nose up to a beach.

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