in a 14 ft. utility, which should I buy: V-bottom or a Flat Jon?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Faraway, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. Faraway
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Kentucky

    Faraway Will the tide ever turn

    I'm looking to buy an aluminum utility boat, about 14 feet, just to put a 9.9 outboard on to putt around on local rivers, lakes and navigable steams for something different to do instead of cruising around on the big boat in the same lake every outing.

    I've owned modified V bottom utilities in my younger (and 50 pounds skinnier) years and they suited me fine, but, most marine sales here in KY carry only the flat bottom jons; it's hard to find a V bow/bottom aluminum utility boat. They can order one, but what is the appeal jons have with the boat buying public vs the V bottoms?

    I've found jons to be unstable on the water; more likely to flip over if your weight shifts to one side, etc.

    Can anyone tell me any advantages to owning the flat bottom, square bowed jon boats vs a V bow/bottom boat? I'm no fisherman, so that's not a factor.

    I like the looks of the Lowe 1467, which is modified V, 14 feet long and 67 inch beam. But, they don't give them away, they're over $2K new. The day you buy it, it's worth drops to about half that or less so I want to be sure I buy what I'll be happy with.

    I'm looking for safety, stability, low maintenance and room for 2 people, gas can, battery, safety gear bag, cooler & a pick-a-neck basket as Yogie Bear would say.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Stu; How fast do you want to go? The 9.9 will probably push the 14 footer about 20 to 25 depending largely on total weight of boat, gear, and occupants. At that speed the Jon is a rough rider. The vee layout is somewhat kinder to the passengers.

    I think Jons were first contrived by a sheet metal guy who could rivet and weld. It is likely that he may not have had much knowledge of boat design. Well, the Jon (mortar box) turned out to be a fairly practical boat for fishermen, trash collecters, cargo haulers and other functions. The Jon has superior inerior space for a given length. They need not be tippy if they have sufficient beam at the chines. Problem is that there are a lot of them that are pretty skinny. Here in Florida I see absurdities like 1036 dimensions. I figure that those are the vehicles of potential organ donors. The 14 footers seem to have various dimensions on the bottom from 40" upward. Forty inch chine beam will indeed seem kind of tender. forty eight inches of chine will become much more stable. There is an engineering component involved in making the bottom wider. Simply stated there will need to be more reinforcement, frames, and perhaps thicker skin. Thus heavier. I would much prefer a vee bottom with rounded or beveled chines. But similar rules apply when one considers stability. Wider is better but there are trade offs.

    Today I passed by a place that collects and sells used boats. Sometimes taking them in for consignment sales. The guy has been in business for years. He used to have 30 to 40 boats in the lot. Today there were probably 75 or more. If that is any indication of what the market is doing, you can probably find some pretty good deals. Two grand for a 14 footer may be about right for a new one but I'll bet I can find a decent used one for less than 500. Trouble with used ones is that most of them include a motor that jacks the price and you do not want that 30, 40, 50, HP beast anyway. In addition it will soon be winter in Kentucky and your bargaining power will increase in inverse proportion to the temperature.
  3. srimes
    Joined: Sep 2008
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    Location: Oregon

    srimes Senior Member

    flat bottom square end jon boats have been around for a long time, first in wood as displacement boats. Great for floating rivers. A lot better than canoes in many cases. Ever get in a canoe and walk towards one end? Stability quickly disappears. A square boat is much more stable. The first boat I build was jon style canoe: 16' x 2' bottom, 28" max beam. Worked awsome for what it was designed for: small, shallow rivers and creaks and small calm lakes. I could jump out for a swim in the middle of a lake and get back in over the side more easily than I could in a 17'x48" aluminum canoe, and even easier I could climb in over the bow or stern with no trouble at all. It also handled shallow rivers better than the canoe. But with any chop it pound, but all I had to do was heel it over a little. Makes it easier to paddle anyway, but not so good with a motor.

    Flat bottom and square ends is as stable as a basic monohull gets when stitting still, the pointy end is for splitting larger waves.

    How shallow are you going to go? It can be cool to go places that most wouldn't consider taking a boat, but if you go more normal places a v bottom will ride better. Flat bottom is more stable if you want to walk around, especially at the bow. Most of these boats are used for fishing and hunting, and they are perfect for that in their intended environment.
  4. Faraway
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: Kentucky

    Faraway Will the tide ever turn

    Thanks fellows, you've both told me exactly what I was hoping to hear! I've never been a fan of flat bottom jons. I do now recall the last time I rode in one on plane in a slight chop--it beat us to death. I swear, I was 2 inches shorter when I got off that boat.

    I love the idea that the jon boat was an invention of a guy with some sheet metal and a welder.

    I have some old photos of my dad and grand dad fishing from an old hand made wooden jon boat out on Lake Cumberland KY with just 2 oars back about 1940. You may or may not know that Lake Cumberland averages between 100 and 220 feet deep almost everywhere on it's 60+ mile length, and it's a mile across in most places. You don't get out and wade in too many places on Cumberland & anchoring is not an option except way up some of the creeks.

    Today, I looked at a hybrid sort of thing. IT was an aluminum 14 foot boat made by Alumacraft that is a cross between a flat bottom, square nosed jon, and a modified v boat. The nose is still squared off at the top but forms a shallow V that runs about half way to the transom. Same nice wide 40 inch wide bottom, though slightly sloaped in to the keel, and still 70 inch beam. It was much heavier than other jons I've looked at too, weighing in around 300 pounds. That might be a good weight for my Johnson 9.9 so I might expect a top speed of around 15-18 knots depending on how much human ballast etc is on board.

    I'd like the name of the place you mentioned Messabout, that sells used boats. I love a good road trip with a purpose. To go pick up a boat is an excellent reason to hit the road for a few days if I can get a deal. But, you're right, most boats are with motor, and most motors on used boats should be dropped overboard in deep water.

    That's what I did with my very first boat's motor. I was about 19 and Id bought a 12 foot alum. v bottom utility boat that was at least 30 years old. The old 10 horse Merc. outboard must have come across the Cumberland Gap with Daniel Boone. I launched the boat in the Kentucky River and of course, the motor fired right up and off we went downstream for about 10 miles. That was the last voyage of the prehistoric Merc. I busted both oars on the motor cover and it still wouldn't restart. (Yes, there was some beer consumption involved). I unscrewed the motor clamps, unhooked the fuel line and dropped the damned old motor overboard where I'm sure it settled down into 6 feet or so of mud muck at the bottom of the river.

    A couple of hours later, a couple in an old home made houseboat/shantyboat putted by and towed us back to the ramp. I've been a Johnson/Evinrude man ever since. Too bad they went broke. They made great outboards.

    I'm rambling. I'm done.

  5. eponodyne
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Upper Midwest

    eponodyne Senior Member

    I know for a stone fact Cumberland Lake is 200 foot deep, we lost a barge out of tow one night when I was working for Ingram Barge (years ago) and we found it, come daylight, because the bow void compartment had had its hatch dogged down and thus hadn't filled with water; the barge was resting with its stern on the bottom and the bow was sticking up out of the water about a foot and half or two foot.

    Anywhoozle, if Kentucky Lake/Cumberland/Barkeley is yer stompin' grounds, you'll be much better served with some vee to the bottom of your boat. You lose a smidgin on the top end (in glassy water) but the tradeoff is that you don;' shake the change out of yer pocket in the mildest of chop.

  6. Village_Idiot
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: USA

    Village_Idiot Senior Member

    Be careful about making blanket statements concerning jon boats

    I'm running a 26-foot mod-V flat-bottom jon boat with a 60-inch bottom and she is extremely stable. She runs and can get up on plane in less than a foot of water (has a pocket tunnel), and can run in six inches of water once on plane. I, with my 240lbs., can stand on any corner of the boat and jump up and down with no worry of the boat tipping.

    Because of her length, narrow hull and heavy build, she'll handle chop without beating you to death. She doesn't really start to pound until you get into three-footers, and even then it's not bad.

    Power is a 115 Merc 4-stroke, can still get on plane with a dozen people aboard and a custom prop.
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