We also have a 26 foot Scott Cruiser, 9 foot beam, another steel hull boat with a layout similar to the Lesa L. It is powered by a single 255HP modified Chevy 350 engine. It is currently in standby reserve. With that name, you can guess what color it is. Pictures not available.
We have chosen to use STEEL hull boats almost exclusively. It's weight, while not always doing wonders for fuel economy, provides a smoother ride than most lighter boats of like size. Unlike most other materials, steel hulls can be modified and repaired without losing any of the originally designed strength. Also, under impact, steel tends to bend rather than break up. This, along with heavy "skegs" to protect the propellers and rudders, and high heavy keels to help protect the bottom, let us safely operate near rocky areas (slowly, carefully, and in good conditions). Lesa L's skegs are made of heavily braced 3/4" x 4" flat bar about 8 feet long. they will easily lift the boat without bending. The broad bows on these boats, although throwing up a lot of water, provide a high level of lift in big waves, increasing rough-water seaworthiness. These wide bows also provide much more usable space belowdeck. The steel hull plating provides an abrasion resistance matched by no other hull material. This lets us run when there is a danger of the water skinning over with ice. Any other material would be "cut off at the waterline" in short order.
We're not above using FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic) boats where our primary considerations are high speed at low cost, trailerability, cheap easy hull maintenance, and when we're not overly concerned with operating in rough-water or shallow rocky areas.
All of our boats will be equipped with necessary and useful electronics. We are not interested in the "All the latest electronics" thing. If a piece of equipment provides unique data or services which we feel will significantly improve our ability to (1) navigate safely and accurately, or (2) locate fish reliably, we will most likely have it.
Just as there is no such thing as an electronic "navigator", the notion of an electronic "fish finder" is a sick joke. So-called "fish finders" can only show that something is down there, how deep, and maybe how big and/or solid , IF the operator first takes it to the fish. Like good navigation, piloting, and helsmanship, consistently finding fish is ultimately the fisherman's responsibility. It is dependent upon that human's understanding of the factors controlling the behavior of the species the human seeks, and upon the ability to analyze and apply the information provided by observation, word-of-mouth, available electronic and other aids.
Capt. Phil has been playing with electricity/electronics (among other things) since the age of 9 (48 years), was a U S Navy Electronics Technician, and was involved in industrial electronics for 23 years, including design, construction, and programming of microprocessor and microcomputer based process control systems. Therefore, it is only logical that CapriFleet has applied that experience to develop a continually evolving custom computer system to aid (notice the word AID) us in navigation, boat control, and fishing.
This system replaces and/or improves upon some conventional marine electronic units such as GPS, Electronic Compass, Autopilot, and Depth Sounder displays, and can monitor some engine functions. It provides the ability for multiple custom computer programs to access all of this data in real-time. It Displays, and permanently records our "track" to an accuracy usually better than 10 feet,with 6 foot resolution, along with lake bottom and other data. We can then use these recordings in later attempts to determine why and when we caught fish, so that we can repeat our successes, and avoid some of our mistakes. We can return to any spot on the lake directly and accurately. This repeatability is usually VERY important when fishing for Smallmouth Bass, and a great aid when trying to track and stay on a moving school of Walleye, Steelhead Trout, or Salmon.
Above all, this powerful system lets us implement new ideas as fast as we can think of, develop and program them! By the way, we were amoung the first to use GPS on Lake Erie, and possibly the first Erie fishing boat to use Differential GPS (1995). We even had DGPS before the Marblehead Coast Guard had GPS, and Differential error correction is the U S Coast Guard's System!
As a side note: Don't swallow the current popular babble that the Navy and Air Force have stopped using the "Selective Availability" GPS error intoduction, therefore, you don't need Differential anymore. This is NOT TRUE. They may have stopped introducing SA errors in peacetime, but even without such intentional errors, positions given by a GPS reciever alone are only accurate to about a 30 foot radius most of the time. They can occasionally be off as much as 100 feet. A seperate Differential correction reciever must be connected to it to reduce the error to usually less than 10 feet.
Our boats have very capable electical systems. Originally triggered by the need to operate the computer system components, it has grown into a 120 Volt AC system capable of operating larger loads like microwave oven, refrigerator, power tools, small heaters, electric stove, lots of lights, large fans, large stereo, somtimes even a hot water heater or freezer, etc. Yeah, sure, your electric shaver and hair drier! Things that most boats can only run when tied to a dock and plugged into shore power.
We use high quality electronic DC to AC inverters to silently power this stuff from large deep-cycle battery banks, which means we only need to run generators to charge the batteries, instead of having to listen to it all the time. We have sufficient battery capacity to run normal 8 to 24 hour charters without a need for recharging during the trip. In addition, we normally have the usual seperate battery and charging system on each engine.