Design by Dave Gerr Commentary by Joel White

The design for Summer Kyle first came to my notice in the form of a press release from Gerr Marine. While I tend to digest press releases with a considerable sprinkling of salt, anything from the board of Dave Gerr interests me, and Summer Kyle proved to be no exception. Designs from his office are usually no-nonsense, good-looking boats, with a considerable leaning toward traditional styling. A glance at the outboard profile of this design would seem to confirm this assessment.

Yet there is much about this boat that is not usual or traditional — once the outer veneer of the 1930s styling is peeled away. Most noticeable are her hull shape and her shallow draft; these two elements are integrally related to each other.

Quoting the press release: "Summer Kyle was designed for a client who wanted extreme shoal draft, economical operation at moderate speed, and relatively long range on a vessel he and his wife could live on for several months at a time — 'long exploring vacations.' He specifically requested 1920s to 1930s styling."

In order to achieve very shoal draft in a single-screw powerboat, Gerr has used a hull form derived from the old Sea Bright skiffs of the New Jersey coast — a narrow flat bottom, horizontal chines starting about Station 4 and running to the stern, and a tunnel stern (which Gerr credits to naval architect William Atkin). The tunnel, starting about amidships, is an inverted V-shape, with the box deadwood separating it into two tunnels from Station 6 to Station 9. From Station 9 to the transom, the tunnel is a single inverted V, with straight sections running from the submerged chines to the centerline of the transom above the designed waterline. The perspective lines sketch shows the shape clearly.

With the boat floating at rest on its designed waterline, about one-third of the 22-inch-diameter propeller is above water while the remainder is submerged. The shaft is horizontal, as the flat bottom construction allows the engine to be mounted low in the boat.

There is much that appeals about this tunnel configuration; the shoal draft will permit exploration of many places that are off-limits to deeper craft. Gerr states, "You can run at full cruising speed anywhere there's 24 inches of water or more — a simply incredible, almost unbelievable thing!" If I were running at 14 knots in 24 inches of water, I believe my heart would be in my throat the whole time for fear I might suddenly arrive at a place with only 18 inches of water!

The flat bottom is to be plated with '/-inch copper-nickel plate, and the boat can be grounded out without fear of her falling over, another appealing trait. The propeller and rudder are well protected from damage by the box deadwood and skeg that support the bottom of the rudder.

I do have some concerns about this tunnel. A naval architect friend who has done dozens of designs with tunnel sterns tells me there are two definite no-no's in tunnel design: First, the top of the back end of the tunnel must be completely below water when the boat is at rest; otherwise, when the engine is put into reverse, the propeller will fill the tunnel with air bubbles and the boat will not back down. The second concern is that the rudder when turned must not close off the tunnel,

Particulars, Summer Kyle LOA 41'6" LWL 39'2" Beam 11'6" Draft V7" Displ 15,960 lbs Power 170-hp Yanmar Cruising speed 12 to 14 knots Top speed_16 knots_

Schnellboot Hull Pdf

Summer Kyle s lineage can be traced through William Atkins tunnel-sterned designs back to the Sea Bright skiffs of the New jersey shore.

Summer Kyle s lineage can be traced through William Atkins tunnel-sterned designs back to the Sea Bright skiffs of the New jersey shore.

Seabright Skiff Plans

LXX A Tunnel-SternedMotor Cruiser as there needs to be plenty of room for the slipstream from the prop to escape. Summer Kyle's design seems to violate the first rule. In talking to Gerr about this, he told me that Atkin had a number of boats built with this tunnel arrangement, some of which are still in service.

My friend also tells me that if there is too much hook downward in the after end of the tunnel, the boat will run bow-down and consequently be very wet. I can't judge if this will be a problem with Summer Kyle.

The arrangement plan is nicely set up for extended cruising for two, with the possibility of two more guests. The owner's cabin aft is large and pleasant, with a big double bunk, a dresser, and a good seat next to the bunk. However, the only head is forward, making it a bit of a trip from the after stateroom.

Amidships, the pilothouse floor is raised over the engineroom. There is plenty of seating, a large chart table to starboard, and a wet locker. In addition to regular floor hatches over the engine, the entire pilothouse floor is designed to be removed for complete access to the machinery below.

Down two steps from the forward cabin, the pilothouse contains the galley to port and a dinette with table opposite to starboard. This can convert to a double berth. The head is to port, with a shower and a hanging locker to starboard. Having a shower separated from the head is fine luxury on a small cruising boat. I have never liked entering a head compartment that appeared to have recently contained a lawn sprinkler, and which had the atmosphere of a tropical rain forest. Right forward, there is a space that can be used either as a workshop or for V-berths on each side. If extended cruising with two couples were contemplated, this would be the second stateroom. The head and shower doors are arranged to close off the forward space for privacy. Altogether, this is a conventional but excellent arrangement for a boat of this size.

Because of the space taken by the tunnel configuration and the steering gear mechanism, there is no cockpit where one can sit outside to enjoy fresh air and the sunset. Gerr has done his best to overcome this problem by making the pilothouse as airy as possible. Virtually all windows open, there is a sliding hatch cover over each side door, and there are larger sliding hatch covers over the steering and navigation stations. In addition, the after deck over the lazarette is big enough for a couple of folding deck chairs. Still, I would miss not having a cockpit.

The machinery specified includes a 170-horsepower Yanmar diesel, with 350 gallons of fuel tankage, giving about a 700-mile range at cruising speed, according to Gerr. Also specified are large battery banks, an inverter and converter, a hot water heater, an air conditioner, an 8-kilowatt generator, and an Espar hot-water cabin heater. With all this equipment properly installed and running, the crew should not suffer for lack of creature comforts.

Construction is to be strip-planked wood, glued with epoxy, and the outer surface sheathed with fiberglass laid in epoxy. This is a cost-effective way to build a boat of this size and should facilitate building the unusual shapes of the tunnel stern. While not specified, I imagine that decks and superstructure will be wood framed, plywood sheathed, and covered with fiberglass and epoxy. Or the decks could be teak veneered for a more yachty appearance.

Summer Kyle is an appealing boat for anyone wanting a medium-sized power cruiser. Her overall appearance is traditional, and I think quite good-looking. Her relatively narrow beam and long hull lines, combined with a single-screw diesel of moderate power, ensure a boat that is economical to operate and maintain. The raised forward deck configuration gives maximum usable space in the accommodations, while the many hatches, portlights, and windows will provide plenty of light and air below. The dinghy can be carried on the after cabintop and easily launched using the mast and boom. The mast will also be useful for carrying steadying sails. Gerr has done a fine job of providing all the necessary elements for fun, and for comfortable cruising.

I am envious of Summer Kyle's future owners. A September departure for a leisurely trip south on the Intracoastal Waterway, taking advantage of the good days to run, and exploring the countryside when the weather threatens, could take them to Florida and across to the Bahamas for a winter spent in tropical climes. The trip back home, following the spring north, might be the best of all.

Plans for Summer Kyle are available from Gerr Marine, Inc., 838 West EndAve., New York, NY 10025.

Summer Kyle Boat

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