To be attractive to today's boating enthusiast, a sport cruiser like the Egg Harbor "30" pictured below needs plenty of speed, a flashy modern appearance and the greatest possible number of bunks comfortably set within a given length—all within a given price range. She must also be sound and seaworthy. From all reports, the "30" seemed to me to be the kind of boat that could meet these demanding specifications. She's a new and larger model introduced this year by the Egg Harbor Boat Company, Inc. of Egg Harbor City, N.J. which has been building able sea-skiff-type two-berth cruisers since 1946. The "30" was made slightly larger than earlier models to permit sleeping accommodations for four. I was anxious to see if this had been accomplished without crowding and without sacrifice of the all-weather performance of her predecessor.
The ideal opportunity for a complete test came when a friend, who had owned one of the previous 29-footers, sold her and bought a new "30." Since he launched her some two months ago, we've had a chance to test the "30" under all conditions—a flat calm, 50-knot squall with steep, short seas, in long rollers and just average winds and weather. We've loaded her down with as many as 10 persons and at other times have gone out alone.
The "30" soon proved her all-round ability and was especially solid in rough weather. Her round-bottom design with generous dead rise and a fine entrance punches through steep seas with little pounding.
We've never taken any solid water aboard, and wide flaring bows and efficient spray rails keep the "30" surprisingly free from spray. With wind abeam and in heavy seas she rolls as any powerboat will, but without the slightest feeling of top-heaviness.
But it's when she runs dead before a steep following sea that the "30" is exceptional. We've had her out in some big ones with never a tendency to broach and always able to steer easily even at slow speed. Twin rudders set immediately behind each screw are only part of the answer. Of greater importance is her hull design—typical of the sport cruisers based on the Jersey Coast which must be capable of making shelter through inlets barricaded by breaking seas.
The "30's" stern is quite broad—almost as broad as the maximum beam—and flat enough to take lots of horsepower, and her forefoot is deep enough to permit easy motion against a sea. However her control running downwind is proof that none of these characteristics has been carried too far.
With her twin screws and hydraulic clutch control her maneuverability at high speeds and also while docking or running through a crowded anchorage is excellent. And unlike the average cruiser the new Egg Harbor will not sail off to leeward when going dead slow across the wind. Her generous displacement (about 8,000 lbs.) and relatively deep hull are responsible.
Once her engine had been broken in we opened her up to test her speed. At full throttle the twin 115 hp Crown Chryslers turning at 3,000 rpm pushed her along at 25 mph—surprisingly good for a rugged, seaworthy boat. At 2,200 rpm she cruises quietly at 18 mph and can maintain this speed when some of her faster cousins would have to call it quits. The standard power plant is a pair of 95 hp Chrysler Aces, with which both cruising and top speeds are about three mph less. The extra cost for the two larger engines is $316, and in my opinion well worth it.
Both on seaworthiness and speed, especially sustained cruising speed, the Egg Harbor "30" rates tops. How about comfort? We've already mentioned her easy motion but now we're thinking of room. The self-bailing cockpit has plenty. Four deck chairs fit in nicely, or there's room enough for two fishing chairs. The freeboard aft is too high for best efficiency in boating a big fish, and the coamings high enough to cause some interference with a rod. For the occasional sport fishing most yachtsmen indulge in, however, she's way above the average stock cruiser, and to lessen freeboard would spoil her for average use.
The shelter over the forward part of the cockpit is wonderful. She has full headroom, excellent visibility on each side, and the protective bulkheads extend far enough aft to give four or more persons complete protection.
Below decks the cabin is light, airy and spacious. Up forward there are large bunks. Behind these are two generous hanging lockers—an important feature often skimped on in cruisers of this sort. Aft of the starboard hanging locker is a fine galley, with 2-burner alcohol stove, stainless steel sink and large counter space. Underneath the counter is an icebox big enough to hold a 75-pound cake of ice, and efficient enough to make it last four days or more. Aft of the galley is a head with basin and toilet and plenty of elbow room. on the port side is a dinette for four which converts into a narrow double berth approximately the width of a single bed ashore. All bunks, however, are comfortable, with deep foam-rubber mattresses.
In construction the Egg Harbor "30" is strictly top grade. Keel and frames are white oak. Planking is 7/8-inch mahogany. Bronze bolts and Everdur screw fastenings are used throughout. The 20-gallon water tank, the two 50-gallon fuel tanks and the propeller shafts are Monel. Strut, rudder and control arms are manganese bronze. All hardware is chrome-plated.
In the way of equipment she is most unusual. There is nothing extra to buy. She comes equipped with all Coast Guard required equipment, plus electric-and-hand bilge pump, six dock lines complete with splices, a Northill anchor and a full 150 feet of anchor line, compass, searchlight, stove and even an ensign for the stern staff. Some are stocked even with chrome-polish, window cleaner, and a roll of toilet paper in place in the head. Bring ice and food and you will need nothing else for your maiden voyage.
No boat can be quite perfect but we had trouble thinking of any true faults in the Egg Harbor "30." The most serious one is the forward visibility from the helmsman's seat. At cruising speed and to a slightly lesser extent at top speed the bow lifts sufficiently to partly obscure visibility dead ahead. Our one other complaint is the lack of ventilation in the toilet room—no opening port whatsoever. Future models will have either a port or a connection with the bilge ventilator blower in this compartment.
In all other respects the Egg Harbor "30" is quite a boat. And, considering her many special virtues, plus her honest and good construction, her price of $9,950 with twin Chrysler Aces or $10,266 with the 115 hp Crowns strikes me as most attractive.
THE EGG HARBOR SEA SKIFF RISES TO PLANE SMOOTHLY AT HER CRUISING SPEED OF 18 MPH