Page 72

Clockwise from top left: Hewescrafts in the welding stage of the build; workers on the factory floor load a large piece of sheet aluminum to be formed; hull #4 of the 290 Adventure with appropriate oversize signage on the trailer; the crew (left to right): Jim Rogers, Clint Kirry, Alex Dzinbal, and Daniel David; Clint Kirry on the water.

we produce between 18 and 19 boats per week. We are not a custom shop and don’t want to be.” One element of building the boats that is firmly in the do-not-photograph category are their fitting frames and clamping schemes. Fiberglass companies may be territorial about their molds, and the rough equivalent of this in the aluminum boat business is the fittings. “Aluminum is tricky, as it always wants to warp and move around,” says Kirry. “Therefore, as the boats are welded, they get clamped onto specially made fitting frames to keep them in the right form.” The methodology of these fitting frames and clamps is a Hewescraft secret. Another feature I can’t photograph is how Hewescraft installs the floatation foam into their hulls, another point of pride for the company. The U.S. Coast Guard has stringent regulations for floatation in boats under 20’, which Hewescraft meets with all their models. However, Hewescraft opts to keep a similar flotation standard for all their builds, not just ones under 20’ in length. “To be honest, that’s one of the most important things that really sold me on this company,” says Kirry. “That commitment to safety is huge. Just recently one of our Alaskan buyers got into some really hairy water off Kodiak and his 21' Sea Runner capsized. He stayed with his boat as you’re supposed to do for two hours before he was

72 NORTHWEST YACHTING || OCTOBER 2018

able to flag down a passing ship and was rescued. The flotation saves lives and not something we skimp out on.” We pass by two gigantic ovens, and I even enter one to look around. It's here that the boats are painted and baked into shape within, metaphorically entering as clumps of dough and leaving fully formed cookies. After the heat treatment of the oven, the nearly complete boats go down the last stretch of the line where things like electric systems are installed.

HEWESCRAFT 290 ADVENTURE Our time in the factory ends just as the Hewescraft 290 Adventure is ready for action. Looming large and green, hull #4 is fitted with twin Honda 250-horsepower engines and sits comfortably on her trailer. Twin 300-horsepower Yamahas are also options for the 290 Adventure, and in the future, inboard diesel options are something the company is considering. “We have a deal with EZ Loader trailers, built in nearby Spokane,” says Kirry. “They are a good fit for our boats.” While built to be trailerable, it is an oversize load and law stipulates appropriate signage be posted for drivers. The first impression is of a rugged sport boat, a look reinforced by the large fishing-oriented cockpit complete with live bait well, fishbox, and studded aluminum floor. The forward attack angle of the wheelhouse is also that of a no-nonsense Pacific

Northwest open water fishing machine. In no time we’re underway and the boat is launched into Lake Roosevelt for a test spin. Once underway, I get a proper look at the interior. Spacious with hickory and mahogany wood trim, the interior is where this boat differentiates itself from most of its aluminum fishing sisters. With a galley to starboard, dinette (that converts to a berth) to port, and captain and co-captain chairs forward, it’s the spacious interior of a proper motorcruiser. Travel a few steps down the companionway forward, and you’re in a large V-berth (with 6’11”-long body clearance) with en suite head. I’ll admit, I do a few double takes and remind myself: “Yep, this is a Hewescraft.” However nice the boat is thus far, the real mind blower is the performance once I take the helm. The 290 Adventure almost seems to float over the water versus ply upon it, especially on a windless calm day like this one. I initiate a few turns over her own wake at full throttle, even some abeam, and she handles them like a champ. Even a hard stop, from wide open to zero, is so smooth that nobody needs to use the handrails (of which there are many). What’s going on? One of the team’s staff engineers, Alex Dzinbal, is aboard and offers his thoughts. “This boat has a big, thick, 8" chine that provides a lot of lift and stability, helping get on step at lower speeds. It helps the boat

Profile for Northwest Yachting

NW Yachting October 2018  

The latest on power and sail boating in the Northwest, featuring Wendy Hinman's tips for Cruising Hawaii; a preview of Hewescraft's newest p...

NW Yachting October 2018  

The latest on power and sail boating in the Northwest, featuring Wendy Hinman's tips for Cruising Hawaii; a preview of Hewescraft's newest p...