Captain's ReportAffordable and Fun Bay BoatDuracraft’s 2006 All-Aluminum 1860 Oyster BayBy Captain Keith BurtonSo you are a saltwater angler and you are into bay fishing. If you think you have to buy one of those pricey fiberglass bay boats to get something that will be both good looking and perform well, you might be in for a surprise from Duracraft.Duracraft has long been known for their rugged aluminum boats, but they usually were sold to fishing enthusiasts in freshwater areas and the boats were painted in hunting colors and outfitted for those environs. But Duracraft’s engineers and designers saw that some folks would like a rugged all-aluminum boat for saltwater bay fishing too. While fiberglass boats are typical for bay boats, rugged aluminum boats have long been a favorite in northwest for their durability and performance.Construction and DesignDuracraft has painted the 1860 Oyster Bay an attractive tan that definitely gives this open fishing boat an upscale look that would fit right into the fishing scenes in Florida’s azure blue waters. The paint is a tough material that stands up to scrapes and nicks so it should look good for years.There’s no wood anywhere in the 1860 Oyster Bay. The tough anti-skid vinyl used throughout the deck is applied to a sheet of aluminum and strongly attached. The vinyl is also glued to the gunnels for a good consistent look throughout the boat.While the 1860 looks something like an 18-foot open skiff, its hull has a slight V-design. The bow is angled-off to give a wide forward fishing platform and to add stability. Beneath are a series of strakes attached to the bottom for strength and improved performance when running at high speed.The bow is configured from the factory for a trolling motor. A stout all-aluminum mount that looks somewhat like an air-intake tunnel runs from the port side of the bow back about two feet. Controls are placed on a flat panel for raising the outboard and for plugging-in the trolling motor.For the GearA large storage compartment for gear is located at the rear of the bow fishing platform. It has one large compartment door to the starboard and a small door into the same compartment. Duracraft says that was designed to make it easier to get to any gear stored in the compartment. The lid is especially stout and pretty watertight. A large rubberized gasket runs around the edge of the hatches and even includes a water drainage channel and drain tube.Forward of the helm is a large all-aluminum livewell. The lid doubles as a seat for a passenger. The helm itself is nicely finished and solidly constructed of aluminum. The white on black gauges are easy to see and laid out in a logical way. They are multifunctional gauges set within two circular rings.Smart SeatingOne of the interesting things about Duracraft is how they handle their seating. Both the bow and stern pedestal fishing seats are hinged with a folding support that is designed to both handle the pedestal mount, and then be reconfigured to be attached port and starboard from the center console seat. Duracraft’s engineers designed a neat ridge into the leading edge of the stern fishing platform where the seats can be “hung” from a recessed ridge that forms the leading edge of the fishing platform.A similar recessed ridge extends along the top edge of the boat’s gunnels where other Duracraft accessories, such as rod and bait holders, can be mounted. Over all, it is a pretty efficient solution to adding convenience and flexibility to a small boat.One thing fishermen will appreciate is the stability of this boat underway and while fishing. You can walk all around it without worrying about tipping. The open deck is expansive and flat throughout. PerformanceUnderway, the Duracraft 1869 Oyster Bay is a predictable performer with good speed and handling. It handles most wakes and waves with an unexpected finesse considering that it is a light boat with a fairly blunt bow. One of the advantages for fishermen is this light boat (920-pounds dry weight) performs very well with a less powerful outboard than needed in a heavy fiberglass boat. This means better fuel mileage on the water and when towing, something to consider as fuel costs continue to rise.Overall, the Duracraft 1860 Oyster Bay brings to the table an attractive, rugged all- aluminum boat with great stability and performance. It looks good in a simple, rugged sort of way, and is very affordable.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Duracraft 1860 Oyster Bay (2006-) is 40.9 mph (65.8 kph), burning 7.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 29.14 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Duracraft 1860 Oyster Bay (2006-) is 18.1 mph (29.1 kph), and the boat gets 8.40 miles per gallon (mpg) or 3.57 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 151 miles (243.01 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Mercury Optimax.
- Time to plane for the Duracraft 1860 Oyster Bay (2006-) is 2.6 sec. seconds.
- Time from 0 to 30 of the Duracraft 1860 Oyster Bay (2006-) is 6.6 sec. seconds.
Standard and Optional Features