First and foremost, the FinCraft 17 SC is a fishing boat, so let’s discuss what she brings to the table for fishing features. At the bow the boat is pre-wired to accommodate the 12V Minn Kota trolling motor. Just aft are two large in-deck storage compartments that flank the first of 6 pedestal bases.Over to port is an in-deck cooler, and in the center, next to the helm, a lockable rod storage compartment will swallow up, and protect, up to 6 rods. The basic helm is to starboard, housed in the single side-console. Its amenities include a Lowrance fishfinder. Four pedestal seats are included in the cockpit, two of which can be relocated to elevated casting decks fore and aft. The cockpit deck has an option for vinyl flooring that should be considered for hose-and-go convenience. Even more storage is located under the gunwales. For safety, those gunwales are 2’4” (.72 m) high. At the aft casting platform, there is a pair of storage compartments flanking a dual-hatch aerated livewell, and the twin hatches lie to either side of a second elevated seat pedestal base. The 17 SC comes powered with a 50-hp motor.
So how can FinCraft build this boat out of fiberglass while keeping the price comparable to aluminum? The answer is with VEC Technology. VEC stands for Virtual Engineered Composites, and it basically replaces the time-honored method of having a team of guys spraying fiberglass chop strand into a mold and then painstakingly rolling out any air bubbles or imperfections to try and get a uniformed layered hull. Then, the crew lays in fiberglass cloth and woven roving, sprays in more resin and rolls it out, etc., depending on how many layers of laminate there are. Finally, after the hull is laid up it “cooks off,” then has to cool down and harden in the mold, a wait that can be just a few hours or over a day, depending on the builder. That’s the old way of making a fiberglass hull and the way most fiberglass boats are still built.With the VEC process, fiberglass and resin are put into an expensive stainless steel clamshell type mold, high-pressure water brings the clam shell together, the resin catalyzes, and 45 to 60 minutes later a perfect hull is released from the mold. The whole process is computer controlled by people monitoring the (over 400) variables. The best part is, because it’s computer-controlled, that means we don’t have to worry about a boat being built on a Monday or Friday anymore. They all come out uniformly perfect.
On FinCraft’s website three aluminum boats are listed as the ones the 17 SC is taking aim at: 1) Tracker Targa V-17SC2) Lund 1725 XLSS 3) Crestliner 1700 Fish Hawk All three of these models are popular sellers for their respective builders. Now this is where it gets interesting, because comparing apples-to-apples is nearly impossible. Since there is no standardization in the boat business as to the specs measured and reported, when we visit the four web sites we can only get snapshots of different aspects of the boats.Let’s start with length: At 16’11”, the FinCraft 17 SC is from 3” to 4” shorter than the three aluminum boats. When it comes to beam, the FinCraft is 3” wider than the Lund, but 3” narrower than the Crestliner, and 13” narrower than the Tracker. Deadrise at the transom? Tracker and Lund don’t list it. The Crestliner is 12-degrees, and the FinCraft is 21-degrees.
Weight & Price
When it comes to the two crucial measurements that most people care most about, weight and price, there are some surprises. The FinCraft weighs about 1450 lbs. (659 kgs.) with engine. These engines generally weigh about 200 lbs. (91 kgs.) depending on the brand. The three other brands don’t list the weight of their boats with the engines, so if we add 200 lbs. (91 kgs.) to their published weights, we get total weights for both boat and engine that are close for two of the three aluminum boats that FinCraft has targeted. However, the Lund 1725 XLSS weighs only 855 lbs. (388 kgs.), without an engine. So here the FinCraft weighs about 395 lbs. (270 kgs.) more when we add a 200 lb. engine to the Lund 1725 XLSS.Interestingly, when we look at three other 17’ Lund models that FinCraft does not draw a bead on, total weights with a 200 lb. engine are only from 20 lbs. (9 kgs.) to 130 lbs. (59 kgs.) less than the FinCraft. So with the exception of one Lund model, we’d say that the FinCraft appears to have virtually closed most of the weight gap between its fiberglass 17-footer and many comparable aluminum boats.
FinCraft is presenting freshwater multi-species anglers with a new fiberglass option with weight and price characteristics in the ball park with aluminum boats. The issues now that separate boats of the two materials will be durability, maintenance, styling, performance, handling, ride comfort, safety and amenities along with other things. Since the patented VEC process is owned exclusively by J&D Acquisitions, it looks like only FinCraft will be able to challenge the aluminum boat makers.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the FinCraft 17 SC (2010-) is 34.6 mph (55.7 kph), burning 6.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 25.36 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the FinCraft 17 SC (2010-) is 19.5 mph (31.4 kph), and the boat gets 6.61 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.81 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 137 miles (220.48 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 75-hp Mercury OptiMax.
Standard and Optional Features
Lifetime Limited Warranty