Capt. Steve’s Report--
Capt. Steve’s Report
When I went to the FinCraft factory to get my first look at the 17 DC, there was something not quite right. I’ve done my share of factory tours and most have one thing in common -- something that was missing here. After a few minutes I put my finger on it. There was no fiberglass smell! You know… that curing resin smell that permeates your clothes for hours. It was absent here. As it turns out, FinCraft has a proprietary manufacturing process that not only eliminates that smell, but reduces styrene emissions into the environment by better than 95%. In case you haven’t heard, it’s called VEC Technology.
So how can FinCraft build this boat out of fiberglass while keeping the price comparable to aluminum boats? The answer is with VEC Technology. VEC stands for Virtual Engineered Composites, and it basically replaces the time-honored method of having a team painstakingly rolling resin onto fiberglass mat, cloth or roving and then rolling out any air bubbles or imperfections in the resin or glass to get a uniform layered hull, then spending hours waiting for each layer to cure and producing only one hull a day or shift.With VEC, resin is injected into a clam shell mold along with fiberglass fabric, and the result is a uniformly perfect hull, consistent from one to the next with near surgical precision. And the hulls pop out of the mold at the rate of roughly one every 45-60 minutes! It can be done by just a few guys and 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.
FinCraft intends to compete head-to-head with its aluminum counterparts. Doing that on features isn’t hard, but price is where the rubber meets the road. So FinCraft is selling this 16’ 11” (5.16 m) dual console with a 50-hp Mercury and trailer for $18,064.
Price and construction mean nothing if the boat isn’t functional. And this one has the features it takes to get the job done. Starting at the bow, the 17 DC is pre-rigged for a 12V MinnKota trolling motor. Two large storage compartments flank the first of the boat’s six pedestal bases.
Just ahead of the port console is a small compartment that serves as either a cooler or aerated livewell. At the windshield walkthrough, the stereo is mounted against the starboard bulkhead facing into the walkthrough. This seemed like an unusual place for the stereo, but it does allow access for the guy in the forward pedestal. In the middle of the dual consoles is a lockable rod storage compartment that hold six rods. Moving into the cockpit, we have dual consoles with more than enough leg room to add your safety gear bags and still have room to stretch out your legs. There are four pedestal bases for the three standard seats. The deck is carpeted as standard and vinyl is an option if you like the hose-and-go type of cleanup. The aft casting deck is home to dual storage compartments and a single live well that is accessed by twin hatches flanking another pedestal base.
World-Class Pedestal Mounts
A word about these pedestal bases is in order. These are far from your typical “stick the pedestal in the hole” type of base. On FinCraft, their entire lineup of pedestal seats feature threaded pedestals. You screw them into the base, and then lock them in place with a locking collar, and (as if that weren’t enough) they are further locked by a spring loaded pin. The result is the strongest and sturdiest pedestals I’ve seen. To remove, lift the locking collar, press a button that releases the spring loaded pin and unscrew.
You’re going to want to get very aggressive on the trim with the 17 DC. Not unlike most bass boats, it takes a lot of up-trim to get the performance right. As you get on plane, start bringing it up and you’ll feel the expected added boost of acceleration. But here’s where the 17 DC is a bit different. Normally you’d expect to see the spray move from the midships area aft to the stern quarters. That doesn’t happen here. So you’ll inevitably add too much trim (I did) and as soon as the prop starts to pick up air, drop back down a notch or two. Then you’re fine.
Now, if you decide to do any maneuvering, you’ll need to drop the trim first or you’ll ventilate the prop. Full down trim and then you’re fine to crank and bank.
A Different Feel
I’ve tested the full line of FinCraft boats and this 17 DC has one characteristic that sets it apart and it has a lot to do with the construction. These boats are built very solid -- I watched the process from start to finish, and pounded on a hull right out of the mold with a rubber mallet. They’re not thrown together or flimsy. I need to be clear on this before I continue. FinCrafts have a solid, one piece hull including stringers. So any impact on the hull is directly transferred to the rest of the hull. Put your hand on your desk and with your other hand, knock about a foot away. You’ll feel it in your first hand. The point I’m making is that as the 17 DC goes through the water, you can feel the impact of the waves in your feet as it gets transferred through the hull to the deck. FinCraft is so confident in their hull integrity that they stand behind it with a limited lifetime warranty that is even transferable to a second owner, and they’ve never had a claim with over 10,000 hulls, the company says.
For years people have asked why someone didn’t build a good fiberglass multi-species fishing boat. The reasons no one did were because fiberglass boats were heavy and expensive to make. FinCraft has changed all of that because of VEC – and now we have a light, inexpensive fiberglass fishing boat.Most bass boats sold these days for both professional and amateur tournaments are fiberglass. For these sophisticated anglers it is the material of choice because the boats can be shaped better to fit their requirements. Likewise, multi-specie anglers can now have a fishing boat that rides better in a chop, has higher gunwales for safety, comfort and dryness, and just simply look better out on the water. With a package price of $18,064 with a 50-hp Merc and trailer – and weighing only 1,450 lbs. (659 kgs.) – it is clear that fiberglass has finally arrived for multi-specie anglers.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the FinCraft 17 DC (2010-) is 35.9 mph (57.8 kph), burning 7.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 28.39 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the FinCraft 17 DC (2010-) is 21.3 mph (34.3 kph), and the boat gets 6.34 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.7 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 131 miles (210.82 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Mercury OptiMax.
Standard and Optional Features
Lifetime Limited Warranty