By Dan Armitage
The folks at Scout have looked at a high-resolution map of the U.S. coastline and they know what many boat builders have overlooked -- there are millions of homes on the country's shorelines, many with docks, and all on or near protected water. Further, they know that the owners of those houses and condos like being on the water, but most have no ambition to go out into the ocean for big game fishing or to cruise around the world. They just want to go boating and fishing around home where they know the waters and they can get back by sundown, or in a heart beat if the weather turns. And not go broke in the process.
Scout 177 Winyah Mission
The 177 Winyah was developed for the entry-level angler, or cruising person, who wants an affordable flats-style skiff for recreational fishing and boating in protected coastal areas or fresh water.
4 different models.
There are many, many builders of flats boats or bay boats, but we know of only one company -- Scout -- that has created four distinctive models on one hull and deck to appeal to different types of boaters and fishermen. The models in the 177 Series are the Winyah, Dorado, Sport and Sportfish. The Dorado is for people who primarily want to cruise in protected water. The Sportfish is for the serious fisherman who wants to challenge the edge of the boat's capabilities in coastal fishing. The Sport is for the casual fisherman, and the Winyah is for the angler who wants to get into some real skinny water to find his finny challenges. Take your pick.
Scout's "Air-Assist” three-piece hull creates static stability and adds additional longitudinal buoyancy which enhances static floatation according to the company. They say it decreases time to plane and improves overall handling characteristics with the added benefit of increased fuel economy. This is an outgrowth of Scout's long-standing work in stepped hulls. We have not tested the boat so we can't confirm any of this, but the concept of pockets in the chine are certainly interesting.
The standard forward fishing deck of the Winyah is free of railings, raised cleats, hinges and other hardware that can snag a fly line or trip an angler engaged in casting to or fighting a fish. The hinges and lift-ring on the hatch are recessed and the navigational lights and pop-up bow cleat have radiused bases to remain snag-free. Options available for the forward deck include a bow rail and cushion.
The Winyah’s all-fiberglass center console is large enough to comfortably seat an angler forward and shield the operator aft, yet leaves enough room to port and starboard to get around it when moving fore and aft. Flip-out horizontal rod racks that fold flush into the wall when not in use further open up the access around the console. Using vertical rod tube racks made of plastic rather than stainless steel makes sense to keep weight and costs down. Passengers might benefit by a handrail mounted to the front of the console base.
The livewell Scout offers on the Winyah model will be popular with anglers who keep their catch – for the long or short term. The livewell is insulated and aerated, but we question the placement of the angled flush-mount rod holders that allow the bases to jut into the well. The holders’ location may be handier to the helm and the poling platform, but we think a more traditional mounting location in the gunwales would be preferable in order to keep the livewell clear. The deck-plate in the sole forward of the bulkhead accesses the sending unit to the 20-gallon fuel tank which is secured below the deck to keep the boat’s center of gravity low. Flush-mounted hatches flanking the livewell cover storage lockers.
Scout uses what is called a “reverse shoebox” construction method to match the hull with the deck cap. The deck section actually fits inside the hull, rather than the more common cap-over-hull “shoebox” method. With its outside edges tightly nested inside those of the hull section, the deck and hull are bonded and fused together to provide a strong, permanent seam to prevent separation.
The Scout’s all-fiberglass lids and hatches are constructed using a two-part mold system. The method assures stronger, better-fitting pieces and the smooth, fiberglass finish on the underside of lids and hatches makes the boat easier to clean and looks a lot better then what is sometimes found on price-point boats.
As mentioned above, Scout’s Air-Assist three-piece hull design incorporates pocket areas in the chines. These are designed to trap air up under the hull to allow it to be more easily released from the water at higher speeds. This reduction in surface tension helps create a better hole shot, says the builder, as well as increase top speed and improve fuel economy slightly. The hull extends aft of the outboard mounting location to provide buoyancy for the engine and lift for the hull while extending the boat’s waterline. The hull has 13 degrees of deadrise at the transom and draws 8" (20 cm) of water.
Price and Observations
Scout tells us the standard 177 Winyah package, with a Yamaha F70 outboard and a matching trailer, retails for $25,867. Considering the features and the quality of boats Scout is known for producing, that seems to us like a very competitive price. While we have not tested this boat, we have been on a number of other Scouts and we can report that underway they have a solid feel and good fit-and-finish.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!