The Hewescraft Sea Runner and Ocean Pro
Story by Troy Buzalsky
Photos by Hewescraft
In the evolutionary process of building a better mousetrap, or for this Boats column, a better fishing boat, the methodology utilizes many modern-day catchphrases to explain the manner of progression. Collectively, many progressively minded folks come together and apply their goal-focused knowledge while revisiting the overarching vision of the project, drilling down and converging on scenario-based touchpoints in an effort to acquire the best outcomes. This cutting-edge teamwork leans in on the legacy successes, while gradually developing something more refined. In other words, it’s an evolutionary process, and Hewescraft has evolved for almost 75 years!
At Hewescraft, the experience and earned wisdom of building all-welded aluminum hulls goes back more than seven decades. That’s longer than almost every other aluminum boat builder on the West Coast. Hewescraft utilizes state-of-the-art engineering and assembly, with a focus on fishability, value, and on-the-water safety.
Hewescraft is “Big-Water Proven,” being the best-selling boat brand in Alaska. But if you drill down into what makes Hewescraft tick, it’s continual refinement while striving to build the safest and most functional boat on the market, period!
Indeed, Hewescraft boats are made to be roomy, rugged, and reliable, but on-the-water safety is truly the biggest factor that the leadership at Hewescraft instills. It’s nice to talk about a lifetime warranty, which Hewescraft provides, but having the safest boat on the water is without a doubt the overarching vision of every Hewescraft boat that leaves the factory. Not only is every boat model tested to the extremes of swamping; every boat manufactured meets and exceeds U.S. Coast Guard floatation requirements. At Hewescraft, even boats over 20 feet, which technically do not require floatation foam, receive this floatation, taking safety to the highest level possible. Hewescraft boats are engineered and built not to sink, and they have plenty of success stories to back up their progressively minded commitment.
Family is an essential part of what defines Hewescraft, being launched by Bob and Ralph Hewes and today led by Bill, Launa, and Dave Hewes. Hewescraft and Hewes Marine Company launched in rural Colville, Washington, back in 1948 and although they’ve moved facilities to match their production and demand, they still call Colville home, and are a well-established part of the community. Hewescraft employs a workforce 165 strong from the immediate area who are all part of the greater Hewes family, as is every owner of a Hewescraft boat. The epitome of family at Hewescraft is the mainstay to its legacy successes.
Hewescraft does not sell factory direct; only through its knowledgable base of authorized dealers, which includes six Alaska dealers and 22 dealers located throughout the U.S. including California, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. In addition, Hewescraft also has ten dealers throughout Canada located in five provinces. And since Hewescraft has that small-town philosophy, they encourage folks to visit their closest hometown dealer and shop locally to support your community, family, friends, and neighbors.
Over the years Hewescraft has drilled down to understand the boating market, and designs and engineers boats that have functionally specific uses, from protected waters, to medium ocean applications, to their large ocean off-shore pedigree. Whether it is trout fishing a lake, backtrolling or bobberdogging for steelhead on a local river, trolling for migrating salmon, or banging the ocean’s bottom for halibut and lingcod, Hewescraft has the perfect boat.
And with Hewescraft always improving by listening to their dealers and customers, the team at Hewescraft is excited about its entire fleet of heavy-gauge, all-welded aluminum boats, including a new-to-the-market Hewescraft 221 Evolution, designed for the bass- and walleye angler.
If you are looking for a truly custom-built boat, Hewescraft is not for you. With that said, Hewescraft offers ten different boat models with an exhaustive list of standard features and available options. Hewes Marine Company Vice President Clint Kirry explains, “We aren’t a custom-boat builder, but that doesn’t mean you as the customer don’t have choices. We can’t raise the roofline three inches, but we can move a docking cleat, and our standard features and available options satisfy 95% of our customer’s requests.” Hewescraft prides itself on quality control, and it’s the consistency and repeatable engineering that makes for a more-refined process that brings the cost down, which translates to value!
It’s pretty impressive to sell almost 1,000 boats per year, but perhaps it’s even more telling when you can lay claim to being the largest boat seller in Alaska; not just last year, but for decades! All it takes is to check out Cook Inlet, Resurrection Bay, or Whittier. It’s obvious, Hewescraft is made for Alaska, with its full lineup of boats from the massively impressive Adventure to the fishing and day-cruising-capable Pacific Explorer and Pacific Cruiser. However, the Hewescraft Sea Runner and Ocean Pro take top honors as the most prolific in these waters, because Alaskans love them.
Hewescraft Sea Runner
The Hewescraft Sea Runner is a well-established model which had its latest makeover three years ago with a widening of the hull for improved planning, greater stability, and more storage and elbow room. Designed for medium ocean inshore and offshore applications, the Sea Runner is available in 19-foot and 21-foot models with soft- and hard-top options.
Designed for outboard applications, the Sea Runner features an extended transom offshore bracket and kicker step with an extended bottom that provides additional planing surface and aft stability. Rated for 200- and 225 HP respectively, the Sea Runner is designed to run, hence its name.
The Sea Runner hull features a 35° bow entry with a variable deadrise which transitions to 16° or 15° at the transom depending on the boat’s length. “The variable deadrise creates a great ocean hull,” explains Kirry. “The boat is quick to plane, and when riding on its sweet spot, about two-thirds back, the boat is riding on about a 23°, which gives a smooth, dry, and efficient ride.”
Chine technologies differ from one manufacturer to another. Hewescraft utilizes a proprietary slotted marine-grade aluminum chine extrusion that allows for continuous welding from bow to stern on both the boat’s bottom and sides. This not only makes for a super-strong structure, but the extrusion is also expertly angled for improved cornering and hole-shot while maintaining unparalleled ride performance.
The Sea Runner models include the Extended Transom (ET) and the Extended Transom Hard Top (ET HT) and are both available in the 190 (19-foot) and 210 (21-foot) models, which are technically 21 feet, 8 inches and 23 feet, 8 inches, pulpit to transom. The HT cabin is commensurate with its size, with the 190 model having 70 inches of ceiling height while the 210 offers 73 inches of height. The Sea Runner ET is also available with a rigid soft-top and fish-tower options.
From A to Z, and everything in between, the Sea Runner’s standard-feature list includes more than 30 items, with many, like the rod grippers, transom fish box and cutting board, and in-floor fish box with macerator pump, guaranteed to satisfy almost any avid angler. And the Smooth Move suspension seats will make long days on the water more enjoyable.
Maintaining that big-boat feel, both Sea Runner models feature a 96-inch beam with a 78-inch-wide bottom and 32-inch sides. The Sea Runner ET is jig-built and incorporates a .190-inch 5052 marine-aluminum bottom and .125-inch sides, with a fishing cockpit and dance floor that measures 75 inches x 142 inches or 75 inches x 166 inches depending on model. Box-girder construction provides the floor and bottom structure, and massive fuel cells of 60- and 90 gallons respectively fill the under-floor space while adding ballast and balance. With this fuel capacity you can get to the fishing grounds and back with a nice safety reserve.
Hewescraft has published three performance bulletins on the Sea Runner, covering both the ET and the ET HT models. Because, like most readers, I believe in maximum HP configurations, let’s look at some performance data from a 210 Sea Runner running a Yamaha F200 XB. The boat was tested with a dry weight of 2,300 pounds including soft top, its tank was filled with 85 gallons, or 750 pounds of fuel, and it held two adult passengers (approximately 400 pounds).
At 6,000 RPM the boat achieved almost 45 miles per hour (MPH) while utilizing 18.3 gallons per hour (GPH), or 2.42 miles per gallon (MPG). Conversely, while traveling at a comfortable 4,000 RPM, the boat cruised at almost 30 MPH while sipping 7.1 GPH, or 4.23 MPG. Think about this: 12 hours of running at cruising speed on a tank of fuel. Can you get to the fishing grounds and back? Heck yeah!
Hewescraft Ocean Pro
For years the Hewescraft Ocean Pro has set the standard in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska as an ocean-bound boat that acts big and tows easy. Anglers appreciate the Ocean Pro’s functional, fish-friendly design coupled with its rugged strength, performance, and not required, but desired, recoverable foam floatation that adds safety and security when hauling precious cargo.
The Ocean Pro could be considered the big sister to the Hewescraft Sea Runner. Fun fact: It is generally accepted that ships are referred to as she or her due to language evolution from the Latin word for ship, “Navis,” being feminine. Another reason for the use of female pronouns is that ships are usually named after women and are often dedicated to goddesses who provide a protective role for the ship.
The recently updated Hewescraft Ocean Pro is available in both 22- and 24-foot models and denoted as the 220 or 240 Ocean Pro (OP) Extended Transom (ET) Hard Top (HT). The 220 OP ET HT is technically 22 feet, 5 inches, with an overall length of 24 feet, 8 inches. The 240 model is 24 feet, 5 inches with an overall length of 26 feet, 8 inches. Both Ocean Pros have a 102-inch beam, 84-inch bottom, and 35-inch sides. This new footprint gives more space in the fishing cockpit, a shortened open bow, and a more forward-placed driving console. Other enhancements include a raised gunnel to keep water out of the cockpit, additional under-bow storage, and a self-draining deck. Add the larger 100-gallon fuel tank, and you are ready to fish and explore to your heart’s content.
The Ocean Pro’s pilot house is a true all-weather cabin, complete with canvas rear curtain or swing-door Alaskan bulkhead. The aft-raked windshield and the shorter bow offer strategic visibility; sliding side windows and bilateral wipers are standard features. To battle the cold and keep the condensation down, an Espar D2 cabin heater is available which can operate for 20 hours on a gallon of diesel.
Like the Sea Runner, the Ocean Pro’s hull features a variable deadrise with a 35° bow entry and transitions to 14° for the 220 model, and 13° for the 240 at the transom. And again, like the Sea Runner, the Ocean Pro hull design is great for inshore- and offshore applications. Kirry explains the benefits of the Hewescraft variable deadrise: “Imagine you’re out on typical ocean chop and the sea blows up and you need to head back to port as fast as seemingly possible. A constant deadrise would beat you to death in big water at higher speeds, whereas the Ocean Pro’s variable deadrise actually performs better on step at planing speed.”
The Ocean Pro is truly an ocean boat with its extended transom engineered to run either a single- or dual-outboard configuration. The 220 OP ET HT is rated up to 300 HP and the 240 up to 350 HP, and even if running twin outboards, there’s still plenty of room and capacity for a kicker motor.
When choosing power, Hewescraft makes it easy, having OEM relationships with all the big brand names in the industry: Yamaha, Suzuki, Mercury, and Honda. Typically, Hewescraft will pre-rig the vessel for the specific power application and let the dealer complete the power package. This way, the customer finds the brand they want along with the brand their local dealer supports.
Like most boat builders, Hewescraft pays special attention to value, making sure they provide a good bang for the buck for its customers. State-of-the-art engineering and fabrication is one example of the built-in efficiencies at Hewescraft that not only helps build a boat that meets their quality control standards, but also enhances production, keeping costs consistent and in check. “There’s no cutting corners in a production line when you offer a lifetime warranty,” explains Kirry.
When shopping for a boat, it’s rare that the prospective buyer asks for the safest boat on the market. Generally, they are too caught up on other aspects and boat-buying considerations. “At the end of a day on the water, we want our customers to come home happy and most importantly… safe,” shares Kirry. Hewescraft can talk at great lengths about their 75-year legacy in the industry, being the number one boat in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and having one of the best resale values in the market. However, at the end of the rainbow it’s all about safety, and it all goes back to the overarching goal at Hewescraft. They always strive to build the safest and most functional boat on the market. For more information on Hewescraft boats go to: hewescraft.com.
Troy Buzalsky is the Boats columnist for Fish Alaska magazine, and when not writing about boats he can likely be found chasing fish in the Pacific Northwest and the 49th state and writing about those adventures. Troy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take a look at some of Fish Alaska Magazine’s previous articles about the Hewescraft Ocean Pro and Sea Runner.