Design: F-28

This slick little day boat defies the turbulent waters of designing by committee.

F-28 Design

Imagine a masterpiece of form and function designed by a committee chaired by a bean counter and populated by a handful of suits from sales and marketing. Seems impossible, doesn’t it? On the other hand, assemble a committee of talented artists and ask them to design an unusually handsome and innovative day boat, and you’ll get the F-28.

Members of this artistic committee: Mark Fitzgerald, design manager; Wyatt Huggins, former chief designer at Fexas Yacht Design, hull form; and Hak Soo Ha, lead designer at Ford Motor Co., ergonomics and fabrication details. This consortium’s goal is to raise the level of luxury and utility of the ubiquitous center-console boat, and to do this with as few compromises as possible.

Center consoles are rugged and built primarily for recreational fishing, but a few changes to the basic concept could broaden the type’s appeal — making it a more agreeable companion for daylong adventures with the family. Instead of a bench or two aboard the typical center console, the F-28 will have an L-shape settee at the transom, a two-person bench at the helm, an upholstered seat on the forward end of the console and two removable benches near the bow.

When you plant the bow of the F-28 onto the beach, which is one of the advantages of a small boat in a sea of islands, you’ll lower the hydraulically operated door in the bow and stroll down the gangplank as though you were a duchess. No leaping from the bow or slipping over the side. The door on the starboard side abaft the helm will let passengers step onto a floating dock without having to climb down a ladder or portable stairs.

Although these two features are among the most important to the success of this design, I predict that folks will buy the F-28 for its striking looks.

From certain angles, the one shown below among them, the sheer line appears to have a hint of spring. In a pure profile, though, it has the opposite — a reverse sheer, also known as powder horn. A shallow and edgy break in the sheer defines the after third of the boat. The line continues aft and then drops in a graceful arc to the quarter guard. Steps, port and starboard, will give everyone easy access to the water, helped by the handrails on the engine’s hinged hood. This hood also suppresses the outboard’s noise and deflects exhaust gases away from the cockpit, but equally important, it’s an integral part of the design. An outboard engine, no matter how attractive, would still be an eyesore.

Every significant element of this design contributes to its forward look. A casual glance at the F-28 may give you the impression that the fiberglass hardtop is cantilevered over the helm, resting only on the airy flying buttresses. Closer inspection reveals a pair of straight stainless-steel stanchions supporting the forward end. The tinted acrylic windshield and the stanchions share the same angle of rake.

Fitzgerald has delineated many of the elements of this design with curvatures in a variety of radii. If we could see a rendering or architectural line art in a direct profile, we’d notice that none of the curves directly quote each other. The art referee might throw his yellow flag at this infraction, but remember we’ll never have this flat perspective after the boat’s been launched. If you doubt the harmony of this design, look at how nicely the curves and angles work together in the rendering. Even the radar’s antenna spins within a slick housing atop the hardtop.

Among the significant details you can't see, my favorite is the console, which will float on shock-absorbing mounts and can be removed to gain access to the fuel tank and utilities. Most buyers will appreciate the head within the console and the abundance of stowage under the deck. What do you think about the F-28? Is this the center console for you? Send me your opinion at dennis.caprio@yachtingmagazine.com.

LOA: 28'3"
LWL: 25'5"
BEAM: 9'10"
DISPL.: 7,500 lb.
DRAFT: 2'8"
DEADRISE: 22 deg.
FUEL: 210 gal.
WATER: 30 gal.
ENGINE: 1 x 300 hp V-6 Yamaha outboard or 1 x 300 hp Volvo D4 diesel sterndrive

F-28, 207-774-1009; www.fitzgerald28.com; Fitzgerald Marine Architecture, 207-975-2358; www.markfitzmarine.com