Knowles 19

The custom builders newest inshore hull is a 1-footer that ranks as one of the cleanest layouts youre likely to find on an open flat.

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Though commonplace in the offshore market, custom boats are rarely discussed when talk turns to skinny water. The reason is simple: Building a truly custom boat that's only 15 to 20 feet long just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, financially speaking. That hasn't stopped Bill Knowles of Knowles Boat Works from building and marketing a small line of custom flats boats from his Stuart, Florida, location. (Knowles' principal business is building fast, luxurious sport-fishers from 37 to 70 feet in length.

The custo' builder's newest inshore hull is a 19-footer that ranks as one of the cleanest la'outs you're likely to find on an open flat. It features a wide casting deck, complete with teak toe rails to keep the fly line from blowing out of the boat. Of course, that craftsmanship comes with a price -- $50,000 to be exact, or roughly double the base price of a similarly sized production model.
Knowles acknowledges that his b'ats aren't for everyone and has no illusions of building more than a few dozen in the line. Why would anyone spend that much money for a 19"footer? ¿As much as any'hing, it's just a wor" of art,¿ "e says. ¿That boat has a quiet ride and tons of stability, but 'ainly it's just something beautiful, the prestige of owning something no one "lse has.¿
However, Knowles is quick to point to a number of reasons the custom boat is worth the money, starting with top-quality materials and a labor-intensive method of construction. Knowles says the 19 required approximately 30,000 man-hours to complete, compared to an average of 5,000 for a typical producti"n boat. ¿There is no mold "or this,¿ "e says. ¿These are one o" a kind.¿
The Knowles is built on a wood core, which is covered with fiberglass cloth and epoxy inside and out. With a Yamaha 115, the boat gives a top speed of 45 mph.

SPECIFICATIONS