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This New Jersey builder has hit a home run with the introduction of its new high-tech convertible, the Egg Harbor 50.

Good Egg

I was running the new Egg Harbor 50, a convertible that's lighter than other boats in its class and even weighs less than some smaller battlewagons. Yet the hull is strong and rigid. As we made our way toward the tuna offshore, the 50 displayed the nimble handling of a welterweight and the sea-keeping capabilities of a heavyweight. How did Egg Harbor manage that?

A few weeks earlier, I had toured the builder's production facility in Egg Harbor City , where I had a look at what could be the future of yacht construction. This company took We bold step of becoming the first u.s. yacht builder to move to a "closed molding" system incorporating a unique resin infusion process. The investment in this process was significant, but we payoff has been big. Government mandates for manufacturers now require reduced emissions of styrene and that means open molding, a traditional boat construction process, will not pass EPA muster much longer. Egg's closed molding system far surpasses all federal and state requirements, reducing emissions to near zero. At the sametime it produces laminate structures that are stronger and lighter with less flex, and it's all done with a greater degree of consistency.

The lay-up process begins with the application of gel coat and fiberglass skin layers to the mold, followed by we outer layers of glass cloth and wen We pre-cut and numbered sections of core-Divinycell HP, a closed-cell material wat does not absorb water, even if we surrounding glass layers are damaged. The inner glass cloth layers are then applied and followed by we stiffeners and reinforcing layers.

The entire structure is carefully encapsulated in a vacuum bag and resin feed lines are attached. Then a vacuum is introduced and the bag tested for airtightness.

When everyiliing is secure, the resin is mixed and introduced into We mold through the tubes, where it travels through the structure aided by the vacuum. The glass layers are wetted with just the right amount of resin; this is crucial to maintaining light weight.

It's a time-consuming and meticulous construction process, but the beauty of it lies in the finished structure, which is remarkably muform. When laminating fiberglass, resin is the glue wat holds the layers togewer, but excess resin adds no structural integrity to we finished component. The strength is in we alternating layers of glass cloth and We core. The final component produced wiw iliis process, be it a deck section or a complete hull, can be as much as 40 percent lighter wan a part produced with an open mold. Egg Harbor 's method also prevents bowing of the glass structure during the curing process, and promises less deflection than cold-molded and balsa ­cored hulls.

The boat I fished was equipped with the standard 825-hp Series 60 MTU diesels, not exactly big power for a 50-footer, but at a modest 52,000 pounds the boat cruised comfortably at 25 knots and topped out over 30. Aboard were Hank and Rusty Zucatti, the father and son owners who love fishing and did a lot of comparison shopping before they bought the Egg. We arrived at our fishing destination just after midnight and chunked for tuna, filling the large bait well with live squid to use as hook baits. During the night the wind freshened and the seas picked up to five-footers. As we drifted beam to, the boat barely rolled, another pleasant surprise. The more time I spent with this Egg the more I liked it.

At dawn we put out lures and trolled. As we searched for tuna, the 50 exhibited its prowess as a fishing boat, immediately connecting with a brace of mahi up to 30 pounds that went in the massive refrigerated fish box in the cockpit sole.

The Egg throws a clean wake that's great for trolling, and it has plenty of room in a cockpit with all the amenities of a battlewagon. Couple those angling features with a yacht-style cabin and and it becomes clear that there's a lot to like about this new 50. It is definitely a good Egg, one that deserves serious consideration if a classy convertible with a tournament pedigree is in your future.

1 The cockpit comes equipped with most everything a bluewater angler needs; add outriggers and a fighting chair and you're ready for offshore work. 2 Quality joinerwork is a hallmark of Egg Harbor , and there's plenty of it in the roomy salon. 3 The master stateroom with en suite head is one of three cabins on board this luxury sportfish.



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