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Speaking of Restorations; Classic Donzis?

Discussion in 'Tenders & Dinghies' started by NEO56, Sep 27, 2014.

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  1. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    I know some of our posters are into old Miami speed, and I just wanted to share a sighting. I was sitting on my back porch on Duck Key, and low and behold coming down the canal was a mid 70's Donzi Baby (also called a 2 + 3). I believe it was a 16 ft. with an Inboard/Outdrive. This boat was fully restored to the point of looking like it just came out of the showroom. I ran downstairs and talked with them for awhile, they didn't live in the Keys, but brought their boat down with them.

    Does anybody remember this boat? She didn't set any speed records, maybe 50 mph tops. It was a thing of beauty, and warmed the cockles of my heart. Just thought I'd share.
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, Donzi has always built them even to now and calls them the Donzi "Classic". Chances are the one you saw was a newish one. The Classic is the longest running boat design that has been built. The only thing they changed on the design, was they added a windshield in 1989 to them. I had a 1989 18' Donzi classic testarossa edition. It was all red (hull, deck, etc). They will do a lot faster than 50 mph. I had mine up to 75mph with a 350 vortec motor. But the hull design leaves very little to be desired.....the hook in the bottom makes them porpoise a bit, and they love to chine walk.......it's a scary ride running one very fast.

    Go to Donzi Marine's website, they still build the 16', 18' and 22'.
  3. YachtForums

    YachtForums Publisher/Admin

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    A hook in the hull doesn't result in porpoising. It adds pressure (lift) at the stern, which in-turn helps keep the bow down. The classic Donzi's were famed for having too much rocker in the hull (opposite of hook), and they would definitely porpoise at higher speeds.

    I had a 16' sport with a 135 Evinrude, then an 18' 2+3 with a Holman Moody outdrive as a kid. These boats weren't designed for the horsepower of today's engines and as CaptJ said, they can be a handful in the 70 mpg range. They are honestly much better to admire then to own. There are much faster, more stable options in the segment such as any of the George Linder designed hulls; Challenger, Shadow, Superboat, etc.
  4. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    When one showed up on the lake it always got a lot of attention, but that's really where they were best, on inland lakes to show off. I love this line from their website, "today’s 16 Classic offers white-knuckle thrills". Well, perhaps better designed it wouldn't be so white knuckle.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    white knuckled thrills for sure.....actually they started acting up around 60mph and not 70mph........the most fun with it was taking a friend out and doing about 25-35 mph, turn the wheel hard over and getting his elbow to hit the water and spray water on himself!!!!

    Beautiful boats and mine always drew attention and I admire them to this day.

    Why don't they redesign just the running surface to make them run right I don't know.........
  6. AMG

    AMG YF Moderator

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    Here is a picture of the sweet 16;

    Attached Files:

  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yeah, it's exactly the same as the new Classic 16', except the seating/helm are on opposite sides.
  8. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    O.K. the one I saw had two buckets up front and a wrap around bench in the back...must have been an 18!

    And speaking of "hook" I haven't heard that term in 30 years...I was told that "hook" occurred from insufficient curing time in the mold. If the hull was still somewhat hot, even warm, the hull, especially near the transom would warp, hence the hook. Is that correct?
  9. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Let me try to figure out how to describe it.

    I was always told that a hook in the bottom was where the very bottom edge of the hull, along the distance from the transom to where the hull starts curving up to the bow, if you put a straight edge along that portion if the bottom edge of that section, that if it wasn't straight, that if the hull went up a little then came back down near the bow, it was called a hook in the bottom. It's design on smaller boats was to make the boat run flatter, but the side effect is that it tended to really limit speed over 60mph because you couldn't trim the bow up enough by trimming the engine and the hull had more drag.
  10. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    O.K., so J, you're telling me that it was designed into the mold? Makes sense....but why would a longitudinal modification create chine walk? I guess I should have paid more attention in fluid dynamics.
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes it was designed in the mold, my dad who was involved in the early APBA race boat days knew guys who would glass the hooks out of the little donzi boats (and others) to get more speed. It keeps the hull glued to the water, and no matter how much you trim the engine a lot of times you can't get the trim up on the hull and lose a lot of speed on the top end.......It doesn't create chine walk, it can or cannot create porpoising. Mine I could've swore had a hook, and when you'd try to trim the drive up (going fast) to bring the bow up it would make it try to pull the bow back down, then the bow would raise and lower what felt like 2' at a time in the donzi, kind of like a see-saw going up and down. But get it going over 60 mph in the ICW with a varying direction little wave and the thing would be like riding inside of a mechanical bull going up and down and side to side all at the same time.......Mine had very large K-planes on it to help.....I think they were 16" long, by trimming the drive up quite a bit and the tabs down a few degrees the boat would ride on the tabs and have more flat running surface and it would stabilize the chine walking quite a bit......


    Everything I can find on the internet states that it has a hook "ITS THE BOTTOM DESIGN... KINDA LIKE A SEA DOO..OR SEA DOO IS KINDA LIKE A SWEET 16'
    THE STRAKES HAVE A HOOK, AND SO DOES THE LAST FOOT OF THE BOAT.."


    To answer your question, chine walking is generally caused by a very deep V, narrow beam and too many chines.......the Donzi has a rounded bottom or pad (the very bottom edge of the hull) that it tends to ride on and the hull gets more elevated when you're going really fast......well what happens is it tends to keep flip flopping over to the stbd hull bottom or the port hull bottom. If it was the same exact hull design with an 8'6" beam (instead of 7') it probably wouldn't chine walk anymore. The 24' Pantera,P+D's etc etc etc also chine walked really bad......

    I had a 16' Banshee prior to the donzi that had a hook in the bottom, with a 150hp tower of power in high school, and it had a hook......it rode flat and you couldn't really get the hull trimmed up too much, probably did high 50's mph......but it was very stable without any chine walk whatsoever. It had a 12 gallon fiberglass gas tank, with a clear sight section that was numbered 2,4,6,8,10,12 gallons. It used 2 gallons between every bridge in Ft. Lauderdale, you basically went from Lauderdale Marina, up to either the Sands (in pompano) or LHP marina and fueled because you were near empty, and then ran back......LOLOLOLOL

    I was quite the little speed demon as a kid and my dad didn't help matters much......I started out with a 12' sears fiberglass with a v-hull on it and a 6hp evinrude at 5 years old, then I put a 18hp on it......then when I was around 10 my dad got me this fiberglass 14' lap strake fishing boat that was triangle shaped and had a flat bottom and we put the 18hp on that and it went pretty good, then we put a 40hp on that. Then at 13 years old I got a 13' whaler and put a 55hp Mariner on it (I really wanted one of those 13' mini race boat catamarans but my dad wouldn't buy me one), then got the 16' Banshee around 16 years old, then the donzi around 20 years old I bought it......I bought the 16' Banshee and the Donzi myself and all subsequent boats......The first boat I was allowed to take out myself without adults on was the 13' whaler after a year of having it. After that I had a 26' Strike diesel, and a 24' Carolina Skiff.......then a 15' whaler dauntless I bought for my 2 little brothers (15+17 years old) and they didn't want it so I kept it a few years to canal cruise fort lauderdale......Then I got really smart and now I just use everyone elses!!!!!!
  12. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    Thanks for the info J, seems like you and I chewed up some of the same water when we were kids. I was a water rat like you, when we weren't wake surfing, skiing, we were running up and down the ICW. We'd run from Haulover to Port Everglades then cruise up and down the river, and then hit a food joint on the ICW before heading back down to Miami....great days...and tons of memories!
  13. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    Duck Key! real nice place. we rented a house on a canal a few years ago.
    I nice quite place, but still lots to do and close enough to the hot spots.

    I think there was only one yacht club/restaurant on the island.


    We had a ball. rented a small boat, the canal had underwater lights and we would turn them on at night and watch the fish in the canal.

    We even had a great time fishing right in the back yard.

    biggest boat we saw was maybe a 48 Viking.
  14. NEO56

    NEO56 Member

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    The Yacht club you're referring to is at Hawks Cay resort at the front of the island. Duck Key is also home to a Marina on the Southwest side of the island, with rack storage, but alas, not long after I moved there, the Owner had a fatal heart attack, and when I left, nothing had been done to it. Duck Key is a very nice place to live, and yes is very quiet but it's kind of like living in a fish bowl...you can see your neighbors across the canal, and they can see you. I lived on the back of the island and there's a lot bigger boats that live there than a 48. From what I understand Hawks Cay has changed owners, and there are plans to deepen the Yacht club to allow access to larger boats.
  15. RT46

    RT46 Senior Member

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    yup that is the name of the place, I think i have a tee shirt or something.

    oh yea, the rack storage place, the house we rented was one bridge away.

    yes the houses are close, but overall a nice place.

    we had a ball with the underwater canal lights and have thought about maybe doing something like that in the northeast but we just don't have the water clarity.
  16. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Did it look something like this?

    DonziSkiing.jpg
  17. cadillacboats

    cadillacboats New Member

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    I collect and sometimes sell "Miami Speed" in Stuart/Indiantown, FL. Prowlers, Bertrams, Magnums and Donzi's. I grew up in Miami and had the BEST time there before Mantee Zones and security zones. Gold Coast Marathon, Miami Marine Stadium, Pelican Harbor races :) My Mom bought me a 16' Sweet 16 Donzi when I was 13. Next boat was a Magnum Missle. What a LUCKY BOY !
  18. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

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    If anybody in is the area, I strongly suggest looking up Cadillac for visit. He is a great host, and loves talking boats. If you have a pretty girl with you, he'll do his best to stretch the visit! :p