Allweather Boats History

 Homer Hughes

1931 - 2014

     Allweather Boats Founder 


Allweather Boats founder, Homer Hughes, recalled...

"Instead of burning less fuel after the 1973 Arab oil embargo we burned more.  A couple years ago I was at the Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, Washington, and up pulled an approximately 25 foot fiberglass-bottomed, soft-sponsoned Coast Guard patrol craft with three large outboards that burned 96 gallons of gas per hour at speed. 

Anyway, in 1978, I found a wooden North Sea double-ender named the M/V Elvina which came out of Western Norway and was probably of the '50's era. My quest was solved in that the hull was solid (7/8" pine) and fair, had a good open straight keel and a good bow entry and stern leave and access to the prop and rudder from the cockpit. The freeboard was low so we raised the sides (sheer) 13 inches which also added a lot of volume to the interior.  I eventually got a prototype hull running with cabin and cockpit which we launched without much ballast or much fuel. There was a good chop and, although with a little rolling, the hull handled nice compared to square stern hard chine rigs. We then added about 600 pounds of lead for what seemed a nice medium stability (minimal roll but still bouyant).

The sectioning of the Allweather layout into cockpit, middle interior and bow was influenced by my upbringing in the '30's when the next meal wasn't a sure thing. The cockpit is large enough to work all kinds of gear with several Allweathers in use as hand trollers.  The comment of Mr. Ed Wood, of Petersburg, Alaska, is typical. He told about making up some shrimp gear and in two tows catching all he and his wife can eat in a year. 

With a rack over the cockpit it's easy to store and launch a skiff or partly or fully enclose for added dry space. We still have a good functional interior and a vessel that typically takes on some pretty serious conditions."

1980: Allweather mold is released from hull plug
Rod Belanger and Homer Hughes


Hull in shop with mold in background
Rugged, ballasted hull with steel shoe

A note from Homer, May 12, 2012:

The Allweather 8 meter   (AW8m):

We developed the AW8m to take advantage of the positive characteristics of the North Sea double ender. 
Namely:  seaworthiness, efficiency, safety, utility, and trailerability. Our version in FRP is a monolithic structure many times stronger than the wooden original - or quite possibly any U. S. boat.  
FUEL-EFFICIENCY  The AW uses about 8 h.p. to make 6 knots on a little less than 1/2 gallon per hour.  This computes to 12 nautical mpg.  With our 112 gallon fuel tank, the range at 6 knots is more than 1200 nautical miles.  For ultimate efficienty there is a speed of about 5 knots that doesn't use much more than 1 quart per hour which calculates out to more than 20 nautical mpg and a range exceeding 2000 nautical miles.

ENGINES;  We use popular industrial diesels of approximately 1000 cc displacement, or
20 or so horses.  Most of these have outputs for small hydraulic pumps, accessory pumps and generators which can be added as required.  All AW8m's are keel cooled and dry exhausted.  These systems are simpler and many times more reliable than the heat exchanger with wet exhaust systems used on most diesel cruisers.  There is nothing on the AW that isn't necessary or complimentary to its operation.  These are designed and built to operate 24 - 365. 

LAYOUT;  Our layout is designed for comfort aboard.  Our centered pilot house and deep open keel results in a low center of gravity vessel that is easy to handle with minimum roll. Our interior efficiency is about the use of space.  We probably get more out of the available space than any other builder.  

The keel keeps the AW tracking straight thru whatever.  We build in several notable features: (1)  Keel cooled - dry exhausted engine, (2)  access to prop and rudder from cockpit, (3) 8' cockpit to work from and in, (4) Self bailing cockpit, (5) 7/8" x 3" UHMW  rubstrip - toerail, (6) guaranteed no leak sky light, (7) protected running gear, (8) l" x 2" full length steel keel shoe, (9) aluminum oxide gritted walkways, (10) dual helms, each with good visibility, (11) welded thru bolted hand rails, properly located, (12) anchor system on bow, (13) lift brackets - both ends, (14) trailers nicely behind 3/4 ton pickup, (15) enclosed semi-insulated cabin that heats easily, (16) 1/4 x 16 x 24 SS rudder.                   

CENTERED PILOT HOUSE:  With the cabin sole located low - near the waterline- the AW pilothouse/cabin gives by far the best ride under all sea conditions.  Single operators can do their galley work underway.  All systems are easily monitored, including engine, fuel, electrical, etc.  The cabin heats easily with a small heater.  Underway, the cabin/pilothouse is heated by an auto type heater that uses engine coolant. 

An report from Juneau, AK in the 1980's confirms our contention that you can't be too prepared.  These men had completed their deer hunt and were preparing to AW home when they realized icing conditions were a threat.  Anyway, they had to stay put for a few days but were comfortable with their diesel range and plenty of venison liver.  At one time we had a picture of that boat with five deer hanging on the cockpit.  

INTERIOR:  The dinette makes into a full double bed (54").  This bed sleeps well.  Our dinette table is used in several fold-out configurations, and, when not needed,  is recessed under the bow berth.  The AW has access forward through the bow double berth to the escape hatch, or for handling the anchor through the forward hatch.  The pilot and passenger seats tip ahead for more counter space.

EXTERIOR:  The AW's clean lines help make passage through the water easier; they also make line handling and other utility activities more productive.  Our bow and stern lifting brackets support the AW for loading and make good tow bits.  Should a rack be built over the cockpit, it can be used as an enclosure for more living space, or as an overhead weather guard,  or as a rack typically used for storing skiffs, etc.  We have set the AW up so a hung anchor line can be led around and tied off to the stern lifting bracket.

CONCLUSION:  Contrary to accepted practice, the AW8m goes anyplace right out of the box.  No flopper stoppers, bow or stern thrusters, weather faxes, auto pilots, etc.  North America would never have been discovered were any of these doodads necessary.  The AW is user friendly. 

No one has ever reported a snap roll in an AW8m. In fact, Ed  Wood of Petersburg, Alaska, called and reported that his AW sure handled the slop nice, and that two tows (trawling) caught all the shrimp he and his wife could eat in a year.  The level attitude of the AW8m underway facilitates activities only done on chined square-stern boats when they are securely tied or anchored.  

In the early 80's we had three early model AW's that we chartered by the week.  They worked fine and the average fuel consumed was eleven gallons per week.  However I would be the last guy to tell you that you could clean up financially by buying an AW and chartering it.  I was in an office in Bellingham that did that with a very popular, so-called "trawler yacht".  A participant in that scheme was there and pretty unhappy, his statement being that he spent more on repairs than he received for rent. 

The Allweather hull is that of a standard workboat in the northern hemisphere and around the world.    It is unchallenged in terms of function and operational costs.

 Allweather Boats * 2353 Mt. View Road * Ferndale, Washington * 98248 * U.S.A.