Boat Review: Jim Smith 70

People in today's world can be divided into two groups: generalists and specialists. The artisans at Jim Smith Tournament Boats definitely fit the latter category. They design and build boats to do one thing above all others - go fast.

Recently Jim Smith launched hull No. 17, Jack of Diamonds, and while the exact top speed (reportedly in excess of 45 knots) is kept confidential at the owner's request, we know for a fact that at 2,100 rpm it can run at a steady 40 knots for almost 700 miles, burning a relatively modest 115 gph. At a more stately 20 knots, the range jumps to over 1,000 miles.

Each Smith boat starts with a longitudinal frame of four laminated Douglas fir stringers that run stem to stern. Three diagonal layers of African mahogany get sandwiched with alternating layers of double-bias E-glass and epoxy resin, then encased in the same. Lifting strakes get glassed to the bottom to add strength between the internal stringers as well as to add lift for performance.

Needless to say, the methods and ingredients that go into every Jim Smith hull make it strong and light, both requirements for ultra-high-speed boats. I watched at the Jack of Diamonds launching and gasped as the boat tipped the scales at a Jack Sprat-ish 56,000 pounds - unbelievable for a 70-footer. Of course, furnishings, fuel and personal gear had yet to be added, so I expect another 18,000 pounds or so came aboard later.

This particular Jim Smith has been powered with twin DDEC 16V92s. The engine room can be described as nothing short of a work of art with redundancy built in for every system and still room to work on every pipe, wire and fitting. Access to the engine room can be found in the cockpit - an expansive area that makes fishing a pleasure even with numerous anglers.

Obviously, since the Jim Smith is a custom boat, an owner can pretty much design the interior to suit, within the constraints of structural bulkheads of course. Buyers can choose a three- or four-cabin arrangement (the Jack of Diamonds features three).

The salon can only be described as wide open. The low, island-style galley in the forward port corner and the large dinette opposite do nothing to interrupt the completely open area from the belowdecks area to the cockpit. And this has all been accomplished without giving up any comfortable seating or luxury appointments.
Jim Smith makes a one-of-a-kind boat. If you want the fastest boat available but without it being a stripped-out, industrial-looking machine, then take a trip to Stuart, Florida. That's where Jim Smith will fashion a boat just for you.