The New Stealthcraft UFO River Skiff
August 11, 2018
When the Team at Stealthcraft called us with a new hull design, we were stoked to get our hands on one for a test, but when we heard that it was a narrower hull designed for a smaller jet motor, we were skeptical. We’ve got a lot of years building and tuning jet boats, and if there’s a universal truth, it’s that wider is better for jet hulls.
The current reigning champ in the small jet boat category (outside of the venerable and timeless Jon Boat) is Towee. With a super versatile hull working for both river drifting and powered travel, it’s a very versatile option. But versatility comes with some drawbacks. We won’t cover those items in this article, but check them out HERE for our full towee review. Pro-tip: it’s a killer dynamic hull, but not our favorite for a jet set-up.
With that in mind, it’s a no-brainer that others are getting into the small jet market, and the UFO from Stealthcraft is certainly a contender.
With it’s 16′ overall length, and 63″ in overall width at the oarlocks, it’s not a small craft by any stretch of the imagination. It features an aggressive hull taper down to 42″ at the beam, making smaller jet sizes downright efficient. There’s plenty of room for 3 grown men to fish, and the usual myriad of interior layout options ranging from super basic to West Coast posh.
This hull can be USCG rated with some options from Stealthcraft for a 60/40 jet… but we wouldn’t recommend it. The UFO has a small enough planing surface that 30 and 35 hp jet options are not only “workable” but decreases the weight in the transom to such a degree that with the right set up, the boat sits perfectly level on a float. That’s rare for most jets and contributes greatly to the UFO’s stellar row-ability. With a Yamaha 40/30 we were seeing speeds with 500 pounds of load at 22MPH downstream and 19MPH upstream. with a Mercury 60/40 you’re going to lose that flat stance on the float, but pick up serious speed with an upstream speed of 30mph, and a downstream speed of 33MPH. That’s “don’t forget your helmet” kind of speed on some of the smaller obstruction filled streams we run.
The shining factor on this hull is its rowing and tracking. Seriously… it’s a Ferrari on the sticks. It tracks in a predictable and reliable manner and is nimble in every way. It rows significantly better than it’s bigger brother the Stealthcraft Power Drifter. We set ours up with EDGE carbon fiber oars and a traditional blade. Shoal Cuts would be a great upgrade since the hull is so ideal for smaller, skinnier jet rivers.
The total starting price of a stripped down UFO will set you back $18,000, and that’s a pretty spartan build, with a basic (take that how you will…) trailer and a more standard oar arrangement. Skinny Water Specialists only sets these up with high-end trailers, carbon fiber oars, and a full electronics package. Our prices start at $21,000 with the Yamaha 40/30 and a bow mount trolling motor setup.
Overall, it’s a great addition to the Stealthcraft Line-Up, filling a void in the market for a super functional smaller jet option. Compared to other offerings in the market, it’s filled its own niche quite well and gives a home to the smaller sized jet motors available from several manufacturers. We don’t think it’s ideal for larger jet motor sizes… if you want or need more horsepower, step up to a larger hull.
What we’re REALLY stoked about it setting a UFO hull up for the flats. a UFO with a Yamaha 40/30 and a poling platform? That could be the all-terrain water craft we’ve been dreaming of.