Boat Test: 2006 Pilot Pilot Twenty

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Boat Tested2006 Pilot Pilot Twenty
Price As TestedNot Available
Category Center Console
Manufacturer Pilot
Length19ft 6in / 5.94 m
Utility boats come in many sizes and designs and the Pilot Twenty by Holby Marine is a classic example that is available as a center console or cuddy.



Some of the features that define a utility boat are simplicity in design, ruggedness, versatility and low maintenance; features all found in our test boat, a Pilot Twenty Cuddy.



Designed by Canadian Mark Ellis, the Pilot Twenty's classic looks will stand the test of time and the structure should as well. The hull and deck have been constructed using the SCRIMP resin infusion process, where the dry fibreglass and core are laid in the mould and the mould is bagged. A vacuum pump sucks the resin through the fibreglass in the mould, creating a stronger, lighter, laminate in one step instead of several layers.



The Pilot Twenty has been designed to accommodate boaters who are looking to cruise with friends and family, fish or who need a cottage commuter. The cockpit has ample seating for four in the back to back helm seats. They incorporate storage for gear in the fibreglass bases and in a pinch, two more can sit in the transom jump seats. They have available optional backrests.



The one piece cockpit liner will make for easy clean ups and is well drained with two stainless steel scuppers at the transom. Built into the deck is a large gasketed, draining locker that could serve as a cooler or a fish box. Additional storage and access to the battery and Racor fuel filter, is found in the transom, under the jump seats. Overall, for a 20 footer the cockpit is spacious, with room to move around freely.



The Pilot 20 is not a traditional cuddy, since the bow area is largely open to the cockpit but it will come in handy for gear storage or to catch a nap out of the sun or rain. The cuddy has storage under the v-berth, a vinyl cushion set and a Bomar hatch for light and ventilation.



Sticking with the simple and low maintenance theme, the helm is part of the one piece deck unit, and features Honda's Digital Gauge Sets for monitoring speed, rpm, fuel management, engine parameters and trip distance. A splash proof switch panel and 12 volt outlet are located on the lower helm face. The optional Edson stainless wheel and Teleflex hydraulic steering provided precise control without feedback.



One of the things that points to a well constructed, quality boat is the hardware incorporated by the builder. Everything on the Pilot is high quality stainless steel, from the hinges to the deck hardware. Great touches are the pop-up mid and aft cleats, Wichard fender cleats and large 8 inch bow cleat.



In the initial design stages of the Pilot series of boats, some tough parameters were established for the hull. The goal was to design a running surface that planed faster, required less power and delivered better fuel economy. They also wanted to achieve a soft dry ride in a heavy chop.



While I can't attest to the fuel efficiency claim, the Pilot Twenty did perform quite well. The wide, hard chines employed instead of strakes, lifted the hull out of the water delivering a dry stable ride. Jumping wakes at any speed, showed off the boats ability to handle the rough conditions.



Our test boat was powered by Honda Marine's latest BF150 and it accelerated the 2,700 pound Pilot to 20 mph in 5.5 seconds and to 30 in 7 seconds. Underway there was more noise from wind and water than from the quiet and efficient Honda. While Pilot claims top speed of 40 mph with as little as 135 HP, we were only able to get our test boat to 38.4 on GPS with the BF150. Since our test boat had been an in-water demo all summer, a good bottom cleaning and perhaps a change in the prop would probably push the top end a bit higher.
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