Reviewed by Erwin Bursik [Originally published in the March 2022 issue of Ski-Boat magazine]
CARL Gutzeit of Shelly Beach has had a lifelong love of monohulls. A year ago he started his search for a new craft that would mainly be used from the club’s launch site. Carl is as pedantic as they come, and after undertaking a great deal of research he honed in on the Atomic 22.
Carl’s research into the latest high-end American offshore centre console trends, led him to believe that if he found a locally manufactured hull design that he liked and that performed well in our unique sea conditions, then he could emulate all that he had seen and learnt regarding top range finishes and apply these to the boat being built here in RSA. In my opinion he has undoubtedly achieved his goal.
While his “dream machine” was being manufactured, he spent an incredible amount of time watching the build of the Atomic 22 as well as rethinking the deck layout, centre console configuration and, very importantly, the hard top configuration and finishing.
In this process the Atomic Power Boats (Pty) Ltd owners, design- and manufacturing teams were open to all suggestions for improvements and for Carl to include the engineers of his family owned company, Dezzi Yellow Metal OEM & Raceway, to digitise his ideas and produce computerised designs and eventual physical models before the final moulding was done for the centre console, hard top, deck and internal gunnel configuration.
Carl decided to power his craft with a pair of 140hp Suzuki motors with counter-rotating props, but chose to mount them on specially manufactured stainless steel outmounts which will enable him to enhance the trim angle of the craft for all sea conditions.
I was kept informed all through the process, and Carl promised me a ride on her once she’d had a few outings to sea, following her launching.
After boarding Blood Vessel at Shelly Beach, and as Carl waited for his break in the normal Shelly washing machine, I felt a surge of excitement at being aboard a big mono. Then there was a real adrenalin rush as he powered up the twin 140hp Suzukis and, with proven dexterity, negotiated the exit to sea.
The launch brought with it many memories of my 21ft Robcraft deep V monohull launching off Sodwana Bay. Such a different experience to surf launching on a catamaran.
Out at sea I was handed the controls of Blood Vessel. My mind went into overdrive comparing her ride to the full on-water review I did off Durban on the first Atomic 22 powered by twin Mercury 125hp motors. (See full review in the January/February 2021 issue of SKI-BOAT.)
I rated that craft very highly, and prior to actually being on the new boat wondered what difference I would notice with the two bigger motors out-mounted to the standard transom. Uppermost in my thinking was the question of whether the performance would be different.
My biggest concern was what the increased thrust weight of outmounted motors and counter-rotating props would do to the longitudinal attack angle the hull had into the sea, and whether the out-the-hole performance would be affected by the bow-up stance she might well adopt.
Well, a few minutes aboard her, during which I observed the way she took on quite a few foamies in the surf before the fast takeoff for the hard long run out to sea, dispelled all my preconceived perceptions and we had a smooth and spray-free exit.
The sea and wind conditions were a little flat, but no matter what I tried with her out at sea, the hull-over-water characteristics were very much the same as those I explained in great detail in the previous review. In short, she has a flat, soft, dry ride with minimal lateral instability. Simply put, it’s a magnificent performance of the hull over water.
Carl settled on 19 pitch props after initially trying 21s. He wanted to vastly improve the initial thrust out the hole and, according to him, top-end speed and fuel consumption have not suffered appreciably. Carl noted a combined average fuel consumption of 1.1-1.3km per litre depending on sea conditions and load.
As with all the counter-rotating prop rigs I have played with, I have not experienced any vast areas of difference when it comes to performance other than fine-tuning of lateral stability when running a quartering sea.
In truth, with the motors mounted so close together, the motor trim was only needed marginally under some conditions to maintain a stable, fast ride. The Atomic 22’s dead rise and planing strakes on the below-waterline design determine the awesome ride this craft provides, and I found that no matter what I tried to vary this ride, it did very little. Eventually I stopped playing with the trims and just admired her hull-over-water performance.
I have decided not to rewrite all the detail of the previous review as it is readily available in hardcopy and on our website to be referenced at will. Instead, I will use this article to go into a bit more detail regarding the incredible attention to detail and finishes Carl has, in many instances, personally finished applied to his Blood Vessel. He is rightfully ecstatic about his Atomic 22’s ride, rough sea performance, dryness and how his ideas regarding finishes work under normal fishing conditions.
When studying the accompanying photographs, please take care to read the captions which provide some insight into Carl’s reasoning for the incredible trouble he has gone to, to ensure all the facilities incorporated work for his crew as well as his personal demand for perfection.
One of the doyens of the South African marine industry during the early 1970s who I will certainly never forget, is Arnie Levy. His simple phrase “One word — Perfect” is always at the forefront of my mind. Carl’s new Blood Vessel is just that: “One word — Perfect”!