For most boaters the idea of a "Mini Boat" is contrary to their normal line of thinking. In a world where damn near everyone has two footitas (meaning they always wish they would've bought a boat 2' bigger as soon as they get their current one) the idea of scaling down to almost remote control size portions seems backwards. Then there's us... (yes I fall into this category), the "Mini Fanatics."
I can recall when I was a kid seeing the 10' Schiadas on Parker strip, and I wanted nothing more then to own one. I remember with absolute precision the conversation with my dad saying "Why don't we get one of those?" and him responding "You have a big boat right there.. Why do you want one of those stupid things.. They are useless!"
There were hundreds of 10' Schiada's built in the early to late 80's. Point in fact production got so out of control that Schiada subbed the hulls out to Laveycraft to keep up with demand. There was one owner that had a 10' Schiada and he broke it to the point where the fiberglass was actually delaminating and visible as "strands" below the waterline. He turned the boat over to insurance whom totalled it immediately. He talked to Lee Spindler about the situation and Lee said "Give me the hull back I have an idea!"
This hull was cut up and used as part of the plug for the new and improved 12' Schiada! They built this boat and it had all sorts of upgrades that hadn't been done on mini's previously. A storage locker behind the seat, a permament gas tank, power trim, Tachometer and other guages were all new to the Mini boat scene. One of the coolest things about that story is that the guy that broke the original boat, and ended up being at least partially responsible for the new 12' design is a member of RDP! It is Paul Bruce aka Paul65K! That boat now resides with friends Jamie and Charmaine in the Keys and it is their daughter Taren's ride.
In the late 80's and early 90's interest declined in the mini boat scene and production pretty much stopped across the board. What that means is right about the time the 12'er came on the scene there just wasn't a market for it anymore. 12' Schiada's are extremely rare, and don't quote me on it, but I believe as of last year there was only five or six of them ever built. That included one that sat at Schiada for probably a decade before I bought it and a year or two later ended up selling it as a bare hull to another gentlmen.
Now we have covered the History of how the 12' Schiada came about, so that brings us full circle to this boat and why I think it is the "Ultimate Mini!" First we will start with the fact that it is a new 12' Schiada the rarity of the Hull alone in my mind puts it on a bit of a pedestal already. The second extremely rare thing about this particular boat is that it's powered by a Four Stroke outboard!
In a small boat application like a mini boat the "balance" of the boat is so sensitive that even the weight of the driver effects how they handle dramatically. The idea of putting a four stroke on one because of the additional weight almost seems impossible. This four stroke isn't some run of the mill fishing motor built for a skiff. This is a Merc Racing 60 that was designed for Tunnel boat racing overseas! Complete with a sport master lower unit, shortened midsection and an aggressive power to weight ratio. Heavy or not, this motor fits the bill, and how cool would it be to see it on the back of a 12' Schiada? Well it's this cool, and it looks like a scaled 300 hanging off the back!
The decision was made to proceed and Schiada had their work cut out for them to make the boat balanced and work correctly. It starts with the obvious thought of if you add more weight in the back, start putting things in the front to balance it out. An oversized gas tank placed in the bow was step one, but to take it a step further they also recessed the battery into the floor in front of the drivers feet!
Those two items will definately help with static balance, but it's still not going to be enough so to make the boat run correctly Schiada added 22 Inch Electric Cav Plates! These aren't non moving plates built for show, but rather the exact same setup you'd find typically in a larger Schiada!
In talking with Lee they had just water tested the boat and he said that it is almost neck snapping in acceleration. A lot of little boats struggle getting on plane, but the way Lee described this one is it could pull a skier out of the water with two passengers without breaking a sweat. It was extremely underpropped and bouncing off the Rev Limiter at 3/4 throttle at around 50 mph. New props are on order now and Lee expects it to settle out as a 55'ish mph boat that is easy to get on plane. In talking with Lee you have to remember that his estimates are always ridiculously conservative, so if he said 55mph, you can almost count on the boat running High 50's / Low 60's mph in ideal conditions with a big prop.
In the pics someone will invariably ask why on such an over the top build did they go with a kind of typical jet ski style trailer. The answer to the question is because while the slammed tandoms and triples look cool, they are all but useless for towing. While the trailer lacks the "flash" that the rest of the boat has, it can and most certainly will be towed to the river and other destinations.
Other features include a "Full Cap" direct from Schiada, Dana Shifter Throttle with integrated trim, Full Hydraulic Steering, Full Livorsi Instrumentation including a GPS Speedo, Gel Cell Battery, Livorsi LED Cat eyes, Accon 6 inch pull up cleats, and Cockpit Cover.
Price as Tested : If you have to ask.. You can't afford it.
Written by RiverDave