When Ben Sheaffer saw the demand for a modern equivalent to the classic “Flat Back” design over twenty years ago, he took his accumulated knowledge from a lifetime of working in all aspects of the maritime industry into his shop and got to work. Using the positive attributes that made this old design so popular along with modern construction improvements; he assembled his first prototype model, the 239 FB.
While this design proved to be an instant success, Ben wasn’t satisfied. Advances in outboard technology since the Flat Back was originally created offered significantly more horsepower and new factors needed to be considered; most importantly, stability at cruising speed while turning. These flat bottom boats at high speed had a tendency to slide which could present a safety hazard. Mr. Sheaffer wasn’t comfortable with the thought of this risk resting on his shoulders and set out to improve the bottom design. By adding the right amount of deadrise, Sheaffer was sure that stability could be improved in turns while the hull still retained its shallow draft and stability at rest. A 14-degree variable bottom proved to be the answer and the 239 V was born.
With a winning hull design on his hands, Ben used the next 18 years to refine design features and construction technology utilized throughout the boat. Since these boats are all custom crafted to owner specs, each would have its own personality. The years offered a look at numerous preferences for deck layout and rigging; naturally the present version offers a culmination of those years of experience. Mastering the use of state of the art construction and laminating techniques and applying these methods to create the strongest bonds and finest finish work the industry has to offer has resulted in the Sheaffer S240.
The S240 is a boat built for coastal fisherman who want a fully functional Self-Bailing single engine center console that is as competent in two feet of water as she is in two to four-foot seas. The model we tested was a decked out Full Tower example of everything a coastal guide boat should be. Beginning with the simplicity of the deck layout, a large open cockpit with plenty of room to pass 360-degrees around the console was immensely fishable. The elevated forward casting deck offered the visibility advantage for sight casting, at a height which provides storage space beneath it. Located below the foredeck is a grown-up sized (250-quart) insulated hold which is easily divided into thirds by the addition of removable pen boards. A pair of matching dry storage compartments forward of the fish box are each large enough to stow three 5-gallon buckets and an identical sized compartment is also located beneath the cockpit deck. A 50-gallon oval live well option doubled as a helm seat and carried a full load of large pilchards with ease.
The full tower version we tested featured perhaps the most solid feeling tower of this kind I have ever climbed into. Running upstairs at high speeds in 20-knots of wind didn’t upset me or the boat in the least and a noticeable lack of any kind of rattle or creak followed me throughout the entire boat as I examined each corner while underway. It was evident that these craftsmen take great pride in their work. Another point to consider was the simple ease of access to any system on board that might ever require attention. A wide roomy opening on the forward console backrest offered easy accessibility to all 12V systems including electronics units, all wiring terminals, batteries etc. Water pumps, hydraulics for a scissor jack and Power Poles etc. are all located out of the bilge in a dry compartment within the transom making maintenance easier while preventing excessive salt exposure. Easy access to bilge systems was reached through a large hatch in the cockpit deck.
The Sheaffer S240 from its origins to present day represents an example of the classic “Good, Better, Best” principle in boat design and offers anyone who builds one; the classic, elegant style of years past; the most meticulous craftsmanship a buyer could ask for and the ride and fishability demanded by professionals.
Sheaffer S240 Specifications
Beam: 8-feet 6-inches
Deadrise: 14-degree variable
Hull weight: 3200-pounds
Max HP: 300 (single)
Fresh water: 30-gallons
Base price: $118,475 with molded ¾ Hard Top