Gold Rush Boats have specialised in infused glass craft since 2004. This is a totally different method to the normal fibreglass process that produces staggering results combining strength, rigidity and an amazingly light weight hull.
Following on the Aggressor’s success, Gold Rush are now turning their attention to infused glass car toppers. The new Ultra Light tips the scales at a mere 56kg; a very modest weight for a craft 4.1m long, 1.53 wide and with a floor to gunwale top of 46cm at the side, and 60cm at the deepest point along the keel line.
You might be forgiven for regarding the Ultra Light as merely another light weight flat-bottomed punt, but there’s a lot more to the well thought out design than first meets the eye.
The Ultra Light’s hull features a well-formed 33º vee bow that ensures ease of travel in choppy conditions. The vee carries aft to form a planing plank along the keel line. Lastly, there’s a 5º vee at the transom plus a couple of steps built into the bottom of the hull between the planing plank and outer chine.
These features contribute greatly towards stability and handling, which were strong points of the sleek little craft.
The Ultra Light is designed primarily as a car top traveller. Its hull is completely level along the sheer line and is equipped with a full length stainless steel strip on top of each gunwale to facilitate the journey to the roof rack. Once the inverted craft is stood on its transom at the rear of a vehicle, or camper trailer, the flat metal strips fitted along gunwale tops allow it to be easily slid up onto racks for transportation.
The Ultra Light can be trailered and the reviewed craft fitted nicely on a Sea Trail trailer.
The Ultra Light featured two thwarts, one aft for the skipper and mate, plus another up front.
A brace section extended from the rear of the front seat down onto the floor to create a forward storage area suited to ground tackle, paddles and other gear. The area was large, which is a great asset in an open boat.
Additionally, there was a fairly large storage area under the rear seat in which the tote tank of fuel for the 15hp Mercury was secured.
A simple, uncomplicated layout is very much par for the course for this style of highly transportable craft, however Gold Rush Boats can customise the Ultra Light to suit a buyer’s needs. For instance, a casting deck can be installed between the forward thwart and the small forward deck if an owner desires.
The light vessel has a modest and very efficient hull engine ratings: from 6-15hp. The 15hp Mercury two-stroke has an extremely efficient power plant and, with two aboard, planed at 12km/h. Easy cruising was at 25km/h with the Merc nothing more than a buzz astern. WOT saw 40.8km/h on the hand held GPS unit.
On-water test runs were a real eye-opener. A 30 knot southerly was piping down the channel as the Ultra Light, eased out of the marina into a mass of white water and wind chop. Nonetheless, the craft’s well-shaped bow and overall hull configuration made a meal of those unpleasant conditions.
Powering on eased the craft swiftly onto the plane and then allowed the bow to lift gently into each oncoming wave as the hull took it efficiently in its stride. Driving was no problem, the aft thwart was at just the right height and the engine tiller handle in just the right position.
When I took a turn up front to give Steve from Gold Rush a go at the helm I expected a solid jarring but surprisingly there was no pounding whatsoever. This demonstrates that while some weight can be an asset to a powered hull an efficient design is just as important.
Naturally, a run across waves side-on saw some spray about the place. This is to be expected with a side height of only a half metre and the wind fairly howling. However, when running with chop or straight on, the ride quality was there, along with overall dryness.
The Gold Rush Ultra Light is a well turned out and roomy 4m craft suited to virtually any fishing/crabbing/tender duties you might undertake with a boat of this size. Entirely suited to the angler wanting a boat to put on top of the car, caravan or camper trailer.
Its light weight makes it suitable for one person to handle in most situations, yet it could take up to four people fishing in suitable conditions. I did feel the 15hp two-stroke outboard was a bit of an overkill and the hull would have undoubtedly performed quite well with a much smaller engine fitted. Nevertheless, a 9.9hp four-stroke from most makers would be heavier than the 15hp Merc two-stroke, so if you wanted to carry a few aboard plus gear the 15hp power would be handy.
Overall, I regard the Gold Rush Ultra Light as an ideal craft for the travelling angler wanting a car topper that’s easy to manage, yet will perform well when conditions have deteriorated.
Price of the 4.0 Ultra Light hull is $4,990. Gold Rush can be contacted on 1800 4653 7874 direct for a demonstration.