Sailfish boats are made on the Far North Coast in the village of Alstonville, between Lismore and Ballina. They are made for fishermen by fishermen so nothing is overlooked when it comes to features.
Most boats that leave the factory are custom-made because each of us has our own ideas on how a boat should be rigged. Dealer fit-out is minimal. The test rig we launched at St. George Motor Boat Club was the new 6.0m 6000 Platinum Series with sports hardtop. Powered by the maximum 90hp Mercury Optimax two strokes, it fair pushed us along at a mighty 33knots with the rev counters at 5800rpm.
Up forward the anchor roller at the end of a short bowsprit, T bollard and a deep self-draining anchor well are accessed from the cuddy through a small, squeezy, outward-opening hatch. There’s also walk-around access to the sharp end with plenty of grab rails but with my ample girth I found it a bit tricky.
As an option the cuddy can come with V-berth, stove, toilet, etc but our boat had just a carpeted floor and ceiling, two side windows and the transparent, smoked ceiling hatch. Basically the area was just for storage of large items.
There’s heaps of room under the large hardtop for skipper and passenger to sit in comfort. The two seats, adjustable fore and aft, have armrests and are suited to long trips. Seated, the top of the windscreen obscured my view when driving but when standing there was excellent visibility.
The large twin throttle quadrant fell nicely to my right hand and a single trim button works both motors together while a couple of buttons on the dash trim out each motor separately.
A Navman GPS and Navman sounder were flush-mounted into the dash, as were the Mercury SmartCraft engine instruments, giving the helm station clean, uncluttered lines. Standard issue is a compass plus a six-way switch panel to control the electrics. There’s plenty of room on the dash if you want to mount radar or other electronic gadgets.
Up in the hardtop were the entertainment system and the Navman VHF two-way radio plus a couple of pockets for personal items such as mobile phones and car keys.
Behind the helm and passenger station are two small, rear-facing seats with storage underneath which can be insulated for drinks or bait. A small step down to the cockpit floor can be a trap for the unwary, so be careful.
A short ladder accessed from the foredeck gives entry onto the hard top to get a better view of where the fish are. At the rear of the hardtop is the six-shooter rocket launcher, 360° white navigation light, two halogen cockpit lights and the VHF radio aerial, all well away from rods when the bite gets hot. There are flush-mounted LED lights for the helm area.
Deep, large pockets run either side of the cockpit and the starboard one has a rod or gaff rack. I loved the six angled, inset rod holders in the coamings as well as the two on the aft rail to give as many options as possible when setting a pattern of lures.
The large cockpit is drained by a self-closing scupper below the through-transom walk-out to the engines. The deep-pile marine carpet is great for bare feet and the padded gunwales make digging the hips in against a rampaging fish very comfortable.
On the port side is a Bermuda bait preparation table. In the starboard pocket at the rear is a deck wash on a spring-coiled hose.
For mooring, there are two T-bollards at the rear. Under the floor are two 100-litre fuel tanks that allow quite a respectable range. Fuel fillers are flush-mounted in the coamings roughly amidships and each tank has its own breather at the transom.
In the port transom is a plumbed live-bait well that will accommodate around four to five slimies or maybe a dozen yakkas. To starboard another similar size well can hold drinks, bait or be optionally plumbed as a second live-bait tank.
Access to the batteries is by hatches in the front of the transom and the battery isolating switches and the single kill switch are in a panel in the port gunwale. A short, stubby railed walk-out platform through a lockable transom door has a non-skid surface but I found it very slippery in my trainers.
Clipped to the back of the transom is the berley chomper and the berley pot is cleverly fitted into the starboard engine mount. There are grab rails everywhere so passengers can get handholds when the weather gets iffy.
With me for the test were the boss of Webbe Marine, Gavan Daly, and salesman Wade Clarke. We were greeted by a strengthening northerly, a common pattern preceding a southerly change. Botany Bay was whipped into whitecaps which were steep and close together – ideal conditions for this blue-water thoroughbred.
The boat leapt onto the plane in a trice as the Mercs took a toehold in the rough water. Hydraulic steering made turns a breeze and unlike most other twin-hull boats, the Sailfish kept almost upright in all but the tightest of power turns. Hitting one motor with extra oomph didn’t bother her at all and she kept in the turn with no sign of skidding. The G-force was so strong I had to keep a firm grip to stop tumbling from the seat.
The huge tunnel between the hulls tamed the chop like a pet Labrador as the trapped air cushioned our ride. With the sea on the beam, the boat stayed on track and there was no sign of water intrusion into the cockpit. At three-quarter throttle in a following sea, the Sailfish tends to work a little harder in maintaining constant speed, as most cats do.
I found this boat liked to be driven hard and had no fear of what was in front of it – very comforting when you are out of sight of land. With one motor shut down and tilted, she still stepped on the plane and returned a very respectable 20 knots on a solo donk.
As I expected, with all three of us leaning over the gunwale, the boat hardly tilted an inch – great for landing big fish when a team effort is needed.
In reverse, water splashes over the motor pans and comes in through the large, wide scupper flooding the aft of the cockpit.
Back at the Motor Boat Club we slipped the boat back on the custom made, twin axle, hydraulically braked trailer and headed off to the nearest coffee shop. If I were out there most weekends chasing big game fish, I would be very happy to have the Sailfish 6000 on my side. It’s big, roomy, stable and very fishing-friendly.
Internal coaming height690mm
Max power2 x 90hp
Length on trailer7.5m
Height on trailer3.3m
Towing weight (empty)1800kg
Standard inclusions: Plumbed livewell, gunwale padding, built-in foam buoyancy, bowsprit and roller, fully carpeted, self-draining deck, lock-up cabin door, open hardtop with radio console, front and side clears, six-pot rocket launcher, dive ladder, berley bucket and chomper, gaff rack, EPIRB, bait and cutting board, transom door, 2 batteries with isolating switches, nav lights, 3 LED cabin lights, 2 halogen deck lights, twin 100L fuel tanks, AM/FM/CD player, Navman 5500 GPS & 4500 sounder, Navman VHF radio, dual-axle trailer with hydraulic disc brakes.
Options: Enclosed hardtop with sliding windows, fixed rear canopy, folding hardtop, vee- bunks, double bed mattress, removable table, underfloor kill tanks, chemical toilet, hand bilge pumps, lure locker, icebox, tuna tower, stainless sink and taps, shower, stainless metho stove, stainless fridge.
Price as tested including safety gear, dual-axle trailer, all regos and on-water instruction $104,990.
Boat supplied by Webbe Marine, 541 Princes Highway, Kirrawee NSW 2232. Phone 02 9521 7944, fax 02 9542 1287, email --e-mail address hidden-- , website www.webbemarine.com.auReads: 2341