With all the kit sorted and fitted, it was time to get my new little girl wet and see how much of a water baby she was going to be.
This is the most exciting time with a new boat and also the most nervous. You want everything to be perfect but you know in your heart of hearts that there will be lots of little things that could be better. Some you’ll learn to live with (like the dog snoring!), while others will need to be fixed to make the boat easier to use.
Being somewhat of a custom build there were always going to be things out of place, simply forgotten about or perfect, and my little girl had all of these. But let’s first have a look at how she ran.
The first trip out after water testing was on a blustery day with three in the boat and that meant any open boat was going to be wet, and we got wet. A gentle 25 knot southerly had short, sharp waves building against the tide and add onto that swells from 40-75 foot cruisers and you can imagine the test this gave the boat. But those conditions were perfect as it would give a really good indication of how everything handled pretty ordinary conditions.
Apart from the spray being pushed into the boat the first thing I noticed was that the boat rode a little flat. I’m used to tinnies where you can trim up and get the nose high but this just wasn’t happening. It felt like the hull needed to hit the water a little further back. But the best thing was that when we hit, went through or came over the top of the waves and boat wakes, there was almost no thumping or jarring. It was awesome. I took the spray on that first day because I was simply loving how well the rig coped with the chop and wake. It made me remember all those conversations I’d had with the go fast tournament guys about how well fibreglass rode – well it’s true.
The 60hp Honda 4-stroke was all of 20 minutes old on that trip and she got the fairly heavy boat up on the plane reasonably quickly and pushed her out to a maximum speed of 27 knots. This wasn’t too bad as Tony from Galeforce predicted 30 knots. As an aside the most recent trip out saw us reach 31 knots 2 up, so Tony knew his boat. The Honda was perfect for what I was after. I didn’t want blistering speed. I wanted reliability and good fuel economy and I reckon I have both of these in spades with the 60hp Honda.
Internally everything seemed pretty much right apart from the passenger’s seat that hit the port side gunwale. This is one of those annoying problems that I cannot live with and I will fix it by moving the seat forward a touch and a touch towards the middle of the boat. As a bonus this move will free up tiller arm space as well.
With the fishing not exactly firing, we still managed to get amongst a few flatties and it gave us a chance to work the Minn Kota i-Pilot and the Flow Rote livewell system. I love i-Pilots so no point telling everyone again how good they are, apart from saying the new model with i-Link is another step up the brilliant scale. The Flow Rite livewell system was amazing. My old boat didn’t have a livewell, or an esky for that matter and the addition of a livewell coupled with the Flow Rite system was simply awesome. I could fill the livewell, drain it, recirculate it or any combination of the three at any time. The only problem I found with the whole set up was that at day’s end the flatties we wanted to keep were a little lively and had just as much fight in them as they did when they were first hooked. Hmmm, I think an ice slurry needs to be investigated.
The hatches and front casting deck had plenty of room for two anglers with the third angler having room if needed. It was almost perfect for what I wanted. Usually I fish 2 up so the front casting deck was perfect. I think I will look into getting piano wire hinges down the track. The trick will be finding them at the right stainless steel grade. This is not super important but at some stage it will matter – just not today.
The tiny custom built console was brilliant. I love it. It fits the Humminbird 898 perfectly, has two rows of switch panels and the livewell timer and is about to get a NMEA gauge installed as well. Robin’s Mobile Services also installed a hard wired 12V socket on the console and this has been amazing for charging the phone and running a hand held spotlight at night.
And speaking of lights, the Korr Boat Lights that were fitted throughout are exceptional. I have a switch that turns on the cabin lights and also a switch that turns on the lights in the hatches. Look out whiting and mangrove jack this summer – look out!
Underneath the mini console is a 20L food esky. Tony at Galeforce thought to place this here as I had run out of ideas and it’s a great idea. It gives me plenty of food and drink storage and the esky acts as a footrest when making longer runs. It’s really nice to have a food storage place away from fish, really nice.
Lastly the trailer. What can I say about the trailer from R & M Marne other than it works brilliantly. After the boat was finished I dropped off the entire rig to their factory and they adjusted every nut and bolt to achieve the best support, launch and retrieve result. I could hardly be happier with it. I-beam aluminium and I love it.
The one thing I reckon I missed was a large side pocket. I’d run this down the port side and that will store things like fish measurers, crab measurers, gaffs and odds and sods. It wasn’t until I packed in all the gear I normally take that I noticed the beautiful clean deck was missing that little bit of easy grab storage space. This can be fixed and at some stage I’ll get side pocket built in.
I am also thinking of placing another seat bracket further towards the bow. This will enable a passenger to sit facing the stern when I’m trolling offshore, and make no mistake, on the right day this rig will chew up some offshore fishing.
Apart from those additions I’m struggling to come up with more add ons, which is really good I reckon.
I’ve mentioned the passenger seat already and the piano hinges but apart from that I might tinker around with the electric battery position to see if it will help get the nose up a bit. At present they are located in front of the livewell. This adds a lot of weight to the nose of the boat.
I’d also investigate other avenues to raise the nose a little. Things like wedging the motor, raising or dropping the motor, repositioning weight or simply learning to drive the rig better. I’m happy to admit it’ll take me 6 months to really get to understand the new girl.
There are a few issues that need to be addressed and when they are this rig is going to be a fishing weapon. Into the wind and chop the Galeforce rides magically, with the swell and across the swell it does get a little wet. On my most recent trip though I reckon I was starting to work everything out a bit better and we didn’t get nearly as wet as the first two trips – maybe I can learn a thing or two.
I’m not sure I am cut out to be the guy who custom builds boats. It’s just not my thing and I reckon once is enough for me. But I have enjoyed immensely learning a heap about how boats are built, how engines are mounted, how all the electronics work and how easy it is to get things wrong.
Am I happy? Yep. I really love the way this thing rides, but I will need to sort out the spray issue. The soft ride means I can’t complain about a sore back anymore. I really like the way this rig fishes too, especially two up. From squid to flatties, from jacks to tuna the Galeforce 4.8m Tiller with 60hp Honda 4-stroke is going to be a busy boat. I can’t wait to get to know all her foibles and revel in her brilliance over the next few years.
The below list are the suppliers I chose to use. While some gave me a great price, the cost did not influence my buying decision. The decision was based on quality, the ability to meet my expectations and the service quality. I am not amazing at maintenance or fixing things up so all the products chosen were easy to maintain and had a reliability that many friends vouched for.
Battery Traders Logan
(07) 3209 3144
120aH batteries for electric, cranking battery for motor, dedicated chargers
(07) 3269 2702
Fit out and service of outboard
Minn Kota i-Pilot 55lb
All stainless latches, grab rails, screws, seats, switch panels, nav lights and more
--e-mail address hidden--
0427 870 799
Galeforce 4.8m Tiller, custom deck and internals
--e-mail address hidden--
07 3801 8332
Boat Light Strips
07 3272 7701
WaterScreen Nano fuel filter
Flow Rite livewell system