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Boat Test: Sea Fox 256W Voyager
  |  First Published: November 2013



The Sea Fox 256W Voyager is a 7.6m-long piece of hand-laid fibreglass with almost every component keen anglers seek in a fishing boat and enough stylish comforts to make a perfect family craft as well.

Built in South Carolina, this boat has almost every conceivable feature to ensure comfort and efficiency for serious fishing and family fishing.

No timber was used in its construction, with 20cm-wide fibreglass stringers, glass/composite transom and the interior liner bonded to the hull before closed-cell foam is injected. The result a strong and very quiet hull.

The beamy (2.8m) walkaround has easy access forward via steps and ample hand holds on the massive hardtop. But with an electric anchor winch up there I can’t imagine people moving up forward except to chase a fish or cast, or maybe take in some sun.

OPULENCE

The test Sea Fox did offer a fair few optional extras, including an aft bench seat, anchor roller, Silver Shark coloured hull, full covers for the massive Ultima version hardtop and stainless propellers for the Mercury 150hp four-strokes.

The fully lined cabin has shelves and a lockable bi-fold door. With an infill the v-berths convert to a double bed and there’s a removable dining table, large woodgrain cabinet, sink with pressurised water and a butane stove. The electric refrigerator, four cabin lights and the marine toilet under the starboard bunk were also standard.

Up in the wheelhouse section there are twin sliding swivelling seats mounted on storage boxes that have aft-facing squabs for additional passengers.

Under the skipper’s rear squab us a very large insulated storage box with a further compartment in the companionway for tackle trays and lure bags.

The mate’s seat had a 51L Igloo removable cooler under it, great for on-board tucker and cold drinks.

There’s more sealed storage in the floor between the seats.

The 256WA’s dash was somewhat plain Jane, although it has room for a couple of 10” multi-purpose displays above the helm. Rocker switches are above and to port of the three-spoke wheel, with engine ignition assemblies to starboard.

Analogue gauges, including speedo and two tachometers, fuel, volts and other dials stretch upwards on the starboard side of the helm.

The engine controls are neatly recessed into the cab side and in easy reach.

Helm seating was very comfortable with all-round visibility and a skipper’s footrest. The wheel was tilt adjustable and linked to hydraulic steering.

A louver window in the centre of the windscreen could be tilted to allow fresh breeze – neat.

Seated under the hardtop with the optional side and front clears, one could not help but be impressed by the massiveness of the sheltered area.

That hardtop also houses four lockable cabinets, two for personal items and charts and two lockable rod racks large enough to take game rods with ease.

There were also spreader lights, an electronics box, Jensen AM/FM radio with MP3 adaptor and four speakers, eight LED lights and a rear rocket launcher for seven rods.

The mist system was a novel touch, spraying a very fine mist through nozzles along the hardtop – made for a Queensland summer’s day!

COCKPIT

Almost half of the Voyager is cockpit – fishing room packed with treats. Aft in the non-skid self-draining floor are two 1m long fish boxes with macerator pumps. Rod holders and drink holders were in strategic places, along with horizontal racks.

The live-bait well has four rod holders at its rear, a blue gelcoat interior to keep occupants happy, and a massive clear lid.

In front of the bait well is a removable upholstered seat for two. The boarding ladder is to port.

PERFORMANCE

Although the hull was rated to 400hp, performance was never lacking from the twin Mercury 150s, which would offer some savings. They were amazingly quiet and even at full revs made nothing more than a subdued deep roar.

With three aboard the Voyager planed at 13 knots (24.3kmh) at 2800rpm. At 3000rpm my GPS recorded 17.4 knots (32.3kmh); at 4000rpm 31.4 knots (58.2kmh) and at 5000rpm 39 knots (72.5kmh).

At the max 6000rpm we were doing a brisk 46 knots or 85.3kmh.

Hole shot was impressive, with the big hull simply rising up onto the plane without any excessive bow lift.

A lazy 1.5m swell was mooching in through the Seaway and we had a great time giving the big Fox some air time. There was no impact as we landed.

The 1861kg hull, 20° transom deadrise and reversed chines provided an awesome ride. We did not use the recessed trim tabs during test runs.

FISHABILITY

With a plethora of fishing features, tremendous performance, soft ride and nimble handling, the Sea Fox 256 Voyager is a fishing craft of the highest calibre.

Offshore anglers are going to find the rock-like stability and easy, unfussed ride a huge bonus. With an interior side height of 690mm and exterior sides of 1040mm, seakeeping is of the highest order.

A very high standard of finish will engender pride of ownership in the Sea Fox while almost every useful and desirable fishing feature makes it a fishing craft of exceptional quality.

• Please bear in mind that the 2.8m beam means this rig exceeds most states’ transport regulations for regular towed vehicles. Your state may require the driver of the vehicle towing this rig to be in possession of a permit similar to the Queensland Class 394-TH-13, which comes with a set of specific towing conditions.

Facts

SPECIFICATIONS

Hull length7.6m
Beam2.8m
Length on trailer9.4m
Height on trailer3.5m
Hull weight1861kg
Transom deadrise 20°
Fuel568L
Rec power200hp-400hp
Max adults10
Towinglarge 4WD or small truck

Test boat supplied by JSW Powersports of the Gold Coast. Price as tested with braked tandem trailer and all options mentioned: $139,385.

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