OK I admit it. I like to bag the Kiwis as much as the next bloke. Afterall, I once spent the best part of a decade living in the North Island and copped my share of stick while I was there. One thing I learnt during my time in the Shaky Isles, though, is that our Anzac cousins take their outdoor recreation very seriously indeed – and that definitely includes fishing and boating. That’s why I was pleased to take a spin in some of the Extreme range of aluminium fishing boats with Shane Hemming and Tim Edney from Inverloch Marine.
It’s a fair bet that many Aussie anglers have never heard of Extreme boats. That’s no surprise, because they’ve only been available in Australia for around four years. Even then, they’re sold through a handful of dealers around the nation. Make no mistake, though, these boats are extremely popular across The Ditch. They currently have the largest market share of any aluminium boat in New Zealand and are the most awarded alloy boat in the last 7 years. That’s a damn fine recommendation as far as I’m concerned.
The first boat I got a look at was the 570 Centre Console, the sleek lines of which looked stunning, even resting on the custom built Easytow tandem trailer. For the test, the boys had fitted a Yamaha 150hp 4-stroke outboard spinning a 17” pitch SDS (shift dampening system) propeller – more than enough grunt to push this beast along nicely. Usually, though, the 570s are packaged with Yamaha 115hp 4-stroke engines. Like all Extreme boats, this boat is manufactured to survey standards in Whakatane on the east coast of the North Island. The marine grade aluminium is 4mm thick in the sides and deck, but 5mm thick in the hull and transom. In other words, it is built to last. Shane and Tim slipped her into the briny with little fuss at the main Inverloch ramp and then it was off to the deeper water near the entrance to put the boat through its paces.
The first thing I noticed about the 570 Centre Console was the exceptional ride. The boat felt very sure-footed and stable, even in sharp turns, with minimal pounding as it cut through the chop. Shane puts this down to a twenty degree deadrise, aggressive down-turned chines and a broad waterline beam leaving more boat in water. I’m certain these features would allow the 570 to cope easily with seas much rougher than those we had to work with on test day. The keel hits the water well forward, too, with a nice slope and a broad, proud nose helping the transition from standing to planing. Incidentally the 570 popped out of the hole at around 30 km/h and reached a top speed of nearly 70 km/h with three people on board.
The New Zealanders like to talk about “good old Kiwi ingenuity” and, believe me, it is certainly evident in this boat. The designers had made incredible use of the available space to incorporate all sorts of accessories and stowage areas in places that didn’t detract from the fishing area. For starters, beneath our feet the 570 had a welded underfloor construction and a treadplate floor that concealed 100 litres of storage area, a 100 litre fuel tank, three large buoyancy tanks, and under floor kill tanks plumbed into the flooding keel. That’s great use of the space below decks. The flooding keel, of course, is designed to increase stability at rest even further, and it certainly seemed to work. Walking from one side of the boat to the other barely raised a wobble!
Halfway along the boat the rear floor steps up into a raised foredeck to maximise overall floor space, while a bow rail provides a functional and aesthetic addition to the front end. Right at front of the boat the anchor was retrieved and held by a concealed drum winch that deposited the rope and chain beneath the bow platform (capstan winches are also available). Meanwhile, at the back, there are further storage areas for the batteries, as well as a live bait tank beneath the step of the walk-through transom. Above this was a rear rod holder assembly, complete with ski tow hook, and a bait board that comes as an option. There are other rod holders along the gunwales, while the outside of the transom houses the fuel filling port, which ensures no fuel can be spilt on the inside. The vast majority of these accessories are welded in place – as opposed to screwed or bolted – to minimise the risk of corrosion.
The deck is dominated, of course, by a modern centre console that wouldn’t be out of place in a spaceship. The steering wheel and throttle, along with other controls, instrumentation and gauges are all within easy reach of the comfortable driver’s seat. For the record, the test boat was kitted up with most of the fruit, including VHF radio, AM/FM radio, iPod, and touch screen sounder/GPS combo. This gear is protected by an attractive perspex screen to keep the spray off – not that there was much of that because the hull and reverse chines threw most of it straight back into the sea (you will be able to see that in the photos hereabouts). Overhead there was a roof to keep the rain off, and above that was the rocket launcher and aerials, right up out of the way. In front of the console is a comfortable seat for a passenger, the cushion of which lifts up to reveal yet another storage space. Despite all this, the wide internal beam allowed plenty of uncluttered deck (read fishing space) all around the console.
So, if you’re in the market for a serious fishing boat that would be suitable for both inshore fishing with the family or offshore gamefishing with your mates, you’d better contact Inverloch Marine for pricing or to arrange a test drive. These Extreme boats are built specifically for fishing and are as tough as the Kiwi outdoorsmen who design and make them. They are versatile, a pleasure to drive, and have an unmatched refinement in design that will keep the whole family interested. To me, owning one seems like an extremely good idea.
For further information, pricing, or to arrange a test drive, contact Inverloch Marine on 03 5674 1502, or send them an email at --e-mail address hidden-- These guys are the sole dealers for Victoria, South Australian and West Australia. You could also have a look at www.extremeboats.co.nz.
|Hull bottom thickness:||5mm|
|Side and deck thickness:||4mm|
|Recommended HP:||90 to 115|
|Build:||Marine grade aluminium|