With 250 Suzuki horses on the stern, the big Rebel 7.5m plate craft certainly looked the business sliding off the trailer. Once aboard, I found she sported a high standard of finish and features designed to make blue-water fishing or camping overnight in the lee of an island prior to a run offshore a real pleasure.
Rebel Boats, steered by Warren Cameron, have been in the business for eight years and with a range of plate alloy fishing boats from 4.5m to 11m, there is a Rebel for everyone.
On the 7.5 there is a diving board-sized bowsprit with roller and a big cleat set up just behind the anchor well with its handy electric winch. There’s a pair of reef anchor holders on the strongly-built bow rail, which runs back past the rear of the cuddy. The cabin has a Bomar hatch, side windows and a big windscreen with wipers.
There’s a targa hardtop, which has a non-skid surface as standard and comes complete with paired rows of rod racks each set up for half a dozen rods. Twin forward-opening roof hatches scoop in breeze while under way and there’s a very natty masthead for running lights. All cabin, exterior and other lights are LEDs.
Handholds are there in ample form to facilitate moving forward via the 325mm non-skid walk-around area alongside the cabin.
Warren likes to refer to the cabin as a cross between a centre cab and a cuddy because its size is somewhere between both. The reduced outer width does make it very easy to go forward. However, there is still plenty of room for bunks that sleep a couple of people comfortably, ample under-bunk and side shelf storage, plus the toilet. There’s also full lining to add a bit of ambience.
Directly behind the windscreen is a wide, carpeted shelf capable of holding a lot of personal gear or additional nav aids along with the Lowrance X110 sounder/plotter and nearby compass.
I liked the seating in the big Rebel. Sliding pedestal swivel seats are on boxes with storage below and each seat box has an aft extension with padded seat. On the test rig, one of these boxes had a row of handy tackle trays, making excellent use of the space.
While other craft might have similar seating arrangements, when you look at the positioning of the seats, it is evident that Rebel Boats construct them for optimum usage as far as cabin access is concerned. By setting the seats towards the outer side of each box, heaps more access space is created. Skipper and first mate have grab handles, drink holders and side shelving within reach at their disposal.
The Rebel’s driving position is very comfortable, with unrestricted forward visibility seated or standing. On the dash is an array of gauges to monitor the Suzuki 250, fuel, volts and trim. A set of switches is to the right, as are the ignition key and engine forward controls.
QL trim tabs were a feature of the test rig and I must say I was very impressed with the user-friendly nature of these tabs. This is not always the case with trim tabs; in fact, mishaps are legendary.
Instantly responsive and quick to act, I noticed that a green light came on when the tabs were in a neutral position – anyone familiar with trim tabs will see the significance of this feature. When the engine was turned off, the tabs returned to neutral despite previous settings.
The Rebel is rated for seven people and although no seats are fitted to the rear of the cockpit, one could be installed if required.
Warren King, the owner of the reviewed craft, was aboard to show off his pride and joy. Warren had done some of the finishing-off himself and he pointed out that he’d set up the front under-floor storage box between the cockpit seat boxes as an insulated ice box.
Features within the self-draining and carpeted cockpit were impressive, to say the least. A pair of speakers for the sound system were set into the return beside the seat boxes. Just aft of this the long side pockets started, each set up with racks (the gaff had its own) plus a deck wash unit within the starboard pocket.
Cockpit coaming was standard and it was also nice to see the 3.5m long side pockets just off the floor, making it easy to hook your toes under to maintaining balance or struggle with a big fish.
The 300mm wide cockpit side decks were equipped with three rod holders per side along with deck winch mounts. The centrally located bait station above the full-height transom was equipped with rod holders, while a 100L livewell nestled below. There was relatively large storage area built into the wide transom gate, located to port.
A pair of storage lockers was set within the transom, too. The starboard one contained two batteries, while the port one was dedicated to storage.
Wide swim platforms stretched either side of the 250 Suzuki on its pod, with the retractable ladder was to port.
With a boat that has a dry weight of about 1140kg and a 263kg V6 Suzuki on the transom, there is no way that the big Rebel’s hull could be put off balance. It was rock steady at rest, under way and during turns. Two, or even three people on one side made little difference, given there’s 700mm of freeboard and the hull sits quite level.
Yet for such a large craft it was very easy to drive. The 250 Suzuki was quiet and responsive and hydraulic steering made fingertip control a reality. A push forward of the throttle lever saw the Suzuki engaged and ready to work; a little more power had the craft planing at 3000rpm for 11 knots on the GPS. At 4000rpm we recorded 22.2 knots, at 5000rpm 33.3 knots, while wide-open throttle at 5600rpm produced 36.4 knots.
For an offshore craft 36.4 knots is ample, given that easy and economical cruise speeds will probably be between 3500rpm and 4500rpm. With 350L of fuel below the floor, one could do a lot of cruising.
The ride was soft and very quiet, as you might expect from a large craft with a 20° deadrise and reversed chines. Chop made little difference to ride quality; the bow’s combination of rake and fine entry sliced into it efficiently without fuss. The hull is very rigid because it is constructed on a jig and incorporates eight cross braces and three full-length stringers either side of the keel. 4mm plate is used throughout the floors, sides and hull.
The Rebel 7.5 Deep Vee Sedan is a plate alloy craft with a lot of potential for bay cruising, deep sea or game fishing. Ride, seakeeping ability, plus on-board features would make fishing very enjoyable and the standard of finish is up with the best. This craft is rated for engines from 200hp to 250hp and costs $111,880 on a Sea Link tandem trailer. Call Rebel Boats on 07 3283 3373, fax 07 3283 3372 or email --e-mail address hidden--
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