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Morningstar Bay Rover
  |  First Published: January 2015



Back in the November 2014 issue, I put together a review on Morningstar Boats’ 4.6m Offshore Cuddy Cabin. On the same day I had the pleasure of testing the Morningstar 4.6m Bay Rover G with a 90hp Honda on the back. If you are after a boat that has plenty of grunt to pull you out of the water on skis, plenty of speed to get you to where you want to go, while at the same time giving you and the family a extremely comfortable and dry ride, this is the boat for you.

PERFORMANCE

The sleek and stylish Morningstar Bay Rover G really has been designed with the family in mind. Not only can you easily go fishing in this rig, you can also tow a couple of skiers or a float tube behind it. On the day of the test, the swell was coming in from the east at about 1-2m with a slight nor’ easterly blowing at around 10-12 knots. The Bay Rover G handled the conditions with ease. Not only was the ride very smooth when going into the swell as we passed the headland at Barrenjoey, but the ride was very dry.

I also found when turning the boat so it ran side-on to the wind that there was no spray coming over the side giving us a salty shower. The combination of the 4-piece stretch formed hull and the Origrid frame deliver a boat that looks great, is light in weight, super strong, tough and robust, and rides and performs almost like a fibreglass hull.

On closer inspection, I believe that the revolutionary design of the aluminium plate formed hull with a second reversed chine is like no other. During the forming, thousands tonnes of force is applied on premium aluminium plates and the material becomes a little liquid-like, evenly spreading on dedicated design dies. Flat plates then become complex shapes. This allows the single plate bottom of Morningstar Boats to incorporate reverse chines, strakes and variable deadrise, thereby eliminating an external extrusion.

The axe-like forefoot allows Morningstar Boats to cut into waves briefly, while the deeper V near the keel slices into the water, creating a stable track. When turning, particularly at high speeds, the last thing you want is your boat slipping sideways and not making the turn as you would expect. The reverse chines and strakes on the Morningstar bottom plate act like treads on your car tyres, holding the boat steady.

Additionally, side plates and gunwales can now be integrated into a streamlined shape with a second chine and flared-bow. Together, these formed plates give the hull outstanding hydraulic properties, both static and dynamic. That's why they call it the Hydro Hull.

With two people on board, the 90hp Honda 4-stroke had the boat up on the plane in less than 3 times the length of the boat. Even though I didn’t tow any water skiers, I would say from previous experience of towing them that this outfit would do it with ease.

SAFETY

When driving a boat like the Bay Rover G, I prefer to stand behind the steering wheel. This is mainly due to the fact that I am not that tall! What I did find at the helm was that even when sitting I could easily see over the windscreen.

The boat comes complete with grab rails that are situated just inside the climb-through windscreen, plus there is one on either side of the back of the boat for passengers sitting on the fold-down seat at the rear.

The designers of the Morningstar range have applied 3D forming techniques to the production of the hull plates. This forming of non-developable surfaces stretches the hull slightly in multiple directions and dramatically increases its strength, while at the same time adding additional strength to the hardened plates. Robots are used in most of the Morningstar welding jobs, so this gives a precise and consistent weld standard to ensure every Morningstar boat achieves its design quality.

ERGONOMICS

The boat comes with a plywood carpeted floor, a fold-down and easily stored bench seat at the rear, an underfloor drained kill tank for all those fish you are going to catch, and a 20L plumbed live bait tank for holding yellowtail, squid or poddy mullet. The bait tank is not only good at keeping bait alive and kicking, but also keeps plate size catches fresh. Its flexibility even lets it become an on-board aquarium, perfect for kids to keep and watch their smaller catches for later release.

Up front there are two comfortable padded seats that can be adjusted in height by folding over a pad situated at the front of the chair.

What I need is plenty of storage in my boat for all those bait rigs, terminal tackle, lures and soft plastics. The Bay Rover does have a small amount of area up front, but if you talk to the guys at Enterprise Marine, I am sure they will be able to customise something to suit your requirements.

On the test boat, the instrument panel contained the following; a fuel gauge, rev counter, voltage gauge and a 12V socket. The 5 black switches from left to right are navigation lights, anchor light, bilge pump, live bait aerator and a spare.

Once again I would have preferred to have the gauges further up on the console, but that’s just a personal thing and the guys at Enterprise Marine can customise the layout to fit in with your needs.

The boat comes with a covered anchor well, which can be accessed by climbing through the lockable hatch at the front of the cuddy cabin. This is a great asset to have when you are driving the boat up onto the trailer or deploying the anchor.

There is plenty of room to mount a GPS/sounder combo, compass and so on up behind the windscreen. Maybe you would also like to install a waterproof sound system to listen to those fishing updates, weather forecasts, or to get the latest cricket scores?

The two trailer hooks on the transom are just as flexible as everything else; it can keep the boat on a trailer, or it could be put to better use for towing tube or water skiers. That will definitely leave a lasting smile on the whole family.

FISHABILITY

The boat I tested came with 3 plastic rod holders. There were two on either side at the rear of the boat and one directly in the middle at the back. Personally, I would get one of their removable self-draining bait tables installed on the transom. This means that I could put it in when I needed it for fishing, and remove it if I was taking a couple of mates water skiing.

If you were only going to use the boat for fishing, you may like to do away with the rear fold-down bench seat and put one of those above floor combination storage/seats just up front of the underfloor kill tank.

NOISE

Different from conventional pressed or plate alloy boats, Morningstar boats are constructed with fewer parts. This is done by adopting 3D-formed single plate bottoms, single plate sides incorporating gunwales, and their patented Origrid stiffener system. This construction, along with the one section flared sides and reversed chines, not only gives the boat tremendous strength, but it also cuts down on noise when travelling at speed and coming off a wave or wake.

The boat tested on the day had a Honda 90hp 4-stroke outboard on it, and it was so quiet you could easily have a conversation while travelling, making it a very quiet boat overall.

SPECIFICATIONS

Overall length: 4.65m

Overall on-trailer length: 6.3m (motor in locked position)

Beam: 2m

Trailer width from outside of guards: 2.1m

Weight: 388kg

Max load: 755kg

Max persons: 5

Max outboard: 90hp

Fuel tank: 60L underfloor, AT60 aluminium

Steering system: Mechanical

Bow rails: Bow and aft

Bow roller: Yes

Prop size: 13 1/2 x 15 alloy

Variable deadrise: 19°

Depth amidships: 700mm

Battery type and size: SeaMaster Gold MFM50 800MCA 640CCA Sealed

Trailer: Mackay, braked and fully rollered.

The Morningstar Hydro Hull comes with a five-year warranty and the boat tested also has a water safety kit, boat and trailer registration, battery box, fold-down ladder and a non-slip pad, plus all the required navigation lights.

RRP: $32,970, based on an 80hp outboard.

Boat supplied by: Enterprise Marine, 8/77 Bassett Street Mona Vale, NSW, 2103.

Contact: Chris Tocchini, (02) 9999 5558.

Email: --e-mail address hidden--

Reads: 1303

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