The Quintrex Explorer has been the No 1-selling boat around much of Australia for many years and it remains as popular today as it was when first released.
What makes the Explorer stand out from the flotilla is the Eclipse hull, which combines the best attributes of a punt with a V-nose design to improve handling compared with a traditional square-nosed punt. Having the side sheets wrap around to the nose and the bottom sheets come up to meet the side sheets creates a reverse chine that turns the water down and minimises spray.
During the test run I put the Explorer into a hard turn across strong wind and chop and braced myself for a dousing and I couldn’t believe it when I came out dry.
I put the Explorer through its paces with a long-shaft 20hp Yamaha four-stroke that proved just perfect for the 385. It got the Explorer on the plane with ease and had plenty of grunt in reserve. Even at full tilt you could put the motor onto full lock and the boat hung on like a toddler to its mother’s leg. There was no sign of letting go or cavitating. At three-quarter throttle, the Yamaha maintained its revs right through a full 360° turn, which was very impressive as nearly all outboards drop revs on a full loop.
The 20hp Yamaha got the Explorer on the plane at 13km/h (8mph, 7kt), cruised beautifully at 30km/h (19mph, 16kt) and topped out at 38km/h (24mph, 21kt). The Yamaha was exceptionally quiet through the full rev range and I was able to talk at normal conversation level.
The other big plus with the Eclipse hull is the stability at rest and on the run. Neil and I stood on one side with our knees against the gunwale and the Quintrex just sat there. Try that in most 3.85m boats and see where you end up!
All Explorers come with level flotation, which means if the boat fills with water it will remain level and in an upright position in calm conditions. That gives peace of mind when on the water.
The flotation required to achieve this is found under the extra-wide and deep thwart seats, with the rear seat carrying right to the floor to house the extra flotation needed to support the motor.
The 385 Explorer is certainly solidly built, while at 101kg for the bare boat it is still light enough for a car-topper. Transom handles and two nose handles making lifting easier.
For extra strength, the top of each side rib is welded to the gunwale and the solid corner bracing also allows through-gunwale rod holders to be fitted.
The extra-wide thwart seats are welded the full length of the side ribs for more rigidity and the transom reinforcement and bracing is excellent.
The glovebox on the rear side of the front seat has twin fold-out drink holders and there is a large storage area under the nose for life jackets or ground tackle. The anchor rope can be tied off using one of the nose handles.
There are low-profile grab rails on each side for hanging on in the rough stuff and good old paddle power is accommodated with welded rowlock blocks.
The Quintrex 385 Explorer, with a boat-motor-trailer under $9,000, is the perfect starting rig.
The owner can easily trick it up as time and money come on board. A mid-section floor can be added or the front seat can be used to create a small or large forward casting platform.
The section between the transom and the rear thwart seat can also be filled in to create storage underneath and a rear casting platform on top.
The excellent stability and ride of the 385 Explorer and the superb 20hp Yamaha four-stroke make a perfect combination that will see you through years of fishing development without the need to upsize the boat and motor.
For further information contact your nearest Quintrex dealer.
Length overall: 3.85m
Length bow to transom: 3.83m
Boat length on trailer (motor down): 5m
Boat height on trailer: 1.4m
Transom shaft length: SS/LS
Weight (boat only): 101kg
Max horsepower: 25hp
Max transom weight: 73kg
Max people: 4
The long-shaft 20hp Yamaha four-stroke really got the Explorer up on its tail.Reads: 13933