Polycraft boats has developed a solid reputation amongst anglers as builders of no-nonsense boats that can stand up to a great deal of punishment. They sound like the perfect boat for me as I am a bit rough on most things (read that as I am really bad at maintenance and I break lots of things).
The latest design and release from the team at Polycraft is the 530 Warrior cuddy cabin. It’s a typical bay-style boat that has plenty of fishing room and fishing options, yet can be configured to be a family cruiser for day trips without the fishing – although I don’t really know why you would want to do that!
From first glance the 530 is a nice looking rig. The test rig was white and the lines and layout were simple and easy on the eye. Internally the fit-out was customised for fishing, yet still included some features that would allow the not so keen members of the family to travel around in comfort.
The rear folding bench seat epitomises this design best. When folded down out of the way, this rear seat, with the optional full length cushion, provides a soft and stable place to lean against with your knees while fighting the big one out the back of the boat. When the seat is in position, it becomes a comfy rear seat that will take three easily. Also, behind this seat you will find access to batteries, life jackets and other pieces of equipment.
There are also a couple of rod holders, a small live bait tank and cutting board along the transom that, when added to the optional cutting board, make the rear part of the boat a real angler friendly work station. Finishing off the back end of the boat is the superb Johnson 115 that literally powers the boat along and jumps it up onto the plane very quickly.
Moving into the cockpit area, the clean and uncluttered layout will appeal to many. There is a sturdy driver and passenger seat positioned so that both driver and passenger have plenty of leg room and an uncluttered field of vision. The dash is moulded into the top deck and on the test rig had all the gauges necessary to keep an eye on how the boat is performing. The boat was also fitted with a marine radio and stereo, as well as the popular Humminbird Matrix sounder to keep an eye on what’s happening below.
Inside the cabin the deck was covered with optional padded covers that would make a great place to catch up on some sleep for a couple of people while at anchor and the storage under these cushions is valuable for things like safety gear where they can be reached easily if they are ever needed. There was also a light fixed into the cabin to give that extra bit of comfort for passengers on a cool winter night when you’ve got your live baits out waiting for that big jewfish to come along.
The cabin also had a large and easily managed access hatch to the front anchor well with the anchor bollard positioned in just the right spot to make anchor sets and retrieves easy. Because the Polycraft is made from high impact polyethylene the anchor well does not need to be lined and noise through the hull from chains and ground tackle is minimal.
On top of the cuddy cabin an optional set of clear was attached to the bimini. This allows all-weather boating even in the coldest of climates as the clears keep all the wind off your face and the little spray that gets pushed up in big seas well and truly out of the cabin area. The clears can easily be folded away to allow ventilation or even be removed if necessary.
I found the 530 a willing performer with the Johnson 115 pushing her along. Over the short bay chop the twin skin design of the Polycraft kept wave slap noise right down and the weight of the boat sliced through the short chop without any noticeable hull slap. And that’s exactly what I’d expect from a Polycraft as they do perform very well in short wind chop that is up to about 30cm in height.
Through turns and hard figure of eights, the boat leant slightly over, but not dramatically and at no stage did I feel like the boat was going to overbalance and drop me over the side. And in all seriousness you would never drive a boat in tight figure of eights anyway, so it was a good example of how stable the boat is underway.
At rest there was a little bit of lean to one side when three reasonably hefty guys all stood on one side, but the high sides of the 530 meant there was plenty of freeboard left to absorb side on waves from passing boats.
The controls were well placed and with my 178cm frame, none of them were a stretch to reach. I find nothing more annoying than to have to reach for the steering wheel or the throttle control and consider a boat set up where I have to reach unsafe for me to drive. The little lip for the cockpit was a little bit too far away for my short legs, so I’d like to see a foot rest designed into the boat for when you are driving while sitting, but that’s what happens when you’re under six feet tall.
Apart from that I really enjoyed having a bit of a spin in the Polycraft 530 Warrior. It would make a perfect bay boat whether you wanted to anchor over a reef or rubble patch, or wether you would like to drift around and catch a feed of flatties. It certainly is offshore capable, but I’d still be inclined to pick my days.
So if you’re looking for a strong, stable bay boat that can accommodate the family on day trips and serve more functions than just as a fishing rig, take the time to look at the Polycraft 530 Warrior. The test rig, which had a range of optional extras fitted sells from around $35,000, but the base model pricing starts at around $31,000 with a 115hp Johnson. You can find out more information on the 530 by logging on to www.polycraft.com.au.
|Weight (inc floors):||780kg|
|Capacity:||6 inshore (450kg)|
We asked Steve Cooper from Polycraft a few frequently asked questions and some specific to the Warrior 530 cuddy cabin to get a better understanding of the boat and of Polycrafts in general.
FMG: Steve, Polycrafts are made from polyethylene, which is a form of plastic, how does the material hold up to sunlight?
P: The polyethylene we use has a UV stability rating of 11, so when compared to a wheelie bin with a UV rating of 4, the boats are two times more UV stable. Go home and have a look at your wheelie bin. It sits in direct sunlight 24/7, 365 days a year with little effect or notable damage.
It’s always good to point out that the poly used in the boats is nothing like the plastic used to manufacture outdoor furniture, garden lights and the like. The only other thing you could confidently compare the boats to would be a poly rainwater tank; most of these come with a 25-year guarantee and are nearly always in direct sunlight.
FMG: What if the hull is scratched, damaged or holed. Can it be repaired?
P: Polyethylene is very easy to repair if scratched or marked.
For small shallow scratches, simply sand with 800 grit sand paper, clean and then heat the effected area with an industrial heating gun until it takes on a shiny appearance.
For deeper, larger scratches contact a plastic repairer from the Yellow Pages (they cater to the car industry fixing poly bumper bars). They will fill it with a poly welder, sand back and finish with a industrial heat gun.
If, in the unlikely situation the boat is holed, the plastic repairer will open the hole by grinding a scallop around the effected area to create greater surface area for the weld to bind to. After the weld is finished they will sand back and heat with an industrial heating gun.
It's worth noting that polyethylene once repaired is almost indistinguishable from an unaffected area on the hull, unlike alloy.
While it's not impossible to hole a poly boat, it is certainly more difficult to puncture than an alloy or fibreglass boat. To date not one of our boats has had this occur. Why? Because the hull is 10mm thick and flexes, absorbing a lot of the initial impact.
FMG: Can you screw directly into the hull, and if so how?
P: Yes, you can and it’s a lot easier than alloy or fibreglass. Remembering each one of the dual skins is 10mm thick; this provides more surface area for the threads to bind into.
Any boating accessory such as radios, cup holders, sounders can be simply screwed to the boat with confidence. For best results use a self tapper or coarse threaded stainless screw.
FMG: How do you stick rego numbers to the hull?
P: Heat the boat with a heating gun or oxy heating torch until it gets a shiny appearance, then clean with shellite or citrus cleaner. Then apply stickers to prepared surface. Note that 3M stickers seem to be of better quality and adhere more effectively.
FMG: The weight of the boat is comparable to that of a similar sized fibreglass boat so what would you suggest is the minimum sized car needed to get the Warrior to and from the water?
P: The rig weighs about 1600kg, so I’d suggest a mid-sized 6 cylinder and up would be the best option. The bigger the engine and car, the better performance you’ll have.
FMG: The test rig was white, which looked great on the water, but what are the other colour options for customers?
P: The 530 Warrior cuddy cabin is only available in white, which is the most aesthetically appealing colour for a boat this size. It also adds value to the resale value of the craft because most boaters expect to see a white boat of this size.
If you want to customise the colour of your rig, we offer four different colour combinations in regard to upholstery and cushions. The colours are teal/white, burgundy/white, grey/grey and blue/white.
Speed at Revs
Passenger grab rail
2 x upholstered swivel seats with pedestals
Stainless steel split bollard
Carpeted floors and hatches
Front and rear storage bins
Rear fold out lounge
2 x 750 gallon auto bilge pumps.
Four piece front cushion set
Two piece rear cushion set
Survey standard for commercial applications