The new Hooker 7m Walk Round Cabin (WRC), the first out of the Hooker factory, is a superb boat and a credit to owner John Margetts and his staff. The Hooker 7’s design, workmanship and finish are all world class.
Closer inspection reveals excellent attention to detail right down to the LED lights fitted on the steps. The hull is identical to the 7m-centre console, which I reviewed some time ago, but the WRC has a new layout.
With a 2.45m beam and internal sides that come to the waist, the Hooker has an instant feel of comfort and security, great for taking the family out on the water. Access over the stern is easy, with the top of the floatation pods doubling as steps. The pods are designed to carry extra large motors and the 225 Suzuki 4-stroke, fitted to the test boat, certainly filled that category.
The front of the engine well has a large built-in compartment, with a self-draining livebait box to starboard and a wet storage box/second livebait tank to port. The recessed sides of the main cockpit have two rod storage brackets on each side with two standard stainless steel gunwale rod holders.
In the centre of the main cockpit is a huge under floor kill pen with a bi-fold hatch that can be accessed from either side you don’t need to shift the entire crew every time you want to put a fish in the box. The rear side of the two pedestal seats have small fully insulated eskies built in that are ideal for food, drinks or bait. The padded esky lids double as seats.
The sliding, rotating, fully wrap-a-round bucket seats are a new product from BLA and are the best offshore seats I’ve ever used. As well as being comfortable and supportive, the front third of the seat rolls up and back to create a support for when you need to stand to handle the rough stuff. The height and support provided are perfect, taking a lot of the strain off your knees, which normally have to absorb all the impact on rough water.
The Hooker’s design includes a large WRC and good-sized cockpit with LED lights fitted throughout for excellent night lighting. Recessed grab rails next to the stairs and a high bow rail offer excellent security when walking forward.
The helm instrumentation is compact and perfectly positioned for easy use and vision. There is a large recessed dash to port, which will hold a stack of bits and pieces with plenty of space for marine electronics.
Access to the large cabin is fairly tight but this is offset by its huge internal size. There is lots of headroom and a 2m bunk in the V berth, a fill-in would create a massive bed. There is a storage shelf that runs all the way around the sides of the cabin. The Hooker doesn’t have any under bunk storage as this void area is used to assist with positive floatation.
A Porta Potty can be fitted on request and the front hatch provides plenty of ventilation.
The anchoring system is excellent, with twin anchor hatches so both a complete reef anchor set and sand/mud system can be stored. There is no need to transfer anchor and chain between the one rope, as there is enough room to hold hundreds of metres of rope in each self-draining anchor well. A large split cross bollard and bow roller finish off an impressive anchoring system. The high profile bowrail has bolt-through ends without the usual over-sized footplate.
We took the Hooker out of Cairns Inlet into atrocious conditions whipped up by the tight pressure gradient running off ex-Cyclone Kate and the boat handled the conditions with ease, remaining extremely dry. There was virtually no spray thrown across the boat during all of our horsing around and I remained completely dry except for a bit of rain from the passing squalls.
The boat’s only negative was that it was a little stiff on re-entry due to the running plank, but this isn’t enough to be an issue provided you drive to the conditions. We were doing anything but that during the test run, yet I felt completely safe at all times in spite of the wild weather and wilder driving that really put the Hooker through its paces. One thing you can be sure of is the Hooker 7m WRC can really take a pounding!
The 225 Suzuki 4-stroke, fitted to the test boat, is the perfect power unit. There were seven people in three boats out for the test run and I don’t think there was a single person that didn’t comment about how quiet the Suzuki was. The 225 Suzuki is a serious power unit, getting the Hooker out of the hole in an instant and producing 30km/h (19mph, 16kts) at 3000rpm, 49km/h (30mph, 26kts) at 4000rpm, 57km/h (35mph, 31kts) at 4500rpm, 65km/h (40mph, 35kts) at 5000rpm, 71km/h (44mph, 38kts) at 5500rpm and topped out doing 79km/h (49mph, 43kts) just over 6000rpm.
Another big selling point for Hooker Boats is they come from a factory that has passed the 2C Survey, so should you can fill it with water, or turn turtle, and the Hooker will keep you afloat until help arrives. The fully hand laid hull has Biaxial rovings, plascore in the floors and solid fibreglass and Biaxial rovings in the transom.
Two pack closed cell foam is used in all voids under the floor for positive floatation, and anglers don't have to worry about rot, as no timber is used in construction.
The Hooker 7m RWC is a superb craft that will find a big demand from the serious offshore angler who also wants a quality family boat for day trips.
For further information about your local Hooker dealer, contact Hooker Boats in Cairns on (07) 4058 0644 or visit http://www.hookerboats.com.
Length Overall: 7m
Length on Trailer: 7.6m
Beam: 2.45m (8')
Inside gunwale height: 800mm
Underfloor fuel: 350L
Max. people: 6
Max. horsepower: 225