It’s great to see a new boat builder come into the TNQ market, especially when their standard of work is simply superb.
While the company may be new, the owner and workers have been in the boat building game for years. Owner Vince Cassaniti, built boats for Cairns Custom Craft for ten years before starting his own aluminium marine accessories company, OceanBlue Towers, in 2002. Recent recruit Luke Johnson also did his apprenticeship at Cairns Custom Craft before joining Vince.
In a natural progression Vince has moved into designing and building his own line of boats, with the 5m centre console the first craft out of the factory. OceanBlue Boats also have a magnificent 4.8m punt and are planning on adding a 6m boat to their growing fleet.
The OceanBlue 5m centre console is built to last, with 4mm bottom, 5mm transom and 3mm plate sides over a heavy-duty frame. OceanBlue boats are a lifetime investment, and every craft will be custom built. They are being marketed through Quay Marine in Cairns but the buyer will work closely with Vince’s team from the initial inquiry to final delivery.
The most striking feature of the centre console is the magnificent blue paint job, which on closer inspection reveals an excellent quality two-pack finish over superb alloy workmanship. The centre console is painted blue to the chine, with a white interior and looks magnificent on the water.
An OceanBlue boat is not for the angler looking for a rough cheapie; it is a top quality craft aimed at the discerning buyer who wants top shelf design, coupled with plenty of owner input and excellent workmanship.
The layout is a standard forward and rear casting platform with centre console. Every aspect of the design and workmanship is top class. All wood panels are varnished before being fitted and covered with carpet to ensure longevity. Correct preparation of wooden flooring and decking, especially in the tropics, can increase the craft’s life span from a couple of years to decades.
Access over the stern is via a starboard step, with a fold down ladder for boarding on the trailer or in the water. The tubing on the outside of the step doubles as a grab rail. The port side of the transom has an alloy chum bucket for bringing the fish on the bite.
The large, uncluttered rear casting platform includes a removable bait board, which is located over the engine. It has a five shot rocket launcher on the back and a plastic drain tube to carry slime and blood over the stern. There are also two built-in, through gunwale, rod holders on each side and further rod storage in the form of under gunwale rod racks on each side. The starboard side of the platform has two hatches (the rear hatch gives access to the saltwater deck wash), fuel filter and wiring. In front of the engine well is a large through hull livebait tank and to port is a full-length kill pen/wet well. This large tank can be plumbed for use as a competition-sized livebait tank. The start battery is under the helm seat and the electric thruster battery is under the floor in front of the console.
The centrally located low profile console has a storage area underneath, with fire extinguisher inside. The dash has a six switch panel to port and standard Mercury instrumentation of speedo, tacho, fuel gauge, and hour meter. A centrally mounted Ritchie liquid dampened compass leaves room for electronics either side behind the protection of the wrap around Perspex screen.
The four fold down, pivoting, padded, bucket seats have six built-in location slots; one either side and behind the helm, the helm seat, two in front of the console and one in the centre of the forward casting platform. The 100L, built-in, under floor fuel tank is centrally located in front of the console.
The front casting platform has a large rear opening hatch on the trailing edge, which contains an 85L Eva Kool fibreglass esky. The timber hatch over the esky offers extra heat insolation and is fitted with gas struts, which keep it open allowing two handed access to the icebox. There is also storage space down either side of the esky if required. In front of the seat mount is the safety gear hatch for lifejackets and the like.
With all the hatches closed, and seats removed, there is a large uncluttered floor space for striping fly lines, luring or throwing a cast net. The deck is set down about 100mm from the wide flat gunwale, so anglers don’t step over the side in the heat of battle.
The Motor Guide electric thruster is mounted on the port side, to the nose, with the self-draining anchor well and tie off cleat slightly to starboard of centre. The clip down alloy hatch on the anchor well has a good-sized rope slot cut out so it lies completely flat at anchor.
We took the OceanBlue centre console out along the Cairns Inlet in nasty conditions. The seas were being whipped up by a 20 knot southeaster, which combined with the wakes coming off the large tourist boats to make a confused sea. The OceanBlue ate the conditions at all angles to the swell but did throw a bit of spray on the beam quarter, which was to be expected under the extreme conditions. The deep Vee cut the swell smoothly and there was no slamming off waves. At all angles I felt totally in control, with no sign of breaching when running with the swell. The Hydrive hydraulic steering was super smooth and perfectly responsive. As we raced back to port I felt completely at ease at the helm and would rate the ride and handling as one of the best alloy boats I have reviewed in 16 years of boat tests.
The 115hp Mercury EFI 4-stroke is perfect for the OceanBlue, providing ample speed and acceleration. When combined with such a smooth riding hull it will see those speed demons make it to the fishing grounds in the lead pack. At 3500rpm it produced 36km/h (22 mph, 19 kts), at 4000rpm it produced 44km/h (27 mph, 24 kts), at 4500rpm it produced 50km/h (31 mph, 27 kts), at 5000rpm it produced 55km/h (34 mph, 30 kts), and at 5500rpm it produced 62km/h (39 mph, 33 kts).
The OceanBlue 5m centre console is a superb all round craft that is perfect for the serious fisher who wants to cover a broad range of fishing options from impoundments to bluewater. The OceanBlue 5m centre console starts at $58,000. For further information contact Quay Marine in Cairns on (07) 4041 3166.
|Recommended hp:||75 - 115|
|Maximum Transom Weight:||180kg|
Drained anchor well
500mm wide console
100L built-in fuel tank
6 x seat positions
4 x seat bases
4 x folding plastic seats
Small front hand rails
3 x rope cleats
6 way switch panel
LED Navigation lights
Rear removable stern light
Positive and negative power blocks
4 x rod holders in side decks
Varnished timber floor under carpet
T-Latches on hatches.
Bait board/rod rack x 5
Rear hand rails
Under deck lights
Saltwater deck wash
EXTRA CAPTIONS only needed if we use other pics.
Starboard hatches hold the battery and wiring to the rear and a wet well/kill pen to the front.
The four through gunwale rod holders are built to last and there is further rod storage for six rigs under the gunwales.
Access over the stern is via a starboard step, with fold down ladder for boarding while on the trailer or in the water.