I reckon the only thing that doesn’t come out of China today is Chinese meals. It amazes me what this nation is turning out in the way of manufactured goods.
And, yes, it had to happen. Boats, motors and trailers are now being imported from China and recently I had the opportunity to put a few of these packages through their paces to see if they came up to the high standards we expect here.
I was not disappointed. Finish and performance were right up there with Oz-built craft and, as expected, pricing is very competitive.
We agreed to meet at Revesby where the Georges River lazily weaves its way westwards. A dull, overcast day was brightened up by ever-smiling Sancho Kalcev, owner of Ausmarine Pty Ltd and importer/distributor of these boats, motors and trailers from China.
Sancho had five models set up for me to play with and, with the help of his team of merry men, we knocked the whole thing over in a morning.
Although not inter-related, boats sport the Seacraft label while the outboards are branded Seaking and the trailers bear the Seatrail label.
We had on hand the Commander 400 with forward controls powered by a 25hp four-stroke, an open Explorer 400 driven by a 15hp four-stroke with tiller steer, and a Navigator 400 V-nose punt powered by a tiller-steer 15hp two-stroke. Then there was the Adventurer 360 with a 9.9hp two-stroke tiller-steer and the car-topper Ranger 330 with a cute 4hp four-stroke tiller-steer.
With two pedestal seats and a tinted windscreen, the 4.1m Commander 400 had plenty of get-up and go from the 25hp Seaking four-stroke. It was not the quietest outboard on the market but had heaps of power and good throttle response. Standard issue includes carpeted floor, two buckets seats, bimini top, tinted walk-through windscreen, anchor well, two rod holders and a rear rack for the fuel tanks. Maximum rated power is 30hp but the 25 did all asked of it.
Quite a stable platform, the Commander handled the chop put up as boats whizzed by us. Retail package as tested is $10,999 including trailer, plus dealer and delivery fees. This boat is being configured to suit Australian conditions and will be available from next month.
I did like the open Explorer 400. With an overall length of 3.9m, the 15hp four-stroke tiller-steer was our main camera boat and shot us all over the river chasing other craft and would be a great commuter craft. With 1.6mm aluminium sheets top and bottom, she would take a fair few hard knocks. An aluminium anchor well, grab rails, drink holders, boarding step and glove box are standard and these features are common to all the Seacraft boats except the small Ranger car-topper.
The Explorer needed a passenger up front to balance the boat or it would ride a little bow-high. Package price is $6350 plus dealer and delivery costs.
With roughly the same hull but in a V-nose configuration is the Navigator 400, which had a 15hp two-stroke Seaking.
Also with 1.6mm alloy top and bottom, this boat would be ideal for flattish water where there might be occasional chop. As with the Explorer, comes with a carpeted floor, rack for fuel tank, drink holders, boarding step, grab rails and two rear rod holders for $5750 plus dealer costs and delivery.
With two thwart seats, carpeted floor, rod holders and fuel rack, the small Adventurer 360 (3.6m) pushed along well with the Seaking 9.9hp two-stroke. Long trips would give you a stiff arm, half-twisted around with one hand on the tiller, but she performed well and had heaps of power three-up.
An ideal river fishing platform, the Adventurer is light enough to fish solo. Even seniors would have no trouble manoeuvring this boat on and off the trailer. At $4999 including trailer, this is a real economy package.
The baby of the show, but a little cutie, was the car-topper. The 3.3m Ranger 330 has 1.2mm sides and bottom and was pushed along by a very hard-working 4hp four-stroke. Three thwart seats can carry the maximum three people but it was light enough at 37kg to easily throw on top of a car or a box trailer. Handles forward and aft make lifting a breeze.
As we hit chop I could see the floor flexing and the little outboard was flat chat with two hefty males aboard. I would opt for the maximum 6hp so you don’t have to drive the boat at full throttle everywhere. For a miserly $2250 you get a boat and motor ready to travel our vast land and go and find fish.
All boats display the required Australian Builders Plate and are certified level flotation. Another nice touch is the rowlock holders. Paddles and rowlocks are supplied along with anchor, rope and chain.
In the pipeline is a 3.7m V-nose, a 4.45m tinny and a 4.45m forward-control tinny.
Ausmarine’s Seaking outboards range from 2.5hp to 30hp in both two- and four-stroke. All outboards started easily and had good grunt out of the hole. The two-strokes were a bit smoky but that’s to be expected because they were running on double oil during run-in.
Seatrail Trailers start from small boat/personal watercraft carriers right up to 6.2m dual-axle fully rollered trailers for glass boats, plus a range of tilting box trailers.
All Seatrail marine trailers have LED lights, plastic mud flaps, fold-up jockey wheels and bearing buddies as standard. Seatrail trailers come with oversize, fully galvanised box section construction and standard 13” wheels.
Sancho Kalcev says, “With all our products we have endeavoured to give the customer more features for less money across the whole range. It’s important to us to make the wonderful world of boating available to all Australians, not just the mega-rich”.
With the range and variety of products offered, I’m sure a lot of prospective new boat buyers will take advantage of prices which can be around 25% below that of their competitors. Watch out for the range at upcoming boat shows.
Boats were supplied by Ausmarine Pty Ltd. For your nearest dealer and boat/motor/trailer specifications go to www.ausmarine.bizReads: 5372