There is a plethora of small-boat builders in Western Australia, most of which closeted and supply only the home market, but a few have spread their wings and invaded the east coast.
Anglers, especially from NSW and Victoria, will now be familiar with the name Trailcraft, which conjures up a total fishing rig – turn-key, ready to go. These plate aluminium boats from the West are solid fishing platforms and have developed a comfortable niche market for the dedicated angler.
I have reviewed a few Trailcraft as well as visiting the factory to see how they are put together so I know the brand well. Trailcraft’s largest lump of metal, the flagship of the fleet, was the 640 which, with a little modification, is now the 660. Actually, running the ruler from top to toe, the actual length is 6.7m so you get more than you paid for.
Recently I took the new 660 HT hard top out for a spin. It was a customer’s boat and had every conceivable gadget fitted. When you realise the customer paid $129,000 for a boat with a base price around $78,800, you can imagine all the whistles and bells on this fine rig.
It was a sparkling Winter’s day as Anthony from Boaters World launched the rig in at the West Ryde ramp. The big 225hp four-stroke Yammy purred into action under the control of proud owner Mick Ceyhan. Mick’s passion is gamefishing and he wants to catch and release that elusive marlin. The boat is Mick’s pride and joy and he can’t wait til next Summer to hook that prized beaky.
As we motored down the river I marvelled at the gadgetry and how neatly the fit-out boys at Boaters World had installed it all. Anthony steered us down-river with the hand-held remote for the autopilot. On the big Furuno screen, the colour radar was overlaid on a chart of the river and the split screen gave detailed bottom structure readout, courtesy of the huge 1KW transducer. On the passenger dash was a laptop, wired in to the system with all the waypoints – something the Furuno could store or access. The laptop screen mirrored the helm display.
I noticed some of the other features like the outriggers, the bait and rigging board with lift-up tray and freshwater tap. Under the helm seat is a sink, also with freshwater tap. Up forward is an electric windlass and on the roof is a powerful remote-controlled spotlight. Lighting in the wheelhouse is supplied by five LED lights to save power and there are five incandescent cockpit lights inset into the gunwales to illuminate the floor.
Bolted to the rocket launcher are huge quartz iodine floodlights while in the cabin was a drop-down screen DVD player fitted on the roof up against the rear bulkhead. Music filtered through a six speaker CD/AM/FM sound system.
Under the forward seat squab sits a chemical Porta Potty. Daylight filtered through a smoked overhead hatch, which also allows access to the ground gear. I found the hatch was small for my rotund body but I believe the latest boats have a larger hatch. Two small elliptical windows also allowed sunlight in to the cabin, which is fitted with a hatch and a stable-type door. When open and secured, I grazed my knees twice on the catch.
Large windows in the wheelhouse give a great view of what’s happening ahead and the two windscreen wipers with freshwater washers keep the screen clear at all times.
Seating is very comfortable and all controls fall nicely to hand. The dash is a blinding array of electronic wizardry as well as the standard Yamaha digital instrumentation. There’s heaps of storage under the passenger seat and below the sink assembly under the helm seat.
Short side pockets hold a modicum of fishing paraphernalia and the rear grab rails could have been a tad longer. Under the port cockpit pocket was the saltwater deck wash on a coiled, flexible hose. Above the tap is the four-way battery isolating switch.
Extra strong cross bollards make up the rear mooring hardware. Four flush-mounted rod holders are inset into the wide gunwales and the coaming height of 660mm is only just enough to lock in when fighting fish.
Two large, lockable scuppers make the deck self-draining and the large swim platforms and extra-long transom ladder permit easy access. Although small, the lockable transom door can be used to drag game fish through.
Getting into some choppy water, I gunned the big boat into the wakes of other craft. Although rated to 200hp, Boaters World had permission to install the 225 Yammy as the boat needed extra grunt to push along all the extras.
Although having a deadrise of only around 11° or 12°, the boat cut into the short, sharp chop well with just a hint of bang. I could feel the weight but it gave it inertia and would be a plus in a head sea. Lock-to-lock turning was a breeze with the hydraulic steering and the boat tracked dead on course with both hands off the wheel.
Flat chat, the tacho showed 6000rpm and the GPS indicated 46mph (74kmh). A comfortable cruise was 3800rpm and 30mph (48kmh). With heavy steering input, the boat showed no vices and stayed on track in sharp, G-pulling turns.
From a standing start there was minimal bow lift before she slipped on the plane. At rest with three of us hanging over the side there was dip but still half a metre of freeboard.
The only vice was that in hard reverse the swim platforms submerged and pushed the rear down.
I have to reiterate how good a job Boaters World do with their fit-outs. Nothing is done on the cheap or with a ‘that’ll-do’ attitude, a credit to the dealers and their craftsmanship.
The Trailcraft 660HT is one hell of a blue-water fishing machine and certainly turns heads at the ramp. Whether you spend the big bucks and equip it like Mick is up to you. I would certainly be very comfortable taking this rig to the continental shelf in search of big game fish.
Weight (hull only)1150kg
Length on trailer incl motor8m
Height on trailer3.3m
Hardtop with sliding side window, opening centre window, 310L underfloor tank, walk-through transom door, dive ladder, rocket launcher, swim platforms, two-pack paint finish, hydraulic steering, side pockets, carpet, 3 cross bollards, compass, navigation lights, 6-gang switch panel, split bow rails, V-berth cushions, smoked hatch in cabin, drained anchor well, non-skid foredeck
Options on test boat: Electric anchor winch, deluxe bait and rigging board, lockable cabin, kill tank, side seats, freshwater tank, deck wash and bait tank combo, Porta Potty, dual battery system, VHF radio, 27MHz radio, 6-speakersound system, remote control box, stainless propeller, camping body, outriggers, sink, Furuno plotter/sounder, radar, 1KW transducer, remote spotlight, autopilot, DVD player, windscreen wipers with freshwater washers,
Total price including Trailcraft tandem custom multi-roller trailer rated to 2.8 tonnes with hydraulic disc brakes trailer, all safety equipment, registrations: $128,959. Basic models available from $ drive-away.
Boat supplied by Boaters World, 363 Victoria Road, Rydalmere NSW 2116. Ph 02 9898 0195, email: --e-mail address hidden-- web: www.boatersworld.com.auReads: 1155