Many a man has had a dream of running his hands all over a young French lady, and I had the pleasure of doing just this when I took the new Arvor 23AS (Asymmetrical) out for a spin in Sydney Harbour. The Arvor (and its inherent enclosed wheelhouse configuration) is making quite a name for itself amongst Australians who are welcoming this alternative offshore fishing craft.
Imported from France by Peter Collins of Collins Marine, the Arvor 23AS is just one of three models from the land of champagne and fine cheeses. Scott Morrison from Collins Marine was with me for the tests. He’s a qualified Master V skipper who did his apprenticeship delivering yachts and powerboats from America to Europe. Scott is great company and we spent more time than we should have chewing the fat over boats and anything that floated!
It was a windless day with fluffy grey clouds that cleared during the test. Outside conditions were as flat as an ironing board so we restricted the test to the Harbour where there’s always turbulence from high volume traffic.
I couldn’t help but think that this would be a great vessel to tour the Hawkesbury, Brisbane River, Whitsunday’s or the many rivers of the Northern Territory when I eventually retire. Whilst not opulent, the boat comes complete with a sink, stove, chemical toilet and a large double berth. Holding 200L of diesel to feed the fuel-efficient turbocharged and intercooled Nanni, you wouldn’t have to visit a marina for days. With a top speed of around 23 knots you can get there quick or just tootle along at 10 knots and take in the serenity.
Obeying the four knot limit, we slowly made our way out from the marina into the main channel. With pen and notepad I jotted down the boats relevant details. Up front is the self launching anchor on a Muirs windlass, electronically controlled from the comfort of the wheelhouse. The chain locker is large and self-draining. A strong Samson post is bow mounted to tie off to and the split bow rails give a secure hand hold in inclement conditions. It was an easy walk to check on the ground gear, via the starboard companionway to the sharp end with ample handholds.
Cleaning the toughened glass windscreen is a double set of wipers, with strengthened pantograph arms to resist the tearing forces of the oecan when it comes over the bow. Up front looking sternwards, you can detect the off-placement of the wheelhouse to port to allow the starboard side walkround. Four rod holders with covers come as standard issue in the cockpit as does a fold-away side seat on the starboard side. There’s a small quarter seat there too, all padded for comfort. It is from this seat that you can flick the hydraulic by-pass switch and then drive with the tiller steer. As an option, a throttle can be installed at the rear of the cockpit to control speed.
A long, deep plumbed livebait well inset into the top of the transom is designed to hold large fish and there would be no problem keeping half a dozen slimy mackerel alive and well.
Rod storage holders are underneath the high gunwales to keep these delicate instruments out of the way and off the floor. If needed, a rocket launcher can be fitted to the top of the wheelhouse. Flush mounted in the transom is the diesel fuel fill and close by is the tank’s breather. A fuel cut-off valve is located under the rear quarter seat. The test boat came with very flash, laid timber design carpet that can be removed when fishing so you can wash down the decks and let all water escape through the self drainers out the back. Two strong cleats, a rear boarding ladder, grab rail and a swim platform finish off the stern. Engine access is easy and the boat comes standard with two 500GPH bilge pumps - one operated by a button in the cockpit and the other is worked automatically via a float switch. All deck latches come with a lock and key for security..
I just love that enclosed wheelhouse. Supplied inside is a small sink, a metho stove and a chemical toilet for those home away from home trips. Inside the lockable wheelhouse is the battery isolating switches so they can’t be tampered with when the boat is unattended. Vision is excellent through the large windscreen and the single throttle quadrant falls nicely to hand. Tacho, pressure, temperature, voltmeter and fuel are standard instrumentation and the test boat came with the optional Navman 6500 Trackfish combined sounder/GPS. A six-way switch panel takes care of the different circuits to feed navlights, livebait wells etc. An AM/FM/CD player, VHF radio and compass complete the electronics. I loved the little pouch supplied on the side of the dash to slip in the mobile phone! Good to see a proper commercial type fire extinguisher is supplied in case of an emergency. Two small outward opening windows and an overhead hatch provide plenty of ventilation when the wheelhouse door is closed. Pockets are everywhere in the V berth but I was disappointed to find no light or window. Instead of a shiny gelcoat, the inside of the V berth is covered in a basic flowcoat type finish. With its infill and mattress, the cabin is very comfortable place for two to sleep with no squabbling for room.
Turning into the Harbour Bridge where there is always messy water, the big Carolina type bow on the Arvor 23AS sheeted water wide and there was no need to turn on the wipers when we hit the swells head on. Having trim tabs, it was easy to keep the boat balanced and level at all times and in any conditions. The boat does take a bit getting used to because in turns it stays upright with little or no lean. In fact doing hard power turns, she goes round like on rails, with still with no tendency to heel. I felt like the boat could go all day and night on cruise settings as the engine never sounded tortured, even at maxchat.
This is a great boat for cruising and exploring. With a trailer and a large 4 x 4, this would be an ideal boat for trailing to those far away places and poking around the many waterways that Queensland has to offer. I must admit, I have a soft spot for these French designed vessels and the new 23AS only confirmed it. The price of this baby? $113,980.00 including GST, with an extra $11,900.00 for an Easytow multi-roller trailer with hydraulic braking system rated at 3.5 tons.
LOA including swim platform7.3m
Powered by a Nanni 4 cylinder turbo intercooled diesel shaft drive with dripless bearings.
Full engine instrumentation, nav lights, VHF radio, 2 x bilge pumps, switch panel, pantograph storm wipers, plumbed live bait well, sink 7 stove, chemical toilet, hydraulic steering, compass, CD/AM/FM player, V berth mattress, swim platform, boarding ladder, lockable wheelhouse, lockable deck catches, transom door, rear tiller steering.
Options (included on test boat)
Muir windlass chain & anchor, Navman 6500GPS with C-Map & sounder, cockpit carpet, rego, anti-fouling and anodes, safety gear, covers and cushions.
Boat supplied by Collins Marine, Unit 26/17-21 Bowden Street, Alexandria NSW 2015. Ph (02) 9319 5222. Fax (02) 9319 5561
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