Thirty years of family experience in boat building has culminated in Generation 3’s Eclipse 5.7 half cabin craft. The latest model from the Victorian manufacturer is powered by a 115 Mercury Saltwater two-stroke outboard. I put the Generation 3 through its paces recently and it came up trumps.
The market for family or fishing oriented half cabin, glass boats is very competitive so new entries need to have special features to make them stand out from the crowd. It’s also essential that crafts are the right price. The Eclipse 5.7 meets both of these requirements.
A smart design sees the Eclipse 5.7’s cabin occupy almost half of the craft, but half is still available for fishing. The engine does not intrude into cockpit space and the rear two bench seats can be flattened when not in use.
The cabin featured large elliptical side windows and side shelves for storage and plenty of natural light throughout the interior. An electric light is also fitted. The generous sized cabin hatch allows for easy access to the anchor hatch and was set up with a moulded in-cabin step to allow easy access. There is a solid split bowrail each side of the anchor well and a large moulded bow sprit with quality stainless steel fittings.
The Vee bunks were large and comfy with deep cushioning and an infill is available to convert it into double bed. Large lockers with top access were set up below both bunks. The optional pedestal table can be set up in seconds if you want to eat in the cabin. A toilet could easily be added.
Strongly built wrap around style pedestal seats spoil the skipper and first mate and there are also side storage shelves, grab handles and sound system controls. The sports style wrap around windscreen offered plenty of protection for cockpit occupants when under way; I found it quite easy to either sit and enjoy the ride or slide the swivel seat back to stand at the wheel.
A pair of footrests provided good brace points for the skipper and mate while a stainless steel drink holder for each forward occupant was thrown in for good measure.
At the wheel there is good visibility and all instruments and controls are well placed. A section of moulded dash was set aside for instruments and switches, the sports style wheel was central, and ignition switch and forward controls were mounted on the side of the hull within easy reach. I saw the dash layout as both simple and effective.
Additional shelter was provided by a neat bimini that can be easily folded away if not required. Side clears are also available as well as full cockpit camper covers.
There is plenty of fishing room in the cockpit. With it’s carpeted floor, large under floor storage locker aft (extending right to the transom) and decent gunwale height – at around the thigh – there would be room for at least four anglers to fish in comfort without being in each other’s way. And a full height transom also affords great sea keeping ability which would enable an owner to take the Eclipse 5.7 out for some off shore fishing quite easily in suitable conditions.
The craft’s cockpit also features mesh enclosed side pockets, under which one can dig the toes if holding tight on a fish, recessed grab rails on gunwale tops and a pair of rod holders aft to compliment the half dozen on the bimini mounted rocket launcher. A large live well in each transom quarter (aeration an extra) completes the features for the angler although swimmers will appreciate the handy boarding rails, ladder and swim platforms aft of the transom.
The Eclipse is rated for engines from 90 to 150 horse power which saw the 115 Mercury Saltwater two stroke mid range in power ratings. The engine was more than adequate, in my view, and pushed the hull onto the plane at 18.3 kph at 2800 rpm without any fuss whatsoever. At 3000 rpm the GPS registered some 26.8km/h, 4000 saw 42.6km/h, 5000 registered 62.2km/h and a burst to 5600rpm a smooth 68.3km/h. At near 40 miles per hour how much faster would you want to go? Obviously, the fitting of a 150 would raise the bar considerably but that said I was more than happy with the performance of the reliable Mercury two stroke. The engine, incidentally, was hardly noise intrusive yet in typical two stroke fashion it certainly packed a solid punch.
Due to time constraints test runs were carried out on the Coomera River on the Gold Coast and although I would have dearly liked to have run the craft off shore time did not permit it. That’s not to say that it was all smooth water running as lots of other craft – both big and small -were on the water at the time and the chance to jump a wash or two was taken. Not surprisingly, the deep Vee hull performed well, being quite soft riding and very dry. The non feed back steering was well set up being quite light and it was fun to throw the rig into some tight turns and see how quickly it recovered without any fuss at all.
The hull’s design, with a large degree of flare in the bow where lower and upper sections join, is such that water simply cannot intrude at all. Any spray is kicked well to the side and while the half cabin will also serve to keep occupants dry the over all design must take some credit as well. Full marks there for the manufacturer.
Over all I saw the Generation 3 offering as being very suitable for both family boating or hard core fishing: no doubt some owners will wish to combine both pursuits. There is an impressive list of additional optional equipment for this craft, including such things as a toilet, a double ice chest seat, tackle box, tonneau cover, and bait board aft. The point is that they are available: which is important.
Price is around the $38,000 mark and is pretty keen at that with all the extras on the test rig. For a standard package with a 90hp motor you are looking at a starting price of $32,999.
Generation 3 sales can be contacted on 0411 696 065.
Hull weight: 700kg (approx)
Power rating: 90 to 150hp outboards
Power fitted: 115 Mercury two stroke.
FACT BOX 2
EXTRAS ON TEST RIG
Split bow rails
CD player, speakers and covers
Aerated live bait tank
Front cabin bunk carpet
Bunk infill cushion
12v power socket
Passenger side stainless steel grab rail
Dunbier Super Roller trailer
2 x rod holders
Table and leg
Safety gear. Anchor and chainReads: 3002