IF YOU cast away preconceived ideas about plastic being flimsy and have a look at the benefits of this modern-day building material, you’ll soon appreciate just how much Polycraft’s range of plastic boats can offer boat buyers.
Polycraft boats are made of high-density polyethylene, constructed by a rotational moulding process which forms a twin-skin hull that has no seam. The cavity between the two skins is injected with foam to increase strength and add positive buoyancy to the hull.
The polyethylene hull is slightly flexible so it absorbs the impact of waves, creating a softer ride. This is a quiet running hull due to the density of the material and when you factor in low maintenance, lack of corrosion or electrolysis, no need for painting and extreme durability, you needn’t concern yourself with the jokes about leaving it on the footpath on recycling pick up days!
I’ve been involved in demos in the past where Polycraft boats have been purposely run up on rocks and bashed into oyster leases and I have seen the material smashed with a hammer. There’s no denying there are some superior characteristics of this material. I have slammed a section with a ball pane hammer several times with barely a dent.
Because the material is the same colour right through you don’t see the scratch or gouge. In severe cases there’s a filling compound that will fix a deep gouge and after a bit of sanding it looks as good as new.
With a tough hull like this, you can see why Polycraft are popular in the commercial fishing sector as well as in the tourism industry, where the users often aren’t the owners and tend to be harsh on gear.
The new addition to the Polycraft range, a larger centre console, looks set to be quite popular due to its size. It’s nearly six metres long with a 2.5-metre beam and a hull 1.4 metres deep, so it overshadows its 4.55-metre sister ships in many areas.
The hull is almost a cathedral or tri-hull with the centre hull and smaller side sponsons replacing the more conventional outer reverse chine. This format delivers a hull that tracks nicely in the water with a tendency to offer greater stability at rest and on the move.
I found the boat was very stable in both these situations and you could have the weight to one side without any worry of overbalancing or dipping too far. The wide beam, in conjunction with these outer sponsons, has a lot to do with this.
The same side sponsons help reduce the amount of spray thrown up and, should you decide to turn sharply at speed, keep in mind that these will also bite in on the turn. Make sure you let the rest of the crew know what you’re going to do before you turn hard at speed.
As you bump across the chop or the wake of other boats you can feel the density and solid construction of the Polycraft hull. There is no jarring, banging or rattling.
You can’t help but notice how quiet this hull is, particularly with one of the new generation of four-stroke engines that are so whisper-quiet anyway. Even the latest two-strokes are a far cry from the old howlers of days gone by and on this hull will allow you to hold a normal conversation with your mates under power without screaming your lungs out.
The 150hp engine fitted was certainly not overkill for this boat, which is rated to 175hp. At 4000rpm we sat nicely on 30mph and being a new rig, we didn’t give it all she had and still managed 43mph.
To keep up on the plane you do need to sit around 2800-3000rpm and, being a centre console, the boat does benefit from a little extra weight up the front. This is usually taken care of when the ice box or underfloor storage compartments are loaded up with gear.
It’s great to see a boat that is made as a workhorse and for travelling longer distances to come fitted with a decent size fuel tank. Under the centre console lies 200 litres of fuel, which gives plenty of range for this rig, especially in conjunction with the four-stroke engine.
It’s almost overwhelming the room that you end up with in a six-metre centre console. The 2.5-metre beam and the hull shape produce plenty of room to move around in front to back.
At this stage there’s the option of a single or double centre console. The test boat sported the wide double and had plenty of room for two anglers to stand behind while still leaving plenty of room for someone to walk down either side of the centre console.
This twin format the centre console also has plenty of room across the top for electronics and below for additional storage.
There’s no shortage of room for’ard and aft, either. To the bow lie three underfloor storage boxes – one 200-litre centre section with a smaller 40-litre bin on either side. This storage does come in handy because the Frontier doesn’t have any side pockets. These are important additions for a centre console and they’re likely to become standard down the track.
The Frontier’s foredeck area is raised slightly to allow more storage room below and to give a little height advantage for casting to pelagics or working the ground tackle. There’s plenty of scope to further build your own raised casting platform and there is no shortage of hull depth to do this.
The anchor has its own moulded well and the forward section around here is also full of foam, adding to the overall buoyancy of the boat.
A moulded twin-seat box is mounted behind the centre console. This has a hinged backrest which folds either way. Moulded in the same manner as the hull, the twin-skinned box makes for a great icebox, especially once it’s foam-filled. It could be a bit narrow if you want to put the likes of a few snapper in it but I suppose you need to weigh up how much of the deck space you want to take up with ice boxes.
There’s a huge amount of storage in the aft area, where a section has been fitted that has more storage room than you will find in most centre consoles. It doubles as a raised casting area and as somewhere to sit while fishing. This is an option and can be omitted if you want to maximise the deck space.
With the amount of room available in this stern area, along with the two corner wells in the transom, you have plenty of scope to customise this area to your needs, including live-bait wells.
In summing up, I was rather impressed with the new Polycraft Frontier. Big centre consoles are great fishing boats and this rig will take pretty well whatever you throw at it, including three or four hefty blokes who can fish all day without getting in each other’s way.
The cuddy cabin version is certainly attracting plenty of interest from southern anglers who need a bit more in the way of shelter from the elements and this could well be the way to go for reef fishos.
Make/model - Polycraft 5.99m Frontier
Style - Centre console
Length - 5.99m (6.10m o/all)
Beam - 2.5m
Weight - 850kg (hull only)
Deadrise - 17°
Fuel - 200L underfloor
Material thickness - 20mm bottom / 10mm sides
Max hp - 175
Max occupants - 6 adults offshore, 8 inshore
Height on trailer - 2.6m
Flotation - Foam -filled
Starting price -$15,999 (excl. motor and trailer)
Standard equipment: Carpeted floors and hatches, stainless split bollard, boarding rail, hand rail, bow rail, 200-litre underfloor tank with sender, rear lounge with backrest, 110-litre console seat with padded swinging backrest, engine well, 1.1-metre wide centre console with screen rail, bait boxes (2), 60kg of positive flotation, non-feedback steering, hinged front storage bins (1x200 litre 2x 40 litre), 2x 60-litre rear storage bins, 2 x 1100gph auto-switch bilge pumps, rod holders (4), running lights, wiring, leads and switches.
Options: Hydraulic steering, boarding ladder, navigation lights, anchor light, fuel gauge, Bermuda bait board, stainless steel T-top canopy.