In the April issue of Fishing Monthly I took you around the Trailcraft factory in Perth and promised that a couple of boat tests would be forthcoming from this manufacturer now targeting the east coast.
For the first I picked a middle-of-the road fishing machine that will comfortably handle outside conditions with enough room for at least three anglers.
There are not too many boats on the market that raise the testosterone level in gun fishos. There are myriad ‘osteogen’ models with heavily upholstered seats, cushions everywhere, wooden steering wheels and so on that are designed as all-purpose boats. They’re all very nice but don’t really cut the mustard if you want an out-and-out angling platform.
Trailcraft always gets a second look by those who know what a fishing boat should look like. They are decked out in a no-fuss practical way to do a particular job. It’s this basic attraction that has seen a lot more Trailcraft on the launching ramps along the eastern seaboard.
Trailcraft boats come stock standard so the buyer can option the boat up to the eyeballs to his or her specifications. Our test rig also had just the basics but my mind’s eye was already plotting an ergonomic cockpit layout.
Unfortunately, on the day of the test the sea had flattened out somewhat with just a two-metre swell and a slight puff from the east. Still, it was enough to how this big Buddha-bellied boat performed.
With a sealed, self-draining deck, transom door, six-holder rocket launcher, high coamings and a heap of grunt to kick her along, this is a boat that satisfies most of my criteria as an offshore platform.
Having only a moderate vee and a bulbous belly, there is an inclination to slam into chop and crunch down hard the other side. This was more than compensated for in a fantastically stable boat at rest.
My other small gripe was the old-fashioned ‘clinker’ look of the hull which might give rise to the thought that the boat is pressed and not constructed from plate aluminium, which it is.
Our test boat had the maximum power hanging off the back. A Mercury 140hp two-stroke spinning a 19” prop was the driving force behind this outfit, which tipped the scales at over one tonne fully laden. For those who want to ‘smell the roses’, a 90hp will push along adequately and you will not be so prone to OPEC’s current whims and fantasies.
A transom ladder helps getting on and off the boat. Full swim platforms support the motor mount, which is an integral part of the boat. The wide transom incorporates the smallish live bait well that can be plumbed.
A locking hatch reveals a single battery (no isolating switch) which is tucked away in the starboard quarter and will be a pain to access. The standard water separating filter and a large oil container are also housed in the transom.
Two spring-loaded scuppers can be popped open to expel any water that intrudes into the cockpit.
Short grab rails are rolled over and down the transom to aid boarding.
Amidships is an easily-accessible gunwale fuel filler with a single breather under a hood on the port transom. Carpet covers the aluminium floor and there are 1.6-metre-long side pockets running under the coamings and off the floor to hold various knickknacks.
With a comfortable 604mm coaming height, there was no feeling of falling out of the boat when on to a fish. Only one rod holder per side comes as standard.
The strong, six-shooter rocket launcher can be folded down to minimise height for storage.
Trailcraft factory-made seats are very comfortable and the skipper and passenger enjoy armrests. In front of the passenger is a lockable glovebox to secure personal items. A passenger grab rail, which you have to lean forward to hold, is there for security.
Five standard analogue engine gauges and a six-gang switch panel make up the instrumentation. The four-piece windscreen is fairly firm but I would be careful clutching on to it in a rolling sea as it is not that secure.
The small cuddy is mainly for dry storage and an adult won’t have enough room to curl up for a snooze. Bunk cushions lift up for more dry storage space. Above is a small (very squeezy), well-fastened hatch that allows you up forward to work the ground tackle.
There’s plenty of room in the open anchor well for rope, chain and grappling iron with a strong sprit, roller, cross bollard and anchor guide. Split bow rails finish off the hardware up the sharp end.
My companion for the day was Steve Arenson, the proprietor of the Sydney Power Boat Centre. Over the past couple of years Steve has built up this Northern Beaches dealership into a thriving concern that markets Mercury, Haines Signature, Mercury and Suzuki outboards and Zodiac inflatables. Steve is proud of his association with Trailcraft and is keen to learn what an angler wants in a boat and how he can help fulfil their wishes with Trailcraft’s many models.
We turned the corner at Barrenjoey and I increased revs to see how the 570 Sportscab would perform at sea. The 140 horses kicked in and we flew off the top of the first set of swells before I found the throttle and backed her off before the next lot. She does hit hard and will rattle a few fillings in a chop.
Running across the sea she was very dry and showed no ‘list’ into wind due to her big beam. In a following sea, the 570 behaved well and even with a tweak of power down a steep swell, stayed on track.
I did find trim was important and affected boat performance quite markedly. Sticking her nose down into the chop helped and in a following sea, she liked the motor trimmed out to let her big belly kiss the water.
At rest she sat still as an obedient child, with little rock and roll. With two of us leaning over the side, the dip was minimal with plenty of spare freeboard.
In full reverse the swim platforms shed away water and there were little wet patches where there was minimal intrusion via the closed scuppers.
At full bore the boat tore along at 55mph (88kmh) at 5900rpm. After a couple of hours we motored back to the ramp at Bayview and Steve jumped off to get the trailer.
Trailcraft proudly make their own trailers which have a single parabolic spring, fold-away jockey wheel, 13” inch wheels and I-beam construction. At a quick glance, I liked the ruggedness of this boat carrier and it should survive long hauls.
We are going to see a lot more of Trailcraft in the future as they aggressively market the East Coast. If you are into hard-core fishing machines, Trailcraft should definitely be on your shopping list.
|Weight (hull only)||690kg|
|Depth (floor to gunwale)||670mm|
|Length on trailer inc. motor||7.10m|
|Boat height on trailer||2.80m|
120-litre underfloor tank, walk thru transom door, transom ladder, navigation lights, folding rocket launcher, 2 seats + armrests, marine carpet throughout, 3 cross bollards, compass, 6-gang switch panel.
Price as tested including Trailcraft custom dual-axle braked trailer, safety pack for six people, all registrations and on-water tuition: $44,000.
Boat supplied by Sydney Power Boat Centre, 95-97 Darley Street, Mona Vale NSW 2103. Ph. 02 9997 7797, fax 02 9999 1368Reads: 8184