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 add the low maintenance, lack of corrosion and electrolysis, no need for painting and extreme durability, and 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 Polycrafts have been purposely run up on rocks, bashed into oyster leases and seen the material smashed with a hammer, and there’s no denying there are some superior characteristics in using this material. I slammed a section with a ball pane hammer several times with barely a dint. As far as gouges go, 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 the gouge. After a bit of sanding it looks as good as new.
With a tough hull like this, you can see why Polycrafts are popular in the commercial fishing sector as well as in the tourism industry, where the users 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 6m long with a 2.5m beam and a deep 1.4m hull, overshadowing its 4.55m predecessor in many areas.
The hull shape is almost that of a cathedral or tri-hull boat, with the main centre hull and two smaller side sponsons that replace the 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 did find that 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 do it.
As you bump across the chop or the wake of other boats you can feel the density and solid construction of the hull. There is no jarring, banging or rattling. You can’t help but notice how quiet the ride of the hull is – particularly when you have a motor like the new soft-running 150hp Honda four-stroke on the back. Both boat and motor are very quiet.
The 150hp Honda is quite a grunty engine for this boat, but it’s certainly not overkill. At 4000rpm we sat nicely on 30mph. With the engines revving out to around 6000 revs there’s still plenty of poke in it still. We didn’t give it all she had, being a new rig, and 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.
When it comes to looking at the layout of the boat, it’s almost overwhelming the room that you end up with in a 6m centre console. The 2.5m beam and the hull shape allow plenty of room to move around in front to back.
At this stage there’s the option of single or double centre console. The test boat was a double, and it 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.
In its twin format the centre console has plenty of room, both 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 and another smaller 40-litre bin 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.
This foredeck area is raised slightly to allow more storage room below and to give a little height advantage when it comes to casting. There’s plenty of scope to further build your own raised casting platform as there is no shortage in hull depth to do this.
The anchor has its own moulded well and the front section around here is also full of foam, adding to the overall buoyancy of the boat.
Behind the centre console a moulded twin seat box is mounted. 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, 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 that you have available in this area, along with the two corner wells in the transom, you have plenty of scope to customise this area to your needs, including live fish wells.
In summing up, I was rather impressed with the new 6m Polycraft. Big centre consoles are great fishing boats, and this rig will take pretty well whatever you throw at it. I’m sure we’re going to see a few different configurations on this hull down the track for those looking for something other than a centre console.
Test boat supplied by Currumbin Marine (ph. (07) 5534 6606).
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 degrees
Fuel - 200L underfloor
Material thickness - 20mm bottom / 10mm sides
Max hp - 175
Height on trailer - 2.6m
Flotation - Foam filled
Starting price -$15,999 (excl. motor and trailer)