Yandina is a sleepy hollow nestled in the valley etched out over millions of years by the Maroochy River. This cute little town is famous for its Ginger Factory, macadamia processing and the weekend markets where just about anything is for sale. However, this is all about to change with the arrival of Pacific Blue Superyachts!
Pacific Blue have a range of serious blue water vessels starting at the 7.6m hull (available in various options) through to big cats and luxuriously appointed gameboats. The company is growing rapidly with sales exceeding expectations by a fair margin!
This review takes an in-depth look at the smallest boat in what is a most impressive line-up. The test vessel was a 7.6m Ocean Ranger with a Centre Cabin and a 150hp Yamaha four-stroke.
I must admit that I thought a boat of this size, despite the relatively sparse fit-out and minimal gear on board, would need a little more than 150hp, but I was wrong! The Yamaha lifted the hull from a standing start to a plane in seconds. Furthermore, the boat achieved 35 knots into a howling southerly on a very sloppy sea off Mooloolaba, and nudged 40 knots with the wind at our backs. That’s startling performance on a boat that weighs in at 1.8 tonnes.
Boat builder, James Keay, attributes this excellent performance with the 150hp motor to the hull design. James has been building boats for more than 25 years with the Ocean Ranger the baby of his range. Lloyds Ships Brisbane was his training ground and judging from his current range of custom-built vessels to 65 foot, his skills are well founded.
Indeed, the hull handled the slop with ease, and when we pushed further out to sea, the steep swell grew to more than 1.5m. The boat made light work of these less than favourable conditions – skipper Jed Hollis actually seemed to find it difficult to drop the boat into a trough with a decent thud. The deadrise of 17 degrees sliced through the rising waves with delicate efficiency and the flared V cushioned each landing beautifully. I’ve never had a better ride in these conditions!
We headed back into calmer waters for a few more speedy runs and an attempt at crossing our own wake, just for the fun of it! Pushing 40 knots in a boat of this size is exhilarating to say the least. Doing it in a light slop, and staying perfectly dry made it even more so. In fact, we crossed the swell in every possible direction and didn’t take a drop of water on board. That’s right – absolutely no spray whatsoever.
Jed made light work of some very tight turns at speed. The boat held its line beautifully with no slip and not a hint of cavitation. I was hoping to find a fault with this hull, but I’m still looking.
After several attempts at trying to cross our wake, I decided to give up. Even at 28 knots in a sloppy bay, after a tight turn there was almost nothing left of the wake.
Jed took back the controls and we headed out into the ocean proper for one more short stint. This time we passed the incoming Pilot vessel and jumped straight over the massive wake it left behind. The boat landed smoothly with a slight thud and powered on with minimum fuss. Once again we tuned into a following sea, remained dry and headed back in to the Mooloolah River. What a ride!
The test boat was fitted with a centre cabin. This structure sits quite low in the hull and gives the impression that there’s not much room at all, however, I am 1.83m tall and could stand comfortably below deck without stooping.
There is enough room for a small berth to stash the kids in order to extend the fishing time, or to completely escape an unexpected storm. Not bad for a deck layout that allows for an easy walk around without having to wriggle your way past the centre console.
Another clever inclusion in the cabin area is a covered well, big enough to store a mountain of gear or perhaps convert into a refrigerated receptacle. This would minimise headroom however.
Although the centre console is fitted with the bare minimum of gauges, there is ample room for sounder, compass and GPS units, while radios and the like could be fitted in the column below the helm. An overhead frame provides handy grab rails and incorporates a rocket launcher as well.
A very large seat for at least two people completes the helm area. Below the comfortable padded seat there is another massive esky/livebait tank/storage area and in the aft there is yet another large storage area that is hidden by two covers. This would make an ideal fish kill tank, and is roomy enough for an excellent catch out on the wide reefs. Above the transom sits another rod holder and bait board, which included a sliding tray to hold a knife or two, and a stash of spare fishing gear.
Forward of the cabin is another moulded seat, this time for one. Right at the bow there is a good-sized anchor well, however, the hatch wasn’t really big enough for a decent anchor. Storage pockets along the rear sides and aft provide lots more room for fishing gear, life jackets, batteries and other gear.
All in all, the 7.6m Ocean Ranger has a practical and roomy fit-out, put together for serious anglers who highly value their fishing space. Four or five lure casters could safely operate around the boat and up to six anglers could bait fish from this roomy and very stable fishing platform.
The underfloor fuel tank holds 340L and can be optioned up to 420L, giving this vessel true long-range capability.
One of the options with this hull is a flybridge, which would really bring this boat into its own category. An easily towable flybridge boat with all the comforts of home on a 7.6m hull is a rare commodity. Being custom boat builders, your own imagination and personal requirements are ready to be accommodated by James Keay and his team.
Naturally, these classy boats are fitted out according to customers’ requirements. Motor and electronic options are installed at the request of the customer, as are on-deck options such as centre cab, flybridge and half or full cabin. Inboard motors are available.
As a general rule the 7.6m Ocean Ranger is delivered with the fit-out and motor of your choice on a fully braked Belco dual axle trailer for around $75,000. However, the test boat is available as a one-off sale from Dolphin Marine at Kawana at the bargain basement price of $67,000. First in best dressed.
For further enquiries on this vessel or the rest of the extensive range of Pacific Blue Superyachts, ring their Marketing Manager Jed Hollis on (07) 5446 8080 or 0423 829 555.
Length – 7.6 m
Length with Engine Pod – 8.4 m
Beam – 2.4 m
Hull Weight (boat only) – 1000 kg
Maximum hp – 200hp
Recommended hp – 150hp
Fuel Capacity ‘Standard’ – 340LReads: 1725