IT’S LONG and narrow, but I wouldn’t call it a long boat. It sees a lot of use as a live trout boat in the North, though I wouldn’t really call it a dory. The Wahoo belongs to a small group of boats that are among the most versatile in their field for both recreational and commercial use.
Wahoo Boats is based in South-east Queensland, and this small company continues to produce boats to capacity for markets near and far. If you’ve ever gone about getting your own boat built you soon appreciate that it’s often the small manufacturers that are able to cater for your needs. Because each boat is a one-off and there are no production lines, it’s no big deal to build the upper deck and layout as a one of item. The hull shape comes out of a mould so you can’t change that, but from here on it’s up to you and the builder to come up with the goods that you want.
The hull design of the Wahoo has very pronounced planing strakes and reversed chines, which enable the boat to ride well through a choppy sea. With the bow pulled in tight the entry is relatively fine, so a lot of the pounding and jarring is taken out of the ride as the boat travels into the chop.
On the reverse end, the strakes produce the directional ride of the hull which minimises broaching in a following sea. Broaching is the tendency of a hull to swerve to one side as it pushes into a wave or the pressure of a following wave pushing against the stern of the boat. It might not seem like a big deal in calm water, but try coming through a bar or some rough water and you’ll soon appreciate a good hull design.
The hull has quite a deep deadrise at 22 degrees. This contributes to the way the hull rides through the rough water, yet the hull remains quite stable. The size of the planing strakes and chines no doubt add to the stability and lift of the hull.
The test centre console model had a 60hp two-stroke Mercury outboard fitted, which provided more than enough speed and power for average use. Boaters who don’t carry heavy loads or require any sort of speed could even get away with a 40hp outboard. The maximum horsepower is 90hp (two-stroke).
The Wahoo was an easy boat to drive, though being open with little protection other than the windscreen on the centre console you’re open to the weather and windblown spray. While the hull rides well it has the same attribute as most centre consoles, and in a quartering sea with a decent breeze you’re naturally going to get wet.
It’s interesting to see how these boats are made below the deck. An extensive stringer system is laid up to provide a good, strong boat, and this is why Wahoo boats attract a lot of interest from the commercial sectors. The boat has the hull strength to carry a decent load and to do it at a reasonable pace. Although the recreational angler may never need this strength it’s good peace of mind and adds to the long-term value of the boat.
The outside finish of the boat is like most fibreglass boats, with the smooth, shiny gel-coat finish. Inside the boat though you will find a flow-coat finish, as most of the inside is laid up by hand.
The beauty of the flow coat finish is that it wears well, hides bumps and scratches and is easy to repair. Add to this the ability to build in many custom extras in the fit-up, and you virtually have the fibreglass version of working with plate aluminium. Fibreglass panels are formed and then cut into the desired function, such as side pockets and storage hatches.
This particular 5m Wahoo had a huge amount of inbuilt storage and compartments, which are always lacking in a centre console. Starting right at the very bow, there’s a huge area for stowing anchor and ropes. Immediately behind this there is storage across the boat, and while it’s just a shallow area it’s great for the likes of paddles.
The step up to the bow has a super size live fish well where water is continually pumped in and runs out the side. Another wet tank lies in the floor and yet another can be plumbed in the seat in front of the centre console. It’s up to you which one you use for live fish, as an esky or for storage.
Centre consoles always ride better with a bit of weight up the front so there are plenty of options to do that in this case. If that’s not enough, have a look behind the centre console and the seat box is yet another esky followed by another underfloor compartment which can be wet or dry.
We haven’t finished with the storage yet! Across the transom the full-width bench seat houses batteries, oil bottles and additional fuel.
Down almost the full length of the boat are the side pockets – but these are much more than just side pockets. They are deep rod lockers with plenty of length and depth, and if need be they can be foam filled for survey requirements.
Then of course there’s the centre console unit itself, which has a couple of sections in it to store some gear and keep it dry, as well as locating gauges, switches and electronics.
At first glance you don’t realise just how much storage area there is around the boat because it just looks like a straightforward open console layout.
So if you’re looking for a boat with plenty of scope to work the estuaries, bay and even a little offshore work, the Wahoo is up to the job.
Prices vary with customisation. Test Boat Supplied by Roy Jervis Marine, ph. (07) 5546 2480.
Make/model - Wahoo centre console
Construction - fibreglass
Length - 5.0m
Beam - 1.84m
Weight - 340kg
Deadrise - 22 degrees
Max hp - 90hp 2-stroke
Fuel - 100L underfloor
Flotation - air cells, optional foam filled
1. The 5m Wahoo has a nice hull shape, riding well in a chop with pretty good stability.
2. Sixty horsepower is plenty in this case.
3. The flow-coat finish reduces glare and gives the ability to custom build the layout with glass panels. The storage in the bow is just the start.
4. The layout and storage is practical, functional and easy to maintain.
5. The bird’s-eye view reveals the plan.
6. There’s plenty of room in the rod lockers for a bit of gear.
7. The centre console is small but has all the essentials.Reads: 9356