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Review: Noble 6.85 Centre Cab
  |  First Published: March 2010



If you’re serious about an offshore fishing vessel with the capability of long-range exploratory trips, then look no further than the Noble Boats International 6.85m Centre Cabin.

It’s not often you find any boat that ticks all the boxes but I think they’ve come pretty close here. Noble Boats has moved offshore with a substantial operation importing boats from China. I have been to the factory and was impressed with the structural and engineering side of the business, right through to the quality of detail at the finished end.

Safety is paramount in any vessel and in the test boat the deep sides and a proud bow give you the impression of being in a much larger boat.

The double chines bite hard into the water at rest to make for an extremely stable platform in any sea conditions.

The 740mm of gunwale height at the rear, together with padded coamings, ensure a safe, comfortable leaning edge while fishing or under way. Navigation lights, 406MHz EPIRB and bilge pumps with float switches were all fitted to the test boat.

It’s when you are under way that you really appreciate the sharpest deadrise in the plate business. Deadrise is the degree of angle that the hull presents to the water.

The combination of the 38° to 24° variable deadrise makes for an amazingly soft ride.

Trim tabs have been fitted to keep a constant level ride under any conditions. They allow the engine trim to stay in a neutral, optimally efficient position so the tabs push the bow down to increase waterline length while punching into a head (oncoming) sea or reduce waterline length in a following sea.

The 6.85m has good vision through the windscreen and the clears above, with a polished stainless steel grab rail mounted in front of the passenger area.

The boat planes at around 12 knots with cruising speed around 24 knots.

If you open the 300hp E-Tec right up then the Noble is capable of an incredible 46 knots with the tacho reading 5800 rpm.

With a different prop the engine is capable of a few more revs than this, but I’ve found the current 19” Viper stainless prop works well at lower speeds.

ABUNDANT POWER

The 300 E-Tec is a 2-stroke fuel-injected engine is a much lighter proposition than competitive 4-strokes. The engine’s ability to punch the hull out of the water is impressive to say the least, and it is incredibly quiet even up over 5000rpm, considering the fact it is producing 300hp.

To match this, the hull cuts a quiet passage through the water at any speed.

The 300 certainly does the job and even at full revs the hull is stable and easy to control but a 250hp would certainly be more than adequate for most applications.

Fuel consumption at a slow troll (2 knots) is a ridiculous 0.7L per hour. At 6 knots it is 6L per hour and at 26 knots is around 38L.

If you’re a self confessed thrill seeker like me, at 46 knots it’s 98 litres per hour, but you get there really quickly! All of this information is available through the I-command gauges or the HDS Lowrance info section, along with myriad other data including fuel level, engine trim, rpm, speed and engine temperature.

The Noble 6.85m is an easy boat to steer, with the sharp deadrise tending to keep the boat straight. The hull turns very well for its length, the double chine gaining good grip at all speeds and keeping the boat level and constant throughout the turns.

The HyDrive hydraulic steering is seamless and easy to use and the Coursemaster autopilot comes into its own for longer journeys.

It’s not until you get into some swell or choppy conditions head on that the Noble’s hull really proves its worth. It’s unlikely that there is a plate boat on the market that handles these conditions better.

The ride is soft and dry with the big proud bow taking on most seas with ease. The boat gives excellent confidence to the driver in a following sea, whether square astern or on a quarter, there is certainly no evidence of broaching.

Again, the high bow cancels out any tendency to push through the bottom of the next swell.

CREATURE COMFORTS

This Noble has a large upholstered driver’s seat box with storage below and two inbuilt tackle lockers, giving a lot of dry travelling room for the crew. An upholstered ice box of similar dimensions to the driver’s seat box can be moved around and used as a seat. The rubber feet on the bottom of the icebox grip extremely well to the rubber floor on the boat, so the icebox stays in position.

LCD lighting in the floor, cockpit and centre cabin make night work a breeze. There is plenty of storage in the cabin for lifejackets and fishing gear and enough room to sleep two comfortably.

The boat is exceptionally stable on the troll or at rest and stays this way even with two or three anglers moving to one side. There are two Lowrance HDS 10 screens on the dash, one a GPS and the other a sounder. Both are easily visible from anywhere in the cockpit.

A Lowrance VHF radio is within easy reach of the helm. There are 14 rod holders built into the boat, including two at the bow. The polished stainless rocket launcher holds a further 8 rods.

A 2000L per hour pump feeds the live bait tank and the deckwash pump feeds a huge, plumbed kill tank. These tanks will keep alive as many live baits as you like.

One feature that stands out is the 3mm Regupol rubber floor, which is outstanding and has excellent grip levels wet or dry. It’s easy to clean and does not retain moisture. The floor covering extends up the cockpit sides, making cleaning a simple task.

The boat is set up with outriggers for game fishing and, being a walk-around cab, is ideal for popper fishing or good old bottom-bouncing.

The test boat was on is a custom drive-on, multi-roller trailer, although most Nobles sold through this dealer come with a Mackay multi-roller trailer with four-wheel electric hydraulic disc brakes.

With a total rig weighing around 2.3 tonnes, I suggest a heavy 4WD six-cylinder and up as a tow vehicle.

As far as an offshore fishing vessel goes this one’s got the lot. Price as tested is $110,000 but a Noble International 6.85 Centre Cab with 250 E-Tec and Mackay trailer starts at $98,000. For more information visit www.nobleboatsinternational.com or contact --e-mail address hidden-- for a package price.

Facts

Boat Make:Noble Boats International
Boat Model:6.8m Centre Cabin
Length:7.1m overall
Beam:2.46m
Hull Deadrise:38° bow and 24° transom
Capacity:8 adults sheltered waters/ 6 adults offshore
Fuel capacity:2 x 180L underfloor
Gunwale Height:74cm
Max power:250hp single, twin 150hp (Test boat approved for 300hp)
Construction:Aluminium 5mm bottom and 4mm sides
Standard Features:Kill tank, live bait tank, deck wash, twin battery boxes, welded in rod holders, carpet
Optional Extras:Padded combings, bait table with draw, rubber non-slip floor

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