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the captain ISSUE NUMBER SIXTEEN

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issue No.16

$14.95** incl GST $14.95

9 772205 902007 >

ISSN 2205-9024

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16

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CAPTAIN’S CONTENTS

Features

020

STORY 20 COVER OFF THE LEASH

Chasing hoodlum kings with Jason Hedges in his new Contender 25T

IN BLUE 32 SCREAM Russ Housby takes The Captain’s crew on a Vanuatu expedition

SIZE ME 50 SUPER Paul Flynn loves his supersized Sailfish 3200 Platinum Sports

032

FINISH 58 FACTORY We catch up with Sailfish

050

co-director Darren Forster

WERE CARS 64 IFTheBOATS Captain pondered, if boats were cars, what would they be?

AUSSIE SERENADE 72 SOUTH Tackling the rugged SA coastline in the new Whittley SL25

METAL TOUR (PART 2) 84 HEAVY Even more metal madness

058

ME 112 SPARE The Buckinghams continue a family tradition with Outboard Spares

EXPRESS REBUILD 120 ODIN Reader’s rebuilds: 25 Berty CROSSWORD 126 CAPTAIN’S Try your luck at The Captain’s salty crossword

www.thecaptain.tv

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12 Columns

072

06 THE CAPTAIN’S LOG Welcome to issue 16

14 MICK’S TRICKS

Slurpee straw stiff-hook rig

16 FULLY COOKED

Cubin’ goes on the rocks

18 CAST AWAY

The electronic elephant in the room

128 RUM AND RATIONS

Miguel Maestre’s whiting tacos

064

084

tain’s Crew Cap EDITOR The Captain captain@thecaptain.tv CONTENT CREATORS Travis Godfredson Jack Murphy Paul Robinson Nick Wood Andrew Mckinstray Michael Mashado Justin Duggan Grant Shorland Paul Flynn Darren Forster Russ Housby Stuart Buckingham Byron Gobernatz Cathy Dowling Miguel Maestre

120

SUB EDITOR Paul Robinson ART DIRECTOR Brendon Wise The Captain — Legends of the Sea is published by Moby Dick Content Pty Ltd. ABN 89 604 591 077. All material is protected by the Commonwealth Copyright Act, 1968. No part of The Captain may be reproduced, replicated or adapted in whole or in part without written permission from Moby Dick Content Pty Ltd. Distributed by Gordon & Gotch. Printed by Blue Star Group. ISSN 2205-9024 www.mobydickcontent.com

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12/9/19 9:32 am


THE CAPTAIN’S LOG

N

it’s SIC, NOT SICK

ot everyone is happy that The Captain rode aboard the SIC Plate Boat. Over the past few months, an aggrieved SIC Boat owner has been screaming down The Captain’s porthole. I’m sure you know the tune — he’s been playing it across every marine social channel willing to run with it. But here’s the rub. Based on his premise that the boat is faulty and the builder of ill repute, The Captain wouldn’t test any boats, ever. Because the reality is that most boat builders have a skeleton in the closet. There’s the hand-laid boat builder, who had a major delamination issue. Then there’s a reputable Kiwi builder with the boat that split in half. We also know several boat owners who had their dodgy floors cut up to discover the factory rubbish dumped inside their hull. How about the big-name brand that turned turtle? Sounds juicy, eh? So why don’t we publish these yarns, hang all the corrupt builders out to dry and go straight to boating heaven? Well, firstly, The Captain is here to celebrate boats, not shit on them. Secondly, we don’t reckon it’s fair to write off someone’s business on the back of a few sour grapes or isolated incidents. Thirdly, if you dig a little deeper, you might find a sub-plot. The split boat, for example. Well, it seems the owners didn’t tie the boat down for an extended period. The

delamination issue? That was a material failure. The rubbish in the hull? Who’s to say it wasn’t a pissedoff apprentice on his last day? And the boat that rolled? After viewing the evidence, we reckon a combination of the motor, the fit-up and the skipper’s handling had a hand in that one. So why should we bury the builders? When it all boils down, who can you trust? Boat builders, pissed-off customers or The Captain? You can only trust what your eyes tell you. That’s what we do at The Captain — then publish everything we see, for better or worse. But back to the boat in question, the SIC Plate Boat from issue #15. Our view is that the boat we tested was a great design, well made, with a superb ride. We checked in with the owner and our thoughts concurred. Does that mean every SIC Plate boat presents that way? Nope. But then we never said it did. And what of the customer’s complaint? There’s a process for resolving this issue, which involves deliberation by considered minds. Sadly, the court of social media has jumped the gun and already made its judgement. Yep, the Facebook jury has been very busy working late nights and partying hard on the weekend. Perhaps it’s time for a vacay.

www.thecaptain.tv

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“Yep, the Facebook jury has been very busy working late nights and partying hard on the weekend. Perhaps it’s time for a vacay.”

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11/9/19 3:03 pm


CAPTAIN’S NEWS

HOLY HORSEPOWER! Dropping the hammer just got easier with Honda’s new V6 outboard range — now sporting a drive-by-wire option.

H

onda Marine’s head honchos are pretty pleased with their revamped flagship V6 outboard range, which includes the BF200, BF225, BF250 and now the new BF175. Each high-power engine packs the reliable, performance-tested 3.6-litre V6. They also boast Honda’s Progressive V Form design, based on its NSX Supercar, which was originally conceived to go mano a mano with Ferrari. Whatever your wet work preference — weekend cruiser, fishing fanatic or serious commercial captain —these V6 beasts guarantee maximum time out where you want to be, on the water, getting amongst it. These babies have a lot going for them — innovative design, smooth aerodynamic styling, minimum maintenance requirements, increased corrosion resistance — but it’s the customised rigging options that are the real big news. The

Honda team has developed what they call electronic Intelligent Shift and Throttle (iST®) — which is what the rest of us lesser beings know as drive-by-wire (DBW) tech. Oh, and they’ve thrown in new-look user interfaces and a multi-function colour display, if you like that sort of thing. Then, of course, there’s the grunt factor. The BF225 and BF250 feature Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC®), which uses mild cam profile to operate intake valves at low rpm, then engages a high-output cam profile for higher-rpm operation. The result is a perfect storm of power, torque and efficiency at any speed. Each engine is fitted with Honda’s Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), which uses microprocessor tech to control the ignition timing during start-up and across the entire rpm range. This pretty much

guarantees a quick start, instant throttle response and low fuel consumption. Then there’s Honda’s Boosted Low Speed Torque (BLAST™) System, which advances ignition timing when you drop the hammer, dramatically improving performance and acceleration. Not quite a nitro boost, but up there. The Engine Control Module (ECM) ensures a more potent air/fuel mixture, boosting torque at low revs meaning a stronger holeshot to get your boat up on plane faster than a rat on Red Bull. The Lean Burn Control automatically adjusts the air/ fuel mixture and maximises zoom-zoom power throughout the acceleration range, as well as increasing fuel efficiency in cruise mode between 2000 and 4500rpm. All models are available in aquamarine silver from Honda Marine dealers right now. For more information visit marine.honda.com. au/High_Horsepower

www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 2:56 pm


STABICRAFT 2750 ULTRA CENTRECAB THE OFFSHORE BEAST.

With lean-forward glass and immense cabin space accompanied by 360-degrees of access to every usable space, the aggressive and spacious 2750 Ultra Centrecab is a serious aluminium offshore beast. www.thecaptain.com.au

www.stabicraft.com

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LOVE trheed colouKS! DON

CAPTAIN’S NEWS

PUSHING THE LIMITS

More Evinrude outboard options mean high-output horsepower for mid-range boat blokes.

E

vinrude has just bumped up its innovative Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboard range to include 115HO, 140HP and 150HP models. If you’re wondering, HO stands for “high output” and the Evinrude backroom boys are talking tough about “blurring the line between boating and aviation” and “best day on the water, ever”. All of which induces an element of trouser-tightening anticipation. Breaking the rules for mid-range outboards, these new models have a direct-injection inline three-cylinder powerhead, which runs quiet and hard, with minimal vibration and noise. The E-TEC G2 family goes right up to the bad boy 300HP, so there’s simply got to be one that fits the bill for your boating needs. For a kick-off, they’ve got the power, lots of it. Higher torque and lower weight than comparable four-strokes means your marine

machine will be on the plane faster, with less bowrise. They start easy and have instant throttle response. The fuel efficiency at lower revs is also impressive, delivering respectable cruising capability. And they’re worldwide emissions-compliant, blowing no smoke, which means you’ll be feeling a bit more planet-friendly, possibly pumping out less nasty gas than your average cow. Evinrude has packed next-gen tech into its whole E-TEC G2 outboards range. There’s digital shift and throttle, the iTrim control system, digital instrumentation, custom colour panels and optional iSteer dynamic power steering. The 115HO and 140HP models will be available with premium controls and gauges, as well as a tiller option that features touch troll and trim switches, LEDs for basic diagnostics and an NMEA 2000 connection for external gauges

or accessories. Maintenance is also a breeze, with fewer parts, no oil changes ever, and spark plugs that last up to three years. Evinrude doubles down on that by offering dealerscheduled maintenance for five years or 500 hours, and five-year factory backed service coverage. Plus, with no running-in period, you can drop the hammer on your brand-new Evinrude straight out of the box. Oh, and did we mention they also look pretty damn slick? For the 2020 product year, all E-TEC G2 engines will have new premium graphics, with the option of white or slate grey frame and two new propellers. Evinrude’s E-TEC G2 engine line-up is available at all authorised Evinrude dealerships worldwide. Visit www.evinrude.com.au for a complete list of Evinrude dealers.

www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 2:55 pm


NEW 2019 RELEASE

AVAILABLE MARCH 2019

www.thecaptain.com.au Check your local Shimano Stockists today. shimanofish.com.au

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Shimano.Fish

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ShimanoAustralia

11/9/19 2:54 pm


THE CAPTAIN’S TREASURE

'X’ MARKS THE SPOT BOOTY FOR YOUR TREASURE CHEST

SHIMANO SLX DC REEL

Mr and Mrs Shimano are proud to announce the latest addition to the SLX 150 family — the new SLX DC. This reel delivers smarter, more efficient lure casting under a range of weather conditions for a how-can-they-sell-it-so-damn-cheap price. Star of the show is Shimano’s Digital Control braking system, which automatically controls brake force at every moment of the cast. An internal microcomputer adjusts the speed so minimal thumbing of the spool is required — and it recharges itself as the spool rotates. Four adjustable settings allow you to fish a wide variety of lures and the DC system can also handle different line types, from braid to mono. The SLX DC also features Hagane Body for smooth, strong cranking power — because, well, who doesn’t want strong cranking power? And with a maximum drag output of 5kg, the SLX DC has excellent stopping power, as well. Available in matte black and blue cosmetic.

$339.95

www.shimanofish.com.au

SIMRAD RS40-B VHF AIS RADIO

Switched-on skippers will be in the know already about Simrad’s next-gen VHF marine radio. The new RS40-B is the first VHF marine radio to feature AIS transmit and receive capability. It looks pretty stylish with wireless handset, removable fist microphone, Class D DSC functionality, built-in GPS and a Class B AIS transceiver. The integrated transceiver can receive position data from other vessels like the original RS40, but it’s the first VHF marine radio able to share its position with nearby AIS-equipped vessels. This has got to mean a better chance of not running into one of your mates — aka collision avoidance — in crowded waterways. Just check out the position of other vessels on the Simrad RS40-B screen, or the data can be overlaid on top of a chart or radar through a compatible multifunction display. Available now, so come in, Spinner!

$1335.00

www.simrad-yachting.com

www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 2:53 pm


KENOATH CLASSIC TEE

They don’t come much more nek level larrikin than Kenoath. This streetwear label is a division of the Aussie humour factory that’s been showcasing wheels and waveinspired art and accessories since 2012. Kenoath apparel is all about rocking a nostalgic vintage feel, but with a sharp modern styling and construction that ensures your gear won’t disintegrate the first time it experiences a washing machine. The super-comfortable Kenoath Classic Tee (shown here in army green) is made from high-quality 100 per cent cotton and so bloody soft you’ll have to check your reflection to make sure you’re actually wearing it. And the Kenoath crew know there’s nothing worse than shrinkage, so it’s also pre-shrunk. Stoked yet? You will be as the tee is also available in black, white and charcoal — in small through to big boy XXXL. Want one? Fuckenoath! (It’s Australian for yes.)

LOWRANCE GHOST TROLLING MOTOR

Bin that naval camo wrap, because you can now hunt your prey in total stealth mode courtesy of the new ultra-quiet Lowrance Ghost freshwater trolling motor. Built with the brand’s trademark rugged reliability, this brushless motor generates heaps more thrust — always welcome — and has a longer run time than anything else on the market. It’s so quiet the fish won’t hear you until they’re on the hook. The motor emits no electromagnetic interference, so the sonar view on your screen is as clear as a sunny day. Integrated options let you steer, adjust speed, navigate or anchor via touchscreen control. The smooth flyby-wire steering control delivers instant response and this tough little bastard is designed to work in 24- or 36-volt systems. The Ghost also offers two integrated sonar nosecone options, including HDI and Active Imaging 3-in-1 transducers. All motors come standard with an HDI transducer, but can be upgraded any time. The 47-inch composite shaft model (future options on the way) is available from October, with a three-year warranty.

$49.99

www.kenoath.com.au

PIRATES DREAMING ANCHOR PENDANT

$4999; Active Imaging 3-in-1 Nosecone $309.00

Every pirate worth his rum ration should be sporting a sizeable chunk of bling. And where better to buy your bling things — presuming you’ve ruled out capturing and ransacking a Spanish treasure galleon — than the seafarer-friendly Pirates Dreaming. Designer Adelaide Friday founded her jewellery business in the USA in 2008, inspired by the crashing waves of the Pacific west coast — and perhaps a little whiskey. Now based in the notorious smuggling cove of Byron Bay, her mission is to craft beautiful bling for “rule breakers and style makers, dreamers and adventurous spirits, anchored to the depths or sailing away — the ones who don’t need to ask permission”. If any or all of these job descriptions apply to you, then Pirates Dreaming is speaking your language. These unique, authentically handcrafted, sterling silver and brass creations have a story to tell and a statement to make. Simple and seaworthy, the perfect gift for a rebel with a cause, or a boat. Pictured is the sterling silver Anchor Pendant with sterling silver chain.

www.lowrance.com.

OTTERBOX ELEVATION WINE TUMBLER

The Captain understands perfectly that in the heat of the moment, with blood, guts and perhaps an irate marlin sloshing around the deck, is not the time to break out the chardonnay. He totally gets it that on such agitated occasions a canned beverage to slam down between gaff lunges is the go. However, there will be moments at the end of every adventure where a little serene celebration is in order. There will also be occasions when your better half is aboard. And on such occasions, when a grape juice toast is called for, the Elevation Wine Tumbler by Otterbox comes into its own. The internal copper lining keeps your vino at optimum temperature and the stainless steel outer is tough enough to survive a few kicks around the bilge. It has a press-in Basic Lid and holds two standard wine pours — just enough to still drive the boat home without a drama. And it keeps its contents cold for hours, but the sweat-resistant design means no marks on the deck. Available in: frozen shimmer blue, silver panther black, and coastal chill blue.

$160.00

www.piratesdreaming.com

$29.95

www.otterbox.com.au

www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 2:52 pm


MICK’S TRICKS with MICHAEL MASHADO

SLURPEE STRAW STIFF-HOOK RIG Mick from Pickles Fishing & Outdoors in Eden shares the secret of his simple but deadly Slurpee straw stiff-hook rig.

M

ick is the frugal type. He lives by the old creed — “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Which is kind of ironic considering he’s also proprietor of tackle shop Pickles Fishing & Outdoors in Eden, NSW. He’s been game fishing most of his life and is well hooked in to the commercial and rec fisho community of the South Coast. In his new column, Mick’s Tricks, he shares a few simple and effective techniques for getting connected. First up is his Slurpee straw stiff-hook rig.

1.KIT: Tools for the job

THE LAST STRAW

Most of us start our game-fishing careers trolling lures for marlin. This is, in fact, probably the hardest way to catch them, fly fishing aside. I’ve seen all kinds of rigs, but undoubtedly this has proved to be the simplest and deadliest single-hook rig for running skirts. The key is to stiffen up the rig so it stays behind the head of the lure, avoiding entanglement. The straw also acts as a line guard where you get the most wear and tear (image 2), and allows you to fish lighter leaders. You can run the same rig on 500lb leaders and 12-inch lures!

2.POST-FIGHT: Straw intact

MATERIALS (SEE IMAGE 1.) • Slurpee straw • 3 crimps • Length of line • Lure • Hook to suit lure head

Note: Ensure the hook gape is wider than the diameter of the lure head — see image 3)

3.HOOK: Gape wider than head www.thecaptain.tv

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METHOD

1. Slide two crimps on the leader. 2. Feed the leader through the eye of the hook (where it’s solid). 3. Wrap three times around the shank of the hook and feed back through the opposite side of the eye from where you originally entered. Slide crimp down and pull the loop up tight, then crimp. 4. Adjust the second crimp to the length of the lure. Twist the line 3 times, then crimp it off. 5. Hook point should be just touching the skirt 6. Cut straw to length then slide straw on, then slide lure on. Finally, tie a Flemish eye to other end of the leader. With this set-up, if the bottom crimp fails, you’re saved by the crimp above it. If the top crimp on the Flemish eye fails, the knot simply pulls tight. This happens all too often.

1. Slide on 2 crimps

4. Set length, twist & crimp

2. Leader through the eye

5. Hook touching skirt

3. Wrap shaft 3 times

6. Cut straw to length

Captain’s note: We trialled Mick’s Slurpee straw stiff rig and came up 1.1.1. After inspection we noted the straw was badly scuffed but intact (see image 2, left). The twisted leader underneath was in perfect condition, however the rest of the leader was stretched and stiff, proving the Slurpee straw stiff-hook rig a winner.

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11/9/19 2:49 pm


FULLY COOKED with GRANT SHORLAND

WHEN THINGS GO BANG IN THE NIGHT

Grant Shorland reflects on the night his beloved Cubin’ went on the rocks.

I

’ve used the Bastion Point boat ramp in Mallacoota more times than I’ve had hot showers. It’s not the safest ramp, but when treated with respect, I haven’t had any drama. All that changed one Saturday night in June. Three crewmen and I were returning from a sword-fishing mission off Everard Canyon. The weather was like piss on a plate, with a long swell period. On approach, at 8.30pm, I radioed and text messaged returned crews for a report on the conditions. “All clear, Gutsy!” was the response. Nevertheless, I ordered my first mate Matt Cassar, a qualified skipper and deckhand, to keep watch for waves up the rear as we entered the harbour. It’s our standard practice. The call came from the back deck — “There’s one on us!” Before Matt had finished yelling, a six- to eight-foot wave came out of the dark to smack the Grady-White side-on. It was like being king hit in the front bar of the pub. She capsized instantly and I clambered out of the upturned hull. In the dim light of the channel markers and the (now underwater) deck lights, I could make out two of my crew bobbing about. Holy shit! Someone was missing. I kicked off my gumboots and Stormy jacket and yelled out for Jimmy. “I’m up the front,” he wailed from under the hull. He was trapped in the bow. The surging water pressure had smacked him out of the co-pilot’s seat and into the grab rail, knocking him unconscious before washing him into the bow. It must have been a shit-scary ride. You could hear the fear in his voice.

W T B

FREE JIMMY!

At this point, the stern started sinking and the bow lifted. The two crewmembers who had escaped could now stand on the rocks with their heads just above the water. They held the bow of the four-tonne Cubin’ above water while I ducked under, broke off the front hatch with my hands and squeezed into the hull. We tried and failed to pull him out of the hatch. I ordered him to get all his gear off, swam back down, grabbed him by the hair and pulled him out. Together we waded towards the rocks. Other fishermen and bystanders scurried down to give us a hand. In all the commotion, it was hard to see where the rest of my crew was. The local police arrived shortly after and breath-tested me. Surprisingly to some, I was .00. We considered a salvage attempt, but it would’ve been too dangerous. That night, Cubin’ was pounded into the rocks. She would never sail again.

www.thecaptain.tv

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THE LESSON

If you’re reading this, then you already know never to underestimate the sea. I reckon the more time you spend out there, the more likely something will go cactus. I’d like to thank the crew who helped us that night, cleaning up the mess and returning pieces of Cubin’. If someone finds my Cubin’ beanbag, I’d love it back — I’ll happily trade for a Cubin’ hoodie. I’ll leave the final word to Don Bamford, a wise and witty bastard — “Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar.” (TOP) GOIN’ FISHIN’ Grant’s Grady-White 258 Journey in happier days. (OTHER IMAGES) REST IN PIECES: The Cubin’ after that fateful night. Thankfully, nobody was seriously hurt.

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12/9/19 9:27 am


cast away with justin duggan

JUSTIN E-WHINGE IS HAVING AN AG COMPLAIN AIN. IS HE JUST A IN THIS A LEG G SKIPPER OR IS ITIMATE CO NCERN?

OVERKILL

I’m going out on a limb to canvas a topic that’s been festering for quite a while — the impact of social media on fishing. That’s right, the electronic elephant in the room.

L

et me preface this “rant” with saying that I love teaching people to fish and improve their abilities. I also encourage them to share their skills. However, I’ve had enough. It’s time to acknowledge the serious impact of social media on our fishing landscape. It’s true that anglers are more educated thanks to the internet. That includes knowledge about catch and release, protecting the environment and sharing positive initiatives. However, there’s one glaring negative — sharing the locations of hot bites on fish aggregation sites such as reefs and wrecks. Last month, I witnessed a mind-boggling moment in the Sydney fishery. About 57 boats and a similar number of kayaks were crammed into an area the size of a matchbox, targeting a spawning aggregation of large kingfish. These fish were future breeders, many over a metre long. Why was everyone in the one spot at the very time so many big fish were aggregating? Social media. It’s no longer good enough just to share information on fishing techniques. There are Facebook pages devoted to a single species where people are encouraged to share everything required for instant success. Some people insist on posting GPS marks, locations, tides, times, wrecks and even bait — all in real time, when the fish are biting. In the past, a few marks in a book and a rough idea on tides might translate to getting to the bite when it was on. That’s if you were lucky. Now you can be on the water hooking up within an hour of someone’s post hitting their “friends” list. But why would you want to see local fishing spots hammered, spawning aggregations hit and active bites smothered in boats?

Our fisheries laws are well managed and bag and size limits are a good measure. However, two people keeping their bag limit is one thing, what about 57 boats in the same spot? What’s in it for the serial social media location sharers? Maybe 15 minutes of fame and a bunch of “Likes”. And what’s in it for the fish, the fishery and those who have worked for years to learn these spots and protect them? Nothing. Sharing locations of hot bites on fish aggregation sites is simply short-sighted. It’s not giving a shit about the future of the fishery. As the (human) population grows, we risk bigger impacts on our waterways and need to be smart with fisheries management. Marine parks are not the answer. So what’s the solution? Easy — limit the information on catching species to techniques. Don’t give away exact hot-spot locations to everybody and their dog on the internet. Respect the fishery — tread lightly, limit your catch and remember not everyone will be as respectful of the fishery as you are.

www.thecaptain.tv

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“Sharing locations of hot bites on fish aggregation sites is simply short-sighted. It’s not giving a shit about the future.”

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P

TA

IN’S SH

I

P S

CA

INSANE INSTALLS: CONTENDER 25T

WO RDS a nd IMAG ES The Capt a in

see the video at thecaptain.tv

www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 2:08 pm


Jason Hedges decided on his ultimate boat and then hatched a plan to own one. It meant starting a charter business and getting his customers to help pay it off. The Captain catches up with Jase on board his shiny new Contender 25T.

www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 2:09 pm


J

ason Hedges knows how to steer a salty sled. He’s been on a few of The Captain’s adventures, including the Fraser Island mini-marlin excursion and the Dunk Island debacle. He was also there for The Captain’s first ride on a 2750 Stabicraft off Tweed Heads, which happens to be his home port. Before the Captain came along he was a deckhand on charter and commercial vessels, and also worked for Nomad Fishing Adventures up in FNQ, before working his way up through the ranks to become skipper. This background was the perfect laboratory in which to hatch his oceangoing operation. Jase wanted a small, intimate charter business with a centre console to give anglers uninterrupted 360-degree fishability. It had to be fast and soft through the shit stuff, but relatively efficient, with a tower for spotting pelagics, but also legally towable. Mainly, he just wanted a fucking cool boat to call his own. And the best rig to do all that, he reckoned, was a 25ft Contender, the same vessel he’d guided wealthy adventurers around on during his

Coral Sea stint with Nomad. With a drop-dead sexy boat, Jase was ready to become boss of the bluewater. The name of his new business is Unleashed Sportfishing and his quarry off the Tweed and Gold Coast are blue and black marlin in the warmer months and snapper, kings and bottom fish when the weather gets colder. Lately, he’s been deep dropping for ooglies, with great success.

CHOP STOPPER

Built in Miami, USA, Contender consoles are famous for their deep-vee and soft ride. Jase saw it first-hand on the windswept runs through the Coral Sea back to the mothership during his Nomad days. “The 24.5-degree deadrise is awesome for cutting through the chop,” he says. “Nothing against boats with a 19- or 20-degree deadrise, but this hull has that piercing quality. It lowers the hull deeper into the water, finding an early point of contact.” The model Jase settled on is the new 25T (T is for tournament), featuring an all-new top deck, rounded at the transom, with a new moulded stringer system instead of

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INSANE INSTALLS: CONTENDER 25T

WITH A DROP-DEAD SEXY BOAT, JASE WAS READY TO BECOME BOSS OF THE BLUEWATER. (TOP) IN COMMAND: Check out the sweet second station, ideal for spotting pelagics. (LEFT) FEEL THE BEAT: Tunes delivered by the latest JL Audio system. (RIGHT) SIMRADICAL: The display is a new Simrad NSO19 Evo3, one of the first in Australia. (BOTTOM) FISHIE FEATURES: The 25T has plenty of fishing details built in.

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INSANE INSTALLS: CONTENDER 25T

foam-cut. Contender claims it’s stronger and easier to build the new stringer system. It’s also wider, so you can slot in a drop-down console. Jase opted for the older-model console, which is smaller than the newer version, meaning more space for anglers to work around. Contenders feature bulk underfloor storage and the new liner has been updated with moulded seals on the underside of the hatch covers. It’s a twopiece mould that’s stronger, creating a better seal and nicer finish. Jase says it’s much easier to clean, too. To make it to commercial class, the Contender would need a few more tricks to achieve 2C and 3C survey*. This included a surveyor’s report, laminate schedule for the glassing work, foam filling and thicker alloy sheet for the aluminium double-continuously welded 660L fuel tank. To build to survey adds about $25K to the overall cost. *2C is a fishing charter up to 30nm offshore with four passengers and one crew member; 3C is commercial fishing.

THREE-PIECE MOULD EXPLAINED

THE 25T FEATURES A THREE-PIECE CONSTRUCTION INCLUDING THE HULL, DECK CAP AND INNER LINER.

The 25T features a three-piece construction including the hull, deck cap and inner liner. The latter is essentially the flooring section. The hull and deck cap are chemically bonded (fibreglassed), as well as mechanically fastened (screwed) together. After the moulded stringers are glassed in, the fuel tank, foam, plumbing, rigging and electrics are built in, then the liner is fitted inside the boat and chemically and mechanically fastened. Total build time on Jase’s boat — from gelcoat to delivery — was about eight months. The survey requirements added another four months.

DEEP CONNECTION: Jase, fishing his home patch off Tweed Heads. Note the Simrad screen displaying fish and bottom structure on the dual frequencies fed from the S5100 module.

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INSANE INSTALLS: CONTENDER 25T

Boat specs

JASE CALLS IT “THE FULL MIAMI SET-UP”.

YAMMIE POWER: Cruise speed is 27 knots, burning 55-60L per hour, combined.

400 PONIES

The 25T is fitted with Yamahas. Along with Mercury, it’s all they fit in the Miami factory. Jase was happy as Yamaha is his first choice. The pair of four-cylinder F200s pushes the boat to 54 knots and cruise comfortably at 27 knots, burning 55-60L per hour, combined. “They’ve racked up 1000 hours in less than 12 months and never missed a beat,” Jase says. As if Contenders aren’t cool enough, Jase’s 25T runs a second helm station (known as a command station) above the console. It has a full set of controls and he says it’s a no-brainer when it comes to spotting billfish. His rig also features a customised rod holder and teaser set-up he designed himself. Jase calls it “the full Miami set-up”, running in excess of 30 rod holders capable of flying kites, along with second-station electric teasers.

CONTENDER 25T LENGTH: 7.7m BEAM: 2.59m BMT WEIGHT: 3500kg DEADRISE: 24.5° FUEL CAPACITY: 660L LIVE BAIT TANK: 151L REC MAXIMUM HP: 400HP WARRANTY: 10-years non-transferable, 1-year commercial OPTIONS 2C & 3C survey, Simrad NSO19 Evo3, BM175HW, BM175L, S5100, NSS9, Simrad autopilot and OP50 controller, RS35 marine radio, 3D StructureScan, JL Audio system with more speakers per square metre than a Mötley Crüe concert, HALO24 radar, 20ft Precision outriggers, Rupp outrigger bases PRICE AS TESTED $265,000 ENGINE SPECS ENGINE MAKE: Yamaha MODEL: F200 TYPE: In-line 4-cylinder DISPLACEMENT: 2.8L WEIGHT: 222kg MORE INFORMATION Unleashed Sportfishing www.unleashedsportfishingcharters.com Jason Hedges 0447 922 928 CONTENDER DISTRIBUTOR Monster Sportfishing sales@monstersportfishing.com.au Sam Wallrock 0432 736 500

THUMBS UP

• Jase is easygoing, good fun – and a gun fisho • 25T is a fully resolved sportfishing boat • Minimalist design at its finest • 1000 hours and still looks immaculate (credit to Jase) • Soft and fast ride • Steering with the Simrad OP50 • Quiet and solid underfoot • Bulk storage • Good access around console • Fit and finish • JL Audio set-up • Rod holders everywhere • Command station

THUMBS DOWN

• Moderately unstable, but not too bad • Slippery floor • Slight beam blow-out at 2.59m • Accessibility to the command station a tad tight • Low-ish freeboard at rear

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INSANE INSTALLS: CONTENDER 25T

MY HAPPY PLACE

Jase loves beats on boats. “My music is pretty dear to me — especially bass,” he says. “When Navico teamed up with JL Audio to bring it into Australia, I was pumped. My system features two subwoofers, two 8.8s in the bow, two 7.7s in the side, two 6.6s in the console, plus two amps. It’s definitely my happy place!” The other thing Jase loves is his Simrad gear. He’s been using it since day dot. For his dreamboat, he wanted the best of everything and ended up with a new NSO19 Evo3, one of the first in Australia. “It’s been a huge step in terms of what I can do on the water marking fish and

following them back — it’s borderline cheating,” Jase laughs. “The displays are paired with an S5100 sounder module, a 175HW that is really good for scanning the shallows and also good out wide for scanning a bigger area. I’ve also got a really good 175 low CHIRP, which is really good on the 50-fathom line as well as deepdropping. You really want to run both, as they tell two different stories. You can put the two together and work out how you want to fish”. That sounds suspiciously like an invitation to The Captain, who by this stage is frothing to climb up to the command station and be his own bluewater boss.

(BELOW) HERE, BOY: Jase refers to the fish on this reef as his “pets”.

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YES, MR SPEAKER: The JL Audio system features two subwoofers, two 8.8s in the bow, two 7.7s in the side, two 6.6s in the console, plus two amps.

UNLEASHING THE CAPTAIN

We catch up with Jason in the afternoon. He’s just finished a red-eye charter that started at 5:30am. Arriving back at the ramp, eyebrows full of salt and bilge full of fish blood, most skippers would be happy to flush the motors, fillet the fish and slide into their favourite armchair to watch the footy — but not Jase. It’s July, which means big kingies are patrolling the offshore reefs. He offers to take The Captain’s crew out for an arvo sesh. We punch to the 50-fathom line, Jase driving the boat effortlessly using the Simrad OP50 Remote Controller, with no need to touch the screens. We jig up for some livies, filling the 151L bait tank with yakkas. Jase rigs up his signature live bait rig with a special glow bead attachment. This not only gives the livies a bit of sparkle 100m down, but also stops the hook fouling back into the bait when a fish mouths it. We haven’t even touched a reel and already we’re scoring Jase’s juicy fishing tips. On the first drift, Jase spies the sounder, rubbing his hands together gleefully. We’re in deep water, so the little red squiggles on the 19-inch display don’t look too impressive, but the smirk on Jase’s face tells a different story. It’s on. First drop, and whack! The boys are into a patch of amberjacks. Jase refers to the fish on this reef as his “pets”, so out comes the mini homemade tag pole and back they go into the steely blue waters. Next drift, and while The Captain’s crew is still trying to wrangle a yakka out of the massive bait tank, Scott Whitfield, who’s helping out with the photo shoot, sends a livie deep and connects to something way bigger. After some serious bending, a donkey kingfish is flopping on the deck as Jase is poking it with a tag. We get a few shots and send her back. High-fives all around. Spirits are also high, so we leave ’em on the bite and cruise back to the ramp, an awesome sunset in front of us and sweet Rüfüs Du Sol tunes blasting from the JL system. www.thecaptain.tv

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INSANE INSTALLS: CONTENDER 25T

COMMERCIAL CLASS CONTENDERS Other Contenders in commercial operation in the Pacific region

CHARTER: PEAK SPORTFISHING & MONSTER SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES WEBSITE: www.peaksportfishing.com.au www.monstersportfishing.com.au LOCATION: Exmouth, WA CONTENDER: 25 Tournament SKIPPER: Eddie “Hogget” Lawler Eddie Lawler runs a 25T known as Pelagic Hooker alongside his 36ft Black Watch out of Exmouth. He chases blue marlin and backs down hard on the rum and coke. Eddie reckons the hull has clocked up more than 20,000 hours of operation, the equivalent of travelling around the world. __________________________ CHARTER: MY SPIRIT LUXURY CHARTERS WEBSITE: www.spiritluxurycharters.com.au LOCATION: Cairns, Queensland CONTENDER: 30ST (Stepped Tournament) SKIPPER: Martin DeBanks The 30ST operates as a tender to a luxury 35m wave-piercer, which travels to remote destinations such as Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Tahiti. Start saving now because it’ll cost you US$120,000 per week to rent, plus fuel, food and grog. But hey, at least you have a Contender to fang around on! __________________________ CHARTER: ACTION CHARTERS WEBSITE: www.actioncharters.com.au LOCATION: Mackay, Queensland CONTENDER: 25T & 30ST SKIPPER: NA The big girl features a stepped hull and twin 300 Yammies, capable of punching out 64 knots. The Contenders are used for long-range missions, casting, jigging and hunting marlin and sailfish from offshore reefs and drop-offs. __________________________ CHARTER: DAUCINA CHARTERS WEBSITE: www.biggamefishingpng.com LOCATION: Papua New Guinea CONTENDER: 25 Tournament SKIPPER: Mike De Min Before hitting PNG shores, this 25T travelled 19,300km from Miami to Contender Australia HQ in Sydney, then was trucked to Brisbane and loaded on a ship for PNG. Daucina Charters is owned by a consortium of keen anglers from the UK who love long-range missions for GTs and black bass. __________________________ CHARTER: NOMAD SPORTFISHING ADVENTURES WEBSITE: www.nomadsportfishing.com.au LOCATION: Far North Queensland CONTENDER: 2 x 25 Tournament SKIPPER: N/A Nomad used to run two 25Ts out on the Coral Sea, operating alongside a Cairns Customcraft mothership. Former Nomad proprietor Damon Olsen test drove the Contenders with the Australian distributor, Sam Wallrock, and was instantly sold on the soft, dry ride and the command station that’s growing in popularity in Australia. He ended up buying two 25Ts that ran for more than 10 years.

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0428 390 961

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P

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ADVENTURE: CAPE DESTINATION: MONGOLIA YORK

WORDS a nd IMAGE S The Capt a in

see the video at thecaptain.tv

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SCREAM IN BLUE On an expedition to the watery wilds of Vanuatu, The Captain encounters a fellow skipper with fishing in his blood. Russ Housby has the same obsession with blue marlin that Captain Ahab had with his great white whale — but a much better boat and Tiagras instead of a harpoon.

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

CAST-OFF: Nambas Charters 40ft Black Watch steaming from Port Havannah, Vanuatu.

“There’s not many places in the world you can catch seven blue marlins in a day without losing sight of your house,” Russ reckons.

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FISHING IN THE GENE POOL: Russ’ father, Trevor, was a fishing innovator and author, penning nore than 50 books.

C

ap’n Russ Housby sits on the transom of his 40ft Black Watch, faded fishing T-shirt draped loosely over his tanned and slender frame, smoking an exotically fragranced rollie. He greets the boarding party in a husky Cockney accent — “Allo lads, I’m Russ.” At first, The Captain suspects he’s a Pommie backpacker picking up extra cash as the ship’s cook. But Russ is the big dog of Nambas Charters. He’s not your typical charter operator, but thankfully drinks like one and can spin yarns like an inebriated parrot. We were in Vanuatu — with several bottles of duty-free Sailor Jerry in our kit — to hear his tale. Russ Housby’s first-ever taste of Vanuatu was on a mission to catch a world-record blue marlin on fly. He succeeded, catching the first ever blue on a 12lb test. After tasting success, Russ explored Vanuatu’s potential, noting it was a year-round fishery and — barring a cyclone — you could fish for blue marlin, sailfish and yellowfin all on the same day. “There’s not many places in the world you can catch seven blue marlins in a day without losing sight of your house,” Russ reckons. This skipper has fishing in his blood. His father, Trevor, was a fisho and author. He penned more than 50 books includng several about catching sharks and whaling. He was also an avid fly fisherman, crafting the first patented fly. “It was known as the Dog Knobbler,” Russ says. “It was so effective, they banned it from just about every fishing waterway in the country. As a kid, I was completely absorbed in fishing. I could give you all the Latin names of

everything fishing-related.” Russ reckons he has an encyclopaedic fishing knowledge, especially about tackle, skippers and fish. Bad move. Up for the challenge, The Captain will torment Russ with game-fishing questions for the rest of the trip. We test him out on the Latin name for flying fish. He doesn’t know, but claws back some kudos by dropping its Hawaiian name — malolo — which happens to be the name of his old boat, as well as the name of the lure he’s holding in his hand. Tragically, his old man died when he was 13 years old, but Russ was already on a saltwater trajectory. “I was always going to be a fisherman,” he says. “I worked out pretty early that I wouldn’t be able to do as much fishing as I needed, so the next best thing was to be good enough for other people to take me along. I figured it was almost like getting a sponsorship to fish!” Leaving school early, Russ hung out on the pebbly beaches of Madeira, in Portugal. It’s where his dad courted his mum, Ilda. “I used to hang out on blue marlin fishing boats,” Russ says. “Obviously, as a kid, you don’t get paid — you clean bilges, you do anything to get that chance to be out there fishing.”

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

SKIPPER’S SEAT

Since his bilge-cleaning days, Russ has crewed on several notable game-fishing boats including Margarita, one of the first game-fishing boats to start in Madeira. He crewed on the Hooker in Ghana and did a bunch of seasons aboard Allure in Cairns. He even did a TV show with respected fly fisho Dean Butler, cruising the east coast of Australia and Vanuatu in a Pleysier game boat. It’s an impressive resume for an English lad who’s only just turned 40. His travels led him to Port Havannah, Vanuatu, aboard his 40ft Black Watch Nambas. Russ reckons he named the boat after a couple of local tribes on Malakula. Interestingly, on a troll through Wikipedia waters, The Captain discovers that namba is the word for a traditional penis sheath and one tribe — the Smol (small) Nambas — are named for the size of their, er, nambas. “There are 83 islands in Vanuatu and when you go to any one of them, everybody remembers the name of the boat,” Russ says. “We give them fish, tackle, leaders and rigs. We hand out rice, sugar, lollies and cans of Coke. And we give a fair bit of fish away — fishing in someone’s front yard, but not bringing a gift, is uncool.” Well played, Russ. Sentimentality aside, Russ is here to catch big fish, blue marlin specifically. “Every lure, every hook, everything we do on that boat is to catch fish — we’re here for the fish, not the money,” he says. “As anyone with half a brain knows, there’s no money in charter fishing, so I’m not doing it to get rich, I’m doing it because it’s what I’ve got to do.” None of the crew argues the point. (ABOVE) BLUE MURDER: This blue marlin was badly hooked and hit the deck, destined for the locals. A slab of it magically reappeared in the poke bowl.

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“Every lure, every hook, everything we do on that boat is to catch fish.”

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

SHIMANO MAN: Russ says Vanuatu is a pretty good place to break shit and if it doesn’t cut the mustard, it won’t take long to find out.

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LIFE IN THE FLYBRIDGE

Nambas Charters offers a smorgasbord of fishing options including fly fishing, ultra-light, light and heavy tackle fishing, popping for GTs and tuna, and jigging for doggies. There are half-day charters for those who prefer to end the day in a hotel plunge pool with a cocktail, full-day charters or live-aboard charters. But a word of warning for those expecting island stopovers and tropical waterfalls — you’ll be disappointed. On Nambas, the lines hit the water before sun-up and don’t get pulled in until sundown. “I spend 22 hours a day in the flybridge,” Russ says. “We fish from when I can see to when I can’t. If we’re dogtooth fishing, it’s an hour before light and an hour after light — every hour God gives us. I sleep up there at night, only coming down to cook your dinner. It’s a fairly salty existence. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining on your trip so I didn’t have to kip in a puddle. Me, Laura and Lani spend most of our lives on that boat.” Laura Maclucas is Russ’ partner. She was a cop in the UK before getting the fishing bug. Since then, she’s hooked fish in Kenya, Fiji, Abu Dhabi, the Canary Islands and Kenya before hooking up with Russ in the Pacific. It was love at first bite — now she’s full-time crew and main leader (wo)man on Nambas. Lani Mantae is the ever-smiling deckie. Before joining the crew, he was head chef at the Wahoo Bar on the edge of Havannah Harbour. Russ rates Lani’s unflappable nature — and his cooking talents. “Lani is a mad cook,” he says. “With all the fresh ingredients we get, we’re working on the principle you don’t need much to make something that’s already awesome, awesome. We get lobsters and mud crab up in the islands, and freshwater river prawns.” Often, we eat three or four species of fish on any given day — raw, cooked or in such dishes as ceviche, namas or poke. The Captain’s favourite dish is the blue marlin poke bowl served with seaweed, ginger and the “full catastrophe” (Note: this is a word Russ uses regularly).

(ABOVE) RUSS AT THE HELM: Russ can spend 22 hours a day in the flybridge. (BELOW) WOO-HOO! Wahoo are one of the many speedsters Nambas hunts.

LIVIN’ ABOARD

Russ sailed his 40ft Black Watch across from the Gold Coast to Vanuatu in 2015. Originally, she was custom-built to fish Cairns, so the boat is stuffed with refrigeration — 400L of freezer capacity. “In the tropics, never-ending cold is a good thing,” Russ says, chugging a stubby of the local Tusk brew. The go-fast comes courtesy of a pair of electronically controlled Caterpillar C9 diesels, which push the boat to a comfortable 30 knots. “Having 1100 horses, you can get where you need to be in a hurry,” Russ says. For tired bodies at the end of the day there’s a double stateroom, a side cabin with two bunks and a foldout bed in the air-conditioned saloon. “I don’t take more than four passengers, but three is the magic number. Everybody has a comfy spot with drawers to put their stuff in — if you bring less camera shit, then there’s more room,” Russ notes, pointing to the several large Pelican camera cases. Trav, The Captain’s trusty cameraman on this trip, makes a mental note to conceal his camera boxes more thoroughly in future.

“If we’re dogtooth fishing, it’s an hour before light and an hour af ter light - every hour God gives us.” www.thecaptain.tv

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

TACKLE TALK WHAT’S IN RUSS’S BOX?

Russ says when it came to tackle choice, Shimano was a no-brainer, as his dad had been a Shimano tackle consultant back in the day. “He fished out of army supply boats down at Ascension Island in the South Atlantic well before it appeared in fishing magazines,” he says. “Trust me, I’ve tried to destroy them. Vanuatu is a pretty good place to break shit and if it doesn’t cut the mustard, it won’t take long to find out here. Every reel and rod we use to catch proper fish is Shimano. I reckon it’s as good as you can get.” On reeling in the giants, Russ reckons he’s always ready and bigger is better. “For marlin, I like to pull Tiagra 130s, because in the time I’ve been here, I’ve seen them as big as 514kg,” he says. “We’re always hoping the next fish will be bigger than the last. I’ve caught one over 1000lb (453.6kg), so now I’m fishing for number two. We set our tackle for the biggest fucker we can find. Every day we fish, our gaffs are laid out, everything is ready to roll if the right fish comes along.” It’s at this point that The Captain realises the customers are merely pawns (not prawns!) in one man’s salty quest — a bit like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. When he mentions this to the skipper, Russ responds with a smug wink.

THE NAMBAS ARSENAL • 4 x 130lb Shimano Tiagra chair rods each marked with their own ID and position in the spread — for example, LS for left short. Each reel also has an indicator for drag settings depending on what’s being dragged. Every night on the back deck, Russ resets the drags, his rum and Coke never far away. • 2 x 50lb Shimano Tiagra stand-up rods. • 2 x 80lb Talica stand-up rods set up as 80s, so 80 bent butts, Talica 50s with 100lb braid and 80lb top shot. • 2 x Tallica 50s, run as 50s. • 2 x Shimano overhead jig rods with Talica reels. • 2 x Saragosa spinning rods. • 2 x 50 narrows we use as 30s — they have a nice retrieve if we’re trying to catch stuff on 30s. • Couple of popper rods and smaller Talica 16s to troll for wahoo, sailfish and dogtooth. • The game chair is one of Russ’ main weapons. Every Tiagra 130 is connected to it and somebody always has the job of pointing it at the line. www.thecaptain.tv www.thecaptain.tv

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BY RUSS HOUSBY

THE SPREAD • Russ typically runs a four-spread of lures and two teasers for blue marlin. The lures, broadly speaking, represent the four types of marlin-shaped lure heads available. All are rigged on a single, semi-stiff rig. Russ rates colour as far less important than shape and position in the spread.

02 Koya Bang Stick

— run in the long corner on wave four

01

The Koya Poi Dog

The bang stick has lots of forward taper and a little bit of reverse. It has a nice sharp angle, goes underwater to a fair depth, has a bit of a shimmy then comes up and pops.

— run in the short corner on wave three

One of Eric “Koya” Koyanagi’s game-fishing lure creations, the Poi Dog is a proven big marlin lure we use as a short bait. It has a suggestion of plunger with a long steady taper towards a slanted nose. It creates a big rolling molehill and chews lots of water.

04 Malolo Bullet by Jon Niiyama – run in the long rigger on wave six

The bullet-shaped lure that did the business on The Captain’s tour looks boring. It doesn’t do anything fancy on the surface, just fizzes and ripples just under the surface a bit like a skipjack tuna. It’s keel-weighted, so always runs true and the skirt is made of flashabou, often used for tying flies. It offers less mass, therefore less obstruction than vinyl or rubber. Often, the first sign of a hit on the bullet is you hear the clip go off and the rod load up. Apparently, all those fancy lures that push water, look cool and make us happy — don’t necessarily make the marlin happy. At the end of the day, we’re in the business of catching fish not looking fancy, as you can tell by the way we dress. In the calm, you can run the Bullet with a bird teaser.

03Tantrum AMN

— run in the short rigger on wave five

Not dissimilar to the Mold Craft Wide range, the AMN has a hard head and flat face with no angle, and a foam insert, which means it’s good in the calm as well as the rough. It’s straight, with no forward or reverse taper, so it doesn’t stay on the surface. It comes up, grabs a big breath of air, then dives, leaving a plume of air before backfilling with water then coming up for another breath.

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

BY RUSS HOUSBY

THE TEASERS Bird 01 The Teaser

– run in front of the Bullet The bird has wings that can be soft or hard. It runs across the surface tapping its wings from side to side. Run in conjunction with the Bullet, it gives the illusion of two flying fish — one that you’re too late to catch (the bird) followed by the Bullet just rippling beneath the surface looking like an easy meal. Almost every time, the marlin will drop back to eat the easy meal.

Flippy 02 The Floppy

— from the bridge teaser, wave two This teaser is designed to make maximum noise and splash. It’s made up of nine-inch squid and hard and soft birds. It’s run one-and-a-half to two waves back, with a reasonablesized lure out the back.

03The Mud Flap — run on wave one

It looks like a catastrophe, but the marlin love it. It features tuna shapes cut out of black rubber, each flap bridled to a swivel then attached to its own dropper with a three-way swivel. A common boat fender pulls the whole show underwater and there’s a lure on the back of that. You can see every part of the fender surface is scuffed where blue marlins have attempted to eat it. The blue marlin usually want to eat the end one, so they fade off the Mud Flap teaser and eat the short corner.

(BELOW) TEASE ME, TEASE ME: The fender (shown in Lani’s hand) pulls the mud flap teaser underwater. Every part of the fender is scuffed from marlin attacks.

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

THE BLUE MARLIN BUNCH

Our Nambas posse includes a couple of property developers from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Neil and Stuart, who have traded in their Hugo Boss suits for embroidered Shimano shirts, neatly pressed buffs and a tackle receipt longer than Russ’ favourite popping rod. Then there is Dave, who builds very expensive homes along Sydney’s waterfront. He’s a seasoned fisho and can tie an FG blindfolded in the dark. He proves that rigging skills (and fishing experience, generally) is handy in a location ruled by large powerful fish with menacing teeth that live in diamond-bladed ledges. On the first day, we leave late and miss the hot bite — validated by a sailing cat that hooks and lands several blue marlin that morning. We have to settle for a GT off the back deck at sunset, caught by Dave. The next day, we push up to Cooks Reef and subdue a few amberjacks and jobfish before retrieving half a dogtooth, but the bite is slow. We venture past Makira Island, waving at about 100 locals who have ventured down to the beach to give us a royal welcome. Russ is more focused on boating some fish and pushes to the reef edge to jig dogtooth in the swirling current. Volcanic islands that would make Hemingway blush rest on the horizon. Russ attempts to inspire the crew with stories of handfeeding schools of 20kg models at the back of the boat, but we just lose jigs to dogtooth and sharks and then ask Dave to re-tie our rigs.

HOME PATCH (BELOW) DOGGIN’ IT: Hooking dogtooth tuna is the easy part. Hauling them to the boat before the sharks attack is the the hard part.

On the last few days of the charter, Russ heads closer to port, where his home looks over the cobalt waters. Our luck turns when a small blue marlin climbs on the Bullet and is hooked badly in the face. On the Tiagra 130, it is quickly subdued. Any life it has left is snapped by The Captain’s camera at the side of the boat. The fish is shared with members of Lani’s family, who happily whip it off the back deck via their Yamaha-powered banana boat. A few slabs of it will later magically reappear in the poke bowl. Inspired by the marlin bite, or perhaps because it’s our last day on board, Russ fires up the twin CATs in the dark of night and heads toward an offshore FAD. The crew sleeps for most of the trip and when we arrive it’s still pitch black. It takes us a few minutes to find the FAD. We put a couple of Rapalas out and score a doubleheader of wahoo and dolphin fish that pleases the crew. Russ is also happy now the line has been stretched and we’ve got some meat on board. But he’s got other things on his mind, namely, blue marlin. From the flybridge, he sniffs the breeze then points the bow towards “The Nipple”, a patch of reef that projects out from the 1000m line. Trolling just inside the nipple, a solid blue marlin ventures deep into the spread, turns away at the Bullet on the long rigger and is pinned with 20kg of drag. “He’s gonna be a rock star, get your cameras ready!” Russ screams before dropping the throttles in reverse and filling the cockpit with back smoke and saltwater mist. His prediction comes true. The fish flies through the air just 50ft from the back of the boat. It never takes the top shot off the reel and every time Lani grabs the leader, 400lbs of pissed-off blue marlin sticks its bill out of the water and thrashes around.

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“We have to settle for a GT off the back deck at sunset, caught by Dave.”

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LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

“So now it’s totem tennis and all that marlin can do is swim round and round.” THE FULL CATASTROPHE

The excitement proves all too much for The Captain’s intrepid cameraman, who insists on jumping in and filming the commotion. (Captain’s note: poor impulse control, that lad.) Russ later recounts the saga of what will undoubtedly become another of The Captain’s legends of the sea. “Our illustrious cameraman decides to jump in,” he begins with a grin. “Unfortunately, he has the world’s smallest fins on his feet. We get the fish to the side of the boat and it’s all under control. Now, for me to keep pace with this cameraman in the water, I have to keep the boat in neutral, but the only thing keeping that fish parallel with the surface is forward momentum. Then the fish starts to sink, swinging on his axis with his head poking up and tail down. As they tend to do, he starts kicking and it just gets worse. I tell Lani to let go of the leader — and then the fish swims straight at you. I see your head pop up, your eyeballs pressed up against the inside of the mask, the little red veins in your whites — like a Disney cartoon. It looks like he’s going to kebab you, so I pull him around on the leader and back under the boat where he gets caught up on the rudder. So now it’s totem tennis and all that marlin can do is swim round and round. But when I suggest you swim over to get the leader off the rudder, your eyes switch back to Disney mode, so I tell Dave to grab the gaff. To be honest, I just want my lure back — I’m not too worried about you. I take a swipe, the lure slides up its bill and the marlin heads back to the deep. By this time, you’ve emptied out your board shorts, so I grab your GoPro and ask you to unhook the leader off the rudder. I know you’re claiming a world record dive to save the boat, but in truth she only draws about 900mm.” Trav is very quiet at this point.

(ABOVE) FANTALES: Something animalistic overcomes Neil after his first blue marlin. (BELOW) FOLLOW THE LEADER: Lani dances with another blue marlin on teh leader.

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MAKING MEMORIES SINCE 1953 11/9/19 1:54 pm


LOCAL LEGEND: RUSS HOUSBY

FEELING BLUE

All good things eventually come to an end. The Captain’s crew goes 6.4.4 on blues over the last few days of the trip, leaving everyone on board with huge smiles, especially Russ. First-timers Neil and Stu are well and truly hooked on blue marlin fishing. Saying their farewells, the boys and Dead-eye Dave retire to a hotel in town for a long massage, followed by dinner at the Blue Marlin Club in Port Vila, naturally. The Captain’s crew chug a few farewell Tusker brews aboard Nambas, soaking in memories of the trip. When asked what his dad would think of his life in one of the world’s best game-fishing playgrounds, Russ says, “My old man would be a fucking happy man to see what we saw today. Anybody who’s into blue marlin fishing likes seeing them fizz across the surface like we did. When you’ve got 50ft of string out and the fish is flying through the air, well, that’s the shit.” As Russ revels in the fight, we can practically smell the diesel soot. The Captain asks a sensible question — “Other than the bullshit blue marlin bite you got here, why else should people come?” Russ sucks hard on his rollie, sits back and says, “It’s a bucket-list destination with bucket-list species. If you haven’t fished here, you probably bloody should.” As The Captain’s crew disembarks, Trav can be heard promising to buy a longer set of fins — and a new pair of boardies. Nuff said.

GOOD CATCH: Vanuatu offers bucketlist fish (and Lani) in a bucket-list destination.

in russ WE TRUST:

Russ Housby info@nambasfishingcharters.com +678 7752433 www.nambasfishingcharters.com

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P

TA

IN’S SH I P S

CA

CAPTAIN’S SHIPS SAILFISH 3200 PLATINUM SPORTS

WO R D S a n d IMAG ES Th e C apt a in

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Paul Flynn loves his supersized Sailfish. His new rig is the first of the 3200 Platinum Sports range and features a beefed-up 3m beam and extended waterline length.

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS SAILFISH 3200 PLATINUM SPORTS

t’s a dead-calm winter’s morning and The Captain’s crew is rugged up for a Sydney Harbour session. A low fog is reluctantly lifting off the harbour. Housewives in white fluffy dressing gowns peer down from the balconies of waterfront mansions as we make our way along the timber boardwalk past brightly painted boathouses to meet Paul Flynn, our skipper for the day. At the end of the boardwalk sits his immaculate Sailfish 3200 Platinum Sports, its polished aluminium gleaming in the winter sun. We can’t really think of a better rig to be jigging off Sydney, our mission for the day.

GHOST TOWN

(TOP) EYES ON THE PRIZE: Paul Flynn in his happy place, at the helm of his Sailfish 3200 Platinum Sports. (MIDDLE) AWESOME ARSENAL: Paul prefers to use threadlines when jigging for kings. He also has an addiction to Stellas, by the looks of it. (BELOW) WINTER WONDERS: Paul reckons the fishing off Sydney is awesome in winter, with kings, snapper and tuna aplenty.

We load our ridiculously large camera cases aboard and toss the ropes before venturing out across an almost deserted harbour, a few ferries and a flat-bottomed workboat tending to moorings our only companions. We tuck into the lockable cabin and ask Paul about his plan. “Winter is an awesome time to fish offshore Sydney,” he says happily. “The kings are turning up on the outer reefs, the snapper are coming onto the chew and the bluefin and yellowfin will be off the shelf soon.” Today, we’re heading out to 12 Mile Reef and The Peak. Paul’s got it on good authority from a pro fisho that there are some big kingies cruising the deep reefs. Looks like it’s going to be a sashimi slaughter.

FEEL THE PEEL

Leaving the glassy harbour, we peel around Sydney Heads into a sloppy nor’easter chop. The cat ploughs through the rough stuff. It feels like we’re crawling, but a glance at the Yammie gauges confirms we’re actually doing 30 knots. Paul fine-tunes the trim and opens the Sailfish out to a blistering 45 knots. (Captain’s note: in case you didn’t know, the sailfish is the fastest fish in the ocean, so why the hell wouldn’t he?) Over the thrum of the engines, we ask Paul how he got into fishing. “My dad instilled fishing in me,” he says. “He used to take me every weekend. Now the wheels have turned and I take him….” Paul stops mid-sentence. His eyes laserlock onto the Furuno sounder. “Looks like we’ve found some bait,” he mutters, switching the Yamaha Helm Master into gear and grabbing the bait jigging rod before resuming his tale. “I’ve fished everywhere — creeks, rivers, beaches and headlands — in everything from kayaks to tinnies and larger fibreglass rigs. My last boat was a Seafarer Voyager 6.8m and I had a tear in the eye when I sold it. But I replaced it with this Sailfish and it’s a beauty,” he finishes, sliding the bait jig into the windswept sea. It doesn’t take him long to fill the twin bait tanks with yakkas (and one slimey). He’s irritatingly adept at fishing and driving the 32ft cat at the same time. “Twenty per cent of the fishing I do is solo because I like to head out on very short notice and if my mates are unavailable, I’m still going” he explains. “That’s why the Sailfish really appealed to me. You’ve got two of everything — two engines, two electrical systems and two big fuel tanks. I also run a man-overboard system that works like a proximity detector. If I fall in the drink, it kills the motors.”

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“It feels like we’re crawling, but a glance at the Yammie gauges confirms we’re actually doing 30 knots.” www.thecaptain.tv

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS SAILFISH 3200 PLATINUM SPORTS

(LEFT) Head to the bow and you’ll find a massive double bed. (BOTTOM LEFT) Paul’s marlin spotting tower. He calls it the “Zimmer frame.” (BELOW) A knife jig before hitting the briny. (BOTTOM RIGHT) Yakkas have a choice of twin bait tanks. (RIGHT) The view to the spacious cab and saloon area.

“I wanted a cat,” he says simply. “I loved the way they rode. The 30ft Sailfish caught my eye.”

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SIZE MATTERS: Dave runs two delicious Simrad NSS12 Evo3s in the 3500.

FULL LEATHERJACKET

With the Sailfish’s bait bellies full of yakkas, Paul’s back on the throttles and working the twin hulls up to a speed where he can fill the tunnel with air and spray, creating a nice vapour for soft landings. Ideal cruising speed is 3500RPM, which holds us at a comfortable 25 knots, burning 30L per side. In no time, we’re back off the throttles and bobbing on the mark. It’s time to get jiggy and everyone is keen to show-off their style. The Captain’s crew goes balls to the wall, ripping the jig fast and aggressively through the water column. Paul, on the other hand, goes for a more seductive flick and wave. After much early bluster, The Captain’s crew is already completely gassed and switching out the 300g jig for a live bait. While lining up another drift, we quiz Paul about how he ended up getting into the big Sailfish. “I wanted a cat,” he says simply. “I loved the way they rode. The 30ft Sailfish caught my eye — they’d recently reconfigured the cabin and it looked really sporty, with nice lines. I organised a test ride with the dealer on the snottiest, most horrendous day off Sydney — but the boat handled it immaculately. The only thing I thought wasn’t quite right was the cabin-to-cockpit ratio. I mentioned this to the Sailfish guys and they reckoned they could put another 600mm in the back and make it 32ft. I wasn’t interested in trailering it, so asked if we could increase the girth to 3m. The boys told me that wouldn’t be a problem, either. That’s how the first Platinum Sports 3200 was conceived. That’s the awesome thing with aluminium — it’s very configurable. You’re not restricted like you are with a fibreglass mould and everything can be customised to suit your needs.” Next drop, and down goes the live bait on heavy lead. We salute the wide-eyed yakka for his brave efforts as he plummets to the bottom at breakneck speed. After a minute or so, the bail arm is closed and the trap is set. The livey immediately starts to panic and the rod tip vibrates aggressively. There are a few big thuds, then nothing. We retrieve the yakka to make sure he’s still OK. It’s not pretty. The leatherjackets have got to him and all that remains is a head, backbone and tail — brutal. The leatherjacket onslaught continues for the next couple of hours until we can’t take it anymore. Paul suggests a beer and barbie back in the harbour and we take him up on the offer. The remaining yakkas in the bait tank breathe a bubble of relief.

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS SAILFISH 3200 PLATINUM SPORTS

WEAPONISED WATERCRAFT

Back in the harbour, we laugh about our unsuccessful session over a beer and a few snags. This is the perfect moment to closely inspect the fit-out on the 3200. From the stern there’s a killer tunnel walkway — a game changer for fishing around outboards. Other on-point fishy features include a baitboard with built-in tuna tubes, twin live bait tanks, dive door, rigging bench, outriggers, twin electric downrigger bases, electric reel capacity for deep-dropping and a fully custom tower on the hardtop that Paul calls the “Zimmer frame”. He also wanted massive underfloor kill tanks and got his made wider, longer and deeper. The compromise was a slightly smaller fuel tank, but he says 300L a side is more than enough. In fact, he often runs the 3200 down to Jervis Bay, only using half a tank getting there. Choice. The Sailfish designers claim the new Hydroflow hull offers amazing efficiency and this boat is the proof. He’s a family man, so there’s a galley with slide-out BBQ and hot-water sink on the port side, This works brilliantly with the alfresco window, opening up the cabin and cockpit, making the boat feel more of an express style. You can flick the snags straight off the BBQ onto the dining table. Paul says it’s also handy for solo fishing for striped marlin, launching into another yarn, this one is about fighting a fish from inside the cabin. “I was winding, reversing, steering, taking photos and trying not to let the line knick on anything while I was at it. Mayhem. I’ve actually caught a number of marlin on my own.” But back to the 3200 configuration. On the starboard side of the cockpit is a dominant slide-out fridge freezer, which tucks neatly away. For such a burger with the lot, Sailfish

and Paul have done a great job keeping everything clean and tidy. The 3200 is the Transformer of boats — one minute you could have an entire outdoor entertaining area set up for sleepovers with the family and friends; the next, you can pack it all down and take the boys out for a hard-core game-fishing session. Inside the fully lockable cabin is a lot more storage, a microwave and a great dinette, which fits a bunch of big boys — either eating lunch or having a cosy afternoon siesta. In the electronics department, Paul isn’t fugging around. He’s got a serious Furuno set-up that includes the FCV-1150 he uses for traditional sonar and twin TZtouch2s for navigation and spotting bait schools on each side of the boat with multi-beam sonar. He also has autopilot, NXT Doppler radar and FLIR camera for covert operations to secret snapper grounds. Paul runs a big inverter system so he can hook up to shore power when he’s at home. When away on big trips, the boat relies on the solar cell system on the hardtop to keep the batteries topped up. Also on the tech front, Paul has a repeater system for his mobile phone that allows him to make calls from Browns Mountain, past the continental shelf, 38km off Sydney. He tells us it’s a safety feature, but we reckon Paul’s wife made him install it so he can’t go rogue when the bluefin are biting. Pushing deeper into the cabin, we find a step down into the bathroom with toilet, shower and, strangely, more rod holders, which Paul installed so he could wash down his tackle while he’s washing his, er, tackle. Next door is the master bed. It’s a little squeezy to access and has relatively low headroom, but once you’re in, you can stretch out like a starfish in a yoga class.

“He can wash down his tackle while he’s washing his, er, tackle.”

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TOONA TIME

After the unsuccessful fishing session on the kings, Paul invited us out to chase tuna with him a couple of weeks later. Unfortunately, we were slurping down oysters in South Australia and couldn’t make it. Paul tells the tale of his tuna triumph. “The plan was to head out before sunrise (no fear, with radar, FLIR camera and GPS showing the way), dodge the whales and be east of the bait station by 7am. It was one of the darkest mornings I’ve seen for ages, grey and cloudy. We cruised straight out to the grounds at 23 knots. Easy, sipping 55L per hour total. “As the sun started to peer through the clouds, five lures went into the water — three skirts and two divers (one deep, one bibless). We also had two teasers — Squid Nations and a daisychain of flippy birds. At 8.20am, we’re on! Thirty-five minutes on the rod and we’ve got it on the leader, but can’t hold it and it rips off into the deep. It’s a very big fish and we’re glad it’s on the 37kg bent butt. After five minutes, we’ve got the leader again and this time we see it — a 60–70kg yellowfin. My mate swipes the gaff at it, but it lands high up the tail. The big fish goes ballistic, shakes it out and the hook is straightened. Silence falls over the boat as we mourn for five minutes. Concha de tu madre!” (Captain’s note: literally it means ‘Your mother’s seashell” — but it’s ruder than that.) “Blame game over, it’s back to business. We head a little north and it’s a perfectly clear sky now. At 10.52am, there’s a bang on the 15kg outfit from the shotgun and it’s peeling a lot of string. It’s the Pakula Paua Hornet again — that thing is deadly. After a 20-minute fight, the fish is boatside and this time the gaff sticks. A 35kg model comes over the gunwale and it’s high-fives all ‘round. Lures back into the water and over the course of the next hour we land a 20kg, a couple of 10kg and a large albacore. Every lure gets a fish, but nothing beats the Petroleo, not even the Polu Kai lumo.”

‘FIN GRIN: After losing a 60kg yellowfin boatside, the boys are stoked to finally get one on the deck.

CHICKEN OF THE SEA: This albacore was a tasty surprise amongst the yellowfin.

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS SAILFISH 3200 PLATINUM SPORTS

BANG FOR BUCK

THREE TRICKS TO MAKE YOUR CAT MEOW THUMBS UP

• Stable as a lead table • Freshwater washdown on wipers was mighty handy for when the cat sneezes • A bathroom you don’t need to bend down in • So much storage we wouldn’t know what to do with it all • Is just at home cruising with the family and having a BBQ as it as on the continental shelf hauling in bluefin • Electronics set-up is damn impressive • Tower on the hardtop is a neat touch • Alfresco window really opens up the boat

THUMBS DOWN

• Still not sold on Garmin digital switching • With a 3m beam, you’re stuck at the dock in Sydney when the striped marlin are on bait balls off the south coast • Accessing the master bed is a little squeezy for a 32ft rig • Passenger seat needs another grab rail or footrest • For someone who fishes solo as much as Paul, a second helm station should be essential

Paul doesn’t claim to be an expert at driving cats just yet, but he’s picked up a few tricks that make a world of difference.

1

Use your motors to trim to the sea conditions, especially when running down sea. Lean into a port sea by trimming the inside motor (the port motor) up, and trimming the outside motor (starboard motor) down. Do the opposite when the sea is on your starboard beam.

2

Get air under the hull. People say the faster you drive a cat, the better it’ll perform and that’s because you’re squeezing more water and air (vapour) into the tunnel and creating a cushioning effect.

3

Avoid a head sea. Cats don’t like going straight into a head sea, so always try to slightly angle off it for a softer ride. You might take a longer track than all the other boats, but you’ll still arrive home first because you’re able to move across the water so quickly.

The attention to detail that’s gone into this boat is astronomical, even by The Captain’s deck-out standards. Every small fitting and accessory has been carefully selected to make it user-friendly. There aren’t too many 32-footers you can run solo. It makes a huge difference to the outcome of a boat when you can work so closely with the builder during production, like Paul did with the guys from Webbe Marine and Sailfish. When it comes to value for money, just shy of $470K as tested sounds like a lot. However, when you start doing the sums on the options fitted, it’s surprisingly competitive, comparable to similar-sized fibreglass boats and new game boats. But for Paul, the money isn’t half as important as the joy his boat gives him. “Fishing is the place I go to for my mental health, some solace and spending quality time with mates and family.” Nicely said, mate. The Captain salutes you — and your sweet ride.

Boat specs

SAILFISH PLATINUM SPORTS 3200 Length: 10.6m Beam: 3m Draft: 600mm Passengers: 12 Weight: 4500kg (approx) Fuel capacity: 600L Water capacity: 200L Standard HP: 2 x 250HP Maximum HP: 2 x 425HP (with optional 3.5m beam) ENGINE SPECS Model: 2 x Yamaha F300 Type: V6 DOHC 24-valve Displacement: 4.1L Weight: 259kg PRICE From: $367,000 As tested: $470,000 approx. MORE INFORMATION Webbe Marine 17 Yalgar Road, Kirrawee, NSW (02) 9521 7944; www.webbemarine.com.au

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SUZ L


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CAPTAIN’S PEOPLE DARREN FORSTER

see the video at thecaptain.tv

FACTORY FINISH

Sailfish have won plenty of gongs over the journey, as well as the hearts of more than a few skippers. To get the scoop on all things alloy, The Captain goes straight to the source, the land of macadamia farms, epic surf breaks and the big prawn — yep, the Northern Rivers, specifically Alstonville, NSW. And Sailfish co-director and designer Darren Forster is about to spill the beans.

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GOD’S COUNTRY: Just 15 minutes from the Sailfish factory you’ll find South Ballina beach. In the distance you can also see the notorious Ballina bar.

T

he Captain: Ahoy Daz, thanks for showing us around Sailfish central, she’s as productive as a WWII tank factory. Where did it all start? Darren Forster: I spent nine years building cats at Marlin Broadbill in Sydney before leaving to start Sailfish in 1993. That year, I went to my first boat show and sold four boats. Seven years later, we built this factory and in 2013, Gav and Ash from Webbe Marine partnered in the business. That helped us grow tenfold, as I could focus on designing and building boats while they helped with business management and marketing the brand. Fast-forward to today and we’ve got 21 staff pumping out 30 Sailfish boats a year. The Captain: So, 26 years and still going strong! Not a bad effort, mate. Tell me about Sailfish’s commercial chops? Darren Forster: As soon as I started Sailfish, I contacted the Maritime Services Board, National Parks and Environmental Protection Agencies to show them what we were doing and pretty soon we were building commercial boats for them. Not long after that, spannercrab fishermen, pro fishermen, charter fishos and dive charters also started catching on. We even built some 36ft commercial boats for a mining company in Papua New Guinea. Overall, we’ve built more than 160 commercial boats. The Captain: Geez, that’s a lot of survey paperwork. Don’t you drown in the red tape? Darren Forster: All our recreational hulls are already built to commercial specs in terms of construction method, plate thickness and

box section frames. It really doesn’t take much extra work on our end to get a boat to survey. The Captain: Fair call. What’s so special about a Sailfish build? Darren Forster: We work closely with the customer to build a unique boat for their specific needs. We also have an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise in the marine business. Currently, on the factory floor, we’ve got a total of 225 years’ experience. You can’t buy that. And all our builders love boating and fishing, and take great pride in their work. The Captain: You might not be the most impartial judge, but what’s better and why — cats or monos? Darren Forster: There are good boats everywhere, but cats are just an awesomely stable platform and they ride soft with the air-cushioning effect in the tunnel. Plus, you’ve got a lot more options when building a cat because your beam follows so far forward — meaning better bang for your buck. The Captain: Bruce Harris (legendary Shark Cat builder) would be proud of you, Darren. So what’s going on beneath the waterline on a Sailfish boat? Darren Forster: Well, I haven’t retired yet, so I can’t give too much away, but what makes Sailfish different is that we’re always developing. We’ve changed our hulls numerous times over the years. More recently, we’ve fattened up the front of the sponsons to give it a fast response in a

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CAPTAIN’S PEOPLE DARREN FORSTER

“All the best things in life come in aluminium — boats and beer.” quartering sea. Another thing we’ve been working on with our Hydroflow hull is fuel efficiency. It’s about releasing drag out of the hulls, not so much grinding welds to make them smooth, but the way the water flows through the tunnel. Our boats give a good square wall of water around the props to make them super fuel-efficient. The Captain: Describe boat building in five words. Darren Forster: Hard work, challenging, time-consuming, but seriously rewarding. The Captain: Er, that was eight words, but fair enough. Why is it so rewarding? Darren Forster: Plate comes in on the truck and gets dropped off on a pallet. We cut the boats out, press them, form them in our jigs, paint them, fit them and then watch them roll out of here. It’s a seriously proud moment for the boys in the factory and me. The Captain: What’s the biggest Sailfish you’ve ever built? Darren Forster: Back in 2006, we built a 50-footer with a five-metre beam for a fella who’s no longer with us. I wasn’t too keen on the idea as we’re so far away from the water, but he was very persuasive so we accepted the challenge. It ended up being the first alloy cat in the world to have a Volvo IPS in it. Once the boat was completed, we actually

had to pull the front roller door and wall out to get it onto the truck! Then it needed a police car escort to get it down to the water. That boat was definitely a memorable build. The Captain: OK, turtle in the room, Daz. Cats sometimes cop a bit of heat on Facebook for rolling over on bars. What’s the story there? Can you set the keyboard warriors straight? Darren Forster: Cats roll on bars just as much as monohulls and tri-hulls. The fact is, cats have always been known as a commercial or rescue boat, so people are surprised when an accident happens. It garners much more attention. Some of it also comes down to inexperience driving a twin-hull boat — people jump behind the wheel and think they’re invincible. The Captain: Fair call. Thanks for your time, Daz. Darren Forster: No worries Cap’n. Don’t forget, all the best things in life come in aluminium — boats and beer. The Captain: Er, yeah, but they also come in glass, mate. (Note: this is The Captain doing his best to sound impartial, knowledgeable and witty, all at the same time.) Darren Forster: Touché.

VINTAGE SAILFISH: As you can tell from Darren’s tight blue footy shorts, he’s been building Sailfish cats for a bloody long time.

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IF BOATS WERE E CARS...

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CAPTAINS TIPS: IF BOATS WERE CARS

WO R DS an d IM AGE S Th e C ap tai n

KEEP YOUR HANDS IN THE CAR, ER, BOAT PLEASE. I LOVE YOU CAPTAIN!

Like cars, some boats are built for speed, others for functionality. Some are rebuilt classics, while others are untouched vintage beauties. Every boat has its own individual personality. So, The Captain pondered, if boats were cars, what would they be? www.thecaptain.tv

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1. CAMCRAFT — SUBARU WRX

The Camcraft would be a Subaru WRX. Both known for evading the fuzz at high speeds, these babies grip like an abalone on a rock. Don’t let their sleepy appearance fool you, they love a good drag race. If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these horsepower heroes at warp speed, you’ll need the tissues.

2. THE CAPTAIN’S 445F — PORSCHE 356

Old but cool, the Haines Hunter 445F and Porsche 356 share a diminutive stature and timeless shape. They both have open tops and are both loved by old dudes and respected by young folk. Any lack of straight-line speed is remedied by solid handling in the corners. Usually active on nice weekends, these favourites offer big kicks in little packages.

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CAPTAINS CAPTAINS TIPS: TIPS: IF BOATS IF BOATS WERE WERE CARS CARS

3. FORMULA 233 — FORD FALCON PHASE 3 GTHO

A Formula 233 would be a Phase 3 Falcon GTHO. With the right hands on the wheel, these muscle machines make grown men weak at the knees. They are usually well preserved thanks to fastidious owners who are prone to occasional bouts of fuel-injected fanaticism. Built for a purpose, it’s hard to spot an ugly one. The Formula and the Phase 3 will remain kings of their domain for many years to come.

4. STABICRAFT 2050 — LAMBORGHINI COUNTACH

Both fully imported from exotic faraway lands — Italy and, er, New Zealand — these babies share an angular appearance, forward cabin design and are often found in bold colours, especially red. Recognisable by their tough attitude, these bad boys stick to the surface like a squid Sikaflexed to a beach ball. They’ve got grunt in reverse, too. Bonus feature: extrawide windscreen for spotting birds.

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5. CRUISE CRAFT 595 — BMW M5

A Cruise Craft 595 would be a BMW M5. Built for travelling in style, this pair oozes class. Despite strong appeal in the older demos, they’re not sneezed at by the young bucks who charge hard on the weekend when Dad throws them the keys. Bonus feature: armrests come standard.

6. OLD QUINNIE — SERIES LANDROVER

An old Quinnie would be a Series Landrover. Their respective owners will do anything to keep these geriatrics operational, swearing they’re the best thing since Brooke Shields set the eye candy bar high in The Blue Lagoon. The more beat-up they get, the better they seem to look. Reliability issues are only matched by their owner’s ability to talk about them. Bonus feature: removable seats come standard.

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CAPTAINS TIPS: IF BOATS WERE CARS

7. HAINES HUNTER V19 — HOLDEN KINGSWOOD

A Haines Hunter V19 would be a Holden Kingswood. They’ve had more owners than Caitlyn Jenner’s had facelifts — and just as many modifications. They’re still a favourite, no matter how ugly they look, because most people can remember riding in one. Originals are a bit hard to find, particularly in their original colours. Warning: approach owners with caution.

8. WHITE POINTER SPORTS CRUISER — TOYOTA LANDCRUISER

A White Pointer Sports Cruiser would be a Toyota LandCruiser Sahara. They’re not built for speed, but when they get up a head of steam you better get out the way. Beards, jeans and brown leather boots come standard with each, along with copious refrigeration and state-of-the-art electronics that seldom get used. Found in serious environs, the LandCruiser and White Pointer always get the job done and are home in time for supper. They can often be tribal and like moving in packs. Easily spotted at distances because they’re usually sporting more aerials than a weather station.

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9. SHARK CAT — EH HOLDEN STATION WAGON

Both share a horrible ride around corners and the ergonomics of a lamppost, but that hasn’t slowed down the growing appreciation for the sweeping lines of these two Australian classics. Once you’ve removed the rust and cobwebs, they’re also pretty handy for moving bulky loads. Their owners wear the “Classic, Not Plastic” badge with pride.

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CAPTAINS TIPS: IF BOATS WERE CARS

10. RIVIERA — RANGE ROVER VOGUE EDITION

If you’re more concerned with impressing your work colleagues than actual, sensible stuff that works, then you’re probably riding in one of these overpriced palaces already. Don’t let build quality sway your opinion — rest assured that the oil industry thanks you for your frequent generous support at the petrol bowser. See you in Noosa for the Easter break!

11. STANDUP PADDLE BOARD — SCOOTER

No licence, no money, no mates and no shame. Well, no worries. Just grab ya sled and start to shred. Burn calories while burning legitimate users at the same time.

12. NAIAD RIB — HUMVEE

Often found in treacherous, potentially lifethreatening situations, these military-grade marques are not afraid to bounce off their counterparts during operations. Good grip, heaps of horsepower and invasion-grade, steel-encased cabins allow their owners to charge forward with confidence.

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CAPTAIN’S ADVENTURE WHITTLEY SL25 IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

WO R D S a n d IMAG ES Th e C apt a in

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SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SERENADE Jack promised his Californian belle she’d taste every part of Australia. True to his word, he whisked her away to the seafood frontier of Australia — South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. His chariot for this romantic mission is the appropriately palatial Whittley SL25 Coast Tourer. This one is fully set up for both whitingwhacking and cozy nights under the doona.

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e’re on the Eyre Peninsula and I’d love to tell you we’re here to explore a mosaic of pristine shoreline, endless sandy beaches and coastal towns overflowing with succulent seafood, mouth-watering wine and seaside charm. But I’d be talking shit. I actually read all that in an SA tourism brochure. We’re really here to fillet as many King George whiting as possible, burn a bunch of fuel and bludge as many free oysters as we can eat. I’m already off to a flying start on the scam-o-meter since I got my girlfriend, Alli, to sweet-talk Alan Whittley into giving us the keys to a boat, his tow vehicle and his fuel card. Winning.

W

EYRE TO THE THRONE I’ve always wanted to explore the Eyre Peninsula. They reckon this is the seafood frontier of Australia, with two thirds of the state’s commercial catch coming into its ports. The place is famous for green-lipped abalone, scallops, prawns, oysters and tuna. But all I need are 100-odd whiting and a few Coffin Bay oysters to get Alli in the mood for lurve. Did I mention the Whittley has a seriously comfy double bed? More about the Whittley later… This place does have amazing natural beauty — countless red dirt roads lead down to large white sand dunes that roll forever before cascading into the Southern Ocean. There are coastal townships, some booming with busloads of tourists clambering onto eco boats. Other towns rust slowly away on the side of the highway. Don’t be deceived by the beauty. This strip of coastline has claimed hundreds of boats and sailors over the years. Matthew Flinders, the second bloke to navigate his way around Australia, named an entire group of islands here after several of his seamen lost their lives exploring the local waters. (Note to Alli: no sleeping on watch!)

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ROCK ON: Most people head to Talia Beach to check out Woolshed Cave. We were more interested in finding our own natural jacuzzi.

SEAFOOD SLAYER: South Australia is famous for its seafood. Luckily we were rolling in a baller SL25 Coast Tourer.

3

“THERE ARE COASTAL TOWNSHIPS, SOME BOOMING WITH BUSLOADS OF TOURISTS CLAMBERING ONTO ECO BOATS.”

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CAPTAIN’S ADVENTURE SL25 IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

PARADISE FOUND: Coffin Bay National Park was full of wild emus, cobalt water, massive dunes, white sand beaches and a Whittley SL25

WHITING WHITEWASH: Jack and Tumby Tom battle it out for the biggest whiting - Tom wins...

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ROAD TRIPPIN’ Our SA adventure starts on a gloomy Adelaide winter’s day. The SL25 is hitched to the Whittley company car — a LandCruiser with 660,000 clicks on the dial. Our destination is Tumby Bay, eight hours’ drive away. There’s nothing to make you hit the handbrake as the landscape changes from desert to bushland to coastal in a matter of kilometres. After the long drive, we finally arrive at Tumby Bay. The township nestles in a large open bay and boasts a 300m jetty reaching out into the blue. There are only 1500 people living here, but the bloke we’re most interested in meeting is the one they call Tumby Tom. His claim to fame is extracting whiting from the ocean at will.

TUMBY TOM Tumby Tom doesn’t have a fancy website or brochure — just the way The Captain likes it. We’re not the first to court Tom’s services. All the big TV fisho personalities pop in to see him when they need help getting onto the bite. Everyone from Rex Hunt, Lee Rayner and Paul Worsteling to the Hook, Line and Sinker team have fished with Tom, so we’re eager to compare our angling skills against the greats. We meet up with Tom as the sun stretches across the ramp, the SL25 standing proud. “This is a fancy lookin’ boat,” Tom remarks, heaving a commercial fish tub of burley over the gunwales. Today we’ll be heading to the “Groups”, which is what the locals call the chain of islands scattered off the coast. They’re officially called the Sir Joseph Banks Group, named by Matthew Flinders in homage to Captain Cook’s botanist. We launch the SL25 and make our way out of a narrow channel, fringed by canal houses. Tom explains there are lots of dangerous bommies and to be careful on the way out. Considering the Whittley is only fitted with a tiny Garmin display that has no detailed

chart maps, we hand Tom the helm. Bristling with excitement, he guides us skillfully through the channel. Privately, we reckon Paul Worsteling never let him have the wheel. As we approach the fishing grounds, Tom whips out an antique handheld GPS. “I bet a few locals would give their left nut to have 10 minutes alone with that thing?” I quiz Tom. “You’re not wrong,” he says, tapping the black-and-white screen. “This little baby is the key to the city.” It’s more than just good GPS marks, though, as the fish move around to different spots at different times, Tom explains. “This time of year, the fish are on the hard bottom, on clumps of rock that hold corkweed and berry weed. Usually, you’re fishing where you can see them along the sand edges. Best bait is pipi or cockle, but it’s good to have some options. If you’re serious, you catch fresh squid or cuttlefish, then tenderise it and cut it into thin strips.” With the whiting tips coming in thick and fast, it’s time to get amongst the action. Tom busts out the burley, transforming the sparkling-clean SL25 bait board into the horror scene from Saw IV. Then, down goes the burley pot full of pilchards, with the addition of a large squid head (Tom’s secret tip). It only takes 30 seconds for the first hook-up. Tom and his long floppy rod are buckled in the back corner of the Whittley. Alli’s rod is bent over like a banana too. Yep, we’re into a serious whiting session. After 20 minutes of some of the most incredible King George action I’ve experienced, Tom calls a halt to the whiting whacking. “If we keep fishing here, we’re going to bag out in about five minutes (the limit is 30 for the boat). So how about we move to another spot where we probably won’t catch as many fish, but the ones we do catch will be much bigger?” We prep the Whittley for a move. With the press of a

“WITH THE WHITING TIPS COMING IN THICK AND FAST, IT’ S TIME TO GET AMONGST THE ACTION.”

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button the anchor is hauled off the sandy bottom and Tom is back at the wheel with his ancient GPS. We move out to deeper grounds where Tom reckons we’ll also have a chance at some monster trevally. Like clockwork, down goes the burley pot and up come the whiting. Tom’s not wrong — this time we’re snagging them up to 45cm, plus a few big trevs. With our bag limit maxed out, Tom offers to show us around a few of the 21 beautiful islands in the group. Alli fantasises about sunbaking on white sand beaches with her favourite book while turquoise waters lap softly against her toes. That’s until Tom explains the islands are notoriously thick with native death adders and tiger snakes. Raincheck on the sunbaking. After an action-packed afternoon, it’s back to Tumby Bay. Tom suggests we get the beers while he cleans the whiting — fair deal — and we meet up later for dinner at his place. His wife, Judy, puts on an incredible feed and we score a ziplock bag of perfectly filleted whiting to take on our travels. It’ll prove handy for bartering. We only met Tom 12 hours earlier, but we now feel like part of the family. The Captain dips his lid to old Tumby Tom.

APHRODISIAC ADVENTURE SA is famous for its oysters, so I get on the blower to Chris Hank from Pure Coffin Bay Oysters. He offers to take us out on one of his tours in exchange for a few whiting fillets. We opt for the one-hour session (which will set you back $65 per person if you don’t have anything to trade). It’s an awesome little on-water aphrodisiac adventure and you get to check out the Coffin Bay waterway, Kellidie Bay oyster farms, the original farm — and slurp down some delicious oysters, after you’ve learned how to shuck ’em. While we’re in the area, we have to visit Coffin Bay National Park, where we attempt to wrangle some wild emus. Failing miserably, we opt for a swim at insanely picturesque Almonta Beach. Port Lincoln, home to the country’s largest commercial fishing fleet, is next on the agenda. We catch up with local legend Jamie Crawford, who builds fish farms and shark cages. He takes us out for another session on the whiting off Port Lincoln National Park. We also hook into some massive morwong on the light gear. They look like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Some of the prettiest fish in the ocean, I reckon they’d even give Angelina Jolie’s lips a run for their money. From Port Lincoln, we work our way along the west coast, stopping in at popular spots like Woolshed Cave and Talia Beach. People come to

“ITS AN AWESOME LITTLE ON-WATER APHRODISIAC ADVENTURE AND YOU GET TO CHECK OUT COFFIN BAY.”

TASTY TREATS: Alli slurps down a few Coffin Bay oysters before breathing in the salty sea air at Almonta Beach.

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PERTH 52a Bayview Terrace Claremont, WA 6010 SYDNEY Suite 3, d’Albora Marina, The Spit, Mosman NSW 2088 www.onebrokerage.com.au T 1300 011 101

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CAPTAIN’S ADVENTURE WHITTLEY SL25 IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

see the caves, but we’re more interested in the naturally forming rock pools. We strip down to sample the nipplestiffening Southern Ocean in Mother Nature’s jacuzzi. Further along the road, we stumble into a dusty old gem called the Sheringa Roadhouse for a couple of burgers. The joint is owned by a crazy cat lady — unfortunately, I hate cats. On the upside, she has some Halco metal slugs for sale, so I pocket a few for later. Turning down a dusty road, we make our way down to a remote spot known as Mount Camel Beach. It’s the perfect spot to throw slugs in the surf as the sun goes down. We get stuck into a huge school of Australian salmon on ultra-light gear and follow it up with a bonfire on the beach. It’s an ideal Corona moment, except we don’t have any. Instead, we neck a bottle of rose, then test some of the creature comforts in the Whittley’s cabin. Next day, the plan is to catch up with Justin Shepperd from EP Marine in Streaky Bay. Justin is keen to take us out for a fish, but we’re well and truly whitinged out. Instead, we settle for a couple of SA brews and an immaculately prepared Alli-platter out on the boat.

SA IN SUMMARY The seafood was good, but we expected that. We didn’t expect the sheer size and isolation of Eyre Peninsula. I’d forgotten how good a deserted beach and good company feels. Every dusty road invites you to another coastal hideout and we were never disappointed at the end. The National Parks are nature’s own adventure parks — just add a boat, a bottle of rose and some good company. And maybe Tumby Tom. But not all together. That’d just be weird.

WEAPON OF A WHITTLEY The guys at Whittley may have been around for more than 60 years, but they’re not sitting around the lunchroom twiddling their moustaches. They noticed the influx of European boats with soft edges, plush seating arrangements and lock-up cabins — all the things that appeal to Mrs Captain — and decided they could up the bling level a little. So, they took one of their proven concepts, the Sea Legend, and gave it a makeover. So, what’s special about the Coast Tourer Edition? There’s an awesome moulded hardtop, which we didn’t bump our heads on once. This leads down to a big windscreen with 360-degree visibility and wipers that actually work. Which is a must when tackling the wild southern seas. Another must is the lockable sliding door, which keeps you warm and snug when you’re on the water, and your fishing gear safe when you’re knocking back schooners at the pub after a day on the whiting. There’s a well-appointed cabin with a wide aperture leading into the double bed. It’s great for access as well as getting your gear in and out easily. But it comes at a cost — there aren’t many grab rails in the cabin for your crew and it also means you lose a dash to put your phone and wallet on. The V-berth also has a dinette drop-in, which makes for killer on-water picnics. The nice touches don’t end there, with rear-facing upholstered seats out in the cockpit and plush gunwale padding. Speaking of which, there is heaps of room out the back and an integrated rear deck. On the port side there’s a freshwater wash-down and sink; and on the starboard side, a live bait tank — in which we managed to keep 30 big King George whiting alive. No shit. Our only criticism would be the small drainage holes, which

“THEY TOOK ONE OF THEIR PROVEN CONCEPTS, THE SEA LEGEND, AND GAVE IT A MAKEOVER.”

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SANDY SALMON: Mount Camel Beach is a great spot for sunset picnics. Don’t forget the metal slugs though.

AW, SHUCKS For more information about Pure Coffin Bay

Oysters, head to www.coffinbayoysters.com.au or call Chris Hank on 0428 261 805.

BAGGED OUT: We’d only met Tumby Tom 12 hours earlier, but by the end of the day we were best mates.

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CAPTAIN’S ADVENTURE WHITTLEY SL25 IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Boat specs

DOUBLE DOWN: Jamie Crawford was another legend we met along the way. Naturally, he took us whiting fishing.

got clogged with scales. Other fishy features include four rod holders on top of the gunwales, two rod holders in each side pocket, and six rocket launchers on the hardtop. This baby has also got outriggers, not that we needed them in whiting season. And it also has a commercial size underfloor kill tank. For such a serious fishing boat, we were a little bit disappointed to see a pissy little Garmin unit in the dash. If I were dropping this much coin on a new boat, I’d definitely be spending a little bit extra on mega electronics. Ride and handling is what we’ve come to expect from the 23-degree Sea Legend marque, this one powered with a pair of Yamaha 150 outboards. The twins were a game changer when it came to stability while underway, manoeuvrability in tight spaces and incredible grunt. We were clocking speeds over 75km/h. Speaking of performance figures, the boat comes standard with a 240L fuel tank, which — unbelievably — we didn’t fill up once on the whole trip. The best part is it’s all legally towable at under 2.5m and just shy of 3.5 tonne fully loaded with all my Tiagras and Alli’s activewear. So who would this boat suit? Everyone in South Australia it would seem, as this boat dropped jaws everywhere we went. They obviously don’t see much big deep-vee glass around these here parts. The SL25 would suit young couples, small families and grey nomads alike — whether they’re just taking it down to the local ramp on weekends, or on road trips around Australia. The Coast Tourer lives up to its name — the SA coastline is some of the most rugged and remote we’ve come across, but the SL 25 was the perfect saltwater sled to attack it in.

SL25 COAST TOURER EDITION Length: 7.7m Beam: 2.49m Deadrise: 23° Passengers: 8 Dry weight: 3000kg (approx) Fuel capacity: 240L Water capacity: 20L Standard HP: 200HP Maximum HP: 300HP ENGINE SPECS Model: 2 x Yamaha F150 Type: In-line 4 DOHC 16-Valve Displacement: 2.67L Weight: 228kg PRICE From: $149,990 As tested: $189,990 MORE INFORMATION Whittley Marine Group 99 Freight Drive, Somerton, Victoria. (03) 8339 1800; www.whittleymarinegroup.com.au

THUMBS UP

CHEESY GRIN: The SL25 features a huge airy cabin. Just add one of Alli’s cheese platers.

• 23-degree hull sliced up the SA slop • Twins get the grins — the F150 Yammies were amazing on this hull • Insane fuel efficiency — didn’t have to top it up once • Lock-up cab is a game changer when touring • Great high hardtop design fits the proportions of the boat and doesn’t impede visibility • Deep, comfortable and spacious cabin • A boat the ladies will love • If you tow an SL25 through SA, you’re going to make a lot of new friends

THUMBS DOWN

• Garmin electronics were a serious let-down • Small drains in live well meant they got clogged with whiting scales • No dash for phones and wallets

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I AM THE QUIET KEEPER OF A BROODING OCEAN

Get to know me at IAMAPOLLOBAY.COM.AU

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PART two

In part two of The Captain’s Heavy Metal Tour we head south, to climb aboard the biggest recreational Stabicraft to hit Aussie shores, as well as a tough-as-fug Seacruiser Walkaround. Cat fans rejoice because we’ve also got the latest Moda C-2900.

see the video at thecaptain.tv

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icraft 275 Stab 0

SLAB-OCRAFT The Captain is cruising the Australian coast, bludging free rides on the meanest metal rigs out there. We head south to Apollo Bay to check out the most deckedout recreational Stabi to ever hit Australian shores.

see the video at thecaptain.tv

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n the dawn light, Kyle Briggs’ Stabicraft 2750 Ultra Centrecab XL lurks around Apollo Bay wharf like a hungry predator. It looks all the more menacing courtesy of its forwardraking windscreen and graffiti-style wrap featuring an extremely angry fish-monster. The Captain has been lured to this small south-west Victorian port, halfway along the Great Ocean Road, by the promise of a bluefin-busting trip to the Twelve Apostles — and the chance to experience the biggest, most expensive Stabicraft ever to depart its Kiwi birthplace for Australia. This metal machine has transcended its fugly platey origins to morph into one spectacularly glam game-fishing beast.

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“THIS METAL MACHINE HAS TRANSCENDED ITS FUGLY PLATEY ORIGINS TO MORPH INTO ONE SPECTACULARLY GLAM GAMEFISHING BEAST.”

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“ KYLE BUSTS A FEW GOOD MOVES AROUND THE TWELVE APOSTLES.”

BIG RIG A plumber by trade, Kyle moved to Apollo Bay

from Melbourne four years ago and loves it. “It’s a beautiful spot under the Otway Ranges, with mountains, forest, sandy beaches,” he says. Kyle also loves fishing out of his brand-new 2750 Ultra Centrecab XL. “Mostly we’re trolling for tuna, but we also catch flathead, squid and whiting,” he says happily. “We go north to chase striped marlin, and during the summer months, cruise around Apollo Bay after crayfish.” Having already checked in with Kyle at the Apollo Bay Bakery to stock up on their famous scallop pies — the 2750 has a shiny pie warmer that may have been designed by NASA — The Captain’s crew are locked and loaded, aka, awake and not particularly hungover. We watch Kyle smoothly manoeuvre his rig into the wet stuff with a platinum 2018 F250, which Kyle loves almost as much as his boat. Kyle says, “I needed a car like this to tow this boat. It needs to be legal and the LandCruiser wasn’t cutting it. It’s definitely the biggest rig in Apollo Bay.”

GAME ON Once on the water, Kyle runs through a couple

of tests before heading out past the lighthouse at Cape Otway and setting course for the Apostles. It’s shaping to be a blue-sky morning and a north-easterly is blowing at about five knots. The wind’s right behind us, so Kyle drops the hammers on the twin four-stroke Suzuki 250s and we blast along the coast at full speed. At 5600 revs, the Suzis are singing like a pair of drunken V8s at Summernats, rocking it at 75–80km/h. “That was the maximum rating I could get on this boat,” Kyle yells. “It took me a bit of convincing, but I’m impressed. Not only do they go real well, but the fuel economy is fantastic.” At this point, The Captain’s crew are hanging on for dear life as the 2750 powers through the light swell. Kyle is a big unit and there’s only one seat in the cabin. The Southern Ocean turns on the scenic photo ops. Unfortunately, it doesn’t turn on the fish. We zip past whales and dolphins before trying our luck off Johanna Beach. Then we head down to Peterborough, looking for birds. There’s a bit of bait working near the Pinnacles — but no fish. To cheer us up, Kyle busts a few good moves

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KYLE’S RIG: 1. A pair of Suzuki DF250APs light up. 2. Top speed is 75–80km/h. 3. Stabi-smarts around the bait board. 4. The cab offers bulk room for big boys.

around the Twelve Apostles, getting in close so we can get a few good shots of the Stabi doing its thing. This collection of rugged 45m-high limestone stacks is also a designated marine park, so we can only assume this is where the smart fish are hanging out. An hour or so later, we think our luck is changing when we mark out a bit of bait near Moonlight Head, spotting some school fish underneath. Kyle lets slip his secret for snagging bluefins. “I’ve always done well on purple lures.”

RADAR LOVE However, despite the 2750 bristling with enough

electronics to hold a rave party, we can’t lob onto those elusive barrels. “I had the Furuno gear fitted out by Gary Jeeves,” Kyle says. “We put in a FCV-295 for sounding and TZtouch2 touchscreen for charts, 85 kHz BR transducer, 3-D transducer, FLIR camera and the radar — pretty much everything we need.” But it’s not enough today. However, with impeccable MasterChef timing, Kyle breaks out the scallop pies and life is good again. Kyle checks the weather, pronouncing the forecast “a bit snotty”. So we call time on the fish hunt and head home. One ham-sized hand gripping the helm, Kyle reminisces about his love affair with Stabicraft. He had his previous boat, a 759, for 10 years. “I’ve been fishing for about 20 years,” he says. “I started out in a Haines Signature Bowrider in Port Phillip Bay, then decided to get a bit more serious with offshore fishing. So I got myself a Stabicraft 759 with twin Yamaha 150s. I sold that last year when I knew the new 2750 Stabi beast was coming.” His main reason for an upgrade was more fuel capacity to spend more time out on the shelf. “The 759 only had a 375L tank. I’d make it home with only 20-30L spare. Now I’m getting back with 100-150L left.” Kyle also liked the idea of more room to move — on deck and in the cabin. “I wanted a walkaround, more useable room,” he says. “The cabin’s smaller, but it’s handy to be able to use the whole of the front of the boat. You can cast stickbaits off the front, people can even sit up there when we’re just cruising. I didn’t want the cabin doors on the back to be closed off. I wanted it accessible. I didn’t need a kitchen or a sink, I’d rather have the extra space.” As a bigger bloke, Kyle figured extra headroom inside the cabin was a no-brainer, which is why he rates the distinctive forwardraking windscreen. “Water falls off the windscreen a lot easier and the vision is also really good from inside. But it was really about getting more space inside the cabin. And I didn’t install a passenger seat, which gives me more room to move around the helm.”

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“IT’S PRETTY UNIQUE, DIFFERENT FROM A LOT OF BOATS OUT THERE — I DIDN’T WANT TO HAVE SOMETHING LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE HAD.”

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01 KYLE’S CORNER: 1. Sounder vibes from the Furuno FCV-295. 2. Scallop pies from Apollo Bay Bakery. 3. At 4000RPM Kyle’s burning 70L an hour. 4. Cruiser not cutting it? Enter the F250.

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“THE WALKAROUND IS GREAT, THERE’S SO MUCH ROOM.”

TRUE ROMANCE The 2750 is a sexy beast and Kyle is in

CUSTOM CAB CONFIGURATION: Kyle didn’t install a passenger seat, which gives him more room to move around the helm. The forward-raking windscreen also opens up the cab.

lurve. “I love the look of the boat, the style of it. It’s pretty unique, different from a lot of boats out there — I didn’t want to have something like everybody else had. The lines are sharp and the wrap suits the style. Marine Graphics designed the wrap and Kris Grixti at A1 Signs Designs & Graphics wrapped it for me.” During the build, Kyle added and subtracted a few bits and pieces. “I got rails put on the side by the steps and on the back end to help get in and out. I also put a plate across the back underneath the live bait station to stop any fish, sinkers or anything else going underneath — and it’s a good spot to keep the gaffs. We put a dive door on the side — bringing big fish aboard through the dive door is a lot easier than trying to drag them over the back.” Kyle rates the final configuration and reckons there’s nothing substantial he’d change. “The walkaround is great, there’s so much room,” he says. “The tackle drawer where we keep everything — all the lines, leaders, sinkers, hooks, pliers — what we need is always accessible, the fuel economy, the kill tanks.” www.thecaptain.tv

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GOING THE GRUNT Performance-wise, the Stabicraft’s renowned

The Verdict

ability to keep the water on the outside of the boat is high on Kyle’s “Top 10 things I love about my boat” list. “It’s a very soft-riding and very dry boat,” Kyle says. “You don’t get any water or spray coming in, even going through big swells — unless there are strong crosswinds coming through, then we’ll get a bit of a splash. When you come down a wave and punch the nose into a big swell you can have a bit of water come over the top of the cabin, but it just runs down the drainage gunwales on the side of the boat. Pushing backwards, there are no issues at all except maybe a little water over the rear step.” He’s particularly stoked with the big bastard Suzukis. “They have lots of torque and they’re cheap to run — averaging 0.8L to the kilometre,” he says. “There’s not a lot of noise or vibration, except when the throttle’s wide-open. Running at 4000 revs we’re burning about 70L an hour. Wide-open at 5600 revs, it’s about 173L. A typical day for me chasing tuna, we’ll do 50–300km and burn 100–300L of gas. I’m covering a lot of ground with that, so I’m pretty happy.”

Thumbs up

• Extremely dry riding • Dive door was awesome, and didn’t leak • Loved the clean transom configuration with gaff storage • Forward-raking windscreens are the bee’s knees

Thumbs down

• Pricey and you’ll need a fat rig to tow it • Very basic layout for such a large boat (but this was Kyle’s request) • Small forward windscreen slightly impedes visibility • No dash

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TOUGH ENOUGH The Stabi’s legendary stability and

toughness is a big plus, particularly in the wild waters of the Southern Ocean. “I just feel safe in it,” Kyle says. “The Stabi is amazingly stable — you can have four people on one side and it just tilts a little. I went with the foam-filled pontoons, which also keep the boat a lot quieter. And it’s a tough boat with that 6mm plate on the bottom. I’m really impressed with the construction and weld quality. They say Stabis don’t sink, even if you fill them with water. Obviously, I don’t want to test it out, but it gives you peace of mind knowing they’re built like that.” As we come around Cape Otway, the light wind is going against the tide and the sea is turning nasty. We’re surprised at how

Boat specs

STABICRAFT 2750 ULTRA CENTRECAB Length: 8.4m Beam: 2.49m Deadrise: 21.5° Seating capacity: 9 Dry hull weight (approx): 1990kg BMT weight (approx): 3500kg Fuel capacity: 500L Standard HP: 300HP Maximum HP: 500HP ENGINE SPECS Make: Suzuki Model: DF250AP Type: V6 Displacement: 4L Weight: 290kg (X) OPTIONS Furuno FCV 295, TZ touch2, 85 kHz BR transducer, 3-D transducer, FLIR camera, Furuno NXT radar, Fusion sound system, VHF radio, dive door, U-Dek flooring, outriggers, trim tabs, pie warmer, foam filled pontoons, A1 Signs Designs & Graphics wrap PRICE AS TESTED $280,000 - $300,000 SUPPLIED BY Richardson Marine 1058 Raglan Parade, Warrnambool, Victoria. (03) 5561 2665. www.richardsonmarine.com.au MORE INFORMATION Stabicraft Marine 345 Bluff Highway, Invercargill, Southland, New Zealand. +64 (3) 211 1828. www.stabicraft.com

rough it’s got in a short space of time. “The conditions can be fairly ordinary out here off Cape Otway,” says Kyle as we charge back into Apollo Bay. The Captain’s crew heartily agree, while chowing down on a couple of straggler scallop pies as Kyle and long-time fishing mate and deckhand Ian clean up the boat and gear. Kyle reckons his romance with his new 2750 has only just begun. He wants to do a lot more trips out to King Island. “I’d like to do a bit more adventuring over there. And I’d like to do a trip over to Tassie — that’s on my radar for January–February next year. We’ll get ourselves packed up and spend a couple of weeks going from port to port, refuelling as we go.” The Captain’s go bag is always packed and rod ready. Just saying.

Speed Comparison Kn

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Twin Suzuki 250HP

37.5 25.0 12.5 0

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150 100 50 0

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6000

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1.25 1.0 0.75 0

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SAILFIS


ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE – UNLIMITED BOUNDARIES

FEATURING sailfish

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New Hydroflow Gen III transom extends the hulls waterline length by 150mm and provides even more buoyancy at the stern with increased hole shot performance.

The chine sections on the Hydroflow Gen III Hull have been redesigned to further increase lift for better performance and economy making the Sailfish Hydroflow Gen III Hull the most advanced hull we have ever created.

Wider running planks on the Hydroflow Gen III gives you faster planning times and the ability to plane at lower RPM which all adds up to better fuel economy. It also makes the boat flatter in turns for easier manoeuvrability.

The streamlined tunnel on the Hydroflow Gen III Hull eliminates the funnel effect associated with other catamaran hulls. Sailfish’s attention to hydrodynamic flow ptatterns has resulted in hull that has minimal drag for maximum fuel efficiency.

SEE THE FULL STORY AT WWW.SAILFISH.COM.AU NSW/QLD/TAS/SA/NT: Webbe Marine

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WA: Sports Marine

PH: 08 9721 4390

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9/6/19 11:01 am 11/9/19 1:15 pm


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“ZAC’S 9M SEA CRUISER WAS NINE MONTHS IN THE PLANNING, THREE YEARS IN THE BUILD.”

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r Sea C uiser

THE LOVE BOAT Zac Cross loves life, fishing with his mates and boats, especially boats. He’s owned a hell of a lot of them over the years, but now he’s sitting pretty in a 9m Sea Cruiser he designed himself, with a little help from his old mate down the Sou’ West Coast, Ed Richardson

CROSS COUNTRY FISHING CHARTERS

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fter talking about having a tackle shop or charter boat for years, Zac credits fiancé Laura with finally getting him off his arse to build the boat of his dreams and start a business. “I went through a million names, then it clicked — Cross is my surname, I’m from the country and I wanted to travel cross-country with the boat.” Zac loves talking to people and reckons his business is as much about adventure as fishing. “Things don’t always go to plan. You don’t always catch every fish in the ocean. You might bang the boat into the pontoon, or the anchor mightn’t work. But at the end of the day, the punters leave with a smile on their faces and want to come back and do it all again.” He rates the Horsham community for getting behind his venture. “Before the business looked like anything, they put their hands in their pockets. There’s P&S Cross Builders, and Horsham Tyre and Battery, the owner’s a good mate. Mario’s Bait & Tackle help me out with storing the boat. Nick at Savwinch has been great. Mick at Hook’em has helped me out with hooks, gaffs and nets, and Zacatak lures have been amazing. I run all Penn reels and Ugly Stik rods — they’re bulletproof.”

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ac Cross is a happy man. He runs a business — Cross Country Fishing Charters — doing what he loves, turning punters on to the pleasures of a day on the water chasing fish. And he’s finally found his ideal boat. Zac’s 9m Sea Cruiser was nine months in the planning, three years in the build. It’s a mash-up of the best bits of boats that Zac has owned over the past 10 years — take a bit of this, a bit of that, and weld the bastard together. While Zac was furiously scribbling his designs down on the backs of envelopes, Big Ed and the team at Ed Richardson Marine did the heavy lifting and fine tuning that turned a dream into a dreamboat.

ASSAULT ON KING ISLAND The Captain voyaged in the Sea Cruiser from Apollo Bay to King Island alongside Scotty Gray and a motley armada of pirates a few months back. Read all about it in Issue #15 of The Captain. The trip was something of a mission thanks to rough seas heading over and a shitload of camera gear. “The sea wasn’t too smooth on the way over and with a couple of hundred kilos of camera gear up in the nose she rode like a bulldozer,” Zac recalls. “You can’t take Bass Strait lightly — it can turn on the click of a finger.”

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SEA CRUISIN’: 1. The cab was designed around two 80L Techni-Ice fridge/freezers. 2. Second station keeps Zac in the action. 3. Scotty Gray with open arms.

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Casting his mind back to the KI crusade, Zac’s eyes glaze over as he lists the smorgasbord of fishy goodness on offer. “We were running single hooks or paternoster rigs and just drifting, using squid because it holds onto the hook better in deeper water. We caught snapper, knifejaw, gummy shark, sea perch, nannygais, a few spurdogs and endless amounts of squid. The crayfish were incredible.” It seems Zac also had a mancrush on marine biologist and all-round fishing guru Scotty Gray. “I got pretty excited with Scotty on my boat — what he doesn’t know about fishing isn’t worth knowing. He’ll be out the back roaring on the micro-jig to catch a little sea perch. He’ll be frothing — his enthusiasm is contagious and he’s real generous with his advice.”

HOOKING UP A country boy from Horsham, Victoria, Zac

credits his dad, Pedro, for getting him into fishing. “We’d head down to the river with a slug gun and motorbike to watch Dad fish,” he says. “We did a lot of bait fishing in local rivers, then started sea fishing in our early teens.” Zac’s raging boat habit is all his own work. At 17, he bought his first, a 488 Savage Osprey and was, er, hooked. “I’ve bought and sold boats for 10 years,” he says. “I’ve always had three or four at a time and travelled all round Australia to pick them up. If I’m not in the boat fishing, I’ll be in it on the trailer, working on it. My partner, Laura, reckons it’s an actual illness. I love fishing, but being on the water overrides that. Sometimes I’ll spend half the day just driving the boat around. You’re offshore, no phone reception, you’re off the map. Pack your food, a few frothies and just send it.”

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HORSHAM HUSTLER: As the rig got bigger, Zac got hungrier for horsepower. He eventually settled on a pair of Suzuki DF250APs.

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SECRET BOAT BUSINESS Proudly wrapped in the red, black and white

colours of his beloved AFL club St Kilda, Zac’s Sea Cruiser is a whopping 9.3m x 2.95m. It’s got a centre cab, a walkaround deck carpeted with Ultralon flooring and a 150L freshwater tank. The grunt factor comes from twin 250AP Suzukis. Zac reckons the walkaround rocks. “The layout makes it so easy to fish — in the bay or offshore,” he grins. “There’s a fishing platform up the front with rod holders and seating. It gives you that extra space when you’ve got a decent fish — you can run it right around the boat. I’ve kept the hardtop short so the work area at the back of the boat is big enough. That does mean you can get a bit wet, like you blokes did going to KI. Some people prefer an apron around the cab, but my focus is fishing, so I’ve got that clearance for when people are waving their rods around like they’re at a disco.” He has plans to slot a viewing platform up on the hardtop for when he’s chasing really big fish. On the KI crusade, The Captain found it also wasn’t a bad spot for a siesta. Zac apparently designed the actual cab around his two 80L Techni-Ice fridge/freezers. “That determined the length of the cab. I’ve got a 160L esky — the whole station is removable, plus live bait tanks and livey tubes.”

The Sea Cruiser has a second helm station, a notion Zac got visiting the Hutchwilco Boat Show across the ditch in NZ. “It cost me a lot of money that trip — and not just the airfares!” Zac laughs. “The second helm station was a no-brainer. I use it for docking because there’s such a good view of the outside of the boat. When I’m chasing a good fish, it lets me get out with the punters. “It’s not so much stealing ideas from other boats, but learning from them,” he says with an amazingly straight face. “I got the back spillway idea from a Barcrusher and made my own version of the Stabicraft walkaround. I pinched the idea for a drain off the side — I’ve got drains up the front and in the cab, and eight bilge pumps. I deleted the walk-in transom at the back because punters can’t fish that corner without it hitting their knees — and with the dive door, there wasn’t any need to keep it.”

HORSEPOWER HOG The Sea Cruiser was originally designed to have

Suzuki 200HP four-cylinder outboards, but as the boat got bigger, Zack got greedier. “I wanted 250s then 300s, but Ed reckoned the 250s would do,” he says. “The fly-by-wire, you have to see it to believe it. They’ve got endless power — you punch it and you risk throwing people off the back!”

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“I WAS PETRIFIED OF HAVING A BOAT THAT HAD NEVER BEEN BUILT BEFORE.”

Zac has modified the props for more bite in the wet. “I had 18.5 pitch props and I’ve dropped down to the 17s with a slight cup on them. Driving through the heads in Port Phillip Bay, you need a bit more traction in the white water. I lost a bit of top-end speed, but it makes for a safer boat.” Zac’s got a soft spot for Suzukis, having had them on his two previous boats, but decent range was also a factor, hence the 500L fuel tank and fuel-efficient engines. “I wanted enough fuel to do bigger trips without refuelling all the time,” Zac says. “Cruise speed is around 22–25 knots, that’s when the boat drives best and I can get fuel consumption down to 1.2–1.3L per km. That’s with a full boat. Obviously, if you drive it harder, it uses more.” He’s also stoked with the ride and handling, confessing it was a journey into the unknown. “I was petrified of having a boat that had never been built before. Luckily, it handles well in rough seas. “Every boat has its sweet spot — mine’s around 4500 revs, at 30 knots.” Zac says.

PLUG IT IN On the electronic front, Zac’s a Garmin guy to

the max, but admits he had to pull his head in before he blew his entire budget on the electronics package. “The 8424 touchscreen with multifunction display wasn’t in the original plan — I saw it and had to have it,” he chuckles. “It was the biggest they had. I’ve got twin 175kW transducers — one high/wide, one low.” Zac, aka the Horsham Hustler, is also pretty chuffed with his crankin’ stereo, which may well have ruptured The Captain’s eardrums on the KI crusade. He likes the idea of switching the Sea Cruiser to party boat mode if required. “I went full Fusion with the 77 Signature series speakers — four on the back deck, two up top, plus a 10-inch sub and five-channel amp. It blows me away every time. My deckies are always telling me to turn it down because they can’t hear me.”

The Verdict

Thumbs up

• Party boat with fishing chops • Neck breaker at ramp • Engineering masterclass • Second station feels • Bangin’ stereo • Bulk refrigeration • We love a good fish box • Internal drainage design • The Horsham Hustler loves life • Great fuel figures for big rig • Big boat you can treat like a trailerboat

SURVEY STRIFE

As Zac discovered, building a boat to survey is not as easy as it sounds. He had to make a few compromises with weight distribution and flotation. “It’s surveyed for eight plus two offshore,” he says. “But the weight varies depending on the size of the blokes, which affects how the boat handles. I can fit 10 people down one side —it leans a bit, but still feels safe.” There were certain features Zac couldn’t include. “I wanted the kill tanks underneath the floor back further, but I needed extra foam there to support the balance of the boat with the motors. You have to have your scuppers for survey, but I put an extra drain in the middle, which catches anything washing around the deck.”

Thumbs down

• Marine survey requirements • Bit wet behind the cab in a sea • She’s a biggun’ • Stereo only plays Aussie rock

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GOIN’ CROSS COUNTRY: 1. The Captain’s day bed. 2. Zac and Scotty work the drift 3. Live bait get the AC/DC treatment. 4. Zac fitted a 500L fuel tank.

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THE SCOTTY FILES: Men love him and fish fear him. Here’s Scotty with another solid bag of King Island critters.

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THE BUILD: RICHO AND WAYNE’S WORLD

Looking at what Zac has conceived and built, The Captain reckons he deserves a massive rap for perseverance — and Richo deserves a medal for coping with Zac for three years. “I first met Ed at his office in Warrnambool, an old shed. As I showed him my hand-drawn plans, I think he thought I was pulling his leg. I didn’t know what I was building, I’d draw something, scribble it out, rearrange it, move it around, change measurements — I spent a lot of time Googling. His wife must have wanted to kill me. As soon as I thought of something, I’d call him. But Ed didn’t whinge once and I wouldn’t have the boat without him.” He wouldn’t have it without the welding wizardry of Ed’s business partner Wayno from Wallaroo, either. “His workmanship is amazing,” Zac says. “He got help to fold in the front keel sheets and roll the boat, but everything else he did himself using a jig. If something wasn’t to the millimetre, he’d change it and make sure it was right.”

THE NAME GAME When Zac reveals he called his boat Laura Jane,

after his missus, The Captain wipes away a salty tear. “There’s no question, building this boat put our life on hold for three years,” Zac says. “She wanted marriage and kids, but I built a boat. Naming it after her was the least I could do. I had a full head of hair when I started, now I’m nearly bald, but this is my office. I wake up in the morning, jumping out of my skin to get in this boat. I’d live in it if I could. Can’t say it fairer than that, Zac. The Captain salutes you.

(TOP) CRUISIN’ TO KI: Zac runs 17-inch props for maximum bite in the frothy stuff. (ABOVE) BACON BUSTIN’ Zac in chef mode as Scott surveys the spread.

Boat specs

Speed Comparison Kn

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Suzuki DF250 combined

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SEACRUISER Length: 9m Beam: 2.95m Deadrise: 17° Seating capacity: 8 + 2 crew Dry hull weight (approx): 2500kg BMT weight (approx): 4850kg Fuel capacity: 500L Standard HP: 400HP Maximum HP: 500HP ENGINE SPECS Make: Suzuki Model: DF250AP Type: V6 Displacement: 4L Weight: 290kg (25-inch) OPTIONS Techni-Ice 80L fridge/freezer, Travel Buddy pie-warmer, Garmin 8424, auto-pilot and radar, SS175HW and SS175L transducers, Reelax outriggers, second-station, Fusion stereo, flush toilet. PRICE AS TESTED As tested: $350,000 SUPPLIED BY Richardson Marine 1058 Raglan Parade, Warrnambool, Victoria. (03) 5561 2665. www.richardsonmarine.com.au

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MODA

STEEL STYLIN’ Shane Darlington knows that while a lot of fishos don’t give a rat’s arse what they’re driving as long as nature’s bounty is sliding over the gunwales, just as many want to be at the helm of a boat that’s looking sharp and styled to perfection. Welcome aboard the Moda C-2900.

F

ounder and general manager of Moda Marine Shane Darlington is feeling pretty pleased with himself when The Captain rocks up to check out the new flagship of the Moda fleet. These seriously shiny C-2900 series catamarans are so pretty it’s almost a sin to dip them in salt water, but Shane reckons appearances in this case are so far from the truth they might as well be on Mars. The C-2900 is one tough supermodel. Based in Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane, Moda Marine opened for business in 2010, when Shane and his dad teamed up to produce high-end custom plate boats. A boat builder and shipwright, Shane’s been in the game for 17 years, but his love of boats goes way back to the age of sail. “I’ve always liked boats — I grew up around them,” Shane says. “My dad sailed 16ft skiffs, so from toddler to teenager I was around sailing boats. Then he introduced us to power boating and offshore fishing with our first little Haines Hunter, then a Bertram — good times in fibreglass boats.” www.thecaptain.tv

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“THE C-2900 SERIES CATAMARAN LOOKS LIKE IT’S DOING 35 KNOTS STANDING STILL.” www.thecaptain.tv

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CATS CAN At 16, Shane joined the Volunteer Marine

Rescue (VMR), which was his introduction to the world of cats. “I spent over a decade driving rescue boats and got to sample many different vessels, mainly catamarans — Shark Cats and large Kevlacats,” he says. “Being in rescue, you see how boats come unstuck and how things break. I got to see just what made a boat work and where potential faults were.” His years with VMR also gave Shane a pretty good appreciation for the virtues of the big cats — especially in tricky situations on the water. “The ride quality is excellent, but you’ve got to learn how to drive them,” he says. “They’re so manoeuvrable, the engine split gives you the ability to spin the boat around.” He recalls one moment when that dependability saved his arse. “I’ve got a lot of time for Bruce Harris and the old Shark Cat. I’ve been out in some pretty hairy rescues and thought my life was going to end on one occasion, but the Shark Cat pulled through.”

DOWN TO BUSINESS After a few years in the game learning the

ropes in an apprenticeship with Rob Noble, Shane decided it was time to jump in the deep end and set up his own business cranking out beautiful plateys — “Moda” means “style” in Italian. But it turned out to be a rough few years. Seems the boating public wasn’t quite ready for Shane’s idea of what a boat should look like. “We started with an 8.6m centre console and went really modern, but it didn’t

take off, no-one seemed to know what to make of it,” Shane recalls. “So we moved back to 5m vessels and did estuary-style barra boats, then progressed from there. The turning point came in 2014, when Moda finally lucked on a customer prepared to take a punt, game fisho Brad Dobinson. “We went out on a limb and custom-built a flared bow on a game boat,” Shane says. “From that point on, we kept pushing the envelope and the team grew.” Shane’s team now numbers 10 boat builders, naval architects and general fabricators, at an HQ just five minutes from the waters of Moreton Bay. He reckons it’s the ideal testing ground for his creations. “Moreton Bay has some of the roughest waters in Australia — it’s absolute punishment, excellent for putting vessels through their paces.” Once up and running, Shane first pinched a bit of inspiration from the US, then hooked up (in a totally business sense) with noted Kiwi hull designer Scott Robson. “We focused on the US, but had to dumb it down a bit, then got some ideas from the Kiwis,” Shane says. “You’ve got to hand it to our cousins over there, they know how to build a boat. We teamed up with Scott a few years ago. He and I share the same principles in boat design. I’d style the boat and send it over then he’d say it was too lairy and I had to dial it back a bit!” Since Robson specialised in catamaran design, it wasn’t long before he and Shane were focusing on the wonderful world of cats. With Shane’s background in marine rescue, it proved a natural fit.

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DESIGNER GENES History lesson over, Shane shows The Captain

round his pride and joy before heading out to put his baby through its paces. To fit the 8.4m length into a 2.5m beam, the Moda crew styled a tumblehome hull. Essentially, the C-2900 retains a wide waterline beam (of 2.45m) that doesn’t taper out like a conventional monohull. Good news for owners of the C-2900 is that the waterline beam is the same as other 29ft cats on the market. That means maximum stability — and all within a 2.5m beam. Winning! The C-2900 is a full cab with walkaround. However, with the room and creature comforts inside, it feels like a much larger cruiser. Shane is quick to dispel any evil thoughts that this is a mere pleasure boat. “From midships south, it’s a purely hardcore fishing vessel and built the way we’d build a survey boat,” he says, adding that if his boat was a car, it’d be an AMG crossed with a Toyota undercarriage and a bit of Dodge Ram down the back. “It’s built tough and fishes hard, but is as pretty as a Mercedes!” The C-2900 has a 5mm bottom, 4mm sides and frames, and is fully foam-filled. “We run buoyancy foam in all our vessels up to 10m,” Shane says. “You don’t have to, but you’re mad if you don’t. It helps the sound and vibration, and they ride like glass boats, not like your typical aluminium boat, they’re nice and quiet.” There are twin 280L fuel tanks underfloor. Shane says they could have been larger, but the customer requested bigger kill tanks. Weight-wise, he rates it as “good for a LandCruiser 200 with a GVM upgrade”.

1. MODA BOATING: Moda founder Shane Darlington at the helm. Check out the molded vinyl on the roof. Nice. 2. CAT MAN: His experience at Volunteer Marine Rescue gave him an appreciation for big cats. 2. BEAMY SMILE: The 2.5m beam is tucked into the 8.6m length thanks to a tumblehome hull.

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SUPERSTYLIN’: 1. Styling extends to the cabin that features a slide-out portable fridge, 12V hot-water system and freshwater sink. Benchtop and cabin door are C&C cut, routed and oiled.

04

2. The helm features a pair of Simrad NSS12 Evo3s. 3. Superb hand-stitching by Beau Golder from Maroochy Marine Covers. 4. Beneath the gorgeous exterior, the Moda is all business with twin 120L kill tanks and twin 280L fuel tanks.

(BELOW) HORSEPOWER FOR HERDING CATS: Shane says the best fuel economy is around 5300 revs at 37 knots, burning a litre per kilometre. Yes, you read that correctly.

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The C–2900 is undeniably a sleek-looking vessel, its raked-back style making it look like it’s doing 35 knots standing still. “Style was the main priority,” Shane confirms. “I can’t stand having an ugly boat. Our customers come to us because they like the looks and want a premium product. They want to feel good in the boat.” He says the ride backs up the looks. “It’s a smooth ride. Today we were out in 35-knot winds in a 1.5m chop, sitting at the rev limit, and it was still a nice, calm ride.” The floor is higher and the boat has an open gate instead of a transom, which you’d think might be a problem in a vessel that backs up as hard as the C-2900. Shane says no. “Backing into the slop, you take a little bit of water, but it goes straight back out. Our Moda cat hull is the perfect package. You can sit on wide-open throttle and it’s just an absolute weapon.”

FIT-OUT FOR PURPOSE The styling continues into the cabin with

a range of finishes including U-Dek, alloy, timber and hand-cut vinyl. The fit-out is basic, on the premise that you can always add stuff later. To start with, there’s no stove, just a little Galleymate BBQ out the back with a removable gas bottle. There’s a slideout portable fridge under the side bench seat, 120L water tank, 12V hot-water system and a freshwater sink that drains over the side, eliminating the need for grey water tanks. Toilet and shower go into a sump pump. “A bonus with the trailer boat is having a 2.1m high ensuite, so you can have a proper shower,” Shane says. “And there’s plenty of room to fit a double innerspring mattress on the starboard side.”

The Verdict

Thumbs up

• Nobody else has one • Style – and substance • Use of different finishes • Full height ensuite • Incredible fuel figures • Ridiculously long range • 2.5m beam in an 8.6m boat • One-piece windscreen • Shane’s dreams coming true

GOING THE GRUNT The C-2900’s new owner has opted for

a Simrad/Suzuki get-there-fast package. Shane’s been sold on Suzuki since his VMR days. “In 2003, I drove one of the first boats to be fitted with them,” he says. “They didn’t have any problems, never broke down and started every time. They were new to the market, but the reliability was there.” Shane reckons the Suzuki 175 APX fourcylinder with fly-by-wire delivers optimum speed and fuel economy, ideal for what he always conceived of as a long-range boat. “We did the calculations and our best fuel economy is around 5300 revs at 37 knots, where we’re getting a litre per kilometre,” he says. “When the lean burn kicks in you really notice the difference. That’ll give us our 580–600km range.” The boat is running a stainless, threeblade, 16 x 21-inch prop, which Shane says gives a top speed of 42 knots. “The 175s are smooth, reliable and they don’t smell. You don’t get any vibration or harmonics — they just sit back there purring along. But you’ve got to watch out that you don’t forget to turn the ignition off, they’re so quiet at idle.” To get there without hassle, Shane has fitted a pair of Simrad NSS12 Evo3s and 4G radar, with the autopilot hooked up to a SeaStar power-assist hydraulic pump. “It turns like a ski boat, the steering is so light,” he says.

Thumbs down

• Rod retrieval from the launchers • Some will say it’s slab-sided • Sell your boat then wait a while • You won’t wanna spill blood in it

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BUILT LIKE A BADASS Moda constructs its cats the same way they

would a commercial vessel like a large ferry. Despite a build time of four to six months, depending on the level of fit-out, Shane says the advantages are obvious. “It’s not as quick to build as a production boat, but it’s 10 times stronger than your standard pressed tinnie. And our design guidelines follow AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) standards — the current National Standard for Commercial Vessels.”

After the hot work is done, the remainder of the build is straightforward, if timeconsuming. “Due to the extra welding, we skim it down with microballoons,” Shane says. “We use full international Awl-grip systems, proper epoxy — paints you’d use on a superyacht. They give the boat that high-end, durable, fully watertight commercial finish.” The level of fit-out — and the cost — depends on how far the customer wants to go. “You spend a bit more money on the product, but you know what they say — a poor man pays twice.”

(ABOVE) HELLO DARLINGTON: Build time can take up to six months, but Shane says it’s 10 times stronger than a pressed tinnie.

Boat specs

MODA MARINE Model: C-2900 Length: 8.6m Beam: 2.5m Deadrise: 28-degrees Hull weight with engines: 2.9 tonne Bottom sheet: 5mm Side sheets: 4mm Fuel capacity: 560L Water capacity: 120L Max Persons: 8 Recommended min HP: 2 x 150HP Recommended max HP: 2 x 200HP ENGINE SPECS Model: 2 x DF175 APX Type: In-line four-cylinder Displacement: 2.9L Weight: 2 x 241kg Propellers: 2 x 3-blade 16-inch x 21-inch props OPTIONS FITTED Simrad NSS12 Evo3s, 4G radar, Galleymate BBQ, portable fridge, 120L water tank, 12V hot-water system, freshwater sink PRICE AS TESTED Starting from: $250K As tested: $295K MORE INFORMATION MODA MARINE 6 Filmer St, Clontarf, Queensland www.modamarine.com.au (07) 3283 8537

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CAPTAIN’S PEOPLE: OUTBOARD SPARES

The Buckinghams continue a family tradition of retailing marine outboard parts — but with a distinctly modern twist.

see the video at thecaptain.tv

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CAPTAIN’S PEOPLE: OUTBOARD SPARES

(ABOVE) LIFE BY THE LAKE: Stu spent his childhood on Wonboyn Lake, developing a passion for fishing and boating that spills into his business, Outboard Spares. (BELOW) FATHER FIGURE: Stu’s dad, Peter, was his inspiration.

HE’S A JET: One of Stu’s toys is the jetpowered tinnie, capable of travelling over four inches of water. That’s handy at Wonboyn Inlet.

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S

tu and Mel Buckingham didn’t get into the marine industry to become millionaires. They did it for the love of boats and life on the water. Sound familiar? They also wanted to continue the tradition begun by Stuart’s father, who operated Golden Seal Marine Products as a family business for 25 years. Today, that business is known as Outboard Spares. If you need a serviceable part for your outboard, Stu and Mel have probably got it. Water pumps, oil filters, thermostats, fuel filters and seals are some of their most popular lines. They stay one up on the opposition by distributing via the interweb, without an actual store — you order the part, it arrives the next day. Now that’s no biggie in today’s retail world, but until recently, the only notable brand of aftermarket outboard parts was Sierra in the US. The plucky pair thought they should do the same thing in Australia. Lately, Stu has been racking up the Qantas Frequent Flyer points sourcing suppliers from the US, Europe, Thailand and Taiwan, warehousing the gear in bulk in Melbourne. The Captain caught up with him at the family holiday home at Wonboyn Lake, on the New South Wales south coast, to hear the story. On a well-worn timber balcony overlooking the inlet, Stu is sipping tea and munching homemade banana bread while Mel and their daughter are zipping around on the quad bike. The first question we ask him is why we should buy his parts. “Because our parts are designed to perform the same as genuine parts, they are always in stock and we ship daily,” he replies. “We’re about 30 to 60 per cent cheaper than the OEM product — and you’ll be speaking to someone who knows about boats, parts and outboard engines.” On the perception that aftermarket (generic) parts are inferior Stu reckons, “It’s a bit of a myth these days. It depends on where you source them. We source direct from factories that have to meet strict certifications. Some of the parts are exactly the same as the OEM (original equipment manufacturer). They’re off the same production line. We’re very careful when sourcing parts to make sure they’re up to OEM standard.”

OVERBOARD FOR OUTBOARDS: On weekends, Stu tinkers with outboards and during the week he’s helping other boaties with parts to get on the water.

“Because our parts are designed to perform the same as genuine parts, they are always in stock and we ship daily.”

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CAPTAIN’S PEOPLE: OUTBOARD SPARES

SPARE PLAYERS

Outboard Spares’ customers include DIY boaties, charter operators and big commercial businesses. “The recreational guys might be in an area where they don’t have a local marine mechanic or service centre, so we supply the service kits and they service themselves,” Stu says. Other customers can’t afford a mechanic and want to have a crack themselves. “There are also 300 trade customers from Tassie to the Top End, including Alyangula in the Northern Territory, Broome in Western Australia and pearl farmers in Bamaga, Queensland. We service a lot of smaller mobile mechanics and dozens of dealers, as well as charter boat operators from Portland, Victoria to Far North Queensland. The parts are flown in by seaplane and the guys do their own servicing.” Stu reckons the most popular items are complete service kits, which include everything required for an annual service.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

“Stu reckons the most popular items are complete service kits.”

Stu’s destiny was determined by his dad 50 years ago. “Dad started as an abalone diver, building hookah units and teaching scuba diving before importing Glastron boats and Force Outboards (originally made by Chrysler) under the dealership name Golden Seal Marine,” Stu says. “He’s a really good seaman who knows his stuff.” As a toddler, Stu ran around the family holiday house at Wonboyn Lake while his dad tinkered with mechanical toys. Many of those machines are still neatly placed in the shed — and are fully operational. The Captain tests this theory by asking the boys to fire up an old Suzuki outboard fitted with a jet output. Within 10 minutes, white smoke is billowing through the carport, the two-stroke thrumming excitedly. Fired up themselves, the boys are keen to show off some other cool machines, including a jet boat Peter fitted himself, which they reckon is capable of navigating water just four inches deep; and Tiny Truck — a Japanese-style mini-tipper used to launch many of Pete’s numerous floating contraptions. Stu says that since his dad’s reign, things have changed a lot. “Reconditioning outboards has dried up because people want four-stroke and direct-injection engines.” Consequently, the focus of Outboard Spares is now on replacement parts. Of course, the main change has been the rise of the internet and online shopping. However, some things haven’t altered much at all. Stu reckons their customer service is still pretty special — and he’s still dead keen to hear about your secret fishing spots.

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THERMO-LITE BOARDS ROT-FREE, LIGHTWEIGHT, HIGH STRENGTH & BUILT TO LAST... The smart option for professional boat builders – or your next project boat. Designed for fibreglass or alloy boat applications, the secret to Thermo-Lite is the high-density closed-cell polymer foam, reinforced with fiberglass matting. Thermo-Lite has an excellent bonding surface with good impact strength, rigidity, sound and thermal insulation, and is resistant to contamination and high temperatures.

P W E

0401 906 838 www.thermo-lite.com.au info@thermo-lite.com.au

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CAPTAIN’S PEOPLE: OUTBOARD SPARES

BOATIE KNOW-HOW

PARTS ‘R’ US: Water pumps, oil filters, thermostats, fuel filters and seals are some of Outboard Spares’ most popular lines.

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Stu is regularly contacted by customers who have misdiagnosed their outboard issues. Seeing the same problems come up again and again, he turned his know-how into a blog that goes out to customers and also sits on their website (www.outboardspares.com.au). “I started documenting the issues and their remedies,” Stu says. “I’ve always had a passion for writing, so I turned it into a blog.” Some of the topics he covers include troubleshooting ignition issues, storing petrol, boat-buying tips, how to flush your outboard, how water separators work, pre-trip safety checklists and oil ratios. A common question is: “What’s the mixture for 50:1?” “The answer might seem obvious to people in the industry or those who’ve owned boats for a long time, but many new boat owners don’t know these things.” Note: You can read extracts of Stu’s blog in this issue of The Captain. He says the top thing about his job is dealing with people with the same passion for boating and fishing as him. However, that can mean many hours on the phone chatting with customers about their favourite fishing holes or the finer points of a Johnson 9.9HP two-stroke. The Captain can neither confirm nor deny that particular engine might be owned by one of his crew.

12/9/19 9:24 am


shortmarine.com.au

(02) 8057 5993

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS: READER’S REBUILDS

X P E R ESS N I D O rebuild ‘E

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The Captain plunges bravely into the fibreglass dust storm to get the drum on this superbly reconfigured Bertram 25.

Girlfriend Bec contemplates the sun lounge WORD S AN D I M AGE S by T he Captain, supplied

Byron the builder

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A ft e r Bef o r e

M

Ty, the mate that got dragged into it

AT A GLANCE

Boat: Bertram 25 Name: Odin Owner: Byron Gobernatz Occupation: Mining maintenance supervisor Lives: Mackay, Queensland Builder buddy: Jack McKenzie

ost blokes toil away on tinnies and 16ft CrapCrafts before laying tools on their first big project, but — amazingly — this beaut Berty is Byron’s first boat! Fortunately, he had some help from one of his best buddies, Jack McKenzie of Finesse Marine.

Tell us about the Berty, Byron. She’s an ’86 model, called Odin. That’s the original name. They don’t call these old girls the bulldozers of the sea for nothing. They’re wide and stable at rest — perfect for our waters off Mackay. What’s she built for? We live on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef and love exploring the white sandy bays and taking trips to the outer reef. We spearfish, love crayfish and don’t mind handlining yellowfin if they’re on the chew. Where did you get her from and what condition was she in? It was a four-day road trip to Melbourne to pick her up. Most of her life had been spent on a marina and she was your typical neglected 30-year-old boat. One of the inboard engines had seized, the drive legs had corrosion holes through them, many fittings were rusted on and 30 years of grime had built up in the bilge. Angle grinder alert! Tell us about the rebuild. We stripped her back to a bare shell, modified the transom with a pod extension and did a complete refit. We put in new fuel and water tanks, plus a newly fabricated alloy canopy frame and a composite hardtop. And the itchy stuff? Odin is a full composite construction using Thermo-Lite and high-density foam. Everything was hand-laid by Jack and I using vinyl resin for the tanks and epoxy resins for the extension and fairing. We also used poly resin for general construction. Each resin had a certain purpose. Does Jack have any good glassing tips? Plan and prepare the job. Get your tools ready, cut the glass to size and have resin and buckets ready. Don’t tackle more than you can handle and wear the right safety gear. And the paint finish? She was fully faired in an epoxy system, then polyurethane-primed and finished in Awlgrip topcoat. Jack treats every step like he’s prepping for a topcoat. He’s a fussy bloke.

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS: READER’S REBUILDS

The Build Just the guy you need. We love the express configuration with the L-shaped saloon. Describe the boat in five words Fast, heavy, comfortable, excessive, beast. Now she’s on the water, how does she ride? Odin eats up the slop for breakfast and skims across the glass at 45 knots pushed by a pair of Suzuki DF300s running three 16 x 18.5-inch propellers. Her cruise speed is 30–32 knots. Hit us with some boat specs, Byron. She’s gone from 25ft to 27ft in length with a 3.1m beam and 3499kg when empty. She holds 800L of fuel and deadrise is around the familiar Ray Hunt mark of 22 degrees. Correct weight, eh? What’s bolted on? A Simrad NSS16 Evo3 screen, Simrad autopilot, through-hull transducer, 3D structure scan, Zipwake trim tabs, JL Audio system, custom-built switch panel, Hydrive steering kit, 130L Isotherm fridge, 10L hotwater system, REDARC solar system, EVA Tread for the flooring, Lonestar winch and a Transtyle trailer. Holy freckle! What did the missus say about that? Fortunately, she’s the adventurous type. She was cool, well, apart from those itchy nights in bed! How long did your masterpiece take — and how much folding stuff? It took 18 months and cost about $130K. But she’s everything I wanted in a boat. She looks great, goes fast and does all the things I love on the water. What do you wish you knew before starting such a big project? Even with Jack’s advice, I definitely underestimated how bloody long it would take and how labour-intensive the painting process would be. There’s 500 hours in the painting and fairing alone! It’s handy having a qualified boat builder as a mate, yeah? Jack started in fairing and spraypainting, so finish is really important to him. He also brought his big-boat experience to Odin. There’s no flowcoat and the trimming is highquality, as is the stainless. Paul Selby from Black Marlin Towers built the hardtop frame. It’s faultless and completes the whole design. What was Jack’s best tip? He encouraged me to have a plan and we rarely deviated from that. Jack did all the calculations for weight redistribution, including the hull extension. Everything was spot-on. There were no afterthoughts. We better give Jack a plug, eh? How do we get hold of him to pick his brains? Jack works at Finesse Marine in Mackay, Queensland. His contact number is 0420 711 173. He’s actually looking for staff, so if you’re qualified in construction, fairing or painting and looking for a sea change in a beautiful part of the world, give him a call. Love ya work, fellas (and Bec!). The Captain salutes you.

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Early drawings

"She looks great, goes fast and does all the things I love on the water." Fuel Consumption L/hr

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CAPTAIN’S SHIPS: READER’S REBUILDS

WORDS by St ua r t B uckingham IMAG ES by B y r o n G ober natz

S FOR BUYING P I T 7 A USED OUTBOARD

All-round nice guy and co-owner of Outboard Spares Stuart Buckingham spends hours helping others breath life into old outboards. This issue, he shares some choice tips on buying a used outboard. Images are of Byron’s 25 Bertram, Odin.

1

COMPRESSION TEST

Good compression generally means the rings and cylinder walls are in good order. However, the unit may have damage to the bearings, connecting rods, crankshaft and other internal components. There are also gearboxes and trim actuators to check over. If damaged, they can set you back thousands.

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RUN THE ENGINE

Hopefully, the motor is still on the boat, so you can take it down the boat ramp and identify these problems before they bite you. Is it hard to start? Does it idle OK? Does it run smoothly or are there odd vibrations or noises that don’t sound right?

3

CHECK ENGINE OIL

If you’re buying a four-stroke then, just like a car, you want to check the colour of the engine oil. It should be clean and translucent. If it smells burnt and horrible, like the coffee from some dodgy roadhouse, you may want to check it out a bit more.

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CHECK THE GEARBOX OIL

If the oil is milky in colour then it’s likely the seals are leaking water into the gearbox. If it’s black, it could be due for an oil change. If it’s clean and translucent, it’s probably just been replaced. Be sure the oil has been replaced as part of routine maintenance and not to hide a problem. I’d drain the oil and use a pressure and vacuum on the gearbox to see if the seals are holding up as they should be. A qualified marine technician can help you do this.

CHECK THE SERVICE HISTORY: Byron picked up these 2016 model Suzukis from the Water Police. They had 800 hours, however the service records were in perfect order. He says they’ve been ball tearers. NB The custom pod pushes the 25 Berty out to 27ft.

5

CHECK TRIM AND TILT SEALS

This is easily done by looking around the trim and tilt rods and inspecting for leaking fluid. Trim the unit up and down, making sure there are no shudders and that the trim and tilt can hold the engine up without slowly leaking down.

6

CHECK SERVICE HISTORY

The owner’s receipts should tell you how much love the outboard has received. If the owner hasn’t kept the receipts, but has had it serviced, then contact the workshop directly and they might be able to give you the information.

7

• • • • • •

ENGINE HOURS

Lower engine hours generally mean the engine has done less work and theoretically should have a longer lifespan than a motor with high hours. There are exceptions to the rule, though, as an engine with high hours that has followed a strict maintenance schedule may be in better condition than a lower-hours engine that hasn’t followed a service schedule.

For more tips on used boats and outboards, check out www.outboardspares.com.au www.thecaptain.tv www.thecaptain.tv

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, "The owner s receipts should tell you how much love the outboard has received."

REBUILDS AHOY!

If you’ve finished your sweet rebuild and want to see it in the rum-stained pages of The Captain, send an email to captain@thecaptain.tv. Every published yarn receives a service kit* from Stuart and Mel Buckingham at Outboard Spares. *Or similar-value item. That’s just in case you’re running quads on a Somalian pirate boat.

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THE CAPTAIN’S CROSSWORD

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Across 1 5 10 11 12 13 14 15 18 20 21 24 26 27 28 29

Aussie fibreglass boat building group celebrating 65 years (8) Australian wattle (6) Jerk, twit (5) Competitor, opponent (9) Busy workaday lifestyle (3,4) NZ plate-boat builder, White... (7) Native of Scotland (4) Spanish bar food (5) Where the Statue of Liberty resides, ... Island (5) Deep sea white fish (4) South Pacific island nation (7) Light umbrella used for shade (7) ... and longitudes (9) Emergency distress signal (5) Ran off to get married (6) Aluminium twin hull catamaran brand (8)

Down 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 16 17 19 20 22 23 24 25

There’s no boating without this essential element! (5) Extremely alike (9) Mast above a lower mast (7) Master of ceremonies (5) Portsea beach where Harold Holt disappeared (7) Student in national service (5) Atomizer for spraying paint (8) Children’s card game (4) Resident of Karachi (9) Moby Dick author, Herman ... (8) Home of grunge music (7) Causing hurt, injurious (7) High octane motorsports ... Circus (5) Language that 16 down speaks (4) Italian food (5) Blood sucking annelid (5)

It’s the

gold standard in performance & safety I know I’m getting

home safely.

- Frank R.

6.0m Offshore ‘Reel Bling’

www.thecaptain.com.au www.thecaptain.tv

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#ridethelegend 11/9/19 12:28 pm


RUM & RATIONS

RECIPE: MIGUEL MAESTRE I M A G E S : T H E C A P TA I N & M I G U E L M A E S T R E

CRUNCHY SOFT WHITING TACOS T

he best way to eat whiting is nice and simple, right? Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell Miguel. Instead, he welded Jack and Alli’s South Australian whiting fillets into a fusion of Aussie, Spanish and Mexican flavours, concocting these delicious crunchy, soft whiting tacos. Just add a Corona — or perhaps tequila, if you’re in a festive mood.

Corn Salsa

• 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil • 2 cobs sweetcorn, kernels sliced off • 2 ripe field tomatoes, cores removed, diced to size of corn kernels • ½ bunch of coriander leaves • ½ Spanish onion, diced to size of corn kernels • 1 lime, juiced • 1 fresh (or pickled) jalapeño, deseeded and diced • salt and pepper, to taste

Baja Sauce

• 10 pickled green peppercorns, or peppercorns from half a strand of fresh green pepper • 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped • ¼ bunch coriander, roughly chopped • 1 lime, juiced • 3 tbsp sour cream • 1 tbsp olive oil salt

Popcorn Fish

• 400g whiting fillets boned and skinless, cut into 3cm x 6cm pieces • 1 cup flour • 3 eggs • 50g lightly salted popcorn, blended to a coarse crumb in a food processor • sunflower oil for shallow frying • salt and pepper • crunchy soft tacos • 6 hard taco shells • 6 soft tortillas, softened by charring over an open flame • 1 ripe avocado • ¼ tsp lime juice • 1 dash olive oil • 1 tsp sour cream • salt and pepper

Corn Salsa

• Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a high heat. • Sautee corn for 2 minutes, stirring from time to time until coloured and just cooked. • Combine sauteed corn with all other ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

Baja Sauce

• In a mortar and pestle, pound together peppercorns, chili, coriander and lime juice to form a rough paste. • Add sour cream and olive oil, and stir to combine. • Season and set aside.

Popcorn Fish

• Place flour on a plate. Whisk eggs in a bowl. Spread popcorn crumb onto a separate plate. • Coat 1 piece of fish in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in beaten egg, allowing excess to drip off. Finally, toss in popcorn crumb to coat. Set aside on a clean plate. Repeat with remaining fish. • Fill a large frying pan with sunflower oil to a depth of 4cm. Heat over medium-high to 200C (a cube of bread will turn golden in 30 seconds when the oil is hot enough). • Cook fish, in batches, for around 2 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. • Drain on paper towel and season.

Crunchy Soft Tacos

• Cut avocado in half and remove seed, setting aside. Using a fork, mash the avocado together in each half with lime juice, sour cream and olive oil to form a rough guacamole. To preserve greenness, return seed to centre of avocado and stick the two halves together to close until you’re ready to use. • Spread a spoonful of guacamole on the centre of one side of each soft tortilla. Place hard taco shell on centre of flour tortilla. Gently press the soft tortilla to the sides of the hard taco shell, using the guacamole as glue. Set aside, and repeat with remaining taco shells and tortillas. • To serve, spoon some salsa into the base of the hard taco, top with one or two pieces of fish, and drizzle with Baja sauce. Eat immediately. www.thecaptain.tv

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“To serve, spoon some salsa into the base of the hard taco, top with one or two pieces of fish and drizzle with Baja sauce. Eat immediately.”

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hty tale s Mig

From page 128

The Captain’s crossword answers he Captain Crossword olution 003

WE TEST THE LANDING GEAR ON A FLEET OF INSANE NAIAD RHIBS

W A T E R

NUTS FOR NaIAD

A I R B R U S H

HUNTING GIANT GUMMY SHARKS IN BEN ZEBIC’S STABICRAFT 1410

L E E C H

small boat, big balls

Y A C A C I S H A O N T E N D E A V E P O I N T E O T A P A A H A K E A I P A R A S O A M T E S F L A R T U N S A I L F I S

THE CAPTAIN HEADS TO WA IN SEARCH OF GTS AND SAILFISH

H I T T L E D O M W E R P C N M E A T R A C E I S S C O T A L L I S E A N U A T U I T R A T I T U D R L U L O P E D

MONSTERED IN THE MONTIES

M E L V I L L E

COMING NEXT ISSUE

www.thecaptain.tv

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back Murphyb, oats k c Ja g n u nd UM: A yo of iron astic. AHOY Men were made ld la p d e when made of, er, mou were m

FOUNDING C0-CAPTAINS

A tribute to the good folk who put the wind in The Captain’s sails... Bruce Franks Jake McGowan Alan Ball Andrew Westlake Paul Martin Harry Foullas Deb Bibby Richard Curie Mark Stav Theo Gorgorinis Phillip Agius Rick Forsyth

Steven Gusman Shane May Boba Bibby Stephen Curwood Daniel Suttil David Montague Louise Chellingworth ReelTackle Ben Bylett Mark Irvine Joel Agresta Paul Flynn

Jamie Coleman Neil McAully Sean Bidder Jeri Murphy Carissa Louise Lorenzo Lorusso Paul Bruun Andrew Armitage Max Bibby Originals Josh Ruxton Tony Barber Millie Middis-Engelaer Thomas Smith Joel Ryan Tom van Vliet Patrick Jones Marcus Watton Julian Schnabel Dennis Brazakka Wallace Chris Murphy Steven Foullas Keith Saunders Robbie Adamo Jon Hetherington

Foundation Member Profile

— steered him in the right direction, helping him buy a 17ft Caribbean with a Saltwater Series Yamaha. It used so much fuel he could barely afford to steam past Name: Deb Bibby Barrenjoey Head. The camera was his tool Lives: Clareville Beach, NSW of trade and the two were married in a Job: Self-publisher salty union. When did the seafaring thing start with How does Jack manage to sleep so much Jack? Was it the Sponge Bob pyjamas and not run aground? He thinks he’s Julian you dressed him in? No, when he was Schnabel, the American artist renowned a six-year-old, his Grandma Boba used for creating artwork in his pyjamas. to take him fishing at the end of Palm We don’t have many rules at The Captain, Beach Wharf. They used bread rolled but one of them is: if you hate the up in spitballs as bait, but they never story, the audience will love it. As an caught much. experienced editor, how does this make Did you think he’d become a pirate of you feel? publishing, armed with a camera instead Very ill in the stomach. of a cutlass? No, I didn’t. Originally he was What kind of boats do it for you? Beautiful scared of boats. As a toddler, he watched timber boats — old Coota sailing boats, his father almost sink a tinnie in a storm. Italian Rivas and Halvorsens. Later in life, he came to the realisation he’d Favourite story in The Captain? The need a boat to catch more fish, so I got editor’s note in issue #15 raising him a kayak for Christmas. He loved that awareness for depression and helping Later, Trav — a fellow Captain crewman out a mate.

Deb Bibby is the mother of Jack Murphy, one of The Captain’s Crew. She’s a publishing pro. In fact, she was crowned editor of the year in 2014 — and has edited plenty of top-shelf magazines including Dolly, Real Living and Jones Magazine.

www.thecaptain.com.au www.thecaptain.tv

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11/9/19 12:03 pm


EXTREME

ON EVERY LEVEL

POWER AND THRUST

TOUGHNESS AND RELIABILITY

SYSTEM INTEGRATION CONTROL, CONVENIENCE AND CARE

DISCOVER EXTREME RELIABILITY

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Profile for TheCaptainMag

The Captain - Issue 16