Boat Review Date: June 2010
Author: Mike Brown
On Wednesday the Dockers will hold their annual auction at the Burswood Ballroom, and Chivers Marine will donate the star lot - as it has for many years. A very special donation: this boat missed winning the Under 6m Aluminium Boat of the Year by a whisker and was awarded a Merit. The proceeds from this and scores of other donations will be used for junior sporting development: not just football but all kinds of sport, and throughout the state.
This was my second look at the 170 CC (for centre console), in milder conditions and with probably the most common number of people aboard, two. This meant everybody got a seat, a share of a narrowish double mounted on a locker box. Two more would do pretty well sitting on the broad coaming, holding onto the rear of the bow rail and a grab rail on the coaming.
The sole intrusions into deck space are the console and the seat so, despite a length of only 5.2m, this is a roomy boat. An unusually broad beam of 2.4m that would normally call for a low deadrise bottom helps the space. The 170 has 20deg of Vee that would be considered pretty sharp on any boat, and copes with it by incorporating broad chines and a water ballasting system.
At rest water floods a chamber above the keel, lowering the centre of gravity and thoroughly immersing the chines. Within seconds of opening the throttle the chamber automatically empties. The ballasting is so effective that, despite their weight being carried high by the self-draining deck, the two on board barely listed the boat when standing together at the rail.
A 90hp Evinrude ETEC powered the review boat. Not many years ago this would have been considered about 50 percent above typical power, and unsurprisingly it delivered vigorous performance. In fuel injected two-stroke style it accelerated us hard, despite a substantial hull weight that comes from a massively strong sub-structure.
Top speed was in the high 30s, a lot of knots for a boat of this size to use on the ocean. Certainly a buyer could save some money by opting for a smaller motor, but the170 is able to use power better than most other boats of its size. That shapely bottom soaked up the ocean’s lumps, softening them and doing it very quietly. Cruising speed would usually be in the low 20s, but there would be plenty of opportunities for getting over 30.
I found the small Chivers irresistible as a plaything – it called out to the latent hoon in me. It was delightfully responsive to its controls, the hull behaved completely predictably, and through everything we stayed dry.
One of the advantages of a healthy amount of power on tap is the increased effectiveness of power trim. The layout of a centre console gives good natural trim, and we were able to change it to suit varying angles of approach to seas with only tiny changes of leg angle. This means among other things that the motor was working more efficiently.
The 170 is aimed at divers and fishermen, and they would not need to spend much or any money to set up the boat for the job. The deck is carpeted (bare aluminium is not good stuff to stand on), there is above average storage including side pockets and shelves in the console, radio and sounder-plotter are part of the package, and the odds and ends like rod sockets are present and correct.
The obvious omission is sun protection. A Bimini is available as an extra, but for believers in big hats its absence means a very useful saving of money. Keeping costs down is always a priority in smaller boats, and offering this quite complex boat at AUD $45,000 was a good achievement.
You are unlikely to need to buy a bigger car to tow it: on the trailer it weighs in at 1250kg, within the capacity of a wide range of vehicles.
Price as reviewed AUD $45,000
Hull length 5.2m
Fuel capacity 140L
Towing weight 1250kg
Motor fitted 90hp Evinrude ETEC