Boat Review Date: May 2010
Author: Mike Brown
Commodore Marine are constantly coming up with new versions of their established boats – and no wonder: when you have a competent hull, you make the most of it. They already had centre console and cabin versions of their Abrolhos 8000, and they have now added a walk around. They thought it was good enough to enter for the 2010 WA Boat of the Year and they were right: it won Fibreglass Over Six Metres.
The hull has a sort of sub-title on its side: Project Rat, a name that has a tale as well as a tail. At a Commodore owners fishing trip to the Abrolhos – of course – the builders and their customers were discussing the design and features of the proposed new model. Every project worth its salt needs a name, and a quick look around gave them one: they were anchored off Rat Island.
The Abrolhos in the 8000’s name was not just a random name grab – these were intended to be long-range deep water fishing boats, offering self-sufficiency for days at a time. The review example takes long range to heart, being powered by a sterndrive diesel.
The Yanmar 6BY260Z is a class act, as you would expect from an engine that also powers the 5-Series BMW. Extremely quiet, light – just 315kg – and bursting with torque: 550nm at 2,500rpm that supplies neck jerking acceleration – often good to have in the Abrolhos where sneaky breakers are not unknown. The three-litre motor puts out 260hp taking this water rat into the high 30s of knots. Confine the speed to the low 20s and about 450 miles is possible from the 450L tank.
Similar speed, although not the range or acceleration, would come from a 300hp four-stroke outboard, and at a $13,000 discount. For more cost saving you could go down to 225hp and still perform well. Fuel saving is not going to be a likely reason for choosing the diesel: it will be about range, and about the great feeling of security that diesel power gives.
At 8.4m overall and 7.7m hull length the Abrolhos is a lot of trailer boat, and is able to combine full fishing access all round with surprising quantities of accommodation. It has V-berths that can dismantle and stow forward to leave storage for huge amounts of gear, and a single transverse bunk below the cockpit. It is a bit tight but definitely useable, and plenty of natural light plus a hatch to the cockpit – mainly intended for passing gear through – takes away any claustrophobia.
There is also a flushing toilet down there, evacuating into a holding tank – another feature needed for the Abrolhos Islands. An invisible feature is the 150L fresh water tank. All up, an acceptable set-up for a bunch of fishing friends on an extended trip. Realistically, most people would opt for sleeping on air mattresses in the cockpit, so the number of anglers that can be accommodated rises to about five.
They have plenty of deck to share among them. The side decks leading forward are not just stumbling transit aisles; they are wide enough for comfortable fishing as you pass along them. Once forward there is a decently spacious foredeck, and a comfortable seat.
All the expected gear is on board: up-market Raymarine electronics, rod stowage galore, including horizontal racks, bait tank, a specialised bleed tank, and twin catch tanks with removable liners. Those last are a great boon; how much better to lift the whole thing out rather than transfer fish and slurry to eskies.
One thing up top I particularly liked was the folding Targa that fibreglass boats often do not have. The reduced drag of a folding Targa and Bimini can make a huge difference to trailing speed and fuel consumption.
I took the 8000 Walk Around to sea on two quite different days, a luxury I seldom get. It is always good to try a boat both in the conditions owners like to be at sea in, and the conditions they get when they would rather be somewhere else. It worked both times. It proved a very responsive, reassuringly stable boat on the flat day, and it also shrugged off horrendous weather on the other. Meaning that it could fulfil its long ranging task by coping with whatever cropped up along the way. I was impressed.
Price as reviewed: $175,000
Price from: $156,000
Hull length: 7.7m
Overall length: 8.4m
Fuel capacity: 450l
Fresh water: 150l
Motor: Yanmar 6BY260Z @260hp