Boat Review Date: April 2019
Author: Mike Brown
The Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPW) wanted a trailable multi-purpose vessel for operations at Northwest Cape. In this 8.5 metre boat from Cordina Marine they got just that. Only 7.7 metres in hull length it is packed with capability. Underwater and surface operations for DPW; cooperation with other departments; availability for search and rescue, and informal towing of broken down vessels.
The layout gives the lion’s share of the interior to sheltered working space. The cockpit has a pair of suspension seats for the two regular crew forward, a bench seat aft for up to four special personnel aft, and in between plenty of elbow room.
The entire cockpit is shaded by a canopy that can be removed depending on the boat’s task. It continues a theme that runs throughout the boat: put storage wherever possible; here, life jackets fit into zippered compartments below the canopy. The rear bench seat is another example: the centre sits on a storage bin. The wings lift up to reveal sockets for six scuba cylinders.
The canopy is spanned by a gantry mounting aerials. Also up top are a loud hailer and a light bar. Below is a healthy gap between the canopy and the windscreen top, catering for Exmouth’s frequently torrid climate.
The small fore cabin’s main reason for existence is somewhere sheltered to put stuff. Entrance to it from the cockpit is through a roller door, an ideal space saver. Its front weather-tight door opens to the short bow cockpit, from which boarding another vessel could take place over the square bow. A drum windlass lives in what would otherwise be the anchor well, the anchor itself stowing under the collar.
The main exit and entry is via a port side door from the main cockpit. This is highly unusual in a nominal rigid inflatable. It is possible because nothing aboard actually inflates: the collar is hard foam. A boarding ladder drops into place to make a water exit for a diver. Once on board he or she has router cut synthetic deck sheathing underfoot.
Towing capability is provided by a massive post. The crash frame round the motors has a secondary role of preventing a slack towline from dropping into the between motors gap. The motors themselves being a pair of 225hp Yamahas giving towing grunt as well as a very respectable sprint speed. With a total capacity of 550 litres in a pair of tanks they are well supplied with fuel.
Like many other boat builders Cordina also builds trailers; this one in aluminium is very special. Low friction got close attention resulting in the boat sliding off and on with little assistance needed from the motors or from muscle power. The winching post contains a mini locker for tools and mounts an auto catch – an increasingly common and useful fitting. It even incorporates a step for climbing over the bow. Now that is thoughtful.
Length overall 8.4m
Hull length 7.7m
Fuel capacity 2 x 275L
Motors fitted 2 x 225hp Yamahas