Boat Review Date: June 2009
Author: Mike Brown
The Epic Captiva is a rarity among plate aluminium boats: it has barely a straight line in it. It seems it is a foible of builder Todd Lubbock, who gives his glazing contractor nightmares with double curves for the bottom of the side glass. All the other curves on board are in aluminium and so his own problem - one he relishes.
Todd is a one-man band turning out eight or so boats a year, not one of them the same. Not only is each custom laid out and equipped, but also the hulls themselves have evolved over the past couple of years. The Captiva is a beefy 6.1m (6.9 overall) island cab that started as a Jackman design, but now has a finer entry, more deadrise, and more freeboard aft.
I suspect it also has heavier than standard underwear. We had an appalling day for the review with lots of opportunities for the hull to bang, rattle and resonate. It took none of them: the substructure was more than up to the job, and the hull gave us one-piece sensations.
Boarding was easy up a well-sloped ladder, with deep chequer plate treads that matched the anti skid pad in the boarding platform. In the platform section on the other side of the motor I noticed a built-in burley feeder. Appropriate, because the Captiva is very much a fishing boat.
In the same spirit, the cabin is aimed at shelter and stowage rather than accommodation. There is room in it for a toilet, but none was fitted and you get the impression that the boat is a bit too much on the hairy-chested side to feel happy with one. But there is plenty of stowage in there. The deck is carpeted to protect fragile stuff, and two levels of shelves carry the small items.
The cabin is also part of the protection system for driver and offsider, to which we gave a thorough check out on the rain and spray infested day. The windscreen wraps around satisfactorily, and a hardtop covers the position. This is an open hardtop, with clears covering the gap between windscreen and ‘top. Although I am a faint fan of clears, generally preferring a breeze, I was glad of these on the day. They worked tirelessly, letting not a drop through.
Within this cocoon there was a lot of civilisation. Reversible seats well provided with footrests; grab rails, cave lockers and drink holders; and an overhead console for the pair of marine radios and the music system. To guard against stray drips down the back, Epic had extended the hardtop with fabric. This also meant sun protection when the seats were reversed and fishing started.
Sun was what we had only traces of, and fishing was what we did not attempt. Instead, we tried out the Epic Captiva in conditions that most owners will experience less than five percent of their time afloat. And I don’t blame them: boating is supposed to be fun.
Right away I admit to being impressed by the Captiva’s rough water ability. Probably in deference to my advanced years Todd and his assistant initially made gentle progress into the short, steep and biggish seas, but youthful exuberance soon took over and the throttle moved further along its travel. We were heading the seas and started getting more of our length airborne.
We made only one hard landing, and even that was not painful. Our speed of progress upwind was exceptionally good for the conditions. When we turned around and ran with the weather the ride improved hugely, and we could push on more throttle. Once into a more sheltered spot we pushed it all the way, and our 150 Honda showed 38 knots.
Coping with rough water will only be a part time occupation for this boat; fishing will be full time, and it should do a good job. The 2.5m beam leaves good walking space around the cabin, and the stability showed up well with two people on the same side of it.
The equipment level is good too. There are two underdeck catch tanks, an excellent bait tray, an underdeck ice box between the seats, a deck wash, plenty of rod holders, sounder and plotter, and a rubbish bin cleverly located in one of the lockers. There are lockers everywhere it is possible to put them, and pockets everywhere else.
The Epic was obviously built by a man with pride in his product, and just as obviously he spent a lot of time getting the details right – something it is possible to do when you are not holding a production line up.Lowdown
Price, as reviewed AUD $72,000
Length overall 6.9m
Hull length 6.1m
Fuel capacity 220L
Motor fitted 150 Honda 4-stroke