Boat Review Date: September 2011
Author: Mike Brown
There is a sameness about many of the plate aluminium boats built in WA – inevitable when most are very similar Jackman designs. The Velosity 580 rings the changes by being a Dennis Walsh design, with noticeable differences in the hull.
The forefoot is sharper and deeper, the bottom warping to a flatter deadrise at the transom. The aim is to maximise sharpness where the boat’s motion is greatest, and to increase stability at rest.
It was immediately clear that the stability aim had been achieved; three well-fed people climbing aboard at the same time barely moved the 580. Which is all to the good in a boat intended to have people moving around in it. The 580 is somewhere between a centre cabin and a centre console, and squarely aimed at fisherrmen.
Cabin implies a space you can at least sit in and that is not the case with the Velosity, but the structure is far more substantial than the usual centre console. It is probably close to the ideal for a boat of this size, giving plenty of storage and shelter without taking away much deck area. The console’s sides wrap around the two box-mounted swivel seats, and a folding Targa caries a Bimini. The review boat had clears fitted, and for once I was glad as it was a miserable day.
The wind, already fresh, strengthened as the test progressed, creating nasty, closely spaced seas: just the stuff to make an aluminium boat rattle. Which the Velosity did not do. It had a very solid feel, and made progress through the lumps without any resonance from the hull. This was probably thanks in part to the eight stringers under the deck instead of the usual six.
The chines threw water wide, and on most occasions this would be a dry boat. They also threw perhaps a little high, and with the wind on the beam we took the odd bit of spray.
The ride was better than average plate with the sea from any direction. For WA conditions behaviour with a following sea is particularly important, and the Velosity did it well. Straight tracking and no tendency to drop the nose; almost hands-off stuff.
The motor fitted was a 150 horsepower Evinrude ETEC. It gave us – briefly – 40 knots, meaning effortless cruising at the usual WA speed of the low 20s. It is always pleasant to have a motor that loafs along with plenty in reserve, but a smaller and cheaper motor would prune the cost and still give good results.
When not moving the 580 converts into a good fishing platform. The coamings are wide, making a good seat around the whole perimeter. When standing they hit the leg about 80mm above the knee – about average. Importantly, there is plenty of deck area, and the decks alongside the console are wide enough for easy walking. The deck is carpeted, vital for bare feet in an aluminium boat.
Fishing equipment includes a drop-in bait board, deck wash and a kill tank. We flooded this to ballast us down when drifting. It practically nailed us to the water: the steadiness, already good, increased dramatically. It illustrated that, in aluminium boats especially, they are probably better thought of as ballast tanks rather than fish keeping devices.
The standard fit-out is thorough and thoughtful. One nice touch is making all the cut outs for gauges and other dash items before painting. The other items include CD player, radio and a five-switch panel.
Twin batteries are also standard, making the chance of non-starting because of a flat battery unlikely. The ETEC can be hand started, a rarity among electronic motors, but the Velosity can be supplied with any make of motor.
Like most WA boat builders Velosity is a small operation, with just two men responsible for everything except the paint. And like most small manufacturing businesses they have a pride in their work that shows. The Velosity is a tough, well-finished boat.Lowdown
Price from AUD $52,000
Price as tested AUD $58,000
Hull length 5.8 metres
Beam 2.45 metres
Fuel capacity 150 litres