Boat Review Date: May 2010
Author: Mike Brown
At first and second glance the Wakemaker’s hull looked like almost any run of the mill WA plate aluminium boat, and the judges of the Boat of the Year were expecting a similar performance on the lumpy ocean. It turned out to be very much better than average, a performance that was matched by its clever and thorough fit-out and the quality of its execution. It was all good enough to win Aluminium Custom Boat of the Year.
This is a lot of trailer boat, seven metres hull length and eight overall and a good deal heavier than you would expect from aluminium. Massive construction accounts for part of that, and a fuel capacity of 350L and fresh water of 150L for the rest. This weight has a lot to do with the sea-kindliness.
The builder has made good use of all the volume, creating a boat equipped for fishing, diving and family use, and with room left over to actually do all those things. There are built-in racks for six scuba cylinders, and three under-deck compartments for the rest of the diving gear – or for ice slurry for the fishermen. A shower is laid on for the end of the diving day, and divers and swimmers will love the ladder: it has a double fold, allowing it to be long enough to really get under water.
Fishermen have a magnificent removable bait table, abundant rod stowage, drink holders and a deck wash. They also have a good rail height and access to a lot of rail length; the quarter seats fold up to give access to the transom.
This is one boat that gives a lot more than lip service to its all-rounder claim. On non-diving or fishing days it is well capable of delighting the rest of the family or friends. Its lock-up cabin, as well as housing a pair of full-length convertible bunks, has a flushing toilet – which for many people is a very good start.
The passenger seat under the hardtop is a fore and aft two-seater, that when lifted exposes a single-burner stove galley available. A fridge-freezer beneath the seat is permanently available, as is a sink mounted behind the driver’s seat. A table that can be left behind on fishing days swivels into position. For serious cooking a barbecue, whose gas cylinder is neatly located, lifts out of its special stowage and drops into the coaming.
To complement all this civilisation there are lockers everywhere it is possible to put them, as well as in places the builder apparently conjured up. And there is good shelter, a major requirement for a good day on the water. The heavy-duty hardtop covers a useful area, and the cantilevered extension extends over most of the rest of the cockpit. The extension is so heavily framed it has been given extra pipe work for overhead grab rails.
Grab rails are a feature on the Wakemaker, and it is a very safe boat to move forward on. The hardtop has fore and aft rails that would double as a roof rack, the side decks are wide enough, and the side rails are beefy. Although there are few reasons to visit the foredeck since a power windlass is fitted.
The star act under the hardtop is the driver’s seat, a suspension model like cray boats have. If you were sadistic enough you could pound your passengers to a pulp whilst sitting pretty yourself. Although, as already noted, this is not a pounding boat. The motor fitted was a 200 ETEC, although the builder will install any make of motor, and it proved good for 38 knots – which we did briefly in the poor conditions. Even the people travelling without benefit of the magic seat retained the fillings in their teeth and the cartilage in their knees.
Trim tabs are provided, and with the vast tankage and presumably variable longitudinal centre of gravity they could theoretically come in for some use. But we found it a non-trim sensitive boat and made all our adjustments with small movements of the motor’s power trim.
Returning to the ramp we were glad – for the builder’s sake as well as our own – that built-in fendering was given proper priority. Every bit of the hull that could touch the jetty was raw metal: the rails (within the boat’s footprint) and the half-round rubbing pieces. The rubbing pieces were not only around the gunwale, they also ran down the swallowtail and returned at half freeboard – a builder who knows how hard life can be for a boat.
Like so many of WA’s one-man building industries this one builds a bewildering range of boats from four to ten metres, and in an infinite variety of sophistication levels. This is how it used to be when people bought their bespoke cars.Lowdown
Price from AUD $109,000
Price as reviewed AUD $130,000
Hull Length 7.00m
Length overall 8.00m
Fuel capacity 350L
Motor fitted 200hp Evinrude ETEC