by Wayne Kampe •
Boat reviews are always dominated by weather. Overly calm conditions can make a craft’s ride quality more difficult to assess. On the other hand, it certainly makes taking photos real easy and provides some interesting top performance figures from hull and motor.
In the Sea Craft Xtreme’s case we launched at Manly on Moreton Bay on a day of beguiling calmness, and that’s how things stayed. Ray Dial of R & M Marine (Hemmant) assisted with the launch and review and I doubt I’ve seen many craft leave their trailers – and be driven back on later – as easily as the 5.2 Sea Craft. The trailer was a custom-made Sea Trail trailer featuring alloy C channel construction which combined strength, a functional design and light weight quite superbly.
A no-nonsense sort of alloy rig, the Sea Craft had a rigid feel about it thanks to 4mm plate all around. I noted that although welds were not smoothed, they were continuous and of a fairly high standard. The wide non-skid decks looked good to sit on in quiet conditions and with check plate on the self draining floor and raised forward deck, the fishing team would enjoy sure footing on the water with the owner having an easy wash-out back home. I love hose-out style boats.
Plenty of fishing features
Full cockpit-length side pockets looked great for stowing long items and with a 60L in-floor kill tank/storage compartment and a shelf within the centre console a fair amount of equipment would find a home for a day on the water.
The rail and windscreen-equipped centre console offered some breeze protection with a Raymarine Dragonfly 7 GPS/sounder and a compass. Marine radio, gauges for the 90 E-Tec astern and switches were all handy, and the wheel was linked to hydraulic steering, which was easily reached from the fore/aft bolster seat set onto a big storage box. Bolster seats are great when travelling then easily reversed when watching a couple of baited rods and enjoying a snack.
I noted a 30L livewell aft and a transom-mounted bait station equipped with a cutting board, tackle drawer, four rod holders and side tool compartments as well. A folding rear seat is standard but was removed for our water test with only the backrest in place. The full transom-height lockable boarding gate to port would be appreciated by an angler hauling in a big one or a swimmer returning to base. There is a grab rail and ladder tucked into the transom for that latter purpose.
90 E-Tec ample power
Powered modestly by a 90hp Evinrude E-TEC – top power is rated as 150hp – the Sea Craft Xtreme 5.2 performed quite well. A 15” Viper prop kicked the solid 655kg hull onto the plane at a modest 3000rpm and 13.7km/h. It turned more revs into forward motion at the following rate: 4000rpm for 32.3km/h, 4500 for 38.2, 5000 for 45.2 and 5800 for 58.3.
Although it’s a small engine compared to the maximum 150hp, the 90 E-TEC still had plenty of power given the ease with which it kicked the rig (with two on board) quickly onto the plane and had ample power reserves throughout the rev range. Evinrude’s fuel injected 2-strokes are like that, of course, and with that sort of get up and go even having four anglers aboard should present no problems.
In the prevailing conditions, fast runs and sharp turns were a breeze. The hull with it’s massive double reversed outer chines tracked like it was on rails and was then rock steady at rest, so it’s good for virtually all fishing pursuits.
Ride assessment was facilitated by some big Moreton Island-bound ferries leaving Manly and I guess the excited youngsters aboard might have wondered why an alloy boat with two grinning persons aboard came zooming in on their wash and jumped straight through it a couple of times. The Sea Craft handled that bit of sport quite well; there were no hard bangs or jarring, just a smooth impact with spray thrown well away.
Stability’s assured, an excellent and well-controlled ride’s a bonus, and with 1.45m high sides the Sea Craft 5.2 Xtreme certainly had plenty of freeboard.
The Chinese-made Sea Craft boats are somewhat new to our market and offer a range of craft extending from 5m right up to 7m in length. With everything from cuddy cabs to both centre and side consoles on the books there’s a pretty good choice on hand. Keen anglers and family boaters could enjoy them equally.
For a test run, contact Harvey Bay Marine on (07) 4124 9955 or R & M Marine of Hemmant, Brisbane on 3393 9463. Both are happy to assist potential owners to open the throttle and experience the ride and handling of these Vee hulls. The price as reviewed was $42, 990 (with high-end C channel trailer) – good value for money.
Hull construction 4mm plate alloy all round
Weight hull 655kg
Engine fitted 90hp Evinrude E-TEC
Towing Family wagon or a 4×4 ute