ONE thing about owning a Polycraft is the regular conversations struck up at boat ramps with curious boaties wanting to know all about these polyethylene hulls. I have been using an open 4.1m Polycraft for all of my estuary fishing for the past four years. At the time of writing this, one of my regular fishing buddies has enjoyed fishing from my boat so much he’s just sold his tinny and taken delivery of his own Poly. Why not? The ride is amazingly soft, the hull is quiet and nothing is tougher than Polycraft’s twin skin hull design.
Polycraft was the first manufacturer in Australia to really push and market polyethylene boats, which have emerged as a genuine alternative to alloy and ‘glass hulls. There is nothing flash about a Poly but what they lack in flair they more than make up for in brawn but having said that, a quick tour on www.polyowners.com.au will open your eyes to endless opportunities that come with modifying these hulls.
Out of the stable
The new 4.8m Brumby is all about options. After many years of testing each and every Polycraft that has been released, I’m always pleased to say that with every new hull, the experience and on-water testing that the Bundaberg-based boys do proves its worth.
The 4.8 Polycraft comes in a variety of configurations including: centre console, rear console, side console and cuddy cab. I managed to get together with Polycraft and Currumbin Marine to get both a rear console and a cuddy cab on the water. The hulls were exactly the same but it was surprising how the different configurations changed the characteristics of the vessels. Both boats were powered by 75hp Honda four-strokes, which proved to be a good engine for the 4.8m hull. The Honda pulled both vessels out of the hole easily enough and also provided a nice balance between power and economy.
The cuddy was a lot lighter up front than I was expecting with just 45kgs difference between it and the rear console. The cuddy felt a lot more rigid and its forward helm gave the boat a completely different feel. The cuddy has that “stiffer” feel when cutting through the waves and is very responsive to adjustments from the helm. The supple polyethylene did provide a lot of cushioning so it proved to be a nice combination of feel and soft ride.
The cuddy cab design is ideal for offshore fishing or day trips where some dry storage is needed. A clip-in mattress could be added to allow the little ones a place to rest but the cab is best suited for storage then sleeping.
The port hole allows access to the anchor, under the floor the cuddy has added storage and side storage pockets are ideal for loose items such as sunscreen.
The cabin has a walk around design with stainless steel grab rails on the bow and around the windscreen, so moving onto the bow is no problem.
From the helm the seating was simple and the dash was also uncomplicated but practical for offshore use with the added option of swivel seats. The top of the dash could house separate GPS and sounder systems but a combined unit similar to the one on the test boat is better suited to the design. Revs, speedo, fuel and trim gauges are standard with a four-switch panel as standard. It’s uncluttered and practical but lacks space for bigger or split electronics units.
I like the flexible twin skin design of the Polycrafts and the rear console 4.8 is the softest riding Poly I have ever driven. The rear steering position means that three-quarters of the boat – from the bow aft – can flex away without a cuddy cab or any weight to brace the hull. An aft helm is always going to make for a softer ride but the rear console Poly rode like a huge shock absorber was mounted up front! Over wakes and chop, the hull performed effortlessly with barely a bump felt at the wheel. A great option for anyone with a dodgy back.
The test boat had the optional bow casting deck which also gave some added under floor storage but for offshore fishos, the casting deck can be removed for the security of added freeboard.
The rear console and large front deck is also ideal for fly fishing and casting lures or slugs both inshore and offshore.
The hull design has a huge reverse chine that gives that Polycraft its remarkable stability and broad planing surface area. The 17 degree deadrise is surprising from a boat that is so smooth through the water. Playing a fish with two or three anglers on one side of the boat is not an issue and to have no compromise in ride quality is a testament to the benefit of a flexible hull.
Both vessels handled well at both top speed and during slow manoeuvring, were well behaved in reverse and responded well to various trim adjustments.
Being critical, the polyethylene hulls are heavier then aluminum and therefore do not have that slow planing speed (planed at 15kph @ 3400rpm) that some offshore fishos like and they are a few knots slower than alloy in a similar configuration but there are benefits over alloy as well.
The full Brumby range includes the cuddy cab and rear console featured here, but also includes: front runner, which is a split screen bow rider set-up, centre console and side console. All models have a pod transom, bow anchor well, wide gunwales, fold down lounge and stainless steel bow and hand rails.
A 70lt under-floor fuel tank gives offshore runners a reasonable range and inshore fishos can opt for a front casting deck on all models except the cuddy cab. All Brumbies come with two bait boxes on the stern that can easily be plumbed to convert into live bait tanks. Four rod holders are also mounted in the wide gunwales.
Polycrafts have excellent flotation without the addition of foam purely because of the dual skin construction that traps air and prevents sinking even when full of water. All models can also be foam-filled to give positive flotation and to meet survey standards for commercial use. The polyethylene that is used to build Polycrafts has an I.V. rating of 11, which compared to the average wheelie bin with a IV rating of 4, will last well beyond the 25 year guarantee that the material carries. No seams, no wielding and a four year warranty on the hull build add to the appeal of the new 4.8 Brumby.