Bluefin with the lot
ANTHONY Greed is the proprietor at Shoalhaven Marine on the NSW South Coast. The keen fisho and spearo recently set up a brand new project boat, something to show off to prospective buyers. The spec’d up 4.5m Viking Bluefin features a vast assortment of clever optional extras; no stone is left unturned. Potential customers can walk into his boat dealership and make a purchasing decision based on ideas from this boat. So far he’s sold a couple boats, one almost identical to this one.
Bluefin Boats offers two hull thickness options in this model – 3mm top and bottoms, or 3mm top and 4mm bottoms. Needless to say Anthony went for the latter option. He admits he’s hard on his gear and wanted the additional weight for a better ride.
Bluefin offers this boat in 4.5 and 4.8 metre options as a good all-round fresh and saltwater sportfishing hull. The size lends itself nicely to easy towing and storage, yet it still has the capability to fish offshore when conditions are right or chase bass up the river or lake.
Starting from the bow, Anthony covered the anchor well to create more space and have somewhere to stand and fish in calm water. There’s also an electric motor mount for the 60-inch 80lb 24volt MotorGuide.
The anchor, which isn’t used much, is stored under the deck where it’s easy to access for an emergency. With the anchor well removed Anthony added a dry hatch which is easy to access and useful for items that are essential to keep dry.
Further back there's a low casting platform. It's a standout feature of this boat. Unlike many boats of this size and purpose with high casting platforms, the low platform means you can utilise the full length of the boat in rougher water. High platforms are fine in calm water, but not so great in the rough. Interestingly, because of the boat's deep vee, there is still ample room under the front casting platform with loads of gear stored inside.
Anthony wanted to create lightweight casting decks.
“The biggest problem when you start building items into the boat is it increases the weight dramatically and it changes how the boat handles and behaves on the water,” says Anthony.
“I contacted some guys from Thermalite, which make a composite glass filled board.”
The whole front and rear casting deck are made from Thermalite, which Anthony says is about half the weight of ply, just as strong and arguably more long lasting. He flow coated to a light grey to fit the aesthetics of the boat. It doesn’t get too hot and the colour keeps the glare down.
Marine Deck supplied the grippy, yet soft floor covering and even had CNC cut logos put in place with Shoalhaven Marine's suppliers' logos etched into the floor of his boat. The flooring is durable and the light colour keeps the heat down.
Under the floor there’s a neat space for dual batteries to power the 80lb MotorGuide electric. Anthony says he doesn’t need to access them regularly so doesn't want them to take up normal storage. The solution was to remove a panel in the bottom deck and make a custom battery compartment under the floor. It snugly fits two deep cycle batteries.
He doesn’t run dual battery systems. There’s a single start battery and the two deep cycles for the electric. If something goes wrong and he needs a spare battery, there’s an isolator switch which converts power back as an emergency battery for starting the engine. The crank battery operates all of the electronics.
Anthony has also installed two automatic bilge pumps – one under the front hatch, the other at the transom. The two pumps ensure an extra level of safety in an emergency.
Under the floor there’s a 70litre fuel tank, which is more than enough capacity with the economical engine.
Shoalhaven Marine is a Mercury Marine dealer and Anthony opted for Merc’s 60hp four-strokes with Command Thrust. He’s adamant this engine is the most fuel efficient 60hp he’s seen. And while the Bluefin is a heavy boat, the 60hp offers more than enough power. At WOT, the Merc pushed the boat in excess of 30knots and hole shot performance was impressive.
With the tiller steer configuration, 60hp is maximum for that boat. A side or centre console could increase that maximum rating to 75hp, although it’s not necessary in Anthony's opinion. Plus, the tiller configuration leaves so much space for fishing and passengers.
The Command Thrust can take a bigger prop and bigger gear set. You won't get much extra speed, but you will get the same performance powering a heavy boat. It will handle the weight without loading the engine, according to Anthony.
“Going with the Command thrust gear box, I'm not after speed, I'm just after decent performance and that’s what it does. It gives me the decent fuel economy because I'm not working the engine hard,” he says.
Anthony is a Simrad dealer and the Bluefin features a 9” Simrad EVO 3. It’s mounted on a Ram mount so it can be dropped low inside the boat to rescue glare or to keep out of harm’s way.
All of the electronics – speakers, Mercury Vessel View, network for the electric motor – all run central through the Simrad and all of that’s housed in a custom made box on the side within easy reach of the seat.
Anthony can find a pre-recorded track on the Simrad for the MotorGuide and simply drop the electric for hassle free fishing.
He wanted a low maintenance trailer which was un-braked. He also wanted it wider than normal so the boat didn’t sit too high. It’s still legal, but the boat sits below the level of the mud guard. This makes the boat easier to launch at shallow ramps.
Anthony tried to avoid any maintenance issues. He added rollers up the centre with stainless pins.
The trailer has standard galvanised running gear, meaning he can travel anywhere in Australia and easily find spare parts.
The frame and trailer itself he designed himself and had Phoenix Trailers, a local manufacturer, weld it together.
The alloy trailer is over engineered but still lightweight at about 250kg.
While its a simple trailer, it’s functional, strong and easy to maintain.
Attention to detail on this boat’s fit out was incredible. For a relatively small boat, it sure does pack in a lot of features. Not just unnecessary gadgets either, every option has a purpose and that comes through Anthony's experience as a fisho and long time boatie.
For more information: www.shoalhavenmarine.com.au