This offshore craft has a proven heritage as an offshore workhorse that's built as tough as they come. Wayne Kampe reports.
IT'S an interesting boat this one. It has strong links to the venerable Haines Hunter V 19R, a virtual classic much revered by offshore anglers, commercial divers and professional fishermen.
In point of fact, Edencraft make no bones about these craft being redesigned V19Rs - with an upgrade to very heavy-duty construction standards. And with a recent factory move from Victoria to Biggera Waters in Queensland, the local market might grab a larger share of these craft, instead of southerners claiming virtually all factory output.
Build quality is one of the big selling points of the 600 Edencraft. These are very solid boats built to handle the toughest sea conditions and come back for more time and again. A look at any section of fibreglass within the craft - where there's an edge - will reveal that it's at least 9mm thick, no wonder then that the bare hull weighs around 1100kg. And being of survey standard means that there's a lot of foam-fill below the floor as well as within the sides, so if the unthinkable happens the craft will remain safe to stay with.
Easy on the eye
The Edencraft 600 Offshore is a very handsome boat. And with a 225hp Evinrude E-Tec on the transom it went like the clappers. There's a sleek low profile cuddy, sheltered by a bimini on a very rigid frame, which can be folded down. Aft of the skipper and mate seats the remainder of the craft is purely devoted to fishing room, as it should be in a dedicated fishing craft.
A power winch took care of anchor tending.
There's no cabin hatch so if snagging issues develop with the pick, someone could go forward via the walkaround (utilising the bimini frame for hand holds) to make the anchor line fast to the bowsprit and use the engine to free it.
The Edencraft's cabin was finished in a no nonsense flowcoat, and large overhead shelves are useful. There was also a massive under floor storage area centrally. Bunks were not set up but if required the 1.9m length would be useful.
Access was via a bi-fold locking cabin door in the centre of the dash bulkhead.
Seating was courtesy of pedestal style Reelax chairs, which were as strong as the rest of the craft. The chairs were high enough to allow the skipper (and mate) to see over the four piece windscreen with ease. An important feature, that, in an offshore orientated craft.
Both skipper and mate had storage pockets nearby within the inner liner to care for smaller items; the radio/CD player and marine radio were within easy reach of the mate.
The main instrument cluster was set up on a dash moulding above the wheel with the upper flat area aft of the tempered glass screen sporting a Furuno FCV-585 sounder and GP7000 chartplotter. A compass was uppermost on the instrument cluster with gauges to monitor the big E-Tec next down, switches and trim tab controls lower. Forward controls were handily placed on the side. Driving options included remaining seated or standing braced against the Reelax seat with it slid back a little. Either way, visibility was excellent.
With it's massive in-floor fish bin, huge port side pocket, rubber floor matting and gunwale rod holders complementing the six on the bimini, the Edencraft's cockpit was a beauty, the sort of place where four anglers could easily work. Of interest was the diver's foam filled door mounted within the starboard gunwale that could be completely lifted out for diving or dragging big fish on board.
A deck wash was set up in the aft section of the starboard pocket with battery isolator handy nearby.
The transom was equipped with a huge live well. To leave a little catch net at home would be a disaster; there would be no way of capturing a livie from there by hand...The bait tank drains into the bilge (via a removable screen) where a float switch will activate the bilge pump.
Revels in the rough
After launching in the Broadwater we headed straight for the Seaway bar to get out into the ocean and test the reputation of this heavy duty craft. A strong wind warning was current (as usual) but I was keen to see the rig in its real element. The odd rain squall and plenty of strong wind made things look pretty dismal. Nonetheless, the Edencraft acquitted itself very well with its hull's very fine entry taking the belt out of any waves we hit at speed. The rigidly built hull managed to largely take the impact out of waves as we came down off them. Sure, some water was thrown about - some had to be with the speed we were doing at times - but none of it came into the cockpit to annoy the three of us aboard.
I noted the craft did track extremely well when running downhill, and it offered great stability at rest. These are indeed great fishing platforms.
The 225hp E-Tec was the maximum for the hull but in no way overpowered the craft. She planed at 2800rpm and 10 knots and ran out to an impressive 45.5 knots at 5600rpm. Mid range power of the big engine was outstanding; a touch of the throttle saw an instant increase in speed. Handling in the Broadwater was a finger tip exercise thanks to hydraulic steering and I whipped the craft in and out of figure-eight turns without the slightest hint of prop cavitation.
The Edencraft 600 Offshore is one of the better rough water boats on the market. It's extremely robust and built to an almost "over build" standard, yet finish and fit out aren't skimped on in the process. Ex factory these craft come in 2D survey as standard, for passenger carrying, 3C standard for fishing survey. Extra seating, bunks, whatever, are all available on order.
EDENCRAFT 600 OFFSHORE
Deadrise: 22 degrees
Weight: 1100kgs (hull only)
Fuel: 240 litres
Power: Rec. 175-250hp; as reviewed 225hp E-Tec
Towing: Family six wagon/4WD
Price: From $68,000, with 175hp outboard
Contact: Edencraft on (07) 5529 3955; www.edencraft.com.au