The new Euro console Aquapro 1401 is a compact package, with a wide range of possible uses that makes it a very versatile craft.
Barry Thompson took one away for a weekend to find out why this hull has been so popular for over seven years and what’s different about the new layout.
Built by Aquapro Interna- tional, the 1401 is from the Aquapro’s sport boat and tender range and is destined for such diverse uses as tender for a superyacht or towing kids on a wakeboard.
The 1401 is the largest of a family of three centre-console Seamaster models: the 1401 being based on a 4.28m hull with the 1301 and 1201 using 3.96m and 3.71m length hulls respectively. They are available in either solid grp with a ply floor glassed over, or 4mm 5083 aluminium hulls. The grp version comes in at around 15 kg heavier than the aluminium, but the alloy version outsells the grp models by 8 to 1.
Although the fibreglass 1401 I tested was not a totally new model, it was the first with the new Euro console and, compared to the previous jockey style console, it makes for a completely different boat. It is now very much a ‘small’ boat, with a more practical seating and storage layout.
Under the Divemaster name, the same hull is sold without any console and only a tiller steer option.
The moulded Euro console is an after-market unit that can be retrofitted to most Aquapro aluminium or fibreglass RIB hulls. In the case of a grp hull the console is fibreglassed to the cockpit floor and in the case of alloy hulls it is bolted down. The Euro console is made up of a large moulded base, with an off-set steering console and single port seat forward, with a double moulded bin style seat aft. It’s a tight fit in the 1401 Seamaster but it does offer seating for at least three in dedicated seats and as it is an inflatable there’s always room for a few more on the tubes. That’s what makes a boat like this such a great tender.
Storage is available under the aft seat, which is also used to hide away the oil reservoir, battery and will also take a 12 litre tote tank. A split level storage shelf within the seat base gives you an area to keep any gear off the deck and with the seat cushion velcroed in place the upper area stays relatively dry. Fore and aft drain holes mean water can get into the console base so it’s not advisable to leave anything on the floor that you want to keep dry.
A stainless steel rail with a thickly padded upholstered backrest swings fore and aft to allow you to sit either way. When driving, the rolled cushion is comfortably placed behind you and gives some security when running hard. Move it forward and you have a cosy aft-facing two seater.
The 1401 cockpit is semi-self draining, allowing you the option of leaving the big plastic bungs in place or, if you get too much water aboard, a pull on the cords ensures that the water will drain out very quickly.
Under the forward seat you have the option of another large storage area or, in the case of our test boat, a 50 litre stainless steel fuel tank. It certainly fills the gap but it’s a better option than having a couple of tote tanks loose in the back of the boat. Aquapro have done a nice job on the fuel filler placement in the side of the console, although be careful when filling that you don’t spill any excess in the boat.
In the jockey console version there is space for a 25 litre tote tank, battery and oil reservoir under the central two seater, but nowhere near as much storage space.
Thinking of the guys who have to rig the boat, Aquapro have made the steering console two piece, with the top removable for ease of assembly. There is also the added bonus of maintaining a lower profile package when shipping the 1401 overseas. A So-Pac hatch gives access to a little extra storage under the helm area.
I found driving the 1401 in either the seated or standing mode quite okay. The perspex screen does little more than keep some of the wind from your face when seated and the flat area behind it is ideal for a bracket mounted GPS or fishfinder. The addition of a small upstand on the rear of the console top would stop anything sliding off.
The side mounted controls were well placed, with all the cables fed out of the way through the console and seat base. The console is a pretty snug fit across the cockpit, so access forward is limited to climbing over the port seat or on the tubes. There’s good space up front for changing into your dive gear or stowing your water toys.
The self-draining anchor locker compartment in the forepeak is part of the hull moulding and holds an adequate amount of anchor tackle for a boat this size. The rope is fed over a heavy duty rubber section, with a cleat fixed to the cockpit floor.
The 1401 is unsinkable with the underfloor area totally sealed, so even with the four chamber tubes deflated you can still drive home. The 1201 and 1301 are similar apart from having three chamber tubes. Aquapro use an 1100 decitex polyester base cloth with an exterior coating of UV stabilised hypopolymar and their all-white hulls carry a ten year fabric warranty and five year structural seam warranty. The seams are thermo bonded and a heavy duty white rub strake around the hull helps avoid marks when coming alongside other craft.
Our test boat was fitted with a Yamaha 40, the top horsepower recommended for the 1401. Quite honestly, it’s plenty. The boat recorded 27 knots (31 mph) on the gps with myself and five kids and I managed to push that to 30 knots (34.5 mph) with only myself aboard. The hull is very responsive and gets on the plane quickly. In a short choppy sea I pushed the throttle right down and with plenty of engine trim the 1401 retained a level attitude, with the wide flared bow — helped by the huge overhanging tubes — pushing the spray out and giving all aboard a spray free ride. The very nature of the design means that in a rough quartering sea it’s likely to be a little wet aboard, but no more than you would expect from an open boat this size. You could expect somewhere between 18 and 20 knots (21 – 23 mph) with a 25hp or 30 hp outboard, so if you’re wanting a boat for skiing or wakeboarding the bigger engine is probably the best option.
Although sales in the past have been very much into the tender and dive market, the Seamaster is now finding favour as a small family runabout.
It has the advantage of being light to tow, easy to handle and will take a choppy sea better than many boats its size. With the new console and more seating, it also lends itself to being the ideal big boat tender.
- Model: 1401 Seamaster Euro
- Price: $11,344
- Price as Tested: $20,000
- Designer: Aquapro
- Material: grp/1100 decitex
- Type: RIB
- LOA: 4.28 m
- Beam: 2.03 m
- Deadrise: 18 deg
- Hull Configuration: medium vee
- Trailerable Weight: 350 kg
- Engine Capacity: 25 – 40 hp
- Power Options: outboard only
- Fuel Capacity: 50 litres
- Max Speed: 30 knots (34.5 mph)
Steering, console, paddles, anchor locker, antiskid floor, stainless handholds and reversible seat.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
50 litre stainless steel fuel tank
- Make : Yamaha
- HP: 40
- Model: 40VETO
- Cylinder Type: 3 in line
- Max RPM: 5500
- Propeller: 11 1/8” x 12”
- Retail Price: $6993 (incl gst)
- Make: Trailers Direct
- Model: 1400
- Braked: No
- Suspension: Springs
- Rollers: keel support
- Std Features: winch, standup support.
- Retail Price: $1095 (incl gst)