STATEMENT OF STYLE
The CSB Huntsman Centurion has been released to coincide with CSB Huntsman’s 25th anniversary, and it is possibly their best model yet. Barry Thompson checks out their latest creation.
Releasing new models is essential if you want to keep your brand at the forefront of the market and CSB Huntsman certainly recognise that. However, designer and MD of the company, Geoff Robinson knew that if he was going to add a new model to the range, it had to be different enough to make an impact. The styling of the Centurion is a departure from what we have been used to with CSB Huntsman, but then that seems to be the norm with them.
I have had the privilege of reviewing every model the company has made in the past 25 years, and I am always impressed by how they make every new boat look somewhat unique from everything else on the market. Some of the points of difference are subtle, but each boat is a statement of style from this Christchurch based builder.
The Centurion is not a replacement but an addition to the CSB Huntsman range and slots in between the Series 6000 and the Crusader. It is the first of the new Evolution Series which incorporates a unique split-deck design that allows for a variety of different foredeck styles while still leaving the aft sections unchanged.
“What we have done is simplified our production so when we release the Centurion in a bowrider, cuddy, hardtop or walkaround models, it means we only need to build a new half deck and not a full deck from transom to bow,” says Geoff Robinson, MD of CSB Huntsman Boats.
Ultimately there will be four half decks based on the same hull in either outboard or sterndrive variants. Geoff says that a bowrider model will be the next to be released, which is being pitched at the international market. The first sterndrive version will be out in the new year.
“The benefits in the split deck is that we not only can we build the boat’s quicker, there is a benefit for the consumer because it only costs us half as much to make a deck mould and we have been able to reflect that in the retail price which I consider is very competitive against similar sized boats”, added Geoff.
As the boat is CAD drawn, Geoff says that the half decks fit perfectly and are perfectly symmetrical. “It’s a bit like Lego; everything just clips together”.
The new Centurion features a deep 23 deg deadrise at the transom, which is 2 deg more than on other CSB Huntsman models such as the Series 6000, Explorer, Crusader and XCalibur. The coamings have also been raised 100mm. To make sure the hull has the stability at rest and while underway, the running surfaces incorporate a wider gullwing chine and wider planning strakes. Apart from these changes, the fundamental dynamics of the hull have been retained, and the result is a great ride that’s also exceptionally dry.
The external beam is the same as the Series 6000 and the Crusader, but the internal beam is wider. This has been achieved by straightening up the sides and being able to compact everything to fit better — another advantage of designing a boat by CAD and not the eye. For example, the outboard well is as short as it can be and will take any outboard on the market in the range suitable for the Centurion.
Another feature of the Evolution Series, which Geoff says will be carried through to all new models in the future, is there is now no timber in the boat and a full inner liner. This follows the Sotalia, which is the only other boat in the line-up that is all grp. A lot of thought went into the position of the internal stringers so that they are strategically placed above the trailer rollers to negate any possible hull deformation from pressure points. This has never been an issue in any boat CSB Huntsman have built in the past 25 years, but it’s just another example of the extra effort they put into the construction of all their boats.
He also commented that with the inner liner, production time is now cut down by about a third so that they can produce more boats. Production for the Centurion is scheduled for two boats a week.
INCREASED CABIN & COCKPIT
The cabin layout is very similar to other comparable sized CSB Huntsman models, although has a little more headroom, with two 1.8m side squabs and an infill to make a larger berth. There is storage in side trays, and under the squabs, there is provision for a portaloo or electric head under the forward berth.
A sliding door not only gives privacy and security for the cabin, but it also doubles as steps to the foredeck. It also allows the side decks to be eliminated and gives more internal beam in the cabin. This very practical feature was introduced on the Series 6000 and has been carried through on most of the new models since. Geoff comment that due to the CAD system they have been able to make the sliding door a perfect fit and by using Teflon rails it slides very smoothly.
The cockpit layout is very traditional CSB Huntsman, although with a more considerable dash, and higher coamings forward. It is longer and broader than the Series 6000 and the same length as the 7m Crusader. The dash allows for all the necessary controls, instruments and electronics, with our boat fitted with a Lowrance 9″ MFD. A raised eyebrow lends itself to display an array of gauges or as in the test boat a single Yamaha engine management display.
On the port side ahead of the passenger seat, there is a glovebox and space for your VHF or Fusion, a drink holder and below a nicely placed footrest. Seating is a single Softrider pedestal helm seat with a king/queen to port and a couple of bin seats aft. However, there are plenty of options when it comes to seating so you can have whatever suits. I liked the standard layout as you still get seating for five and there is plenty of fishing space still available, especially when you slide the bin seats out of the way under the aft deck. Even if you leave the rear seats in place, there is still access to the transom boarding platform along the port side. This is where you drop in the live bait tank option.
The Centurion doesn’t lack for storage with full length lower side trays, top side pockets, a deep and long underfloor wet locker, lockers under the aft deck, plus the rear bins and under the back to backs. The underfloor cabinet with the lid on gas struts is big enough for water-skis, wakeboard or all your dive gear.V6 diesel or the
The new Centurion can be fitted with either an outboard or sterndrive, with a range of 150 to 250hp. Interestingly if you do opt for a sterndrive, it will not encroach with an engine box into the cockpit. The inboard engine cowling is all behind the existing rear seats and a good fit for the Mercruiser 3.0 litre diesel or 4.5-litre petrol.
We ran the Yamaha 150, which returned a top speed of 42 knots. Our test venue was the beautiful and historical Akaroa Harbour, where conditions were a moderate swell coming through the heads, a calm harbour and very little wind. On our run to the Heads, we were fortunate to be visited by a couple of Hector’s dolphins. The Hector’s dolphins are only found around the inshore waters of the South Island of New Zealand, with Akaroa Harbour and the Banks Peninsula hosting the highest population in one location.
In the reasonable calm waters of the harbour, the Centurion never out a foot wrong and was a pleasure to drive. Once we got out into the swells, it performed as expected and with a little trimming, I managed to get it flying level off the swells. Soft riding, dry and predictable would describe it best. Despite the deep 23 deg vee the centurion never showed any indication of lacking stability, especially at rest.
The Centurion certainly modernises the CSB Huntsman range and is the forerunner of many more in the Evolution series. As usual, the company has thought ahead and produced a boat that is not only well built, a great performer and with good looks, it is also extremely practical. It has taken three years from concept to completion, and the result is close to perfection.
Model & Model: CSB Huntsman Centurion
Price as tested: $NZ91,000
Priced from: $NZ80,000
Deadrise: 23 degrees
Height on trailer: 2.30m
Trailerable weight: 1800kg (incl fuel)
Test Power: Yamaha 150
Propeller: Reliance 17″
Power options: Outboard, sterndrive
HP Range: 150-250hp
Fuel Capacity: 165 litres