Author : Barry Thompson
DERIVED FROM THE POPULAR DICKEY 750, THE DICKEY 750XS HAS BEEN DESIGNED FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO STAY AWAY IN THEIR BOAT AND IT COMES WITH ALL THE COMFORTS OF A LARGER CRUISER, ALBEIT IN A POCKET-SIZE PACKAGE.
The 750XS is the smallest of the Dickey Boats Custom range that comprises the 750, 800 and the 900. The layout of the 750XS is unquestionably pitched at overnighting and according to Jason Dickey, the XS is the designation for…. extended stay. This means you get a galley, enclosed head, fresh water shower, overall cockpit canvas camper pack and two double berths. To fit all this into the confines of 7.5m boat took some doing, but Dickey Boats seems to have done it really well. There is a good balance between all spaces and whether you are staying out with the family in a quiet bay or 30NM offshore towing lures for a stripey, the creature comforts are all there. If you are going to pitch a boat as an overnighter then one of the most important areas is the cabin and in the case of the 750XS the head has also come in for special attention.
Driven partially by the owner’s requests, the 750XS comes with a fully enclosed head compartment, rather than a toilet under the forward squab (this is an option). One of the features of having an enclosed toilet is the ability to use it at night without having to pull up all the bedding. The double bi-fold doors can be opened even when the double berth is made up and the doors also offer some privacy when changing in the cabin. There’s plenty of storage under the 2m-long berths and with everything lined with Frontrunner fabric there is no raw alloy visible anywhere. A front hatch provides extra ventilation.
The seating layout is very much up to you and while you can go as basic as a couple of single swivelling bucket seats, most 750 owners choose something a little more substantial. Even if you are buying the 750 for hard core fishing, having a double bench seat to port doesn’t encroach on any of your fishing space, as it’s all forward of the hardtop overhang.
The seating is perfect and very social, with generous space for four people to sit around the table. In the standard 750 version the bench seat rear bolster is split into two so you can have one person facing each way. However, in the 750XS this has been changed to a single full-width bolster to allow for the extended stay package.
The double bench seat flips forward to reveal the galley, which incorporates a single-burner gas cooker, stainless steel sink unit and fresh water tank with a 60-litre capacity. This is also connected to a fresh water shower situated in the aft deck area and a couple of very neat raw water hand wash sprays. Simply operated by putting some knee or leg pressure against a coaming-mounted switch either side they are a great idea for a quick hand wash when fishing. A certified gas locker under the bench unit contains the portable gas bottle, with space alongside for storage.
With the seat back down you have a rear bench with a reversible bolster, where special attention has been made to the shape and size of the backrest, infill base and table, so when it’s all folded down with cushions in place you have a second double berth.
In the 750XS the seating plan is a double bench seat plus a forward ‘dickey’ seat with slide out extension that allows seating for four around a fold-up table. Opposite is a single swivelling Softrider pedestal seat for the skipper. This layout also allows for the very effective double berth conversion.
The seating is all raised, which not only gives you great all-round visibility when seated, but provides extra storage areas underneath. Flip-up footrests are conveniently placed and don’t get in the way when not required. Dickey Boats has not forgotten the trend towards larger MFD screens and the space they require. While most of the dashboard real estate was taken up by a 15” Raymarine Hybrid touch MFD, there was still space for the rest of the necessary dials, switches and controls. The package on this particular boat included Volvo QL tabs, Fusion 700 stereo, ICOM VHF and Auto Anchor.
The builders are also looking to the future and one of the optional packages, which was being trialled on the 750XS, is a WiFi hot spot that uses a Pacific Aerials quad-band external antenna, tied into a quad-band router that can also connect to a standard home-size phone. This also connects into the Fusion unit and the Raymarine Hybrid Touch, so any ipad, iphone or similar will automatically connect and give you an Internet connection at sea. No getting away from the office now, just because you are away enjoying yourself! The all-alloy hardtop comes with blue tinted safety glass all round, with sliding side windows. Dickey Boats designs its own glass panels in the computer with their personalised fade out and logo printed around the edges – a nice touch to a quality boat. Such is the construction of the hardtop that it is strong enough to stand on.
Room to Fish
The cockpit has obviously been designed for fishing, but also as a safe haven for young kids. While our boat didn’t have a walk-through in the transom, that’s again something that is optional for each owner. Wide, flat coamings are great for fishermen and divers, plus there are full-length trays either side for rods, gaffs etc. The flat, self-draining cockpit sole is covered in custom made non-skid Ultralon copolymer foam decktread and with no underfloor storage, all the space, apart from the 300-litre fuel tank down the centre, is retained for buoyancy.
The transom area has twin service lockers with So-Pac hatches for the batteries and some extra storage, plus a removable 110-litre cooler bin / fish bin in the centre. Dickey Boats custom makes its own bait board which incorporates a live bait tank underneath and a swivelling bait board for easy access. Drink holders, rod holders, handrails, strip lighting and an overhead Lumitec cockpit light add to the overall functional aspects of the cockpit. Again just how much and what you want is your choice. Over the transom are large boarding platforms and a drop-down alloy ladder for divers and swimmers. The open top engine well can also double as another live bait tank when at anchor or somewhere to hold the mussels or scallops and even as a place for the berley.
With well over 20 of the 750 and 800s and 900’s now on the water, each has been a development of the previous one and as is the benefit of building in alloy, changes, no matter how big are not difficult to effect. However one area that has hardly been altered since the first Dickey 750 was launched in 2009 is the bottom of the hull. Designed by
Dennis Harjamaa, the 7.5m x 2.5m, 20-degree deep-V design features a fine entry with exceptionally wide down turned chines. The ride is soft and the transition onto the plane is smooth. One thing I did experience was just how firmly the boat grips in hard turns. The heel isn’t excessive and the bite of the prop remained surprisingly firm, with hardly any cavitation. When you steer the boat back on track, the acceleration is prompt and you are back at your desired speed very quickly.
Running a Lexor 15” 3-blade stainless steel prop on the Honda 250, we recorded a top speed (an average of two runs, upwind and downwind) of 37.5knots @ 6200 rpm. However, as a comfortable cruise I found somewhere around 26-30 knots was just nice and very economical as well. Our test day was calm, mirror calm, and so I never got the chance to try out the boat in rough water. Just prior to my run in the boat Jason and his family of four had just returned from a five night cruise around Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf putting the 750XS through its paces. The travelled 110NM and the Honda 250 burned 142 litres for an average consumption of just 1.29 L/NM.
Power options for the 750 are 200-300hp outboards or sterndrives, with the majority of boats to date being outboard powered. Construction is 4mm to 5mm 5083 alloy in the hull and superstructure, with a 6mm doubler plate in the keel. This also floods at rest providing extra stability and a secondary hull skin the length of the boat. This is no lightweight boat and has a displacement of around 2260kg (dry). Every component is CNC cut for perfect accuracy.
The Dickey 750XS is an extremely versatile boat, catering equally for offshore fishing as much as family cruising. It provides everything you need for either and with its extremely solid build and craftsmanlike construction, it’s one of the best semi-production alloy boats of this size I have come across.
While you start with a basic design, what you finish up with is very much your choice and that is something that will certainly appeal to many. With production running at around 10 boats of the Custom range a year and a build time of five months, the Dickey Custom boat range is extremely popular and is proof positive that the boating industry in New Zealand is not doing too badly, despite the state of the economy. The Dickey 750XS is a well-engineered, wellpresented and totally awesome boat in every respect.
While the Dickey Custom Boat range is available from 7.5m through to 9m, alternatively, if the company does not have exactly what you are looking for in their Custom or Semi-fly ranges, Dickey Boats will design and build your boat to your specifications.
- Model: Dickey 750XS
- Price as tested: $NZ225,000
- Type: Hardtop
- Construction: Aluminium
- LOA: 7.90m
- Beam: 2.50m
- Deadrise: 20 degrees
- Height on trailer: 3.3m
- Trailerable weight: 2260kg (dry)
- Power: Honda 250 4-stroke
- Propeller: Lexor 15” diameter 3-blade SS
- Power Options: 200-300hp outboard or sterndrive
- Fuel Capacity: 300 Litres
- Water Capacity: 60 Litres.
- Trailer: Dickey with Hydrastar brakes
FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA