Still The Right DNA
Visitors to the recent Christchurch Boat Show who spotted two new alloy boats and hadn’t heard of the DNA brand can be forgiven, as it is only a few months old and the show was the first time that DNA boats had really been shown to the public.
Built in Brightwater, a small town out of Nelson, by DNA Boats, a division of Ace Engineering NZ Ltd, the DNA range has only recently been released to market and with three boats built and a fourth in production, the company is off to a great start.
The DNA brand was born from the experience gained by boat builder/designer Jason Elvines who previously marketed his boats under the Silstar brand. “A new name and a more stylish and expansive range of boats”,says Jason about DNA Boats.
The name DNA stemmed from Jason’s passion for designing and building boats. It’s in his blood or DNA.
I flew to Nelson to test the boats in their own ‘backyard’ to find out more about the centre console DNA 500 C X Series and the full cabin DNA 550 Sport. DNA Boats has already built a smaller dinghy and is currently nearing completion of an 8m hardtop. Plans are for a full centre console and cabin range of pontoon and mono hulls from 3m to 8.80m.
All the boats are built using CAD with designer Jason using a practical approach to achieving well-balanced soft riding boats. An integral hull framing system, incorporating full-depth full-length girders interlocking with transverse frames, all CNC cut, creates a rigid, dependable system adopted throughout DNA’s range.
Computer design enables the boats to be studied and tested in depth while still in the 3D model stage and also allows the boats to be fully customised with the help of each client’s input.
I took the DNA 500 CC X Series out in the same water as the DNA 550 and again I was impressed with the ride and handling. The Evinrude ETEC 90, running a 17” three-blade stainless prop gave a maximum speed of 40mph @ 5500 rpm. While acceleration was rapid, the top speed was compromised. Re-propping with a 19” would bring the rpm back by around 200rpm which is closer to the recommended 5500 rpm and would increase the speed by maybe a mph. Recommended power is 50hp – 90hp. While our test boat had twin tote tanks that tuck in neatly out of the way under the aft deck, there is an optional 50-litre underfloor tank.
The layout is simple, with a centre console featuring a generous dash area that will take a reasonably large display screen protected behind a high acrylic windscreen. Our test boat was fitted with a Lowrance HDS8 sounder, separate switch panel, BRP tacho and speedo, plus provision for a stereo head deck. While there is a grabrail around the screen, a few more for the passenger’s comfort would be a good addition.
Inside the console is a large dry open storage shelf with an enclosed locker below and a secondary one forward, which also provides access to the rear of the fascia. There is extra storage in shelves along each side under the coamings and lockers under the aft deck, which house the batteries.
For’ard, there is an open anchor locker and a further locker in the raised floor section, which is ideal for lifejackets and extra warps.
Seating consists of a console forward seat and a large bin seat aft for the driver and one passenger. The base incorporates a 70-litre ice bin/fish storage locker with a thickly padded top and a three-way adjustable backrest/leaner. Other seating options are available, such as twin back-to-backs or bucket seats.
The DNA 500 CC has heavy duty alloy bowrails that taper to the fairlead to assist when anchoring. Standard features also include transom rails and a full-width chequerplate boarding platform, heavy duty fendering and self draining cockpit.
The DNA Pontoon designs taper towards the bow, a feature Jason says makes them a smarter boat as the pontoons toward the bow remain out of the water at rest and serve no purpose other than to provide flotation if swamped. However, the tapered pontoons are still designed to retain sufficient reserve buoyancy. Pontoons are divided into individual air tight chambers as are the sealed sections of the chequerplate sole, all of which are pressure tested to 35kPa, creating a virtually unsinkable boat. The 20-degree deadrise hull is constructed from 4mm alloy, with 2.5mm used for the pontoons. The DNA 500 CC has a dry weight of around 400kg.
The DNA 500 CC joins a strong rigid hull inflatable market that has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Designed as an entry level inshore fishing/diving boat, the DNA 500CC ranks right up there for its quality, handling and style.
- Make: DNA
Price As Tested: $48,000
Packages from: $29,700
Designer: Jason Elvines
Type: Centre Console Pontoon
- Deadrise: 20 deg
Hull Config: Deep V
Trailerable Weight: 870kg
Engine Capacity: 50 – 90hp
Power Options: Outboard Only
Fuel Capacity: Tote Tanks
PERFORMANCE - Evinrude ETEC 90
|600 rpm||3.0 mph|
|1000 rpm||5.0 mph|
|1500 rpm||8.0 mph|
|2000 rpm||11.5 mph|
|2500 rpm||14.5 mph|
|3000 rpm||17.0 mph|
|3500 rpm||22.5 mph|
|4000 rpm||27.5 mph|
|4500 rpm||30.5 mph|
|5000 rpm||33.5 mph|
|5500 rpm||40.0 mph|