One for the Family
DNA 570 XHT is the first of a new model that brings together all the requirements for its owner. Barry Thompson went to Nelson to check out DNA’s latest new hardtop.
Flying into Nelson at 7.30am on a clear blue morning, I could see that the glistening mirror smooth water of Tasman Bay wasn’t going to present me with many opportunities to test the rough water ability of the pair of DNA boats I had come to review. This same beautiful weather had followed me from Invercargill and Christchurch and looked set to stay for a few more days.
When I arrived at the ramp, Jason Elvines owner of DNA Boats said he had brought along a third boat, a DNA 450C, that they had only just finished the previous day. So armed with a trio of DNA’s we headed out into Tasman Bay and as I had already expected, it was smooth, smooth, smooth as far as you could see.
First up I started with the DNA 570 XHT, (Look for reviews on the DNA 535XC & DNA 450C in future issues) which is a mid-sized hardtop for DNA and the first of a new model. The 570 XHT was a design and build for a local client who wanted to upgrade from his DNA 5.7m cuddy cabin, into an overnighter that would be suitable for his family. This meant a reasonable size cabin with an infill to transform the two singles into one extra large berth and adequate seating. There are in fact two infills, that transform all the area forward of the seat bases into one massive 2m plus length berth. Perfect for the owner and his wife and two small children.
There is plenty of storage under the berths and in wide side trays. The option of a portable head under the forward squab is also available. As the boat was still ‘work in progress’ the interior was yet to be fully lined, including insulation behind the fabric.
This also applied to the yet to be fitted Maxwell RC6 auto winch. Without a winch, you can stand in the forward hatch to do your anchoring, although I would certainly have an auto winch if it were my boat.
DNA use a two piece toughened glass screen, which offers excellent visibility, especially with a pair of wipers or a coating of Rain-X. Combined with sweeping curved panels and smart tapering folds it helps create very pleasing aesthetics to the boat.
The three-sided hardtop wraps around just behind the two forward seats and then with soft clip-on extensions and drop curtains you get all the protection of an enclosed hardtop that closes in all the seating space. I liked the way the short hardtop comes aft about the same distance as the back seats, so when your fishing a bit aggressively you are not going to catch your rods on anything overhead. The driving position can be altered with the sliding bucket seat, mounted on an alloy seat base. The helm seat base is all storage, with the passenger base designed to slip in a chilly bin. With two small rear seats, the 570XHT provides built-in seating for four.
A Simrad NSS9 MFD takes up pride of place in the centre of the fabric covered dash, with controls and gauges well placed around for easy viewing. Steering is Teleflex hydraulic. Storage trays either side look after the keys and cellphones, with side trays running the full length of the cockpit for the rods. There was no underfloor storage in Carpe Diem, but there is space forward of the fuel tank if required.
The cockpit will comfortably fish four and there are rod holders provided overhead, on the side coamings and around the bait board – 14 in all. A solid alloy frame in the centre of the transom serves both as the mount to tow water toys, wakeboarders and skiers as well as a mount for the hinged and also fully removable bait board.
The transom has a couple of lockers behind plastic hatches and room under for extra tote tanks. DNA also offer a sliding rear bench seat that clips on over the side trays and can be removed so it doesn’t get in the way when you are fishing.
There was no walkthrough to the large boarding platform, but again this is an option. The chequer plate sole is standard but you can finish it with tube matting or full carpet.
I noticed that DNA has kept the gunnel height quite high, which is something Jason tells me they do in all their hardtop models. He added that the cockpit sole is designed around their “X series” design, which gives a fully flat floor from side to side and still retains a reasonable toehold.
X Series hull
“The X series hull alloy pontoon boat was introduced to make a wider boat. The key element of doing this was to achieve extra beam but not require extra horsepower to push a wider surface through the water”, says Jason.
“We did this by adding tapering down-turned chines to the hull, and thereby step the pontoon out further to increase internal beam. It also meant the pontoons were slightly lifted so not to cause any drag in the water once planning as they are clear.
He explained that the tapering chines were better able to deal with spray deflection as they are a nice flowing curve with a more aggressive downturn. The benefits are in the ride also, the chines acting as a shock absorber trapping a cushion of air under them as they land and reducing the impact to the buoyant nature of the pontoon chambers.
In addition to this, the X series hulls are designed with a fully welded longitudinal flood plate above the keel line and parallel to the floor. This acts as a stiffener to the hull and offers a unique safety aspect if the keel is breeched in a collision, as it would only allow approx 70L (70kg) of water to enter the hull allowing the boat to float still and function normally.
Calm Calm Calm
Given the mirror-smooth sea state the only benefit was being able to record my speed runs without mashing my pen all over data sheet as we leapt from wave to wave. Flat out, running a 17” three blade prop, the Honda 115 topped out at 5700 rpm and the GPS nudged 40 knots. Sorry, no fuel data available.
Around 4000-4500, the DNA 570 XHT ran 25-28 knots and felt just right if you were cruising along with the family. It’s an easy boat to trim, with plenty of lift and a low angle of transition when getting onto the plane.
I did manage to toss the boat into some very severe high-speed turns to check on its stability and just how tight it hangs on. On both counts, the hull performed well. No sliding sideways and no excessive heel in the turns.
DNA hulls are designed by Jason and as he says built tough, strong and to the highest standards. He uses an integral hull framing system using CNC cut interlocking full depth, full-length frames, creating a rigid dependable system. Computer design enables the boats to be studied and tested in depth while still in the 3D model stage, also allowing the boats to be fully customised. This along with CNC profile cutting, brings about fine tolerances and perfectly symmetrical and well-balanced designs. The new DNA 570 XHT is another fine example.
- Model: DNA 570 XHT
- Priced from: $NZ49,500
- Price as tested: $NZ68,000
- Type: Hardtop Pontoon
- Construction: 5mm/3mm alloy
- LOA: 5.70 m
- Beam: 2.27 m
- Deadrise: 20 deg
- Height on trailer: 2.80m
- Trailerable weight: 1270 kgs (est)
- Test Power: Honda 115
- Propeller: 17” Solas
- Power Range: 115-150
- Power options: outboard only
- Fuel capacity: 120 litres
- Trailer: Watercraft