Author: Barry Thompson
CONTINUING THE PASSION
The DNA 590 XHT is the ninth model from this Nelson-based builder that I have reviewed, and as in the past, I was impressed with what I saw. Jason Elvines and his team at DNA Boats have a reputation for producing some really smart boats, and while the bulk of the sales are still into the South Island, the brand is starting to make its name noticed in the north. To help further that exposure, Oceantime Marine, based at Gulf Harbour has been appointed the first DNA Auckland dealer.
Despite Covid-19 and lockdowns, Jason says that 2020 was a super busy year and he is booked out months ahead on most models, especially the larger hardtops. In the previous Alloy Boat Magazine, I reviewed the all-new 801 Custom, a highly appointed 8.1m hardtop that makes a statement about the company’s ability and craftsmanship. While the 590 XHT is not so luxuriously appointed, the fit and finish are to the same high standard. Jason says that an owner can just about have anything they want, and he is happy to customise the boat to suit.
SERIOUS ABOUT FISHING
The owner of our 590 XHT, Sounds Viking, was looking for a serious fishing boat that was well appointed and came with some overnighting capabilities. While currently set up as more of a day boat, it wouldn’t take much to add a few extras such as head, cooker and freshwater shower.
DNA’s 590 XHT hardtop is a clone of the 570 XHT with the same size cabin and hardtop but is 200mm longer in the cockpit and runs a 5mm hull. It’s big enough to comfortably fish four adults and provides excellent protection from the elements.
Not only is the cabin and wheelhouse area the same as the smaller 570 XHT it is also the same layout. In the standard boat, there are no forward squabs, with a rear upstand to stop any dry gear making its way into the cockpit. The owner decided on the customary twin vee berth arrangement with an optional infill. There are storage shelves either side and also under the squabs. Jason says they have also lowered the cabin sole 60mm to provide extra seated headroom inside.
From a fishing aspect, the side coamings are at a good height to brace yourself up against, and there is ample toe space below for a secure hold when fighting that big fish. The side decks are wider than previous XHT models and include a spray deflector on the outside. Another change is the rubber fender around the boat has been replaced with a solid alloy extrusion. Jason says that this was done to not only strengthen the joint area but also speeds up production. It is now standard on all models.
If you are a diver, then you will appreciate the deep, wide side trays that are spacious enough to hold a couple of dive tanks either side. Also, the dive ladder is diver friendly. There is no storage available in the cockpit sole, with buoyancy chambers either side of the underfloor fuel tank. U-Deck is used throughout all flooring and deck surfaces.
The transom design is the same as the 570 XHT with a transom walkthrough and dropdown gate to port, with battery storage in the centre behind two large hatches. Sounds Viking came with a fixed bait station, complete with five-rod holders and knife slots, but again this is optional. There is space under the transom area for twin tote tanks, should the 160 litres underfloor not be enough for you. A live bait tank option is available under the step though.
Standard seating in the 590 XHT is a pair of fully adjustable bucket seats with bolsters on alloy mounts. The owner of Sounds Viking had also gone for a couple of 115 litre Icey Tek bins which conveniently slide under each seat and double as extra seating. They can be pushed forward when not required and leave you with more fishing space. Great wet or dry storage bins with split lid openings. Seating layouts are optional.
The helm surface is large enough for a 16” MFD, with our boat fitted with a Simrad Go9. Jason says most of the boats go out with a 12” MFD and that still leaves plenty of space for switches and instrument clusters. The toughened glass side screens are fixed on the 590 XHT, but when you go to the larger 630 XHT, you can have sliding side windows. Windscreen wipers are optional on all the XHT models.
Construction is based around an integral hull framing system created by Jason using CNC cut interlocking full-depth full-length frames making a rigid dependable system. This along with CNC profile cut boats bring about fine tolerances and perfectly symmetrical and well-balanced boats. Tapering pontoons not only accentuate the sleek appearance but assist in the soft none-pounding ride, designed to act as cushioning effect in the rough water. High sides give great protection from spray and provide ample storage around the boat for all types of gear, meaning a clutter free deck and more room to fish!
Jason referred to his hull design as his X-Series and was introduced to make a wider boat that didn’t require any more horsepower to achieve the same performance. Tapered down-turned chines step the pontoon out further and are lifted so not to cause any drag in the water once the boat is planning.
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 breached 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.
DESIGNED TO PERFORM
One aspect of all the DNA boats that has always impressed me is the way they ride and perform. Right from the smallest cuddy and centre console, through to the biggest hardtops, they are exceptional on the water. Having tested most of the DNA boats in Tasman Bay, outside Port Nelson, I have experienced everything from flat glassy calm to 3m breaking seas, and nothing seems to faze them. Obviously, you don’t take a 5m cuddy or centre console out in big seas, but if you do, then you can do it with some confidence.
The 590 XHT is designed to perform in moderate to rough water and comes with a well tested hull design, born from the 570 XHT. While the 590 XHT has an outboard max rating of 150hp, the owner of Sounds Viking decided he wanted more, so fitted a Honda 175. Interestingly this gave a top speed of 37.5 knots, as opposed to the previous 570 XHT I reviewed with a Honda 115 of 36 knots. At mid-range, around 4000 rpm, the 590 XHT/Honda 175 had a speed of 30 knots, with the 570 XHT/Honda 115 recording 28.5 knots.
A most noticeable difference was the torque of the big 3.6 litre Honda V6 which gives the boat great acceleration. The 115 is based on a smaller 2.25 litre, four-cylinder powerhead. The 175 running a 17” 3ld alloy prop was certainly not overpowering the 590 XHT, and the boat handled the power with ease. While a 115hp might be a little underpowered a 150hp with a 19” 3 bld alloy prop is just about right.
Jason says that the DNA is an all-round family boat and I would have to agree. Fishing Saturday and wakeboarding Sunday. Works for me. Since the first XHT was released, DNA has built over 40 from the three models, and the 590 XHT has proven one of the more popular. While the 570 XHT and the 590 XHT are very similar apart from the overall length, the 630 XHT has a larger wheelhouse and cockpit area but maintains the same 2.27m beam. The 590 XHT boat is still towable on a single axle trailer and can be launched and handled by one person.
- Make & Model: DNA 590 XHT
- Year Built: 2020
- Manufacturer: DNA Boats
- Price as tested: $NZ96,000
- Priced From: $NZ68,500
- Type: Hardtop
- Construction: Aluminium 5mm/3mm
- LOA: 5.90m
- Beam: 2.27m
- Deadrise: 20 deg
- Trailerable Wgt: 1750 kg
- Height on Trailer: 2.8m
- Test Power: Honda 175
- Propeller: 17” 3bd Alloy
- Maximum RPM: 5600 rpm
- Top Speed: 37.5 knots
- Power Options: Outboard Only
- HP Range: 115-150 hp
- Fuel capacity: 160 litres
- Decking: U-Deck
- Winch: Maxwell RC6
- Entertainment: Fusion MSRA70N
- VHF: Simrad RS20
FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA
DNA 590 XHT