With the success of the DNA 630 Hardtop and XHT, Jason Elvines has been getting a lot of enquiries for a bigger but similar boat with the ability to provide a lockable cabin. The new 730 XHT is the result.
When designing the 7.3 XHT, Jason was conscious of not just taking on another metre to the existing hull and a little more beam, it was all about providing a really practical family weekender that had the performance and handling to match. In fact, the first 730 XHT is his own boat, and now with a small family who loves boating, the 730 had to tick all the boxes to suit his family requirements.
“I knew that a lot of my customers are like me, love fishing, but also have family boating to consider and so it was important that the 730 XHT covered both markets”, says Jason.
Jason added he does a lot of his boating from Nelson – where DNA Boats are based – to Durville Island, so it had to be the ideal boat for those family overnight trips. It needed both comfort and handling and provide a decent workspace for fishing, while not compromising all the amenities needed for family overnighting. Jason has indeed achieved that in the 730 XHT, something that wasn’t as practical in the smaller 630 XHT.
“I actually started the design from scratch, as I couldn’t just lengthen the existing 630 hull as I needed the extra beam, a little more deadrise and a slightly slender pontoon shape, so the hull is all new”, says Jason.
The 730 XHT is a metre longer, it carries 200mm more beam both internally and externally and the hull, while still based on the same well proven X-Series design is 21 deg at the transom compared to 20 deg for the 630 XHT. Plus it is a lot heavier with a dry hull weight of 1800 kgs, around twice that of the 630 XHT. This also puts the towing weight up to about 2850 kgs.
The boat is built tough with 6mm hull thickness with 3 & 4mm tubes and with the pontoons moved further out the entire hull structure had to be redesigned. The integral hull framing system using CNC cut interlocking full depth full-length frames creates a rigid dependable system.
There are now extra longitudinal bearers, and the cockpit sole has been raised 60mm and is now welded to the pontoons and not the hull. This means the pontoons are subsurface and the flat floor now goes right out to the edge, without any angles. Raising the level also meant the fuel tankage could be increased to 300 litres, something that was also a requirement for the extended trips away into areas where fuel was not so readily obtainable.
Pontoons are divided into individual airtight chambers as well as sealed tread plate floors, all of which are pressure tested to 5psi, creating a virtually unsinkable boat.
Another plus was a much larger underfloor wet locker, which can be sacrificed if you want to go for the extra long range 500-litre fuel tank. The rest of the underfloor space is sealed air buoyancy and covered with a multi-pattern black Seadek flooring accented with orange patterns and the DNA logo. Looks good and is also very practical and easy to clean.
The cockpit footprint is a lot larger not only the surface area but also the coaming heights which allow for two trays either side, as opposed to the 630 XHT with one. Across the transom, there are three hatches concealing access to some of fuel and pump systems, Optima battery bank and extra storage. To port is a wide walk-through with a live bait tank in the step. Being an alloy boat, you can configure the transom in many different ways.
Centre stage on Jason’s boat is a large bait station complete with tackle draw, with night light and he has also added the full cage, with a drop-down ladder around the boarding platform. Hella lights floodlight the cockpit as well as provide mood lighting. Great security when you have anyone fishing aft of the transom. However, there is plenty of space in the cockpit to handle four anglers without getting in each other’s way.
If you add the camper pack option, you can close off the cockpit with a canopy and side curtains and make good use of the space for extra accommodation.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the 630 and 730, apart from the size, is the lockable rear bulkhead. This was not really practical on the 630 as it made the wheelhouse area too short and cramped. The bulkhead isn’t structural, so it’s optional as to whether you have it or not. What it does, however, it makes the wheelhouse a very cosy and warm space, ideal if you are overnighting. Close the rear door and cavity slide window, and you have a very quiet area when underway.
To port under the double passenger seat, is a small but very useable and practical galley with long storage drawers beneath. Cooking odours are expelled through the rear window, plus sliding side windows offer plenty of fresh air through the wheelhouse.
Opposite, the single swivelling Hi-Tech Elite helm seat on the Softrider pedestal base provides a comfortable driving position, with the option of a fold away bolster if you want to drive standing. The dash is big enough to take most electronics you would fit a boat this size. Jason had chosen a Simrad 16 EVO3 MFD, Garmin DMI 120, Simrad autopilot and controls for the Maxwell RC6 anchor winch. Overhead is the Fusion RA70 touchscreen sound system and Simrad RS35 VHF.
Jason points out that the interior layout was what suited him and his family, so this area is very much a custom design. A storage void under the floor is ideally suited for a portable chiller.
The accommodation packages are very much restricted to a couple of single squabs with infill to make a large double, plus you can fit pipe berths either side for smaller children. A head is installed below the centre squab, with storage under the berths. A privacy curtain is another good option to consider.
SINGLE OR TWIN
While the 630 was very much a single engine boat, the 730 can be set up with single or twin outboards as well as inboard sterndrive or jet. Max power is rated at 300hp, with a minimum of 230hp.
Our power was a single Honda 250 VTEC, which topped out at 5800 rpm @ 36.5 knots and 83.4 lph. Jason says that when he runs down the coast to Durville Island he likes to sit around 4000 rpm @ 24.5 knots and the fuel consumption drops to a very reasonable 30 lph. That gives a range of roughly 200nm, so that’s plenty for a return trip to the top of Durville Island where the best fishing is.
When I went down to Nelson to run the boat, the sea conditions were reasonably calm. This was the complete reverse of my last visit when I ran the smaller 630 HT. I remember then how impressed I was with the ride and handling of the boat and the 730 is that and more. Being a lot heavier it really sits on the water and feels surefooted and steady.
You can’t fault the workmanship of the DNA 730, or any of the company’s many models and the handling and performance is exceptional. Adding another 7m pontoon boat to the market is a big call by any manufacturer and the competitions tough, but Jason and his team at DNA have certainly gone that extra step to ensure that the boat they produce is as perfect as they can get it.
Being CAD designed and CNC profile cut, the 730 XHT is built to fine tolerances and is perfectly symmetrical.
DNA Boats may not be one of the bigger players in the alloy boat market, but they certainly know how to build prestige boats.
The 730 XHT is an excellent boat for the Marlborough Sounds and surrounding areas, for both fishing, weekending or as transport to the holiday home. Jason has plans to have the boat on display at the 2019 Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show to expose it to the Auckland market. It has proven it is ideal for the Sounds, and I see no reason why it wouldn’t be a perfect option for the Hauraki Gulf.
- Model & Model: DNA 730 XHT
- Type: Pontoon Hardtop
- Construction: 6mm/4mm Alloy
- LOA: 7.30m
- Beam: 2.50m
- Deadrise: 21 deg
- Height on trailer: 3.20m
- Trailerable weight: 2850 kg (Est)
- Test Power: Honda 250 VTEC 4 Stroke
- Propeller: 17R 3ld S/S
- Power options: 230-300h Outboard/Sterndrive/Jet
- Fuel Capacity: 300 litres
- Flooring: Seadek
- Lighting: Hella
- MFD: Simrad 16 EVO3
- Trailer: Watercraft
FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA