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Extreme Delight

The notion of a walk-around configuration in a trailerboat invariably conjures up mind-images of a veritable ‘floating phone box’. As Barry Tyler discovered during a recent sojourn in the latest Extreme 915 Walk Around example, there are still however, those designers around who can address the conundrum admirably, by providing walkways to the bow – and, an acceptably-wide and therefore bonafide cabin/saloon/helm area.

That’s a big call for sure, so you can bet one of my first ‘chores’ on stepping aboard the Extreme 915 Walk Around, was to discover how in fact they managed to fit it all in, and still look proportionately acceptable.

Commencing their boatbuilding journey on the outskirts of Whakatane, Extreme Boats originally built plate boats in the bread-and-butter 5-6m range. Their point of difference even back then was to build boats with good bluewater sea-keeping abilities, as accurately and well spec’d and presented as they possibly could be – extreme boats! As Extreme Boat’s Sales and Marketing Manager Mat Cranswick explained, “Our point of difference if you like, is to build our boats unashamedly to the level of specification and styling a discerning boater requires. Attention to detail, is paramount.

“You build them what they want, but in a ‘production’ as against a ‘custom’ level of build specification. As such, we have over the years been able to seamlessly transition from the smaller boats, into an ever-increasing trailerboat size-range that now tops out at over 11m. Our staff of 90 now produce upwards of 300 boats annually, still very much adhering to the owner’s original boat-building philosophy, of building boats entirely built to purpose,” Cranswick enthused.

The other key aspect of any successful enterprise is of course a good capable, enthusiastic dealer network; of the ilk of in this instance, Tauranga mega-marine-dealer Master Tech Marine. MD Karl Rastrick doesn’t just order a bare-bones boating package, he orders a boat to be built by Extreme Boats, that is spec’d to a level deliberately befitting the size and particular guise of the vessel concerned – nothing less.

This particular Extreme 915 Walk Around model is a family boat, as well as a weekender, as well as a bonafide game boat, all in the one package. Therefore, as Rastrick maintains, “You need to dress the boat up accordingly, so it is fit for purpose,” he emphasised.

Serious Specification

One certainly doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to appreciate the influence of a person like Rastrick, for our test boat, the Extreme 915 Walk Around, was one hell of a ‘serious’ boat. It was extreme in every way, and the more I looked, the more I discovered!

The sheer size of course demands instant attention as of right, but add a very upmarket paint finish, nice well-balanced lines, eye-catching teak-styled floor and coaming protection and a plethora of high-specification creature-comfort ‘features’ scattered throughout – and you soon realise this boat is a little different from the ‘norm’.

The 915 model is available in two configurations, the ‘Game King’ and this ‘Walk Around’. Strength and durability are paramount for the company, so naturally they start accordingly, with a hull built for purpose. The standard bottom thickness is a healthy 6mm, but appreciating the fact this may well be utilised as a Gamefisher also, Rastrick opted for an 8mm bottom – figuratively, an ice-breaker.Interestingly too, Extreme Boats have made no attempt whatsoever to hide any of the structural welds, both inside or out. As you might appreciate, you can only get away with that aspect, when the welds are aesthetically acceptable.

The 19-degree variable deadrise hull was devoid of any planing strakes. Yet, as we discovered during our sea trial, there was still very good ‘lift’ provided by the actual underhull shape, along with the generous-sized reverse chines.

Another contributor to hull performance, was undoubtably the quite meagre weight factor. Complete with the Suzuki outboard, the rather striking triple-axle aluminium trailer and even half-ships of fuel, the weigh-bridge screen ticked over at approximately 3450kg – importantly, under the 3500kg towing threshold!

Safety in the Walk Around

From street level it was hard to gauge, but from the moment I stepped aboard I could tell some serious thought (and innovation) had gone into addressing what is so often a most-contentious issue in trailerboats of this particular configuration.

Considering the generous beam of the helm/saloon level, I was taken aback by the actual width of these walkways each side of the main cabin structure. No need to walk sideways here; and the walk forward was made even easier by the sturdy, conveniently-placed virtually full-length grab rails. These were around the parameters of the vessel and along the top of the hardtop.

The walk-around is a cross-over style of boat, and therefore purpose-designed for family days, water- skiing and/or sport fishing. At the bow, features included a mount for an electric motor, an anchoring bollard and short fairlead, and a tell-tale deck cavity which ultimately will house a Savwinch drum winch (yet another shipping delay).

This area would be great for the kids on board – plus it certainly helps spread the passengers out if you have a crowd on board. And, it is great for the mundane chores such as washing the boat, properly! Of particular note here were the well-engineered grates at the cockpit end of the walkways, which cleverly re-directed and thus prevented any water volume from entering the cockpit.

The hardtop itself, as already alluded to was aesthetically pleasing to the eye; window shapes and sizes, and the lines and angles of the structure itself, flowed nicely into each other. The actual roof-top however, offered perhaps the biggest clue to the level of specification. The Raymarine radar dome, the mounting bases for the Viper outrigger game poles, the near full-width LED deck-lighting, the twin hatches (for gamefish-spotting), the rod racks and the safety rails, were impressive!

Spacious Living

It may seem strange/irrelevant to refer to a trailerboat as having a saloon. However, in the true context of the ideal, any enclosed space that features a stove, bench, sink, running water (it features a 55-litre underfloor freshwater tank), table, seating, cupboards, a drop-down berth, no matter how grandiose or conversely, small – earns the right to have it described as a ‘saloon’ The 915 features all this.

For the benefit of my observations then, I will refer to this area as the saloon-cum-helm station, for quite obviously the helm station was included in here also. And again, when I talk quality and appropriate seriousness of specification this area too, excelled.

Taking pride of place on the dash was a Raymarine electronics package of radar, engine information, sounder, fishfinder and GPS on not one, but twin 12-inch monitors. The sounder, fishfinder, water temp and the other myriad of underwater information, were gathered courtesy of the 1 kW through-hull transducer, appear on one screen.

Likewise for the mechanicals. While outboard motor performance and gear selection is controlled by ‘fly-by-wire’ remote controls to the motor, the actual NMEA information highway of other matters such as fuel management, speed, temperatures, pressures performance and ranges, appears on the other screen. The constant theme of providing the best specification possible, flowed through to the steering, which is top of the range Ultraflex Electric/hydraulic, and to the trim tabs located on the dash also, which are Lectrotab electric/hydraulic.

Creature comforts in this helm/saloon area include sliding side windows for ventilation, a single windscreen wiper, and a very-well-presented seating package. The captain has the full wrap-around ‘skipper’s chair’, with ‘king/queen’ passengers seat modules behind this, and to portside as well. The higher king level of this portside seat was in fact a full-length lounge, that with the removal of the back-rest, transformed into an outside single berth.

Further accommodation for three was provided in the for’ard fully-lined and securely-lockable cabin area. This full-width cabin berth is certainly big enough to cater for three – but, and it’s a big but – you would certainly have to be very good friends with the third person.

Alternatively, it more than capably handled a twin-berth situation, with, room to move around. Removing the centre squab of this berth provided access to the underfloor electric head situated between the two berths. Cabin lighting was provided, overhead. All in all, like the saloon, this lockable cabin was a very well-presented area which was nicely lined, and boasted quality squab covers.

The working area

Everything aspect of the cockpit literally oozed professionalism. But, three key aspects especially pleased me. Holding pole-position for me, was the extensive use of the composite SeaDek teak-look-alike protective pads. Often this ‘teak thing’ can appear overdone, especially as in this instance these pads were up the walkways, in the cockpit, in the saloon, on the internal face and on top of the coamings, and on the rear ‘Portofino’ boarding platform.

In your face then, yes – but the fact these were moderated by a contrasting (to the hull decks and hardtop) light grey rather than teak colouring, and, by the fact they were CAD CAM designed and cut – elevated them into the 5-star category of visionary delight.

Items two and three that caught me eye, firstly were the 360-degree swivelling rod holders inserted three each side, into the coaming tops. The other was the knee-activated saltwater pump-switch on the internal face of the coamings. This afforded fishermen the opportunity to quickly clean the messy stuff off their hands. In both instances seemingly an overkill but really, all just part of an ‘accomplished’ rich tapestry of a well-thought-out vessel.

Other appropriately-user-friendly features within the confines of this huge and uncluttered cockpit feature, included the well-positioned steps up to the walkway level, the polished aluminium gunwale rub-strip, the sturdy overhead rod rack, the tuna tubes each side of the bait station, and copious quantities of storage along the internal side coamings and in the central cavernous underfloor locker. For the fisherman, the out-of-the-way custom (proper) bait station, and the innovatively-placed live-bait tank complete with viewing window, within the transom step-through, all added effective convenience to the equation.

Outside and aft of the confines of the cockpit, was a boarding platform, Portofino-style, that had something for everyone. A pseudo-pushpit hand-rail assembly kept the area safe when at sea. The revelation here though, for me anyway, were the dive ladders each side that formed an integral part of the pushpit. Locked in place by a simple yet effective locking assembly, these two dive ladders cleverly semi-cantilevered out and well down into the water. Entirely, user-friendly


Behemoth Suzuki Power

An integral part also, of this Portofino platform, was the central pod-assembly which supported the power of choice, in this instance a massive 350hp Suzuki which put power to the water through the (twin-propeller) contra-rotating 15½ x 19P stainless steel propellers.

In light of the fact the 915 models have traditionally been powered by twin rigs, I must admit I had some reservations about the single engine providing enough thrust. Especially when I learned the original intention was to run one of the new 600hp Mercury outboards.

Wrong, for acceleration out of the hole and top speed, were both more than acceptable. The torque and power of the Suzuki was especially noticeable, literally rocketing this Extreme 915 Walk Around up to a top speed of 40.7 knots (46.85mph / 75.38kph) at the maximum 6300rpm.

As if to further emphasise the convenience of the afore-mentioned Raymarine screen read-outs on the dash, all our speed trials and fuel-usage tests were done using information gleaned from these NMEA-controlled read-outs. Interestingly, I also learned that with all the running we did during our test day – stop, start, full speed, up through the range, and the photo shoot – revealed the Suzuki ran for a total of 2.4 hours, using just 38 litres of fuel. The trolling game-fishermen are going to really love that little stat!

Another plus for me, during the higher speed work, was the accuracy of the ride, certainly enhanced by yet another ‘optional extra’ enhancer on the list, the Ultraflex electric hydraulic steering. This system was brilliant to use, courtesy of its respective operational ‘modes’ for Power/Speed, for Fishing, where it is all slowed down, and an in-between ‘medium’ setting for everyday cruising situations.

Conclusion – I’m in total awe of a boat that has everything, and does everything – just as it should. My only regret – a journo’s wage doesn’t quite stretch as far as owning one of these!

Performance Data
rpmknotsL/hL/NMrange (NM)
  • Trolling Speed
  • Note: Range is based on 90% of fuel capacity, in calm conditions.

Specifications: Extreme 915 Walk Around]

  • Brand: Extreme Boats
  • Model:  915 Walk Around                               
  • Priced From:  $300,000.00
  • Type:  Hardtop Walk Around
  • Construction: Aluminium – 8mm bottom (6mm standard) and 4mm sides, deck, cabin and hardtop
  • LOA: 9.15 metres
  • Beam:  2.80 metres
  • Deadrise:  20-degrees variable   
  • Hgt on trailer: 3.20 metres
  • Trailerable Wgt:  3450 kg (approximate)
  • Test Power: Suzuki 350hp
  • Power Options: 300-450hp Inboard/Outboard
  • Propeller:  15 ½ x 19-inch Contra Propeller Configuration
  • Flooring:  Sea Dek synthetic
  • Fuel capacity:  450 litres
  • Trailer Make:  Aluminium ‘AlloyTech’ triple-axle
  • Boat Manufacturer: Extreme Boats Ltd
  • Supplied by:   Master Tech Marine – Tauranga

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