Author : Doug Dukeson
Just four days before having to send the files to the printer and we were still waiting for the Wellington weather to settle – as we had been for the last three weeks! We still had to get out and test the latest release from Image Boats of Invercargill, which had been dialled in since its debut at the Christchurch Boat Show, where the 930 took out a boat show prize. With the weather still an unsettled 20 to 25 knots and metre-plus seas – and set to deteriorate further as each day passed – we were required to make a decision quickly. Two phone calls later, one to Air NZ and the other to the proud Image 930 Fishmaster owner, Noel Baré, and I was organised for the next morning to be on my way to windy Wellington.
Approaching Wellington, the seas seemed at first to look reasonable, but with every 100ft the plane drew closer to the runway, the seas became more and more uninviting. We met Noel’s son Glen at the Mana marina where the 930 is kept on the hard stand, towed on the Image trailer to and from the gas station and ramp by the ‘perfect for the job’ early model 4×4 Bronco.
Gassed up and watered, we headed out to Mana Island for a bit of a play and to put the 930 Image through its paces. The blustery 25-30 knot wind and 1.5-metre breaking swells provided less than perfect general boating conditions, but for someone wanting to test a boat for its sea handling capabilities, I was certainly not disappointed.
Heading straight into the seas and headwind, the 930 Image’s fine entry and deep forefoot carved up the rough seas. In fact, the underwater hull section worked effectively in all the conditions we experienced. The times that we did get a little ‘air’ under the hull, the 930’s 17.5 degree deadrise hull settled back down reasonably smoothly – considering the conditions.
Beam-on, with just one quick tweak on the tabs the 930 sat proudly on the seas with very little wallowing from the side seas. It was great to see the tabs working effectively – so often I see a skipper having to work trim tab switches like a Play Station control. At a glance, due to the broad 3m beam, the 930 looks squatty and aggressive, offering a good ‘footprint’ on the sea.
Heading back, in a following sea, the Image took her course and remained on a path without deviation, with no tendency at any time to bow steer.
While out in these wild conditions much of the deflected spray was being blown back on us by the 25 knot winds, but the window wipers and washer cleared our view and the gas powered heater/ demister effectively cleared the view on the inside.
There was always a feeling of security within the enclosed cabin; with the doors closed one could hear the reassuring sound of the twin 200 Suzuki’s purring in the background.
Back in some smoother waters the 930 drove like it was on rails, the large down-turned chines offering decent traction when cornering, while effectively deflecting water back down, away from the boat.
The cabin area of the 930 is split into two distinctive areas – the wheelhouse cabin area and fore cabin.
In the fully lined forecabin there is the traditional V-berth that with an infill converts to a double berth. There are storage cavities underneath each of the berths along with additional storage in the two side shelves that run the length of the forecabin. There is more accommodation in the forecabin by way of two pipe-hammocks, each long enough for an adult.
In the evening another sleeping berth is created by dropping the table down in the fully carpeted wheelhouse cabin area by adding an infill. As with other Image models, by day the table serves as a small dinette, with seating either side. The rear seat has a huge fridge/freezer, which is on a slider that rolls out into the centre of the cabin for access. The forward seat has a flip/flop backrest, enabling the passenger to face aft around the table, or face forward when underway. Opposite to starboard, we find the galley, the owners’ specified Jarrah cabinetry with Formica top and plenty of storage. Under and within the bench unit are drawers, fridge, sink and cook top, with oven below. Directly in front of the galley is a well-appointed helm with a comfortable swivel chair that sits above the fridge cabinet. Standing or sitting visibility is great forward through the good-looking curved windscreen. Through the windscreen there is easy view of the foredeck which has a Lewmar rope and chain winch and Maxwell hatch which I would think will not see a lot of use for access to the foredeck due to the easy access forward via the wide side decks. On the foredeck the 930 also has a very practical split bow rail with a drop-down ladder off the bow for easy collection of crew when nudged up to a beach. Also easily viewed is the well laid out flush mounted instrumentation, housed in one of the nicest vinyl covered dash setups I have seen. Instrumentation-wise, a Navman 8120 GPS/Fishfinder/Radar sits proudly centre, flanked one side by Suzuki instrumentation and switch panels the other.
Ventilation at the helm is good, with sliding window each side. There is a small cupboard at knee height to store all your smaller bits and pieces in, including in this instance a cellphone booster kit which trebles the coverage – used obviously for cellphone coverage and also for downloading forecasts through a laptop via cellphone while out at sea. Mounted within the overhead console are a stereo and VHF, with small storage areas either side. There is a generous supply of grab rails within the cabin for the safety and comfort of the crew.
Access out to the cockpit is through a lockable aluminium door that locks into the open position. The treadplate-soled cockpit is large, open and functional, providing a good working space. Four people could easily fish from the beamy transom area alone. There is a large bait board across the transom, with a built-in, lockable storage area. Next to this locker is a wash-down pump and sink which could be easily converted into a live bait tank. There are another two tanks found within the boarding platform itself.
Whereas traditionally the walkthrough is to the port side, keeping clear of the steering and engine controls to the helm, in this instance the walk-through to the boarding platform is on the starboard side. The owner preferred this option so he could keep a close eye on his divers until they were safely onboard. Divers have a good-sized boarding platform and boarding ladder for preparation and easy access back onboard after a good dive.
Within the transom cavity there are three lockers, which contain and allow access to the two house batteries, two engine batteries and the fuel filters.
There is good storage within a large underfloor locker found to the rear of the cockpit. Forward of this are the 700-litre fuel and 150-litre water tanks. Alternative storage for rods, gaff and gear is found within the wide side pockets that run down both sides of the cockpit. Below the side pockets there is a good toe recess which allows you to stand right close against the side pockets when fishing. There are rod holders scattered about the topsides and bait board, with room for another eight in the rocket launcher.
At the front port side of the cockpit is a fully enclosed shower, head and hand basin, with hot and cold water, the hot water being supplied by a califont. To starboard there is a crayfish pot winch and a seat which houses two gas bottles for cooking and heating.
Two years ago Noel first spoke with Dean of Image Boats, he could not find a boat which had everything he wanted, it was about a year later he commissioned Dean to start on his no-nonsense, serious fishing boat that was able to handle the disorderly Wellington and Cook Straight waters, a couple of months ago Noel believes he had it delivered. He his son Glen are looking forward to many years of enjoyable fishing with their new Image fishing partner.
The 930 Fishfinder, the biggest of Image Boats’ standard hull designs, is a big hardtop designed unpretentiously for offshore fishing and diving, a boat I felt to be a thoughtful combination of a trailer boat and a small launch – which maintains the advantages and benefits of both – the size, ride and comforts of a small launch, combined with the versatility and ‘trailerability’ of a trailerboat.
Congratulations are in order for the combined team – the collective design team of Image Boats and the owners – and to the Image build team for being able to produce such a well thought out and practical boat. To bring to fruition the feelings, plans and dreams of a design team can often be an intense battle. That the 930 fits its purpose so well is testament to the two teams working in harmony.
- Model : Image 930 Fishmaster
- Price as tested: $265,559
- Packages from: $200,000
- Designer: Dean Wilkes
- Material: Aluminium
- Type: Hardtop Cabin Cruiser
- LOA: 9550mm
- Hull length: 8750mm
- Beam: 3000mm
- Hull configuration: Deep V
- Deadrise: 17.5 degrees
- Height on trailer: 3.2m
- Trailerable weight: 3500kg
- Engine capacity: 300hp – 500hp
- Power Options: Outboard
- Fuel Capacity: 2 x 350 litre underfloor
Performance – 2 X SUZUKI 200
|600 rpm||2.1 mph|
|1000 rpm||5.1 mph|
|1500 rpm||6.4 mph|
|2000 rpm||8.0 mph|
|2500 rpm||11.6 mph|
|3000 rpm||20.4 mph|
|3500 rpm||26.8 mph|
|4000 rpm||32.7 mph|
|4500 rpm||35.3 mph|
|5000 rpm||39.4 mph|
|5600 rpm||42.6 mph|
Note: Boat was loaded with three men, dive gear, 150 litres of water and 175 litres of fuel.