ISLAND GYPSY 400 TWIN CABIN
Classic with a twist
An iconic Australian boating brand, Island Gypsy has returned after a long hiatus and the next generation 400 Twin Cabin is the latest new model to be released.
Gold Coast couple, Trish and Ray are ecstatic, taking delivery of their Island Gypsy 400 and heading off into the Broadwater sunset for their first night aboard. It’s mid-winter and yet the chill evening air can’t take the sheen off the anticipation of sunny days on water as they cruise out of Gold Coast City Marina along the Coomera River.
Christened “Gypsy Rover”, an amalgam of the brand, their plans to travel and a tip of the hat to the lilting Irish ballad of the same name, the twin cabin version of this neat 40-footer packs a hell of a lot of features into an easily manageable, single-engine sedan form.
A seasoned boatie, Ray was attracted to the brand for its “Down East” design, inspired by the Maine fishing boats, ubiquitous in the 1920s.
“Their fine entry gave them great seakeeping qualities,” he explains. “In the 1950s, this style became popular as a pleasure craft for American celebrities. I always liked their look, their profile, but what appealed to me most about this new model was the modern, fresh look and the high-quality fit-out, as well as the intelligent design, less maintenance and value for money.” A myriad of other features drew him to the Island Gypsy brand, and the twin cabin model in particular.
THE COMPLETE PACKAGE
First inspecting the Island Gypsy 46 twin cabin at the Sanctuary Cove Boating Festival in November 2020, Ray and Trish were smitten with “the complete package” encompassing both the aesthetic and the technical attributes of the vessel.
“The Island Gypsy brand is different from its competitors,” states Ray. “She’s a totally new build with the appeal of the Downeaster style but numerous innovative changes. I liked them immediately because they’re semi-displacement boats with full keel for protection, a reasonably flat bottom for stability and the ability to sprint when needed – not like the full-displacement boat that is reduced to a slower top speed.”
They were impressed with the simplicity and “intelligent design” that removes many of the complications, such as skin fittings and seacocks along the hull.
“Some 40-footers have up to eight or more, and these can prove troublesome with breakages or leaks,” Ray observes.
“The left and right-hand side entry doors to the cockpit, plus transom centre door are great features, as are the swim platform rails and ladder which are removable, giving you more options. I particularly liked the leather helm bucket seats, great dash layout, including drink holders, side helm door and walkaround decks, which all add up to safety, comfort and convenience.
“The cockpit-saloon hopper window makes alfresco dining and entertainment enjoyable. The skylight in the bathroom and many other thoughtful design elements also caught our eye.”
What you can’t see immediately, such as wiring and plumbing, set the Island Gypsy apart from its rivals.
“All wiring is labelled or numbered. Every boat comes with square-cable wiring, hardwired for a solar option. The wastewater goes into a large sump and is pumped overboard, and she also has a separate holding tank for the toilet.”
The couple previously owned flybridge vessels, which Ray reports were “very competent passage makers”.
ONE LEVEL LIVING
“We thought we’d miss the flybridge, but the IG40 has everything we need,” he says.
“Living and entertaining are all on one level, and there’s the advantage of maintenance. In addition, we are able to moor it at our home in Runaway Bay rather than requiring a marina berth. It’s the perfect size for our pontoon and to go under the two bridges from our house to the Broadwater. This saves on berthing fees, parking and the hassle of transporting supplies to and from the boat.
“The reason we chose the twin cabin is that the second cabin is ideal for storing our gear and of course, when we have friends join us on board. We’ve made sure we had lots of storage on board, in the galley, under seats, wherever we could.”
“Gypsy Rover’s” foredeck has ample space for sunpads and socialising. From here, Ray can access the solar panels via ladder.
Ray, whose background in the motor industry equipped him with a passion for and depth of expertise in engineering, was very hands-on during the build, while Trish was occupied with “the fun, creative part” choosing the interior design choices and décor – soft furnishings and linen in marine hues.
For Ray, the build process was fascinating and the opportunity to apply his skills.
“While we couldn’t visit the factory, we kept up with construction through constant progress photos and feedback.
“We were pleased we could customise our boat to suit our requirements, including the choice of the Steyr 6-cylinder diesel 280hp engine, which offers reliable service and parts back-up in Brisbane.
“It’s an amazing engine. I chose the Steyr for its compact design, light-weight and smooth running, quietness and economy. They are huge in defence boats and machinery and expanding in the pleasure craft market. It meets European industry and SOLAS safety requirements.
“Also, it’s a monocast engine with no cylinder head or sump and can run at 2,000 rpm with a 50-cent piece balancing on its edge due to its lack of vibration!
“We sea-trialed on the Broadwater and hit a top speed of 18 knots and at 10 knots achieved a fuel burn of 9 lph. That’s a great asset if you’re making a bar crossing or trying to avoid bad weather, you’re not reliant on tides and can push through.
“I’m really excited about the ride, actually. The driving is excellent – very comfortable and great visibility from the helm. There’s enough room for two so Trish can be involved, and the helm door is great for a breeze and when I need to jump out when we’re coming in to berth.”
Another specification Ray is proud of is the upgrade to include two extra house batteries, giving them 800 AMP on housekeeping, charged by two 400-Watt solar panels and a Victron 3,000-Watt 240 Volt inverter, limiting the use of the Onan generator to emergencies.
In terms of design, Ray and Trish extended the roofline/awning over the swim platform and added a custom-made set of cockpit clears plus mesh flyscreens – perfect for creating an additional all-seasons room and keeping the insects out. The cockpit table folds down depending on the occasion and number of people.
“There are so many details that demonstrate the craftsmanship,” says Ray. “The curve on the handrail, two-way blinds which are opaque and semi-opaque for privacy and to protect the upholstery, our special drawer to ensure wine glasses are secured.”
“The slimline light switches were sourced here and sent to the factory. We also specified Corian benchtops for a high-end finish, gloss timber walnut throughout, dual fridges and freezers, a convection oven and upgraded to Garmin electronics. The new autopilot is super-precise.”
“We really appreciated the opportunity to make changes and the changes we made during the build were met with enthusiasm by Brett and the team, as well as the builders. Nothing was every any trouble. In fact, Brett has taken on board several of the initiatives and will incorporate them into the design of future vessels.”
And that is another, no less important difference unique to Island Gypsy – it’s director and founder, Brett Flanagan.
“Brett is a very good listener, he’s also passionate about boats and boating which is evident in everything he does,” states Ray. “We had a brilliant experience from the very start, through to delivery. Expectations met and exceeded.”
For his part, ‘Flanno’ is riding the wave of fervent interest in new boats and brokerage.
“We are smashing it!” he says. “We’ve sold 10 400s out of the first 12 stock orders in five months, and a new 500 to a current owner in Sydney. I’ve designed a 650 twin engine model, also for a previous owner. We sold the 460 twin to an owner in Brisbane and we have another six orders placed for the Island Gypsy 400. That’s 18 boats in build!”
OLD SCHOOL WITH A TWIST
The appeal of the Island Gypsy, according to Flano is its “old school” design elements combined with distinctly modern engineering and accoutrements.
“We’ve reinvigorated the old displacement hull style that was only available to a semi-displacement into the 21st century; completely redesigned the engineering, hull design, interiors and all the lifestyle extras that people demand these days. We’re responsive to our owners, we listen to the public at boat shows and the new generation coming through.
But most attractive are the ongoing cost-savings. “Over any other brand, our maintenance costs are more than halved because of the way our boats are engineered.”
The latest two contented Island Gypsy owners concord. Content with the full package, from customisation to fuel consumption, Ray and Trish are over the moon with the prospect of spending plenty of time on the water.
Setting off for their first weekend aboard “Gypsy Rover”, Ray and Trish are already planning a season of epic voyages.
“We love the Broadwater, especially Tipplers,” says Trish, “And we’re hoping to go to North Stradbroke Island, and then whale watching at Fraser Island and the Sandy Straits. When we can, we’ll head to Yamba and the Clarence River.”
“We have favourite anchorages on the Broadwater and at North Straddie, Moreton Bay and the Brisbane River. We have also cruised The Whitsundays, which we enjoyed so much and hope to do it again on ‘Gypsy Rover’. We can’t wait!”
- Model: Island Gypsy 400 Twin Cabin
- Builder: Newport Motor Yachts
- Year Launched:2021
- Priced From: $AUD649,000
- Price As Tested: $AUD699,000
- Type: Sedan Cruiser
- Construction: GRP
- Displacement: 14000 kg
- LOA: 12.9 m
- LWL: 10.97m
- Beam: 3.96 m
- Draft: 1.00 m
- Test Power: 280 HP Steyr
- Power (Opt): 355 HP Cummins
- Max Speed: 18 knots
- Cruise Speed: 8-10 knots
- Generator: Onan 4 kw
- Drive Coupling: Python Drive
- MFD: Garmin
- Sound System: Fusion Blue tooth RA 210
- Anchor Winch: Quick 1000
- Thrusters: Quick
- Fuel Capacity: 1000 litres
- Water Capacity: 730 litres