Midwest 5.8

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WEST COAST WEAPON

MIDWEST is the latest entry into the highly competitive alloy pontoon boat market. Barry Thompson went to Whanganui to try out their very first model, a 5.8m hardtop. 

Andre Lewer, owner of Whanganui Boating Centre, the manufacturers of the MIDWEST 5.8, describes the boat as one that has been designed and built to be suitable for the rugged aspects of West Coast boating. Anyone who has boated along the coastline off Taranaki knows that it can be a mean stretch of water, and then there is also the Whanganui Bar to consider.

This was my first time boating out of Whanganui, and I expected to see a bar with big swells and the sort of sea that makes a 5.8m boat seem very small. Well, my fears were quickly dispelled when we arrived at the river mouth and a flat, calm bar with no discernable swell at all. The sea state offshore was much the same, so there was little to trouble the MIDWEST 5.8.

Andre Lewer says the concept of the MIDWEST 5.8 was for a safe, well-built and robust boat that could handle just about any seas. 

“We go 25nm up the coast to our favourite fishing and diving spots, and sometimes the trip home can be pretty gnarly, so I wanted a boat I knew would get us home in reasonable comfort and not have to worry about the sea conditions,” says Andre.

With heavy weather boating in mind, the MIDWEST 5.8 is constructed using 5mm plate on the bottom, with 4mm/3mm for the topsides and cabin. All the underfloor superstructure is 5mm and is fully welded with no stitching. This adds rigidity to the boat that you can certainly feel when you drive it. Even the treadplate floor is 5mm, adding even more strength and a solid feel to the structure. The pipe rails are all upsized from the usual 25mm to 32mm throughout the boat and are nice to hold.

“It’s a bit of a trade-off being a little heavier than other similar-sized boats as you sacrifice top-end speed and some performance, but in a boat like this that is designed for offshore fishing and diving, I feel the quality of the ride is more important than how fast the boat goes”, says Andre.

One of the interesting aspects of the 18 deg hull is an extra-wide downturned chine that runs ¾ the length of the hull. At 90mm x 60mm, it is designed to keep the pontoons off the water when running, makes trimming the boat a lot easier and helps eliminate any pounding from the pontoons slapping the water.

BASIC LAYOUT

The layout is very traditional for a hardtop pontoon boat of this size. The emphasis is on space for fishing and diving, so the cockpit is minimalistic with maximum use of the 1.87m internal beam. Seating options are available, so you can spec out the boat to suit your requirements. 

Boat #1 had a pair of swivelling BLA bucket seats forward and blank cuddy cabin space. This left a sizeable workable fishing cockpit that ticks all the boxes, including deep toe kicks and wide flat coamings that are a generous 800mm from the cockpit sole. 

“I consider that for our boating out of Whanganui, the twin pedestal seating layout is the best, but we are happy to do anything a customer wants”, said Andre.

The layout is very traditional for a hardtop pontoon boat of this size. The emphasis is on space for fishing and diving, so the cockpit is minimalistic with maximum use of the 1.87m internal beam. Seating options are available, so you can spec out the boat to suit your requirements. 

Boat #1 had a pair of swivelling BLA bucket seats forward and blank cuddy cabin space. This left a sizeable workable fishing cockpit that ticks all the boxes, including deep toe kicks and wide flat coamings that are a generous 800mm from the cockpit sole. 

“I consider that for our boating out of Whanganui, the twin pedestal seating layout is the best, but we are happy to do anything a customer wants”, said Andre.

WIDE POWER CHOICE

The MIDWEST 5.8 has a power range of outboards from 140hp to 200hp, with boat #1 powered by a Suzuki 150 SS. The top speed was 38 knots, and in the light sea conditions, the boat ran without any vices. In high speed turns, the wide chines attribute to keeping the boat flat, and it bites hard with no side slipping. It was also very exacting during the turns at mid-range. On the day, I felt we could have cruised up to Andre’s favourite fishing/diving spot at 4500 pm, using 31 lph @ 31mph. If you are into trolling lures, then at 8 knots, you will be burning about 8 lph.

The steering position is comfortable, and with 2.70m height under the hardtop, it’s tall enough for most of us. Safety glass screens mean you can add wipers, and sliding side windows are also an option.

Currently, the MIDWEST 5.8 is the single model in the range and only available in hardtop. There are plans for more models to be added to the range, with a smaller 4.2m open version due soon.

specifications

  • Model: MIDWEST 5.8
  • Priced From: $80,000
  • Price As Tested: $88,000
  • Designer: Craig Jones
  • Type: Hardtop
  • Construction: Alloy 5mm/3mm
  • LOA: 5.80m
  • Beam: 2.47m
  • Beam Inside: 1.87m
  • Height On Trailer: 3.00m
  • Trailerable Weight: 1550 kg
  • Power: Suzuki 150 SS
  • Power Options: Outboard Only
  • Power Range: 140-200 hp
  • Propeller: 17”
  • Fuel Capacity: 120 litres
  • Trailer: Aakron

RPM

Knots

L/h

L/NM

Range  (NM)

1000

5.0

3

0.600

180

1500

6.0

5

0.840

120

2000

8.0

8

1.000

100

2500

12.0

12.5

1.100

98

3000

16.0

20

1.300

83

3500

24.0

24

1.000

100

4000

28.0

28

1.000

100

4500

31.0

31

1.000

100

5000

33.0

51

1.600

67

5500

36.0

56

1.600

67

5800

38.0

59

1.600

67

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