QUICK DRAW – An impressive fishing sharpshooter

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By Mike Rose

The Purekraft 730, to my mind, is a really good example of why aluminium boats are now so much more popular than GRP ones.

It is a model that, until recently, didn’t even exist. The reason it does now is because a potential owner, keen on a Purekraft, didn’t fancy either the company’s 700 or its 750. The former was too small, the latter too big.

If he had been talking to a GRP manufacturer, that would have been the end of the discussion. Luckily he wasn’t. He was talking to Purekraft boss Jarrod Hall and Jarrod not only was willing to find the perfect “Goldilocks” size for this fellow, he also quickly realised the potential of such an in-between design.

The result was that, when the new Purekraft 730 made its debut at the recent Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show, it was not alone. There was another alongside. Whereas the original, Quick Draw, was configured mainly for fishing and diving, the other was set up more for family boating. Not surprisingly, both attracted a fair amount of attention and, no doubt, there will be more, possibly slightly tweaked, under construction shortly.

With Purekraft based in Tauranga, it is no surprise that many of their clients come from the so-called Golden Triangle, the area between the south of the Auckland metropolis, Hamilton and Tauranga. Quick Draw’s owner is no exception. His key fishing and diving grounds are out from Raglan and off Whangamata.

A man who clearly enjoys his own company, he fishes solo a lot. A lot being the operative phrase. Since taking delivery of his 730 in late February, he has spent over 120 hours powering up his Mercury Verado 300hp AMS and exploring the waters off the vastly different coasts. In that time, he has successfully landed a brace of marlin and a broadbill (scars from the latter’s sword can be seen as a mark of pride on the topsides), among others.

Clever touches

Those familiar with Jarrod and his team will know that they take a very design-driven approach to their work. They are constantly looking for new and better ways of doing things, better ways to make use of otherwise dead space and clever touches to improve their clients’ experiences while on board.

On Quick Draw that includes wider gunwales and therefore side lockers large enough to hold dive tanks in addition to a wet locker between the driver’s and crew’s seats that is large enough to hold another four tanks (or a salt water slurry when fishing). There are also “hidden” tuna tubes in the aft port side gunwale as well as the obligatory livebait tank under the starboard platform step, Purekraft’s trademark trash locker (in the aft starboard gunwale) and their custom bait board (complete with bottle opener and cap catcher).

Not all the innovations are in the stern. The bow has its share, too. There is a recessed bow ladder for a start and a carefully designed gap in the attractive black pulpit for the Minn Kota trolling motor to swing through when deployed. (Among other things, Quick Draw’s owner uses it to hold the boat in place in 15-20 knots while broadbill fishing). A strong yet stylish-looking aluminium fairlead projects out to hold the Sarca anchor (and keep it well away from the hull). This is attached to a Viper drum winch and effortlessly controlled from the helm station.

Garmin galore

Quick Draw’s dash looks to have been custom-designed for its suite of Garmin electronics. The twin 12in screens sit perfectly across the top of the rectangular-shaped helm while below are positioned the control panels for the Garmin autopilot, the Zipwake auto trim tabs and the Mercury outboard. These are flanked by the DC switchboards. The Fusion stereo and Garmin VHF are also close at hand, as is the Viper control and a switch to move control of the boat to a compact second station further aft. The large MFD screens are connected to Quick Draw’s radar, chartplotter/GPS and transducers (a 2kW and a GFSI side view, both through-hull) and configured to show whatever combination best suits the owner’s activities at the time.

There is great all-round visibility, aided in rough weather by a pair of wipers and plenty of good air flow, thanks to the twin hatches in the hardtop roof and opening side windows. A Hi-Tech Plastics multi-position bolster seat on a suspension strut gives the skipper plenty of comfortable options when underway. The crew are well looked after, too, with a hinged footrest (able to disappear into the cabin when not needed) on the passenger side and loads of handy lockers occupying every nook and cranny.

There is more to the aft-facing seats than meets the eye, too. The queen part of the port king/queen seat has been to designed to sit above a large 95-litre Dometic pull-out fridge/freezer on its own rail system. On starboard, the equivalent seat pulls out to create a comfortable lounger. Alongside is the second gear/throttle control and toggle steering.

Study in grey

Quick Draw’s cabin is something of a study in grey. Light grey frontrunner offsets the darker squabs, the latter occupying the entire area and easily large enough to accommodate one big fella and probably two. Deep double-row side lockers provide additional handy stowage and there is still more in a clever, pull-out “gear bunk” that hangs midway between the cabin roof and the bunks.

Access to the wiring and electronics behind the dash is one of the biggest and best I have ever seen. The large, virtually bunk-to-ceiling frontrunner-lined aluminium door simply swings open and the entire back of the helm is exposed, with no contortion required.

There is a toilet under the front seat if required and a large Cule hatch gives access to the foredeck, the ladder and the trolling motor.

Fishing cockpit

The cockpit is one obviously dedicated to fishing and diving. SeaDek panels line the floor, side decks and platform and are in remarkably good condition considering the amount of hard fishing they have seen (actually, they look brand new).

There are 360-degree rod holders set into the side decks, accompanied by well-positioned drink holders and complemented by the 13-rod rocket launcher.

There is handy access to the through-hull transducers should this be required with the remaining under-floor space given over to the vessel’s 400-litre fuel tank.

The large locker under the transom holds the ship’s battery banks, isolating switches and the sophisticated Lusty & Blundell AMPS lithium battery system that powers, charges and protects the trolling motor both when in use and under charge.

The Jabsco washdown hose has been sited underneath, making it easy to access without wasting valuable side-locker space.

Because Quick Draw is primarily a serious fishing boat, everything has been set up to support the owner’s passion. The Hella LED lighting package, for example, includes red lights under the hardtop (for night-time navigation), powerful spot lights to light up the cockpit when the action is hot (and recessed side lights when stealth is more important) and Apelo A2 underwater lights (for when attracting fish is the order of the day).

Powerful performer

Having had the good fortune to review a number of Purekraft vessels over the last 5 years, I had a pretty good idea of how the new 730 would perform. It did not disappoint.

Although our day started tranquilly enough with light winds and a near-flat sea, the Bay of Plenty is nothing if not unpredictable. By the time we returned a few hours later, the wind was up and so was the sea, with a nasty cross-chop on top of a building swell.

One wouldn’t expect a 7m-plus boat to be overly troubled by the conditions we encountered and it wasn’t. It did show, however, that it was equally as comfortable blasting down swell at near-on 30 knots as it was running flat out (at 36.5 knots) in much calmer ones.

As the accompanying table shows, the Purekraft 730/Mercury 300hp combination performed well across the range, although there is no doubt it seemed sweeter once we hit the mid-4000s (revs). The hull was certainly not challenged at full revs and, based on my limited experience on board, I feel sure it would perform even better with a larger powerplant.

Summary

Chasing broadbill swordfish far offshore, especially by oneself, is not for the faint of heart. The fact that Quick Draw’s owner clearly revels in the challenge says a lot about his confidence, courage and experience. It also says a lot about the boat. While a 7.3m alloy boat is not a small vessel, it is not a particularly large one, either. To have done over 120 hours in less than 3 months and done those off both coasts, often solo and still be keen for more surely shows the confidence he has in his boat and the way it performs in the myriad of conditions he has already encountered.

To my mind, Quick Draw also shows why Jarrod, Hall Marine Design and Purekraft continue to do so well. This is a boat perfectly tailored for a particular owner, his needs and the way he goes boating. The fact it will no doubt also appeal to a much larger audience shows just how in touch this crew is with the way we Kiwis now want to go boating, fishing and diving.

  • Make: Purekraft Boats
  • Model: 730 HT
  • Priced From: NZ$250,000                
  • Type:  Hardtop                                  
  • Construction: Aluminium
  • LOA: 7.60m (incl fairlead)
  • Beam: 2.55m
  • Deadrise: 18deg             
  • Trailerable Weight:  3200kg (full of fuel)               
  • Test Power: Mercury 300
  • Test Speed:  39 knots          
  • Power Options: Outboard or diesel inboard
  • Power Range: 250-350hp
  • Flooring: Seadek
  • Hatches:  Cule                
  • MFD: Garmin 8412 x 2
  • Interceptors:  Zipwake
  • Sounds: Fusion
  • Lighting: Hella
  • Underwater Lights: Apelo
  • Seating:  Hi Tech                       
  • Fuel Capacity: 400L
  • Trailer:  Aluminium
  • Manufacturer:  www.purekraftboats.co.nz
Performance Data
rpmknotsL/hL/NMrange (NM)
10003.24.81.5240
15004.971.5239
20006.2121.9186
25007162.2163
30007.5222.9125
350010.2262.5143
400015.3342.2161
450026.5431.6220
500030541.8200
550033.1762.3158
600036.5912.5144

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