Author : Freddy Foote
A NEW CONCEPT
With the advent of four-stroke technology and increased horsepower that has traditionally been kept within the trailer boat market, a small Tauranga, New Zealand company has come up with a concept that embraces the new technology. As Freddy Foote found out, it is something that’s totally unlike anything else.
Bill Cranston and Leo Smith, the two men behind the Seabandit concept, figured that there must be a market for a boat that made going boating in a big boat easy.
Essentially you can arrive at the boat, load all your gear on board, trim the motors down, start them up, see that the water is coming out, untie the ropes and go.
“It was something that I had been thinking about for a long time and what I thought New Zealand boating was all about. I think that predominantly our boating is coming down to the marina on a Saturday morning, you go out and come back; if it’s a nice day the next day, you go out again,” says Bill.
The idea also stemmed from the extensive usage that outboards went through on various teams’ support boats during the America’s Cup.
“I watched all those boats roll in and out of the viaduct, and I thought sooner or later there is going to be a big boat with outboards,” says Bill.
Producing the Seabandit is the culmination of a number of Tauranga based companies, all doing their piece in the project.
The easily driven hull comes from Oliver Marine International, and was a perfect starting platform for the Seabandit concept.
“Oliver supplies us the hull complete with structural bearers and bulkheads, Steadecraft Boats Ltd produce the topsides and small moulds. All cabinetry work is done by a separate company as is the upholstery and the electrical fitout. So, within five weeks, all the components are completed and ready to assemble, with the finished boat being ready in the following seven weeks giving a total build time of just 12 weeks.
Forward in the cabin, space has been utilised well for a boat that in reality is a walk around. As you step down the ladder into the lower saloon area you immediately notice the oak and mahogany finish on the cabinetry and joinery, the mahogany providing a visually appealing contrast. SeaBandit offers three décor options.
The galley is immediately to port, and features a full size fridge/freezer, oven/grill, sink, and plenty of cupboard and drawer storage space.
Opposite, on the starboard side, the shower and head is located, which is one singular moulded unit. The bathroom also provides plenty of headroom, which is around 1.98m (6’6”). This feature of plenty of headroom also extends into the main cabin area where it is around 2.13m (7ft).
Further forward, sleeping accommodation is made up of a V berth, which with the addition of an infill converts to a full double. A small table is also available to be fitted to create a dinette. Two bunks are also located above the main berth, ideal for a mates fishing weekend, or overnight family trip. Storage space is also available underneath.
An aft cabin, which takes the sleeping capacity for the boat to 6, recedes under the cockpit sole and consists of a generous double berth. Lighting is provided by natural light from a small hatch located in the base of the L-settee in the cockpit. Reading lights are also fitted for after dark.
More storage space, in the form of drawers and a hanging locker, is available at the entrance to the cabin which also provides a private changing area.
In the upper saloon/helm area, an L-shaped settee is positioned on the port side, and provides ample seating for around four passengers. The helm consists of a single pedestal captain’s chair that ensures the skipper sits comfortably at the controls.
A small shelves compartment is built into the starboard side of the upper saloon, an ideal place for miscellaneous items such as maps, torches etc.
The Seabandit has a fairly serious emphasis on fishing, and is a boat that is certainly going to appeal to not only the recreational angler, but also the game and charter industries.
A major feature is the very wide walkaround, around 500mm in width. The wide side decks are an excellent feature, and allow anglers to bring their fish alongside the boat, to tag and release, and to communicate with the skipper through the window.
Seabandit goes away from the norm of twin-rig outboard powered boats, which traditionally are rigged up side by side. What they have done is rigged the motors apart, which then provides a centre walkthrough, not only making easy for passengers to embark and disembark at dock, but also when game fishing, to drag the fish through the doorway and into the cockpit. A live bait tank is built into the walkthrough, and a boarding/dive ladder is fitted beneath. For safety of small children a lockable swing door seals off the walkthrough from the cockpit.
Seabandit also has a sizeable lazarette in the cockpit, a feature made possible by the fact that there are no engines beneath the cockpit floor.
Two small fridge/freezers are also fitted in beneath the cockpit’s fresh water sink, an ideal bait storage facility. Aft of the cockpit a freshwater hot/cold shower is on the port side, while a salt water wash down hose is to starboard.
Powered with twin 275hp supercharged Mercury Verado outboards, the Seabandit has a maximum speed of 38 knots.
Fuel economy and quietness of the Verado outboards is a major drawcard, particularly to the game fishing fraternity. Trolling at 8 knots, the Verados use 20 litres per hour total, at 9 knots they use 30 litres per hour and at 10 knots they use 40 litres per hour total.
Seabandit can also be powered with smaller horsepower outboards from 225hp upwards still giving a maximum speed of around 30 knots. Manoeuvrability, both at planing speeds and at idle is exceptional. The boat will turn inside its own length with a small application of the inside motor’s throttle and full lock on the wheel.
The Seabandit is an exceptional new concept for the Australasian boating scene, one that is sure to be embraced by the boating public, particularly those who have always wanted such a vessel.
- Boat Name : Seabandit
- Builder: Oliver Marine Int & Steadecraft Boats
- Designer: Bill Cranston
- Interior Designer: Bill Cranston
- Year Launched : November 2005
- LOA: 40ft 6in
- Beam :13ft 6”
- Draft: 800mm
- Displacement : 7000kg
- Max Speed :38knots
- Cruise Speed: 26knots
- Fuel Capacity: 1500L
- Water Capacity: 480L
- Construction: GRP
- Engine: 2x Mercury Verado’s