Fishing World recently reviewed the new Oceanworx Airier 4.8. The Airier was the debut model from Sydney-based and built Oceanworx. It’s a premium, lightweight aluminium boat with a long list of great features.
You can read more about the Airier in the August edition of Fishing World.
At the time of reviewing the Airier, Derek Rodway and his son Samson mentioned the soon-to-be released Squadron range. Moving forward a couple of months and Derek and Samson showcased the Squadrons at the Sydney International Boat Show where I caught a glimpse of the new models before hitting the water the following week.
Meet the Squadrons
The Squadron range is cold formed aluminium as opposed to high tensile on the Airier and Axcess models. Being cold formed, Derek says the construction process is a lot faster and the price point comes down.
“We can give the customer all of the features they want, in a good looking boat that is still very functional, but they can get the boat at more reduced price,” says Derek.
It’s a lighter boat and features 3mm bottoms and sides for the 4.3m, 4.5 and 4.8, while the 5.2 has 4mm bottom and 3mm sides.
All of the Squadron range comes with what many would consider “options” as standard.
“We don’t want to play in that race to the bottom price point end,” says Derek.
Standard accessories on the CC 5.2 include a 9-inch sounder, plumbed live tank and plumbed keeper tank, spray chines, boarding steps, bilge pumps, nav lights etc.
It’s good to see more and more boat companies offering fully rigged boats as standard. Most buyers want a boat with these inclusions and are happy to customise the boat with more specialised accessories if they’re needed. In this case, the Squadron would be ready to hit the water. The only essential option I would include is a trolling motor. The Squadron comes standard with the mounting bracket and adding a 24 volt 80lb trolling motor such as the Motorguide would be an essential addition.
The new standard
While the Squadron has a different construction process to the Airier, the Squadron is still built to a higher standard than the average small tinny and that quality extends across the entire size range from the smaller 4.3m up to the 5.2m.
Side decks are fully welded and the floor ribs are spot welded to the sheet rather than being a floating rib. Even the anchor-well isn’t just a flat sheet with an anchor well dropped in, it’s framed into the boat with a plastic skin and sealed off with a coping all the way around. In addition, the gunwale rod holders are aluminium and as Derek says, “even the bowsprit is strong enough to hang the boat from”.
The Squadron CC 5.2 is a centre console configuration. Oceanworx also has the 4.5 and 4.8 in a “sit down” centre console. This 5.2 has the console in a higher position with a higher seat which you can either sit or lean against while driving. For a boat in excess of five metres, one that will go offshore, having a higher seating position makes sense for visibility and safety.
The 5.2 has a nice clean layout with carpeted floor throughout and very few obstructions. It would make a great fly or lure fishing boat and its size and layout would easily accommodate three people fishing.
There’s a livewell in the transom and the remainder of this area is open with a crank battery and switch fitted on the starboard side.
Moving forward and, as described above, there’s a high seat with back rest. Inside the seat there’s loads of storage for safety and fishing gear.
The console itself is a similar style to the Airier. It’s simple, yet tough and practical. There’s plenty of space with a 9-inch Lowrance Elite FS 9 fitted and more space remaining if you preferred a larger screen. Plus, there’s more space for a marine radio and entertainment unit if you choose. There was also a Mercury gauge fitted to the test boat. Under the console there’s a shelf for storage. On that note, there’s also a storage shelf along each side for bits and pieces.
The only addition I’d like to see on the console is a couple of drink holders and maybe a grab rail. That said, grab rails impede on space and this boat is also built to an affordable price point.
The raised casting platform features several hatches. Two small hatches on either side hold a battery in each for powering the 24 volt Motorguide. This balances the boat nicely. Between these two hatches is the plumbed kill tank. Further forward is another storage hatch. Overall, storage is ample under the hatches, under the console seat and tackle boxes could also be placed under the transom. That section is open, but still out of the way and easily accessible.
Back to the bow and there’s an anchor well, bow sprit and aforementioned Motorguide trolling motor.
Power and performance
The test boat was powered with a 100hp four stroke Mercury and is rated to a maximum of 115hp.
The 100hp Merc was a great match on the Squadron. It’s quiet, responsive and has good fuel economy.
The Squadron jumped on the plane without fuss and was a fun and intuitive boat to drive. It’s a boat suitable for any skill level.
See below for performance data.
15.5 knots @ 3150 RPM
24.6 knots @ 4010 RPM
33.9 knots @ 5000 RPM
35 knots @5230 RPM
Overall, the 5.2 Squadron is a solid and spacious centre console that would suit a wide range of fishing styles and locations. It’s simple, spacious, and performs nicely.
For someone looking for a boat without all of the bells and whistles, something simple in design, yet built to a higher standard than your average mass produced tinny, the Squadron is well worth a look.
4.3m tiller steer
The 4.3 OP and 4.5 OP are available in tiller steer and offer a basic configuration for entry level boaters or those looking to fish tight water.
Fishing World also jumped onboard the 4.3 OP and gave it a spin across the shallow flats around Botany Bay.
While it’s a small tinny, there’s still plenty on offer in the smaller tiller step models.
The 4.3 OP comes with a casting platform front and back and a raised splash-well at the transom.
The OP models are also built to the same standard as the larger centre consoles. Oceanworx hasn’t skimped on the quality of the build. They feature the same reverse chine as the larger models and the same technology and build.
The 4.3 is rated to 50hp and the 4.5 is rated to 60hp.
As mentioned above, the aluminium sheet thickness is 3mm tops and bottoms and the build quality and inclusions are consistent with the larger models.
If you’re in the market with a small tinny for sneaking around shallow estuaries, creeks and freshwater areas, the 4.3 OP should be on your radar.
More info at oceanworx.au.