These Aussie-built craft have long held a reputation as first-class fishing boats as WAYNE KAMPE reports.
A RECENT look at a pair of popular Seafarers, which are now manufactured by the Haines Group of Wacol, Queensland, showed just why so many serious boaters continue to be drawn to these craft. The 6.8m Voyager and 6.2m Vagabond are arguably some of the finest fishing craft on the market.
The jewel in the crown of the Seafarer range, the Voyager 6.8 Walkaround features just about every conceivable item needed in a trailerable fishing rig.
The Voyager is constructed from three separate hull floor and cabin moulds that provide stylish appearance and heavy-duty construction.
The big Seafarer offers fishing room plus shelter. There’s a sizeable centre cab inside a wide and deep self-draining walkaround area. Fishing up front would be easy; there’s ample room plus a bow rail offering security. Anchor chores in the test rig were handled by a winch.
The Voyager’s fully lined and carpeted centre cab was surprisingly large with bunks over two metres in length providing a massive storage area below. A Porta Potti was standard fare as were two cabin lights, windows, overhead shelves and a bi-fold entry door.
First mate’s and skipper’s pedestal seats were well sheltered by the test rig’s targa (with bimini extension) extending aft of a windscreen complemented by well made and comprehensive clears.
The targa and bimini were sufficiently high to allow cockpit anglers unrestricted use of jig rods and the like.
The Voyager’s forward cockpit area and dash layout were designed for comfort and ease of use. A passenger grab handle and side storage pocket were to port, while a large dash area featured engine gauges; forward controls for the twin 150 Suzukis were side mounted. A Furuno FCV 585 sounder was located on the upper dash area to port, the important Furuno Nav Net mounted in-dash just above the wheel with a neat row of switches above.
The Voyager’s thigh deep cockpit was virtually all fishing room, the two aft lounges folding down to make more space if required.
Fish storage is important in a rig like this and the big Seafarer’s cockpit was equipped with kill tanks fore and aft on the outer cockpit floor plus another central near the transom. A non-skid hose out cockpit floor was a feature of the test rig as were long deep side pockets with built-in rod racks. A freshwater wash was set up in the port pocket; a deck wash to starboard. Paired plumbed live wells adorned each transom corner with a removable bait station to starboard.
The self-draining cockpit included a pair of rod holders per side complementing the four on the targa overhead, stainless gunwale rails plus padding, and a wide mid transom boarding gate.
The Voyager is designed for twins. Paired 175s are maximum power but with 48.2 knots from the Suzuki 150s at 6000 rpm it would be hard to justify more power. Fifty miles an hour – plus – is fast for a big fishing boat.
Handling and ride were pure Seafarer. Hydraulic steering made light work of the twin engines with their combined 300hp and the 1600kg hull reveled in offshore conditions. Even when jumping waves, impact was minimal and no water came aboard. The sheer mass of the craft plus a 22 degree deadrise also gave the hull enormous stability at rest.
Overall, the Seafarer Voyager 6.8 Walkaround is a fishing boat with outstanding build quality and bluewater credentials, and with 340 litres of fuel under the floor will travel a long way on those frugal Suzukis.
The Vagabond is one Seafarer with as much appeal to family boaties as dedicated anglers. The sleek cuddy cabin with forward hatch and accompanying bow rail offers excellent weather protection and would sleep parents plus a couple of youngsters easily. Upholstery in the fully lined cabin is plush, with a full sized V bunk for the family to sleep on. There’s provision for a toilet.
A bimini on a folding frame assisted by heavy duty clears offered ample weather protection. Six rod holders were mounted on the aft section of the bimini frame and complemented the four other rod holders on the gunwales.
The carpeted cockpit offered well over two metres of fishing room and to take care of the catch an under-floor storage area nestled between front seats. Aft storage was also assisted by very large rod rack equipped side pockets set up off the floor – anglers could get a toehold under these when fighting big fish.
Other cockpit features included rails, a split fold down four-person rear seat with padded back rest plus a live well in each transom corner.
Again, ride and handling were impressive, to put it mildly. The 6.2m Vagabond is rated for up to 250hp (single) or 230hp with twins. The 225 Suzuki fitted had the Vagabond planing at 10.2 knots at 2400rpm while 3000 rpm saw 19.4 knots on the GPS. A burst at WOT saw 6,200 rpm on the tacho at a speed of 45.3 knots.
The 225 Suzuki was a willing yet quiet sort of beast, with driver input via the throttle lever resulting in surging power from astern the instant the forward control lever moved. In between fishing outings a family group could enjoy tow sports with this rig with ease.
When running offshore on the Gold Coast in sloppy conditions we stayed dry, courtesy of the Seafarer’s clean and free running hull which sports a mass of around the 1300kg mark and benefits from a 21 degree deadrise at the transom.
Overall, the Seafarer Vagabond 6.2 is the sort of fishing craft that will fulfill multiple roles.
Seafarer Voyager 6.8m Walkaround
Weight: 1600kg approx.
Deadrise: 21 degrees
Power: Max. 300hp
Fuel: 340 litres
Price: From $113,700; as tested $155,990.
Seafarer Vagabond 6.2m
Weight: 1300kg approx.
Deadrise: 21 degrees
Power: Max. 250hp
Fuel: 340 litres
Price: From $85,900 with Suzuki 150.
Contact: Haines Group on (07) 3271 4400; website at: www.seafarerboats.com