Fashion and function combine in Riviera’s new 545 SUV – essential ingredients in the competitive sports utility market.
- Solid construction
- Bluewater pedigree
- First new BF225 in NZ
- Distinctive styling
- Many innovative features inside the boat
Purekraft is a relative newcomer among aluminium trailer boat brands, but the personnel behind it certainly have the right credentials.
Hall Marine Design (HMD) has made a name for itself designing power boats for others, including several well-known New Zealand trailer boat manufacturers. However, HMD is probably best known for its bigger stuff – commercial and fishing vessels – which still make up the largest part of the Tauranga-based company’s design business. Over 50% of its design work is for clients offshore.
But a few years ago, Jarrod Hall and his team decided to get into manufacturing their own boats under the Purekraft brand. Part of the motivation was a level of frustration with the way some of HMD’s designs had been executed.
“Once we delivered the CAD file, we had no further control over how the boat was finished. With Purekraft, we wanted to offer the sort of quality the boats deserve,” says Hall.
The Purekraft range of 4.5m to 8m trailer boats is the result and the 700 HT (hardtop) featured here is the latest model to leave the finishing shop.Reel Dream is a good example of what the company can deliver.
Built for Otorohanga dairy farmer and keen fisher Pat Edwards, who from the get-go had plenty of input into the boat, Reel Dream is nicely finished and boasts many clever custom features.
HMD designs the Purekraft range using computer-aided-design (CAD) and supplies finished electronic files to a specialist sub-contractor who does all the ‘hot work’ – cutting out the aluminium panels and welding them together – before the boats are brought back in-house for finishing and fit-out.
Pat and his son Luke, who was also along for the ride during our review, worked closely with Jarrod and the Purekraft team at every stage of the 700’s construction.
“It was a good experience and I’d happily do it again,” says Pat, who shopped around extensively when looking to replace his previous vessel, a smaller aluminum trailer boat. “None of them [the other builders] was as flexible around custom features as Jarrod, so we decided to go with Purekraft.”
Reel Dream is a sportfishing boat, optimised for day trips off either coast, but with provision for overnight stays if desired, or ‘camping’ inside the boat on the trailer when away from home. The trailer is a Hosking multi-roller, tandem-axle model with an electric-over-hydraulic Sensa-brake system acting on both axles. Tow weight is around 2.6 tonnes and Purekraft also offers alloy trailer options.
Game fishing is Pat’s passion and he intends to do as much as possible during the season, but he also enjoys fishing for more mundane species. Much of the game fishing will be out of Raglan, though Pat also intends fishing off Northland’s east coast and in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
In addition, he’ll chase snapper, kingfish, tarakihi and hapuku from various east coast ports, but also from Mokau on the west coast where the fishing is, by all accounts, superb.
Strongly-built with a 6mm bottom and 5mm sides, Reel Dream is set up for fishing of every kind. Its lightweight graphite composite game poles, by CTS in Birkenhead, Auckland, are easily demounted and stowed when not required and the custom bait station is well-designed. Unlike some, it features a usable filleting surface. The step-through is on the starboard side with the live bait tank underneath and the washdown is on the port side.
Tuna tubes (two) in the aft port quarter are fashioned from upcycled aluminium dive bottles. The whole module can be removed in one piece if not required, leaving a useful locker for general storage or two dive bottles. On the opposite side, a built-in rubbish bin is a nice touch and there’s even a bottle opener incorporated in the bait station. Six flush-mounted fishing rod holders, welded for strength and angled for trolling, are complemented by rod holders on the bait station (three) and rocket launcher (six).
The 700 HT is an open-backed hardtop model with SeaDek in the cockpit extending all the way to the forward cabin. It’s also used on the coamings and shelves. Large back-to-back seats are comfortable – on the starboard side the aft-facing seat’s base extends out into the cockpit to create a lounger. It’s the place for observing the lures bubbling in the wake.
Both seat bases incorporate storage. On the starboard side, a 110-litre icebox wheels out from under the seat. To port, there’s under-seat storage, accessed via a clever hinged lid that serves as a table/bench in the up position. Like the SeaDek floors, side decks, side panels and upholstery, the wooden table top features the Purekraft logo. Drawers under the front seats provide additional storage.
A unique feature of the 700 HT is its high-visibility one-piece, wrap-around toughened glass windscreen. Sliding side windows in New Zealand-made anodised frames provide ventilation and Hella marine LED lighting illuminates the hardtop and forward cabin at night.
For overnighting, an infill creates a double berth in the lined forward cabin. There’s a plumbed toilet between the v-berths and a gas cooker and smaller 55-litre icebox under the port seat. A sliding alloy door provides privacy and security and the vinyl panels lining the boat’s interior make a welcome change from the more usual Frontrunner.
This boat is powered by Honda’s new model BF225 VTEC outboard, featuring the 3.6-litre V6 block familiar from the BF250, a new gearbox and Honda’s new Progressive V Form styling. Honda claims the new engine offers significantly improved performance, reliability, durability and fuel efficiency. This is the first new-generation BF225 to be bolted to a trailer boat in New Zealand.
From this year, these engines will be available with Honda’s digital iST (intelligent Shift and Throttle) system, but this installation has conventional mechanical controls. They may be mechanical, but the controls are very precise, complementing the vessel’s hydraulic steering.
Reel Dream is currently spinning a three-bladed, 17-inch stainless steel propeller which, with the boat in light trim, allows the Honda to reach 6050rpm. As reviewed, we saw a top speed of around 40 knots.
Acceleration is strong across the rev range, with a noticeable power boost at higher revs when the second ‘high output’ cam kicks in. With 300 litres of fuel in the underfloor tank, range should be considerable. This aspect is important to Pat, who will sometimes operate the vessel in remote locations far from petrol supplies.
Pat has opted for Garmin electronics aboard Reel Dream, a 12-inch GPSmap XSV filling most of the helm console, flanked by a Garmin GM120, a pair of switch panels, USB/12V outlets (two), and Lenco trim tab and Maxwell RC6 capstan controls. The VHF is also Garmin and there’s a multi-speaker Fusion sound system aboard.
The Purekraft’s variable deadrise hull is 18-degrees at the transom. With its raked bow, the boat rides softly, but there’s plenty of volume and lift forward and Hall says the 700 HT feels very comfortable and safe in a seaway. The bold styling includes a pronounced sheer, which impacts slightly on forward vision. That said, the helm seat is adjustable for height as well as fore and aft travel.
When properly calibrated, new model Lenco trim tabs will automatically trim the boat to optimise performance at any speed and compensate for changing sea conditions or loading. They weren’t operating correctly in auto mode during our review, but they worked just like conventional tabs in manual mode.
Conditions were benign for our run with no more than a ripple on the water, but the 700 HT certainly has the look and feel of a good sea boat and HMD has the right pedigree to design a boat that not only looks good, but also performs and handles well.
Prior to our review Reel Dream had been out a few times in all sorts of conditions and Hall reports she handles the rough stuff very well indeed.
So, if you are in the market for a capable, well-built, nicely finished aluminium hardtop from a builder who is happy to accommodate any specific requirements you might have, add the Purekraft 700 HT to the shopping list.