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2014 Integrity 380 Flybridge Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted July 12 2018

2014, September; Pittwater: Featuring a generous beam of 4.11 metres, the 11.7 metre (38.5 feet) Integrity 380 offers a great deal of onboard room, especially as the flybridge has its own aft deck that extends back over the cockpit.

With a basic theme of reliable simplicity, the Integrity packs a lot of standard features into its base price of $549,000 which, at the time of writing, included a host of options such as aircon/heating, flat-screen TV, an outboard-powered RIB tender, an Onan 4kva generator, upgraded ultra-leather upholstery, teak and holly flooring, Corian counter tops, cockpit seating, camping covers and much more. By the time you read this, that package may no longer be available, but it’s indicative of the excellent value that the 380 will provide.

Power comes from a John Deere six-cylinder turbo-diesel rated at 168 kw (225 hp) that cruises the 380 at a comfortable seven or eight knots and can run up to around 10 knots. Twin fuel tanks provide 1,135 litres for extended voyages at an average 8 litres/hour and the hull design can easily handle offshore conditions. A full keel protects the prop and rudder and delivers directional stability even in difficult quartering seas. The standard feature of bow and stern thrusters make manoeuvering around marinas and jetties easy and relaxed.

Stepping aboard the Integrity gives the first clues as to its remarkable liveability as wide side decks below properly sized bulwarks, and with clip-out sections of the strong guard rails, make it safe and convenient to board or disembark from directly alongside. The full beam boarding platform offers an equally viable alternative (at a lower level) with another central guard rail across the back and a small step up into the cockpit through a starboard entry port in the transom.

The cockpit leaves plenty of floor space even with L-shaped lounges in the port quarter and a reclining lounge to starboard. Under the sole is a sizeable lazarette for storing bulky items such as fenders, and indeed throughout the whole of the 380 storage capacity is beyond generous.

Stainless-framed glass ‘hopper’ doors can seal off the main saloon but when opened – the lower door slides away and two upper doors hinge upward – they leave an unrestricted flow between saloon and cockpit. The galley is L-shaped in the aft starboard corner of the saloon so anyone prepping snacks or meals is right in the centre of both the saloon and cockpit for conversations and social mingling; any gregarious chef can prepare their masterpieces whilst still leading interactive entertainment amongst guests.

A two-burner electric cooktop on the side Corian-topped work area is behind large sliding windows that admit all the light and fresh air you could want, whilst twin sinks in the work area facing the cockpit can be partially covered by a removable Corian panel. In craftsman-finished cabinets above and below are a microwave and fridge/freezer with doors and drawers opening into plentiful storage areas. For longer cruises, a second freezer can be fitted.

It was pleasing to see that the Corian worktops had integral fiddles which, although small, would help to keep things rolling off. The corners of the tops were thoughtfully rounded too for safety. Opposite the galley another L-shaped lounge forms a dinette around a table with fold-out panels so it can either be a compact coffee table or a full-size dining table. That area also converts to a double berth – as does the lounge/table combination in the cockpit. A large section of the beautifully finished teak cabinetry flowing back from the port front quarter lifts to reveal a flat screen TV. There too is a recessed area for keeping remotes and similar items.

The blend of cream-coloured acoustic vinyl in the overhead panels, the ultra-leather upholstery and the teak/holly flooring is both traditional and very appealing. The neutral tones mean that owners can create their own colour accents with cushions and other accessories, and also that it would be easy to change the accent and tone from time to time without having to amend the underlying finish. Integrity can provide alternative timber finishes such as Cherrywood or American Oak if required.

Deep and wide windows down the saloon sides and large screen panels across the front make the entire area light, bright and airy; blinds and curtains can turn the saloon into a more intimate setting in the evenings.

The main helm position is in the starboard front quarter of the saloon. It is both efficient and stylish with a stainless ship-style wheel and clearly-sighted dash panel. An overhead cabinet holds the stereo system control unit and a Raymarine VHF radio. There is plenty of space to add navigation electronics and a sliding door gives immediate access to the side deck and up to the foredeck for mooring.

Entry to the engine room is under the sole of the saloon. For routine checks, two panels in the floor lift on gas-assist struts and hinge to starboard for an easy step-down into a spotless engineer’s delight. For more serious work, another panel under the saloon table can be lifted. All the wiring and hoses were properly secured and – very impressively – there were clearly readable labels to quickly identify what was what. A non-mechanical owner or a technician new to the boat would soon find their way around. A level of redundancy is built in with the twin fuel tanks feeding through independent water-separating Racor filters and plumbed so that the engine can feed from either or both tanks. Should one tank or filter become clogged, it would be a moment’s work to switch to the other.

Also easily checked were the large raw-water filter and the shaft drive coupling. Aft was the Cummins Onan 4 Kva generator, and the battery boxes were properly installed with a beautifully made electrical connections bus-bar. The John Deere turbo-diesel was immaculate; these engines have a reputation for low maintenance and solid reliability. Because of that, they are often the preferred brand for commercial trawlers.

Back in the saloon, three steps centrally forward lead down to the staterooms and bathroom. There used to be two steps, but comments from owners indicated they were too steep, and so Integrity changed to the more easily-negotiated triple steps – an example of the company’s keenness to listen to feedback and to move quickly to adapt under a philosophy of continual improvement. To port is the guest cabin with double berth, hanging locker and other storage compartments whilst opposite that is the bathroom with electric toilet and separate shower area.

Further forward is the owner’s stateroom with island double bed, cedar-lined hanging locker, angled corner shelving and more stowage capacity as well as the second flat screen TV. All these accommodations are well lit through large portholes and, for the main stateroom, a screened overhead hatch. The quality finish of trim and timber with, for the bathroom, shiny white easy-clean surfaces and non-slip teak-grate under-foot platforms is welcoming and comfortable.

Put together, the interior of the 380 Flybridge is hard to fault for live-aboard enjoyment and relaxed entertaining. The two staterooms and the two convertible double berths in the saloon and cockpit mean you could sleep four couples, and there’s enough room for that to remain uncrowded over a weekend or so. The wide beam of the 380 not only adds to the interior spaciousness, but makes the Integrity very stable when moored. Two couples could enjoy life afloat for as long as they want; there are two fresh water tanks totalling 780 litres and the holding tank is 115 litres with Y-valving for discharge into shore facilities or overboard when out at sea.

And that’s before adding the extra space of the commodious flybridge which is reached up a set of rail-protected teak steps from the cockpit. Once aloft, a large floor space extends aft over the cockpit while forward are L-shaped lounges each side of a central helm chair. Triangular tables are perfect for holding snacks and drinks, and there are stacks of stowage spots under seats and in the front of the flybridge main moulding.

Overhead is a bimini for sun protection whilst the helm is a full duplicate of the one below with all the same instrumentation, although with the added benefit from the higher vantage point of a great view across the foredeck and the surrounding waters. The layout allows the skipper to be surrounded by crew and guests in a very convivial setting, and the aft extension allows for a quite separate group to mingle if required.

Matching all the upstairs/downstairs amenities, the anchoring/mooring facilities are well thought out with a strong power winch and plenty of room in the anchor locker. Those excellent wide and protected side decks mean getting around from cockpit to foredeck is safe even in a seaway, and the deck hardware is intelligently located and well-sized to take care of the boat in all conditions.


Length (overall): 11.73 metres

Beam: 4.11 metres

Draft: 1.12 metres

Weight (dry): 10,000 kgs

Fuel capacity: 1,135 litres

Water capacity: 780 litres

Power: John Deere 6-Cylinder Turbo Diesel 168 kw (225 hp)

Top Speed: 9.3 knots

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
2015 AB Inflatables Nautilus 17DLX Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted July 5 2018

2015, June; Cowan Waters: With safety and versatility as key attributes, this Nautilus 17DLX Widebody Bowrider (to use its full branding) from AB Inflatables is right at home for anything from diving, cruising and emergency services to being used a tender for a luxury yacht.

The RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) market is booming these days with the benefits of light weight, excellent stability and high load-carrying capacity. Another feature is that the inflatable tubes have a certain amount of ‘give’ and so are unlikely to cause any scuff marks or damage when coming alongside another boat. For all these reasons, RIBs are very popular as tenders for larger vessels, as well as finding wide acceptance in other areas from rescue boats through to general purpose family runabouts.

AB Inflatables is one of the premier suppliers of RIBs with South American manufacture and world-wide distribution backed by a 44-year heritage of quality and success. That background was easy to accept when inspecting this Nautilus 17DLX Widebody Bowrider that was immaculately presented by the company’s NSW distributor Boating Connexions. Everywhere I looked were examples of thoughtful attention to detail and consideration for the end user.

There is something like 70 different models in the AB range from 2.4 through 9+ metres and ranging in price from $4,000 to $199,000 (the latter with twin 250 or 300hp outboards on the transom – pricing at the time of writing). So you’ll certainly find a size and style to suit your needs. This 5.2 metre 17DLX (the 17 is for 17 feet) is amongst the most popular size range.

On its trailer, which is included in the package with a 115hp Yamaha four-stroke, a few features of the 17DLX’s fibreglass hull were readily apparent. It carries quite a deep vee with a deadrise of around 25 degrees for a soft ride. There are three strakes either side of the keel for good stability and control, and the large-diameter tube collars effectively form strong chines that would help further with handling, and with controlling the wake and spray.

The hull carries further forward than on some RIBs to also benefit ride and handling, and it overlaps the tops of the collar tubes to provide more internal space and a more user-friendly style. For example, aft on the port side there’s a non-slip-surfaced step on the fibreglass side deck. The interior too has a strong non-slip surface pattern for its self-draining sole with vee-shaped seating forward for which there are in-fill panels to convert the whole area into a big sunlounge.

All the seats have lift-up bases with neatly upholstered closed-density foam cushions for good comfort and support, whilst below them on both sides are insulated coolers and a large anchor locker centre-forward. If you didn’t need that much cooler capacity, they could easily be used for general stowage. Space for that was extra generous with more room inside the helm position console and then a true cavern of capacity down into the back of the DLX under the full-beam aft lounge which lifted on gas–support struts.

That cavern gave good access to the battery and its master switch as well as to the fuel filter and into the aft bilges. Both the fuel and fresh water tanks are under-floor to keep them out of the way; and a shower is standard at the transom. The visible engineering is well designed and installed. The helm console is on the starboard side and is neat, simple and effective. A carbon-fibre style dash panel carries a stainless tilt-adjustable wheel plus two Yamaha multi-function digital gauges with the usual variety of scroll-through data.

Switch panels for lights and accessories with matching circuit breakers are to either side of the wheel and a Fusion Bluetooth stereo head is positioned a little lower down. A cushioned panel in the front of the console forms a backrest for the starboard side front seating and hinges open for pleasing access to the back of the dash and its associated wiring.

Hardware around the 17DLX is beautifully made in stainless with pop-up cleats at strategic spots and a combined nav light at the stem. Low profile guard rails run back along the tops of the forward gun’ls. Even at this size, AB Inflatables are often used as tenders on big cruisers and luxury yachts, so tie-down and davit-lift points are fitted as standard.

The driving position was quite comfortable although there’s not a lot of leg room between the aft lounge and the console. There was enough for me however, and I slightly tilted down the wheel for a clear view of the gauges; all-round visibility was of course perfect! The throttle and shift were ideally positioned on the fibreglass side-deck and I had a comfy reach to that and the wheel.

The 17DLX handled just great and was a real pleasure to drive. The 115 Yamaha gave all the power you’d need with plenty of push away from rest and with solid mid-range acceleration. We had three people on the lounge as well as a near-full under-floor fuel tank, so that gave a fair bit of weight right aft. The result was some noticeable bowrise getting on plane, but that could have been reduced with some of the crew seated forward. In any case, the AB quickly settled to a good running angle and fairly scooted across the water.

From planing at 3,000 rpm and 25 kph we cruised through 4,000 and 44 kph to a top end at 5,900 rpm of 73 kph which is very good for this set-up and showed that the four-blade stainless Solas 17inch pitch prop was a good choice. The hull held on well through turns and was rewarding fun to skipper.

AB Inflatables is one of few in this market segment that has CE, NMMA and ISO 9001 certification to prove that these craft are built to the highest world-wide standards. The inflatable tubes are made from a 5-ply Orca Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene fabric designed to provide durability and to resist scratches and UV damage; it must be good as the company guarantees it for ten years. Seams are overlapped a full inch (2.5cms) and tape-reinforced on the inside, while multiple air chambers use a special baffle system to equalize pressures across the individual chambers.


Overall Length: 5.18 metres

Beam: 2.46 metres

Weight (boat, dry): 537 kgs

Capacity: 10 persons

Fuel capacity: 125 litres

Water capacity: 38 litres

Power (as tested): Yamaha four-stroke 86 kW (115 hp)

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
1996 Brooker Sea-Al 470 Review
Mike McKiernan
Posted June 28 2018

1996, August; Georges River, Sydney: It's tempting to classify this Brooker runabout as an excellent first boat for a young family, as indeed it is, but that really would be too sharp a focus on a craft that has broader appeal. This bright and breezy Brooker Sea-Al Runabout is a smart rig offering good value for money and plenty of fun for cruising, fishing and just lazing around.

I wouldn't be surprised to find some owners who have downsized from a bigger boat - they still want the fun of getting out on the water, but have decided they want to do that in a compact boat that's a real snap to handle in the water and on/off the trailer. It's also a good step-up for those coming from an open dinghy who are looking for either or both of a bit more space or a bit more style. And it's smart enough to attract a young blood who might want a racy speedboat but who doesn't (yet anyway) have the cash to buy and run a bigger boat with a more powerful engine.

The 4.7 metre Brooker is toward the top end of their range which covers a variety of styles from 2.1 metre dinghies through punt-style craft, centre-consoles and simpler runabouts up to their 5-metre cuddy cabin. The company, based in Sydney, exports to a number of countries and consequently has fairly high production volumes, and this helps in its objective to provide cost-effectiveness along with durability.

The driving position kept me happy at the wheel with an easy reach to the throttle. A small bulkhead was positioned such that I could hook my toes under it or brace my feet against it - both of which alternatives were relaxing and gave support when turning tightly. The floor just in front of the seats drops down a bit, and that gives an extra amount of legroom. Vision forward through the screen was clear and unrestricted. I'd have preferred some gauges to monitor engine operations, but at least there's lots of space to have some fitted. We used our hand-held GPS for speed readings.

Mounted on a half pod, the Brooker had a very smooth-running Mariner 40 which gave admirable performance to the hull with lively acceleration up on plane and pleasant cruising at about 40 kph. There was a bit of torque on the steering wheel, but that could be minimised by trimming the Mariner to its optimum position.

Turns in both directions were sharp and clean, with the hull coming around smoothly and with no ventilation on the prop. The Mariner was new and tight, but a short full throttle run had the GPS reading 52 kph which I thought was a good result for a 40 and I'm sure that, when run in, the Mariner would have the Brooker scooting along even faster.

There wasn't much bow rise under initial acceleration, so vision forward remained unimpaired as the Brooker slipped on plane. Using the Mariner's power trim made it easy to get the best performance out of the boat, and the power tilt was useful at the ramp. Trimmed right out at full throttle, there was a bit of porpoising, but a touch on the down trim control and the hull settled to a well-balanced attitude.

Response to the wheel was quick and quite precise. The water was very calm during our run, so we slopped up the surface with quick figure eights and then ran down the middle to find that the hull slipped easily through the turbulence without any dramas at all. Most importantly, the Brooker was good fun to drive.

Starting up the front there's a short foredeck with a good-sized anchor well complete with a solid tie-off for the end of the anchor line. Hand-rails either side of the deck are smaller than some but still big enough to give a secure grip when holding the boat alongside or when getting it on or off a trailer or beach. There is a small bow roller to guide the anchor line, and plates at the aft end of the rails are provided to mount navigation lights if you plan some after-dark running.

The screen has an opening centre panel to aid working the forward lines from inside the boat, but the top of the screen frame is fixed, so you have to duck under it before you can lean forward. I found that a bit tricky, but it's still a handy facility and you'd probably get used to it after a while.

There's quite a broad expanse of dash and, although our boat was bare in this department, there's lots of room to mount gauges and electronics if you want to do so, and you could position them so they'd be well clear of the wheel and in easy line of sight. The panel between the screen and the dash is flat enough to hold small odds and sods while you're out for the day, and a moulding running across the top of the dash forms a lip to help keep things from falling off. A lockable glovebox enables valuables to be kept out of sight.

The skipper and first mate have swivelling and upholstered bucket seats that I found comfortable and that were nicely positioned in relation to the wheel and to the side-mounted throttle and gear shift controls. Under the dash, and forward of it, the mini transverse bulkhead that I mentioned makes a good footrest and creates a storage area in the bow - just right for the lifejackets.

The floor is carpeted which improves appearance, makes it nice and soft under(bare)foot, and which provides a secure grip as you move around. Behind the seats is a big open area to keep things uncluttered, with side pockets to stow emergency paddles and other bits. On either side under the aft decking are two platforms, one each for the battery and oil container. A fuel tank sits neatly in the middle, and there's an optional removable aft lounge if you'd like more seating.

There's a good depth to the cockpit sides, so kids would feel safe (but keep the young ones in lifejackets all the time anyway), and grab rails run along the last metre or two of the gun'ls back to the transom. Both these and the forward rails act as tie-off points for mooring and anchor lines as there are no cleats or bollards. Boarding platforms project aft either side of the engine, and have curved rails to help you climb on board. Construction uses 1.6 mm alloy in the hull sides, and 2.5 mm in the bottom panels.

At rest, drifting and when idling along, the Brooker felt stable and secure. The cockpit is quite big for the size of boat, and gives a feeling of spaciousness. The painted hull looks smart, with the side colour flashes and the blue canopy brightening the appearance too.


Overall length: 4.65 metres

Beam: 1.95 metres

Weight (approx): 225 kgs boat only

Power: Outboard to 50 hp

Power as tested: Mariner 40 hp

Top Speed: 52 kph

Price: $13,490

Was this helpful?Thank Mike McKiernan
1994 Sea Ray 230 Sundancer Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted June 20 2018

1994, June; Sydney Middle Harbour: Refined design and quality are the essence of Sea Ray, and the 230 Sundancer complies completely. It is the smallest in a series of Sundancer models that go up to 13+ metre luxury cruisers. All are sportingly styled with comfortable accommodations for family cruising, plus the performance and versatility to handle water skiing and fishing along the way.

It all started with a boat built by C. N. Ray in his Detroit garage in 1959. Today Sea Ray, along with MerCruiser, is part of the Brunswick Corporation which, founded in 1845, is America’s seventh oldest company and is the world’s largest producer of boats and marine engines. Collectively, that’s a powerful heritage.

The Sundancers have sleek lines with balanced and pleasing integration of hull, deck and superstructure. Keeping the appearance streamlined for the smallest member of the family is tough where the height and beam to length ratios are greatest, but Sea Ray designers have done a great job with the 230. Clever use of colour trim and mould lines visually lengthens the boat, and the effect is enhanced with a smoothly rounded foredeck that flows up to the curved safety glass screen.

It is the accommodations that have been designed into the 230 that are so remarkable. Here is a boat of just over 7 metres with a legally trailerable beam of 2.43 metres that has standing headroom in its cabin, a separate toilet compartment, seating in the cockpit for seven or eight, and sleeping accommodation for four adults.

The cabin has a dinette that seats four around a removable table. The seating becomes a vee berth, or a double with infill cushions, for overnighting. A small galley to port features pressure (cold) water into a sink as well as containing an icebox, a single burner stove, and several stowage areas. Opposite the galley is a head compartment that is (just) large enough in which to stand, and that has a Sanipottie toilet. Cleverly tucked back under the cockpit is another full sized double berth with a privacy curtain and a sliding, screened porthole for ventilation.

Four steps lead up to the cockpit; with detail typical of Sea Ray, the top one has a lip and is self-draining to help prevent water dripping down into the cabin. A double seat with stowage beneath is at the helm position, and has another double behind it for very comfortable seating facing aft. Across the back of the cockpit is a full width lounge that takes three or four people; it can be easily removed for more space on, say, a fishing trip. A second demountable table locates in the centre of the cockpit.

Across the transom is an integral boarding platform with a stainless steel drop-down ladder for climbing out of the water. The back of the aft lounge has a gap to facilitate moving into the cockpit from the boarding platform; a safety chain protects the gap when the boat is under way.

The cockpit carpet clips out and rolls away to reveal a large hatch that gives access to the engine compartment and bilges. Neatly and strongly mounted are the twin batteries and their master switch, the bilge pump and blower, and an automatic fire extinguisher system.

The helm position is comfortable with excellent 360-degree vision. The throttle and gearshift are on a single lever mounted to the cockpit side that has a good relationship with the wheel. The latter is relatively low, so that knees need to go to either side, and I would have preferred a little more footroom. The instrument binnacle is stylish and sets out all but the trim gauge in excellent line of sight over the wheel rim. A compass is mounted further forward, and a VHF radio had been located under the dash to starboard of the wheel.

There are several power options of MerCruiser petrol or diesel engines; this 230 had a 5.0LX MerCruiser Alpha 1 Sterndrive - a 5 litre V8 petrol engine that develops 205 horsepower to be a mid-range unit for the boat.

Power steering keeps effort on the wheel light, and the hull is nicely responsive to directional and trim controls. With a new engine to be respected, the throttle was used carefully but a top speed of between 65 and 75 kph is likely. Cruising at 3,000 rpm was most pleasant and the 166-litre fuel tank would allow a reasonable range.

Accelerating from rest resulted in little bow rise, but it was necessary to have the Alpha 1 leg trimmed right in to avoid prop ventilation. The same was true for turning where the best (and quite usual) technique was to trim in the leg just before turning the wheel, and to then trim it back out as soon as the 230 was steady on its new course.

Running the 230 Sundancer out toward Sydney Heads encountered quite large swells topped by some wind induced chop. The hull handled the conditions admirably, landing softly and displaying plenty of forward buoyancy when sweeping down the face of the rollers. The chines pushed displaced waters away from the boat, and only an occasional spot of spray was caught by the wind to splatter the screen. The tabs were useful to keep the boat laterally balanced, although the 230 needs less trimming than most to stay level.

Back at the marina, the comparatively high helm seating with its unobstructed vision made it easier to position the boat whilst reversing into the Sundancer’s home berth. Directional control when going astern was good.

The hull undersides are conventional with a deadrise of 17 degrees on a sharp vee keel, devoid of any planing pad, and two planing strakes each side. The boarding platform projects out from the transom to partially conceal the Alpha 1 drive leg below.

The level of inclusions is high and provides good value in the pricing which starts from around $65,000 depending on power and options. The 230 is a versatile boat that would suit experienced boaters seeking a refined quality craft as well as first time buyers looking to try different aspects of having fun afloat. The accommodations allow six to eight people to enjoy the cockpit, and the two sleeping areas do mean that four adults could comfortably overnight on board. Extended trips or holidays for a couple or a family of four would be delightful with economical performance, relaxed cruising and easy handling.


Length: 7.06 metres

Beam: 2.43 metres

Draft: 0.84 metres

Weight (dry): 1,950 kilograms

Fuel: 166 litres

Water: 41 litres

Power: MerCruiser V8 205 hp

Top Speed: 75 kph (estimated)

Pricing: from $65,000

3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
1996 Spacecraft 520 Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted June 14 2018

1996, August; Lake Macquarie: I've had the pleasure of testing several of Larry Wiltshire's Spacecraft fishing boats over the last couple of years, and have always come away impressed with their strength and practical design. Larry makes a point of understanding the use to which his boats are being put, and invests extra effort to accommodate the everyday, real-world demands of those uses in each boat.

Spacecraft boats are good looking in a serious sort of way, with a high quality (but not overly flash) finish. The hulls are built up to their gun'ls in a jig for accuracy, and then Larry finishes the cabin and interior as required for the owner's purpose. Larry designs all his own boats, and construction is carried out in his factory at Toronto south of Newcastle.

On a grey and rainy day, Larry took me for a test run in this 5.2 metre Spacecraft and, despite the weather (or even perhaps because of it), we had a great time as I put the boat through its paces and waited in vain for the sun to emerge so that the photos could do justice.

Spacecraft boats are built more strongly than most, and Larry used very solid 5 mm plate for the undersides of this 5.2, with 4 mm in the hull sides and 3 mm for the cabin. That helps explain what at first appears to be a quite heavy bare-hull weight of 650 kilograms, and it also explains the rock-steady stability of the boat in the water. For even further stability, Larry can build the boat with a centre tunnel that floods at rest. The bottom carries a constant 17 degree deadrise over the aft third or so of the hull, with a 650 mm wide planing plank to help get the craft quickly running over the surface.

On board, the cuddy cabin has a recessed footwell for extra leg room, and is fitted with upholstered seats and storage to each side. The helm position is reasonably forward to make possible a larger cockpit area, and is covered by a very well secured hardtop. Clears bridge the gap between the hardtop and the screen, and that was just as well on the day, as they kept us quite dry despite the rain all around. Two swivelling chairs with arm rests and pleasantly padded upholstery made Larry and I feel securely comfortable, and were positioned so that driving was just as good whether standing or seated.

The cockpit featured a huge insulated kill tank (or a monstrous cooler if you wanted to cater for a party on board) with a padded seat on top. Under the floor in front of the transom was a big live bait tank, and storage pockets ran down each side of the boat. Also under the aft floor were the oil containers for the two Evinrude 70s, while the batteries were properly mounted in their own boxes to either side at the transom. Not to waste any of that underfloor area, forward of the kill tank were two 150 litre fuel tanks.

The self-draining cockpit is quite deep so you'd feel secure even when lifting a big one over the side, and there are hand rails down each sidedeck along with rod holders and, in each stern quarter, good-sized bollards. Vertical grab rails come down from the back of the hardtop, and they are just where you'd want them to hang on whilst running offshore through lumpy waters. An eight-pack rocket launcher runs across the back of the hardtop, so there's no shortage of spots to keep the rods.

A baitboard is mounted at a practical working height above the transom. There is a boarding platform on the starboard side of the transom and a burley bucket to port. Between these were mounted the two Evinrude 70 outboards looking, like all twin-rigs, very serious and offering safety through resilience. Up front, the foredeck has its own rails and a nicely sized anchor locker in the forepeak.

The helm position suited me, with gauges clearly displayed to starboard of the wheel, and a very workmanlike relationship between the latter, the seat, and the throttle/shift controls on the side of the boat. There's a big flat area behind the screen where you can put all your electronics, with this boat having a Raytheon EchoStar 790 GPS Navigator Echo Sounder. This, together with a GME 27 Mhz radio and a Codan 8121 marine transceiver that were mounted in the side of the companionway into the cabin, showed the owner of the Spacecraft was quite serious about his navigation and communication facilities. It was pleasing, but not surprising in one of Larry's boats, to find a strong grab rail across the port side of the cabin top so the first mate could get a good grip.

At the wheel, you have the classic alternative of looking through the screen while sitting, or over the top of it when standing. The screen itself has a substantial frame, with toughened glass in the front panels and acrylic in the sides.

The owner had just re-rigged his Spacecraft with the two Evinrudes, replacing a pair of 50 hp engines. Larry recommends a minimum of a single 90 on the boat, but the design can take up to twin 90s if you want the extra grunt to haul big loads back home after each fishing expedition. The Evinrudes were still tight and running standard 17 inch props, but they quickly ran the 5.2 metre boat on plane and cruised with relaxed style. The Spacecraft swept through the wind-blown chop with a soft and predictable ride. Turns were smooth and as quick as you like, and the twins as usual made low speed twisting and backing very easy. Top speeds range from around 56 kph with a single 90 through 70 kph with twin 70s up to around 74 kph with two 90s on the back.

The only thing I didn't like at the helm was the trim button for the starboard Evinrude which, in the top of its throttle arm, was too close to the side of the boat for easy operation. Actually, I'd suggest wiring both trims through the port button so using it alone would get the outboards to the angle you want, then the starboard button could be used only if needed to correct any slight trim misalignment between the two engines.

Larry has a range of Spacecraft from 2.9 through 8 metres, and he can supply each craft at any stage from bare unpainted hull through to a fully finished, rigged, sea-trialed and ready-to-go boat. The 5.2 is more or less mid-range and typifies the style of boat that Larry produces. Strong and practical with sweet-handling performance, the 5.2 gave me a pleasurable run and that big kill tank in the cockpit personified the great fishing you could have on board.


Length: 5.2 metres

Beam: 2.1 metres

Weight (approx): 650 kilograms boat only

Power as tested: Twin Evinrude 70 hp

Top Speed: 74 kph

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
1999 Jeanneau Sun Odyssey Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted June 6 2018

1999, April; Sydney Harbour: Four decades of French tradition and style have produced these new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey yachts.

Australia is one of those fortunate markets that attracts the best products from all around the world. Although our total market size is relatively small, in areas as diverse as yachting and computers we have a wealth of international manufacturers competing for our business. Australia’s healthy and stable economy is probably one factor that helps to encourage overseas companies to bring their products all the way to (what is, for most) the other side of the planet. It would also be a positive point that our “multi-cultural” population has a variety of tastes to give worthwhile market opportunities for products with any of the individual “styles” associated with Europe, Asia or the USA.

From a boating perspective, the international diversity of craft that graces our waters means only good news to anyone fortunate enough to be looking for a new boat. You can shop around and select the particular style that appeals most to you personally. And, if true “style” is at all one of the requirements on your shopping list for a new yacht, then Jeanneau will undoubtedly be a manufacturer with which you’ll be talking.

Actually, “manufacturer” is not an appropriate term here, for it creates an impression of production-line automatons churning out products lacking any character or soul, albeit though they may be of high quality. “Boatbuilder” or even “craftsman boatbuilder” is more like it, with an immediately-implied tang of products braced by salt-water tradition and showing classically-appealing lines fairly imbued with those yachting necessities of character and soul.

The name leaves no doubt as to the country of origin, and Jeanneau first came to market in France with timber dinghies and runabouts from 1957. Today the company has a vast production facility totalling 60 thousand square metres. Along the way, the company has built nearly 60 thousand boats that have been sold through more than 235 dealers and distributors around the world. Best known in Australia for its yachts, Jeanneau also builds a range of power boats. Experience with fibreglass construction dates back to 1960, and years of experience and research have led to Jeanneau holding numerous patents as well as being recognised for quality with ISO 9002 certification.

Earlier this year, Jeanneau’s distributor, European Marine, launched a number of new models within the cruiser-racer Sun Odyssey range (there’s another fleet termed Sun Fast that reverses the emphasis to be racer-cruisers). The four yachts now available in Australia share a similar style, and range in size from 10.3 metres through 14.15 metres with pricing from just under $200,000 to around $550,000 (at the time of writing). Curiously for a company based in the home country of the metric system, the yachts actually carry imperial-type designations of Sun Odyssey 34.2, 36.2, 40 and 45.2 with the numbers fairly obviously referring to overall length in feet.

Of the four, the 34.2 is the latest design and comes from the drawing board of Jacques Fauroux. It has typically sweet lines with uncluttered decks and a spacious cockpit. Accommodations are also roomy with beautifully finished Burmese teak cabinetry highlighting all the facilities you’d expect in a yacht of this calibre. Jeanneau actually has its own teak forests, and this must help with the quality evident in the lustrous glow of the timbers throughout the yachts. A straight-line galley running down the port side makes the most of the available floor space aboard the 34.2, with a curved dinette opposite (optionally convertible to an extra double berth). The main double-berth cabin is forward and another double cabin is set back under the cockpit. The bathroom is aft of the galley and, a bit surprisingly for a 34 foot yacht, there’s a separate navigation station more or less opposite the bathroom behind the settee of the dinette. There’s an alternative three cabin layout that has another double under the cockpit to port; the two cabin approach uses this space as a huge lazarette-style stowage area under the cockpit seating.

The 36.2 and 40 Sun Odysseys use their extra length to give more room below, especially in the saloon area where an L-shaped galley is located to starboard at the foot of the companionway (which, incidentally, has the most delightfully scallop-shaped timber steps). A more expansive dinette is forward of the galley with a navigation station across to port. The same double staterooms are forward and back under the cockpit.

The 40 uses its extra beam and size not only to enhance the below-decks areas, but also to place a twin-wheel set-up in the cockpit. This looks very professional and makes time at the helm even more delightful. All the yachts are designed under the auspices of the Jeanneau team, but the naval architect for the 40 is Daniel Andrieu whilst the 36.2 shares the same designer as the 34.2.

Moving up to the 45 Sun Odyssey, the forward main stateroom becomes even more impressive with an island double berth. An alternative layout has two smaller cabins in this area, and these can be cleverly arranged so that the intervening partition can be removed and the two single berths made into a double - very versatile indeed, perhaps particularly for a charter yacht. As might be imagined, the saloon is larger than for the smaller Odysseys, and there’s a navigation station the size of a compact office aft to port behind the settee. There’s an even larger 52.2 Sun Odyssey if you truly crave room to cruise.

All the hulls are completely hand laid with strength and safety as primary considerations. A framework of stringers and cross frames is bonded to the mouldings with structurally reinforced bulkheads adding rigidity and further fortitude. High-tech, high-strength and light-weight kevlar is used in the lay-up of all these Odysseys. Whilst there’s no doubting the craftsmanship that completes the interiors, the fit and finish is aided by computer-controlled equipment that cuts the timber pieces to accuracy within one tenth of a millimetre. Computers are also used in the design process to efficiently explore optional layouts and to refine each design for both hulls and deck layouts.

The Sun Odyssey hulls have easily driven lines, although with quite full volumes to provide the extra space that makes cruising more comfortable (the Sun Fast hulls are less beamy and sacrifice some room for greater speed). The Odysseys are nearly all sold with just the main and a furling genoa, although spinnakers (with extra winches) are readily available as an option. Masts and booms are anodized aluminium, with stainless steel shrouds. The rigging is neatly arranged for carefree, but responsive, operation with lines running cleanly aft along the top of the cabin to the cockpit. Side decks (optionally teak laid) are wide and clear with non-slip surfaces aiding fast movement around the boats.

Jeanneau yachts are popular not only with private owners, but with charter operators as well. That makes possible interesting finance packages that can be negatively geared to give both the enjoyment of sailing and the potential for financial rewards.


Model: 40

Length (metres): 12.20

Beam: 3.95

Sail Area (sq. m.): 76.10

Displacement (kgs): 7,250

Price (approx): $315,000

Note: Images of Sun Odyssey 40

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Vintage boat review: Lewis Outback
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted May 31 2018

1999, June; Parramatta River: Combining a modified version of one of the best Australian ski boat hulls with the extra versatility of a bowrider layout, the Lewis Outback makes good sense for family skiing.

If you’ve been into skiing or boarding for a while, you’ll no doubt have heard about Lewis boats. With a long tradition of proven performance and quality construction, the Lewis fleet covers quite a few different models so you can choose the one that best suits your own needs. I recently had rather a super morning on the river testing three of the models from the Lewis range, and this one is the bowrider-style Outback.

The “classic, top-of-the line” Lewis design is the Prestige with which I’ve always been impressed. It’s a very attractive ski boat with unique undersurfaces that work exceptionally well to deliver a super wake, soft ride and marvellous handling. Many of the other Lewis models retain the Prestige running surfaces (as they work so well) and combine them with different decks and interiors.

The Outback takes this general approach too, although it has a wider beam (at 2.32 metres versus 2.03 metres for the Prestige and Millennium) for extra room onboard. The underneath of the hull is still essentially Prestige with a fine forward entry leading back to a quite complex combination of a moderate vee centre, aft planing pad and tunnels either side effectively formed by angled chines. For the Outback, the tunnels are more rounded as the design is “spread” to provide the extra width. The modification works well with retention of a soft ride, a good wake shape and virtually flawless handling.

Whilst other Lewis hulls have a single turn fin, experience has shown that the Outback can get loaded aft to kick up a bigger wake for boarding, and that can result in the fin lifting partially out of the water with the potential to reduce tracking precision. To ensure that this doesn’t affect the boat’s handling, a second fin has been fitted.

The very noticeable difference with the Outback compared with other Lewis models (and with most other ski/wake boats) is the transom, and the way the rear of the cockpit has been set up. The external shape at the back of the boat is quite sensual with a smoothly rounded transition from the sides to the transom rather than the more common sharp-edged angular look. A quite large boarding platform gives plenty of room for boards, and it can be taken off if the extra length makes stowing the boat a challenge.

Perhaps to match the transom shape, on the inside the rear section of the cockpit doesn’t have the usual full width lounge, but instead has two curved quarter lounges that can be easily removed if you’d rather have more floor space and an uncluttered area to work with skis or boards.

A clever idea is the provision of an aft-facing seat on the back of the engine hatch. It gives somewhere different to sit and you can stretch out your legs in comfort, have a great view aft as you’re cruising along and, so long as you’re towing your water sports enthusiasts from the transom and not from the forward mounted ski pole, you could sit there and watch all the action back on the wake.

The effect of the extra beam is quite obvious with more room to move around than in most ski boats. The passages beside the engine hatch are roomy, emphasised even more by the absence of any sidepockets, although there’s plenty of space to lay items along the hull sides under the gun’l.

Opposite the helm position is a comfortable observer’s lounge that, like the back of the boat, is sweetly curved. The lounge base lifts to show storage below, and the back of the lounge hinges inwards for access into a large storage locker under the portside screen console. The flat area in front of the lounge under the screen could hold a few casual items, and there’s a convenient couple of drink holders there too.

The screen has a flowing curve and rake with a centre-opening panel across the passageway leading to the forward cockpit. Braces either side keep everything nice and taut. Up front, the seats are beautifully upholstered, and all three seat squabs lift out for carpeted storage below. Bearing in mind that the Outback is very much a “true” ski boat, the forward cockpit is surprisingly roomy and matches most “social runabout” bowriders in this regard. There are grab handles either side so you can keep a safe hold while enjoying the ride up front, while drink holders in the seat bases just in front of the screen will keep the liquid refreshments handy at all times.

Standard power for the Outback is the trusty 5.7 litre MerCruiser Competition Ski V8, but we had the extra 40 ponies (300 hp vs 260) of a 350 Magnum MPI in our test boat. Neatly installed under the hatch, the Merc V8 sang its usual song of easy power, with loads of torque to sweep the boat out of the hole and haul a couple of heavyweights on lines astern. Driving through a Borg Warner FNR 1:1 transmission, the Merc was spinning a custom built 3-bladed 12.25 by 12.625 (diameter by pitch in inches) LT2 prop that the Lewis crew had developed in conjunction with Dave Porter. Over a six month trials period, it was found that a prop with more diameter and blade area, but with a bit less pitch, gave the best results. The props are made from bronze manganese and each is blueprinted with an emphasis on performance rather than show - it being felt better to spend money on the blueprinting process rather than on polishing which tends to last only for the first couple of runs in the water anyway.

This power train combination had the Outback rocking along in fine style and well established on plane at 2,500 rpm with 45 kph on the speedo. The latter was a bit optimistic, as our Garmin GPS 48 was using data streams from multiple satellites to more accurately record our velocity at 41 kph. Mid-range acceleration was hefty and we quickly saw intermediate speeds of 48 and 56 kph at 3,000 and 3,500 rpms before opening the throttle further sped us up to 62 kph at 4,000 and 70 kph at 4,500 rpm. Wide open throttle had the Merc correctly in its optimum power band at 4,800 rpm with the GPS digits settling at 72.9 kph for a quite handy top speed.

Because of its extra beam, and the impression of additional length from the big boarding platform, the Outback looks as though it would carve a larger wake. Whilst the wash did in fact look to have a good shape and height for boarding, those modified-Prestige undersides were leaving a wave pattern that would be fine for just about any skiing style - with the usual variances at different speeds.

From a driving perspective, the Outback displayed the same traits I’ve come to expect from Lewis with precise placement and impeccable response. Through a few wakes, the ride was gentle and stable, and the tightest of turns and full-reverse-lock figure-eights failed to unsettle either prop or hull. Low speed manoeuvering was just as pleasing, whilst more usual curves and turns were faultless. Lateral balance was good, and forward visibility was retained as the bow came up over the hump from rest on to plane. The Outback accelerated in a straight line with no noticeable torque on the wheel, and hauling off the throttle produced the same result as the boat rapidly slowed.

The driving position proved to be a winner with an excellent layout of gauges and controls. The seat held me firmly and comfortably (it would be good for long sessions I reckon), and I could slide it fore and aft to get the right distance for me from the wheel. The screen gave thorough protection from the slipstream yet did not restrict my all-round vision.

The gauges were contained in a carbon-fibre style panel that looked rather high-tech and positioned all the dials so that they could be easily sighted above the wheel rim (which had a smart carbon-fibre finish too). The gauges, by Faria, were attractive and very easy to read with white markings and pointers on a black background. A GME stereo radio-cassette unit was mounted behind a splash-proof panel to the right of the wheel, with a small bank of turn-style (rather than click up/down) switches to the right for the bilge pump, blower, navigation lights (there’s a combined unit at the stem), and so on. A padded arm-rest helped me feel even more comfortable.

All the interior was very nicely finished with quality materials and good workmanship. Hull and deck construction uses bi-axial sewn cloth for strength with encapsulated timber stringers and floor.

Like every Lewis I’ve driven, the Outback was perfectly behaved and good fun. It’s a first class social ski/board boat with the added space and flexibility of a good-sized forward cockpit.


Length: 6.71 metres

Beam: 2.32 metres

Fuel: 112 litres

Power as tested: MerCruiser 350 MPI V8 300 hp

Price as tested: $34,000 on trailer, ready to go.

Top Speed: 72.9 kph

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Team Formation
Jessica Watson
Posted May 30 2018

Cover photo: Clipper Race winning skipper Wendy Tuck, CLIPPER RACE.

The formation of a successful sailing team requires a balance of ability and attitude and a willingness to evolve.

When it comes to the formation of a team, there’s firstly a consensus among top sailing leaders that each potential team member must be assessed on both their skills and expertise and the compatibility of their values. ‘It doesn’t matter how talented you are,’ says America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill. ‘If you have an ego or bad attitude, you have no place in a successful team.’ Adventurer Tim Jarvis echoes this, saying that once a certain standard of ability is met, crew selection comes down to a ‘positive attitude’.

Legendary Australian skipper John Bertrand stresses the importance of considering the value that each potential member brings to the team. 2003 America’s Cup Challenger Team Alignhi (1) strived for a democratic approach, allowing many crew decisions to be made by consensus. And Clipper Skipper Wendy Tuck describes the need to ensure that different attributes, such as competitiveness, were balanced throughout her amateur crew and across the different watches held while at sea.

Like teams off the water and across many different disciplines, sailing teams are also prone to change. For this reason, Jimmy makes the point that champion teams must also include backup members and must be prepared to evolve. The development of trust among team members requires time (as explored in this previous post), so crew changes can prove challenging, but Jimmy suggests that the ability to come together and grow in the face of adversity is the hallmark of a good team.

A team will ideally establish its vision collaboratively (as covered in this previous post), but when circumstances don’t allow for that, it becomes important that potential new team members’ alignment with the team philosophy is established. Jimmy also stresses that the support of the existing team will give the new member the confidence they need to get up to speed quickly.

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Wolfgang Jenewein and Christian Schmitz, Creating a High-Performance Team Through Transformational Leadership: The Case of Alinghi, 2007

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Leadership Styles
Jessica Watson
Posted May 27 2018

Good skippers are democratic, inclusive, coaching, and occasionally authoritative. Vision, charisma and a sense of fun also help.

As in the business world, it is apparent that on the water there is no single universally successful approach to leadership, with many of the most effective sailing leaders able to change their style to suit the situation at hand. Clipper Race skipper Wendy Tuck describes different crew members responding differently to different styles and explorer Tim Jarvis suggests that leadership really should be situational.

However, the styles that I’ve found to be the most commonly credited with success at sea were those that could be described as coaching, democratic or inclusive. America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill takes a coaching approach, giving responsibility and accountability to others, allowing them to grow. ‘If you’ve hired people with skills and talent, then let them take it on,’ says Jimmy.

Another Cup-winning skipper John Bertrand says that he would like to think that his leadership could be described as inclusive. Reflecting on his re-enactment of, as well as Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 original survival voyage, Tim Jarvis also recognises the effectiveness of an inclusive approach. Wendy Tuck cites the effectiveness of a democratic approach. And in maritime survival situations, Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakof (1) also credit democracy in the form of shared workloads and an accountable democratically chosen leader, as essential to group survival.

But despite singing their praises for inclusive leadership styles, there is also a consensus that in fast-paced and dangerous situations, a more authoritative style of leadership is also required. ‘The bottom line is that in times of crises, you need someone to make decisions, rapidly,’ says John. ‘So it morphs from the team being inclusive to the team having trust in the various roles and responsibilities, including the leader. When the proverbial hits the fan, the leader can make a decision, and the crew doesn’t have to second guess.’

Although it’s also clear that the overuse of an authoritarian style can limit a team’s potential by stifling diversity and constructive conflict (covered in this earlier post), John believes there’s plenty of examples of ‘underperforming organisations, whether it’s a sailing team or a company or a sporting team, where things are too dictatorial, and they’re underutilising the potential of the people involved’.

Finally, and in addition to democratic, inclusive, coaching, and occasionally authoritative approaches, John also stresses the importance of visionary leadership. While Wendy Tuck suggests that ‘charismatic leadership always helps’, in what may be a reflection of Australian culture, both John and Jimmy Spithill also impress the importance of allowing teams to have a little fun. ‘Life is too short not to!’ says Jimmy.

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality, 2013

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Greenline Hybrid 40 Review
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted May 24 2018

2012, February; Sydney Harbour: It felt all of weird, peaceful and wonderful as we eased out of the marina berth in almost total silence. There was not even the underwater bubbling of a muffled exhaust to disturb the tranquillity of a sunny morning, just a smooth ghosting movement as twin electric motors gave perfect control to move the Greenline 40 out into open waters.

If we’d needed them, we did have thrusters fore and aft for even more precise manoeuvering, but an experienced hand on the twin shift-throttle levers had no trouble in using the electrics and twin shaft-drive props to slide out of the berth, rotate the boat in not much more than its own length and glide out past the other boats which were lying idle and wasting the perfect day.

There are so many innovative features with this 12-metre cruiser that it’s a challenge to know where to start. It has a unique low-drag hull design that has been patented by Greenline under the name of ‘Superdisplacement’. It also has an appealing mix of traditional and contemporary lines that draw attention wherever it goes. It has a very practical day-cruiser layout that’s open-plan and all-on-one-level plus it has comfortable overnight accommodations. And it’s very green in two ways – in being wonderful for the environment and in leaving any visitor green with envy that they don’t own it!

While obviously attracting those who enjoy being environmentally-friendly, the cruiser is also appealing to yacht owners who no longer want (or can’t handle anymore) the physical demands of sailing, but who wish to retain the engine-noise-free joys of cruising. As well, families with young children will find the one-level day-layout and extra safety of wide and enclosed side-decks very handy, plus skippers who prefer to be ‘with’ their family and guests, rather than being somewhat remotely aloft on a flybridge, will love the helm-in-saloon and quiet-running-for-relaxed-conversation aspects of the Greenline.

Additionally, any experienced cruising skipper or family will soon pick up on a number of thoughtful design features throughout the boat that make every day simply more enjoyable.

Putting the environmental aspect to one side for just a moment, the Greenline 40 is an appealing craft anyway and can be specified with a single 74-hp/55-kW diesel for comfortable and economical cruising. Other power options range up to twin 221-hp/165-kW diesels if you want to cruise faster at speeds to 22 knots or so. There is a vast range of options available as well, many of which had been included in our test vessel including the ‘Double Hybrid’ upgrade. That starts with twin 150-hp/110-kW diesels and adds a pair of 7-kW electric motors, automatic charger/inverter systems and two lithium-polymer batteries that deliver 240 amp-hours at 48 volts for a total of 22 kilowatt-hours.

Also included was a Solar Pack that had six photovoltaic panels integrated into the cabin roof and delivering 1.3-kW at 48 volts into the automated battery charging system. The inverter element of the latter provides 240 volts throughout the Greenline, so that all (Australian-type) domestic appliances can be taken aboard and used just as at home. Including all the options, our test cruiser came out at $577,853 which is good value even apart from the environmental, economical electric cruising and near-silent operational appeal that the Greenline offers.

If you’ve not heard of Greenline before, rest assured that the company has a strong bloodline and a proven record of innovation and quality. In 1983 brothers Japec and Jernej Jakopin founded their J&J design studio with the Elan 31 yacht that won its class in the 1985 World Championships. More than 1,000 Elans were subsequently built and it became the most popular charter yacht in the Adriatic. Japec took over management of the marketing and sales department for the world-famous French boatbuilder Jeanneau, and J&J Design created the Jeanneau Sun Way 21 that won the 1988 Boat of the Year title at the Paris Boat Show.

The next year, the brothers established the Seaway company and began to design and build their own boats as well as continuing to design for other leading builders around the world including for Bavaria and (more recently) Sea Ray. In 2002, Seaway bought the Shipman brand and developed the carbon fibre Shipman 50; in 2006 the Shipman 63 was European Boat of the Year. In September 2009, the Greenline 33 was introduced and sold over 200 units around the world within 18 months, and then in 2011 this larger-sister Greenline 40 was developed. That’s an impressive track record and was topped by investment in a state-of-the-art facility set up during 2011 in Puconci, Slovenia where the Greenlines are now built.

Before going into more detail on the clever power set-up, it’s well worth looking over the engagingly practical layout of the Greenline 40. The saloon and helm position are on one level which keeps the skipper, crew and guests in a single social association for relaxed conversations and jointly-shared experiences. The galley is an L-shape at the port aft end of the saloon and has a workbench/bar that faces into the aft cockpit so the cook-of-the-moment can be involved with chatter in either or both the saloon and cockpit. Indeed the particularly quiet cruising for which the Greenline will long be admired makes for easy talking anywhere between the forward helm and that aft cockpit.

The saloon has large tinted windows all round and a matching retractable sunroof up front for a very light and welcoming atmosphere. In front of the galley, an L-shaped lounge with high/low dining/coffee table is opposite a beautifully crafted cabinet from which a flat panel TV rises on demand. Across from the galley to starboard is a large fridge/freezer aft of a glass-fronted display cabinet with recesses for safely securing glasses – whether they be crystal-cut or plastic-disposable. Storage spaces are provided everywhere in cupboards and drawers around the galley, and elsewhere in the saloon including under seats.

The saloon is wide enough for there to be floor space aplenty so that moving around the interior is not crowded, and yet the 4.25 metre beam still enables broad side-decks with very high bulwarks topped by guard rails to make passage to the foredeck both relaxed and safe. A sliding door beside the helm enables the skipper to quickly move out and secure mooring lines – single-handed running of the boat would not be a problem. A power anchor winch can be operated from the helm or with controls on the foredeck, and hardware such as fairleads, cleats and bollards is correctly sized and intelligently positioned around the boat.

The transom is rather ingenious as the whole central panel electrically lowers to form a boarding platform. That keeps the cockpit very secure when the transom is up, and keeps the back of the boat uncluttered and easy to back all the way into marina pens. With the transom down, the cockpit is opened right up as the inside of the transom then matches the cockpit sole being both at the same level and in being beautifully finished with teak planking.

The cockpit has quarter seats in the corners and under the floor are huge stowage areas. There’s even provision for an emergency tiller to be used. The saloon roof extends over the cockpit to keep it sheltered, and that provides extra space on top for the integrated solar panels to be fitted very unobtrusively. On either side of the cockpit are swing-open entry ports to make it easy to board the Greenline when it’s alongside a jetty or marina walkway.

A large tinted-glass panel swings down on gas struts to close off the cockpit from the galley, with a sliding door to starboard completing the saloon close-off when required. That makes the saloon a very cosy area on days that are too hot, too cold, or too wet; not many boats make it enjoyable, but boating on a rainy day can be great fun when you’re warm and dry inside!

At the front of the saloon a central set of steps leads down with a guest cabin to port. This was set up with twin berths that quickly convert to a double if required, while to starboard is the bathroom with a basin, stowage areas, macerator toilet and a separate shower stall. The bathroom has entry doors from the companionway and directly from the generously-sized forward owner’s stateroom which can also be set up as either a twin or double bed arrangement. The cabins have their own TV sets, hanging and other storage with good natural light beaming in from windows, portholes and hatches.

The fit and finish throughout the Greenline is top quality, and the mix of timbers, veneers, fabrics and carpets is easy on the eye and of comfort to the touch. Incidentally, Greenline uses only timbers from renewable plantations in line with its environmental-support philosophy. A pair of 16,000-btu air-con units keep the temperature and humidity just where you want them no matter what the external atmospheric conditions may be doing.

Even with the hybrid power, the helm is encouragingly straightforward. It combines gauges and displays for both the diesel and electric motors with navigation systems and operational controls in a comprehensive but quickly understood layout. Electronics include a Garmin GPSMAP 512 display for all of GPS reporting, map and radar displays and depth data. There’s a Garmin VHF radio and GHP-10 hydraulic autopilot system too.

It’s a comfortable helm with a well-upholstered bench seat that’s wide enough for two, and with all the displays in good line-of-sight and with the controls within easy reach. A great feature (and a good example of the thoughtfulness throughout the boat, and of the experience behind its design and construction) is that an angled foot rest is part of a panel that pivots down to provide a higher platform on which to stand to drive. The front of the seat can flip up for more room when you’re doing that. Visibility is good in all directions.

Driving the Greenline 40 is a breeze. The wheel has a light touch and is not too direct so that the boat is not overly sensitive and requires no more than a relaxed hand most of the time. The low-drag Superdisplacement hull form is seaworthy and offers a soft ride; essentially it’s a streamlined sailing-yacht-style hull shape with five-blade props partially enclosed in tunnels. A pair of stabiliser fins are a unique feature of the hull, acting to dampen any rolling motion both underway and when at anchor. A straight stem helps the boat to slice through any chop or swell, whilst flared forward sections displace water to each side and keep the Greenline running with a minimum of spray reaching the decks.

For both the skipper and the crew though, the most amazing aspect of the boat is its quietness. It’s virtually silent under electric power, and that’s good enough for six knots with a range of 20 nautical miles at about four knots. At three knots, the solar panels are producing enough power to run the electric motors, so at that speed you’re not eating into battery capacity. The panels do not need direct sunlight to produce power - just light, and on an overcast day they’re still doing their job.

Even with the diesels running, at a typical cruise of around 10 knots they are amongst the smoothest and quietest I’ve come across. Noise levels increase with speed of course, up to 18 knots with a clean hull and light load, while we saw 16.7 knots on our test run, but the interior decibels remain remarkably low. Cruising under power takes on a whole new dimension with this unique vessel.

The hybrid power system works with the diesels coupled to forward-neutral-reverse gearboxes that then operate through hydraulically-operated clutches to the electric motors. A ‘Protected Hybrid’ management system and an electronic management module make it very simple and easy to switch from diesel to electric power - basically just turn off one and switch on the other! With either power source, a standard dual-lever shift/throttle control gives a reassuringly familiar way to operate the boat, and one that’s easy-to-learn if you’re new to boating.

When running under diesel power, the electric motors become a pair of 5-kW generators which feed power back into the batteries. Two large hatches in the floor of the salon give excellent access to the engines so that routine checks are no hassle to carry out; the engine room was as clean as a whistle and all the engineering looked good with double-clamped hoses and well secured wiring and hoses.

Another hatch beneath the helm opened into the ‘electric brains’ of the boat where large looms of wiring were neatly organised for the controls that manage the charging and power distribution circuits. The bank of lead-acid batteries for the diesels was in there too, while the lithium power cells for the electric motor were lower down in the centre of the hull for optimum weight distribution. It all looked mightily impressive.

Yet another example of innovation and technological progress from Greenline is its recently introduced ‘GreenPad’. This is software that can be downloaded into an Apple iPad and used with a wireless connection to a ‘GreenBox’ installed in the engine room. The system displays on the iPad an extensive array of data covering just about every aspect of the boat’s systems as well as navigation and weather information. It adds even further to both the excitement and the convenience (not to mention the fun!) of owning a Greenline 40 Hybrid, and don’t forget there is the Greenline 33 if you want all this in a slightly smaller package.


Overall Length: 11.99 metres

Beam: 4.25 metres

Draft: 0.85 metres

Weight: 8,000 kgs (standard version)

Fuel capacity: 720 litres

Water capacity: 300 litres

Power (as tested):

Twin Cummins-Volkswagen CMD 150.5 TDI Diesels (110-kw, 150-hp each)

Twin 7-kW electric motors/5-kW generators

Price from: $358,333 with single 55-kW diesel/no electric

Price as tested: $577,853

Top Speed, Electric Power: 6 knots

Full Speed, Diesel Power: 16.7 knots

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Vintage boat review: Quintrex 690 Trident
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted May 17 2018

2014, December; Broken Bay: This is a top line offshore fishing mini-battlewagon with all the experience that long-time builder Quintrex (since 1945) can pack into it. Matched with a potent new-release 250-hp Evinrude on the transom, it delivers impressive features and performance.

From the visual-appeal angle, it’s a personal thing of course, but I do like to see a bit of colour on a boat and this Quintrex 690 Trident not only offers some brilliant green graphics on its topsides, but they are matched by the exchangeable colour panels on the side of the mighty 250 hp Evinrude G2 outboard that dominates the view from astern.

A quick summary of the G2 will help position the engine in the context of this review of the Quinnie itself. Evinrude started the G2 program some five years ago and developed a totally new design. It retains only the V6 configuration and the basic injectors of the advanced direct-injection fuel delivery system that gave the first-generation E-Tec outboards such a revolutionary balance of performance, economy and environmental friendliness.

Essentially, only recently developed computer simulation programs enabled more precise evaluation of how the fuel-air mixture ignited inside the cylinder, and that led to new porting and ignition design for higher efficiency. The new injection/combustion design is called ‘PurePower Combustion’ and offers claimed improvements of up to 20% in torque and up to 15% in fuel economy over rival four-stroke outboards.

Practical aspects of owning the G2 Evinrudes have been considered too, with the first service not required until after 500 hours or 5 years operation; other neat touches are an integral oil tank that gives about 100 hours running and a tube running up from the gearbox into the engine area that allows easy checking of the gear oil.

Apart from these powerhead developments, the G2 outboards offer a stronger, simpler, cleaner mounting and rigging system, an hydrodynamically superior gearcase shape (it’s asymmetrical to offset engine/prop torque), lower-level water pickups for improved cooling, and integral hydraulic or power steering.

With initial G2 models offering power levels at 200, 225, 250 and 300 hp in a 3.4 litre 74-degree V6 configuration, the new Evinrudes also carry a striking external appearance that looks both aggressive and contemporary. The quite tall powerhead side panels are exchangeable and come in a variety of colours so you can match them for blending or contrast with your boat. Custom colours or graphics are possible too.

And that was done on this Quintrex with the green graphics of the hull extended and complemented by the green side panels of the outboard. The overall effect was quite an eye-catcher and typically draws admiration anywhere the boat goes. Of course, if you prefer a more traditional look for your boat, other panels will tone down the visual impact.

Spinning a four-blade 18-inch pitch prop, the 250-hp G2 fairly hurled the big Quintrex on plane and ran it out to an impressive 78.4 kph at 5,440 rpm. From an on-plane 37.8 kph at 3,000 rpm, the Evinrude gave particularly strong mid-range acceleration as the improved torque of the new powerhead design showed its mettle. Fast cruising at 65.8 kph and 4,500 rpm would run you home or out of trouble real quick, and at all speeds the steering was light and responsive.

The G2 comes with standard integrated hydraulic steering (about a $1,500 option for an add-on after-market equivalent) and is also available with optional power-assist for the hydraulics at about $500 (an after-market version could be around $4,000). This 250-hp G2 had the power-assist and it certainly made steering light and easy for such a high level of power. It still had a good level of ‘feel’ though, so you could sense the 690’s reaction as you carved through turns or just cruised along.

Swooshing through turns was the most fun though, and it was remarkable how well the hull, engine and prop partnered for turns that were far cleaner and tighter than I’d expected. There was no slipping or lurching even when I had the wheel held for exceptionally close turns; the prop held on perfectly with no ventilation and the hull retained its grip in quite extreme situations. That’s all and well for having fun, but it also means the overall rigging and set-up are excellent and give full confidence that the Quintrex would behave itself in just about any conditions. It’s one of those sought-for combinations where adverse circumstances would have the crew crying for mercy long before the boat.

The power-assist can be turned on and off and, even with it off, the ‘native’ hydraulic steering remained relaxed to use. On long days at the wheel, it would stay pleasurable to steer the Quinnie. The overall driving position was good too; the seat is adjustable fore/aft and has a flip-up bolster. Sliding the seat forward allowed me to sit back with my spine supported by the backrest whilst retaining a relaxed reach to the wheel. The throttle/shift controls were also well placed – and that remained true when I slipped the seat aft a bit and stood to drive for a while.

I prefer standing to drive in many conditions and, especially with a boat like the 690 that’s designed for offshore work in rougher waters, you can better brace yourself with your feet apart and your posterior firmly planted against the bolster when the boat is moving around as it reacts to swell and chop. Having all that power at my fingertips was re-assuring and would mean in coastal waters you could position the boat at any instant exactly where you wanted on a wave or when running a bar.

There was a pleasing response also to use of the G2’s trim; it wasn’t finicky at all and the hull would behave at just about any prop-thrust angle, but equally it wasn’t difficult to sense the angle that gave the best performance at various speeds. Helping to trim the boat, the 690 had a set of Volvo trim tabs fitted.

These work differently to most tabs in that they do not have the usual plates that extend laterally aft from the transom to form an extended running surface and that trim the boat by angling up and down. Instead, Volvo uses much smaller plates that extend vertically downward to deflect the water streaming back along the hull’s running surfaces. The deflection of each tab provides added lift that raises that side of the back of the boat, and pushes down the opposite bow side.

With either approach to trim tabs, you can quickly trim the boat side-to-side by lowering either tab. The Volvo tabs did the job well on the 690 and it quickly became an automatic reaction to use them to keep the boat level as the crew moved around or as the boat was affected by cross-winds. In combination with the G2 trim, you can keep the hull perfectly balanced in all conditions – and change it as often and as rapidly as required.

Visibility all round was good and the helm position was well protected behind a screen on top of the cuddy cabin. The dash panel was well laid out and featured a Lowrance HDS12 colour display which combined a GPS chart plotter and a fish-finder sonar - with optional (not fitted in this case) radar. It’s NMEA 2000 compatible and so can be integrated with other similar standard onboard systems.

To the right of that was a smaller Evinrude digital display which is also to NMEA 2000 standards. Evinrude offer these displays at various sizes – 3 inch (as on the 690), 4.3 inch and seven inch – and they can present either digital or analogue readings such as rpm, speed, engine water temperature and/or pressure, oil level, fuel consumption, engine trim, external air temperature, and even more including onboard engine diagnostics.

Both the skipper and first mate get comfortable seats that swivel and which are mounted on top of lockers that have recesses on their inner sides for items such as a fire extinguisher or EPIRB, and with drop-down hatches facing aft that reveal tackle storage drawers. Behind the seats, a large open cockpit has a non-slip patterned alloy sole with spacious storage side pockets and a large kill tank underneath a hatch at the rear of the floor.

Across the back is a clever arrangement that makes great use of the space. There’s a fold-away three-quarter-width lounge behind which is a large hatch to storage under the aft deck including access to the battery; above that is another useful open storage slot and then to starboard is an entry passage from the boarding platform that’s equipped with a drop-down swim ladder and grab rail.

Centrally above the aft deck is a bait prep workstation with five rod holders, and there are more holders in the side decks along with strong bollards in the transom quarters. A hatch in the port aft deck is for a live bait tank which features a clear viewing panel so you can readily check the condition of the bait from the cockpit. Throughout the 690 were plenty of storage spots including large compartments under the cabin floor where carpeted panels lift out for easy access.

The cabin on this 690 was bare although neatly finished with side storage pockets. There’s enough room for camping overnight or for shelter in bad weather – or for kids to rest or play. Long side ports admit plenty of light. A bimini above the front of the cockpit provided welcome shade, and a tubular targa arch carried a set of rocket launcher rod holders.

A centre screen section folds forward on top of a large hatch in the cabin roof that in turn hinges to starboard so you can quickly and safely move forward and handle mooring duties that were assisted on this 690 by a power anchor winch. The anchor locker is big enough for serious chain and rope lengths and the deck hardware upfront is strong and intelligently located.

The hull itself is made of serious stuff too with 5-mm plate for the bottomsides and 3-mm for the topsides. The stem carries a quite sharp entry to cut through the swells and pressed-in strakes and pronounced chines are key factors in the good handling. This is a big boat at just on seven metres and has high topsides with plenty of forward buoyancy for a safe, dry ride in most conditions.

Anglers will quickly identify and appreciate all the thoughtful touches that are either standard or available as options. To obtain the full details you really need to see the boat, so contact your nearest Quintrex dealer and discover how this famous Aussie boat builder really does live up to its tag line of ‘Boating Made Easy’.


Length: 6.96 metres

Beam: 2.48 metres

Weight (boat only): 1,030 kgs

Capacity: 8 persons

Fuel capacity: 200 litres

Power: Evinrude G2 E-Tec 3 250 hp

Top Speed: 78.4 kph

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Culture
Jessica Watson
Posted May 16 2018

©ACEA/ABNER KINGMAN. Two-time Americas Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill.  

A culture of success on the water is supported by group ‘norms’ and requires team members to fully buy into the collective vision.

Harvard Business School Professor Richard Hackman (1) expresses what is now a widely held belief, that a vision or ‘compelling direction’ energises, orients and engages a team. Statements of such a vision or mission are commonly presented as an expression of a company or team’s culture. But when it comes to high-achieving teams on the water, it isn’t enough to simply have a stated vision; team members also need to fully buy into it.

Two-time America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill believes that a ‘successful culture’ is only achieved when the team’s vision is prioritised over the individual's ego, when ‘all actions and decisions are based on what will help the team win, regardless of who is on and off the boat or what role they are playing’.

The importance of this commitment to a collective vision is also evident in Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff’s (2) investigation of maritime disasters. They found that survivors who were able to ‘fight the mindset of individual self-preservation’ and commit themselves to the group’s collective survival drastically improve their odds. Tim Jarvis and his crew’s successful re-enactment of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous 1916 Southern Ocean voyage is another demonstration of commitment to group survival, with crew members willingly risking their own lives while helping to better the odds of the group’s collective survival.

When it comes to building commitment to the collective vision, both Jimmy Spithill and Clipper Race skipper Wendy Tuck suggest that the entire team’s involvement in the initial development of the vision is beneficial. The process of involving the entire team in the formation of a collective philosophy was also used by the successful 2003 America’s Cup challenger Team Alinghi (3), who prioritised this before their intensive training programme began. However, in circumstances when the collective development of the vision is not possible, such as the late induction of a new crew member, Jimmy suggests that it is still possible for the new member to ‘buy in’ if the team’s philosophy is well explained.

With a vision set and the team’s commitment to it established, culture is then reinforced through what Richard Hackman (1) describes as ‘group norms’, or the behaviours that are deemed acceptable. An example of the policing of such norms for Team Alinghi (3) was the policy of removing ‘high-spirted’ or ‘trash-talking’ sailors from the boat. Or, for Tim Jarvis, a committed work ethic and the constant re-evaluation of processes during expedition preparations were established norms.

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Richard Hackman, Leading Teams, 2002

2 .Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality, 2013

3. Wolfgang Jenewein and Christian Schmitz, Creating a High-Performance Team Through Transformational Leadership: The Case of Alinghi, 2007

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Vintage boat review: Fleming 58
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted May 10 2018

2017, July; Sydney Harbour: There is a fascinating story behind this latest addition to the Fleming motor yachts fleet and, as well, there’s a tradition of more than three decades. Tony Fleming originated it all. He had a background in aerospace and marine engineering, including being production manager for the internationally renowned Grand Banks cruisers. He also had an enthusiasm for long-distance cruising.

The combination of his engineering and cruising experiences led Tony to create his own motor yachts. His objectives were safety, reliability, seaworthiness and ease of handling - to be achieved regardless of cost.

In 1986 he developed his first boat – the Fleming 55, and it obviously hit the spot. That same design, with refinements, is being built to meet current market demand. Larger versions have progressively joined the fleet and the current range comprises the 55, 58, 65 and 78 – all the numbers roughly indicating hull length in feet. The larger yachts were often developed to fulfil requests from owners who were up-sizing.

Tony sought out the Tung Hwa boat building company in Taiwan to meet his exacting standards, and a multi-decade association has ensued. The craftsmanship and attention to detail by that company has proven beneficial to both parties. The quality and suitability for purpose of each Fleming brings unstinted praise from its owner, and the resulting level of business has allowed Tung Hwa to be dedicated to building these yachts.

Tony cruises extensively himself. Including aboard his latest Fleming, the 65-foot ‘Venture’, he has accumulated over 60,000 nautical miles. He has experienced first-hand the finer aspects of what is needed to safely and enjoyably handle a boat in conditions from inland rivers to open oceans and from tropical to arctic environments. Some of his voyages have been across the North Sea, to the Aleutian Islands and a circumnavigation of Iceland. The lessons he has learned along the way are streamed back into the production line at Tung Hwa.

Perhaps production line is misleading though, as only about fourteen Fleming yachts are built each year. The goal is to build to an exceptional standard and not to any cost or volume targets. An outcome is that these cruisers cannot be judged on price alone. The Australian ‘base’ price (at time of review) for the 58 is AU$4.745 million with extensive inclusions. As seen, with a number of further significant extras, this particular 58 represents an AU$5.375 million investment. To appreciate the genuine value that a Fleming represents takes an eye for engineering and practical details, plus either an experience of long range cruising or a willingness to learn from an expert.

I was welcomed aboard the 58 by Sam Nicholas of Fleming Yachts Australia at its base on Sydney Harbour. Sam’s knowledge and enthusiasm for the boats he represents was immediately apparent. Sam works for Egil Paulsen who established FYA. Egil owned a 55 and took that, with Tony Fleming aboard, on its maiden voyage from Southampton to Norway. Egil and Sam have cruised extensively in Norwegian and other waters, often with Tony too, so there’s no shortage of real-world, hands-on experience when you talk with them about your own Fleming.

It’s impossible in the space here to do justice in describing all that the Fleming 58 offers, but it is genuinely outstanding in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s very practical. This 58 was a brand new boat being prepared for the 2017 Sydney Boat Show. It was immaculate, yet there was no need, nor request, to remove shoes before stepping inside. The carpets covering the glorious teak and holly floors were top quality, pleasing to the eye in colour and texture and comfortable to walk on, yet they were easily removed for cleaning and of a hard-wearing style that showed not the slightest imprint as I and others explored the 58.

The layout of the entire boat is practical too. Boarding is easy either from doors in the bulwarks each side at two different levels to cater for different heights of pontoons and jetties, or across a large transom platform with removable hand rails into a good sized cockpit. Passage onboard continues through wide-opening doors into a spacious saloon. A large galley, U-shaped for convenience and security in a seaway, is forward at the same level.

A few steps, large and straight, lead up past a handy toilet compartment to a wonderful wheelhouse with an exemplary, electronics-laden, helm. To port there is an L-shaped settee around a table where crew or guests could comfortably keep the skipper company. Or the skipper could relax there with a snack while on autopilot in open waters as visibility is excellent. Additionally, the area converts to a very comfortable berth.

Doors on both sides of the wheelhouse lead out to wide and deeply protected sidedecks, a Portuguese bridge and the foredeck. Just inside the starboard door, a flight of stairs leads down to the three staterooms, two bathrooms and the laundry. Centre-aft of the wheelhouse is an easily-traversed staircase that takes you up to a huge flybridge with extensive seating, a barbecue with other conveniences and another excellent helm position.

A key aspect of the 58 is its engineering. Back in the cockpit, a ladder gives access down to a large engine room with two MAN i6-800 diesels in immaculate surroundings. It’s worth an hour or two in this part of the 58 to check out all the systems, and it takes at least that long to begin to appreciate the attention to detail in the engineering. The Fleming has redundant redundancies to give back-ups to back-ups for those ‘it couldn’t possibly happen’ circumstances that actually can happen on long cruises away from any support.

One example is the hydraulic steering system which has back-up power and three hydraulic pumps – ‘just in case’. Another example of engineering thoughtfulness is the engine room air intake which originates under the side deck bulwarks where there’s little chance of salt contamination but, ‘just in case’, the air flows first into the large lazarette aft of the engine room where any salt spray that might get through would be contained. Fleming yachts with years of extensive cruising under their keels have immaculate engine rooms partly because of this intake air ‘filtration’ approach. The two engines have totally discreet fuel and electrical systems for resilience. The 58 can still do 10 knots on one engine.

Indicative of comfort throughout are the six separate air conditioning systems, including one for the engine room. The staterooms sleep six with optional layouts available. The master stateroom can be amidships or forward. On this 58, it was full-beam amidships with an island queen berth, capacious ensuite, a large walk-in robe plus side cabinetry, a settee to one side plus a vanity table or mini office on the other side. The guest cabins can be to port and starboard or with one forward and the other to port; they can have various layouts including an island queen berth or twin singles or a single and office space.

For Australian-delivered Flemings, all the electronics are purchased locally and shipped to the factory for installation (or are locally installed where appropriate) so that Aussie servicing is readily available. Extensive documentation and manuals come with each yacht along with as much on-water tuition and familiarisation as each owner desires. After-sales support and assistance is emphasized.

Aboard the Fleming 58, there was no mistaking the feel of luxury, but it is the sort of luxury that also exudes a comforting welcome and an intuition that you would relax onboard. There is apparent artisan care and skills in the cabinetry which is all in selected teak and built in-situ for the ultimate in perfect fit and long-life strength. Overall it creates an aura that everything would be easy to care for and to keep in top condition.

Details progressively become apparent as you tour the 58 such as the slide-out pantry, the separate wine fridge as part of the galley’s large fridge/freezer, the Royal Doulton china, the shaving mirror that opens to a convenient height, the heated towel racks in the bathrooms, the excellent labelling in the engine room, the deck hardware carefully positioned to avoid toes, ankles and shins, the lift-up cleats on the boarding platform to secure a tender, indeed the centre-console, outboard-powered RIB tender itself and its articulated davit on the flybridge, the dual anchor winches, the dedicated linen locker, the laundry with a stacked washer and dryer, the powered insect or block-out screens for hatches, the discretely concealed manoeuvering controls in the cockpit, plus so much more.

Those manoeuvering controls, at all four stations (wheelhouse, bridge, cockpit and aft boat deck), are part of a fully integrated system with extensive data displays in the wheelhouse and, to a slightly lesser extent, on the flybridge. Intuitive joystick operation takes the stress out of close quarter operation including berthing. The careful engineering and construction give quiet and smooth cruising.

Fleming has the catch phrase ‘The Ultimate Cruising Yacht’ which seems very applicable.


Overall Length: 19.94 metres

Hull Length: 19.10 metres

Beam: 5.33 metres

Draft: 1.52 metres

Displacement: 48,000 kgs

Fuel: 5,488 litres

Water: 1,211 litres

Power (as tested): Twin MAN i6-800 Diesels 800hp (597kW) each

Cruise Speed: 8-12 knots

Top Speed: 20.5 knots

Range: 2,200 nautical miles at 8 knots

Price as tested (at time of review): $5.375 million

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Diversity and Constructive Conflict
Jessica Watson
Posted May 9 2018

Cover photo: Brett Costello

Effective leaders recognise the importance of a diverse team and constructive conflict.

Suggesting that conflict is essential to a successful team might seem counter-intuitive, but Patrick Lencioni (1), an authority on team effectiveness from the business world, suggests that a ‘truly cohesive team’ engages in ‘unfiltered conflict around ideas’. Diversity is also heralded as an advantage at leading companies, improving ‘customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, leading to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns’, according to a study by consulting firm McKinsey (2). And these are views that are supported by the experiences of a number of successful skippers.

America’s Cup winning skipper Jimmy Spithill is one who has consciously sought diverse crew members, as ‘it usually brings a different way to reach a solution or problem-solve a challenge or task’. He’s also a believer in ‘candour and challenging each other’, although ‘in a positive way’ he adds.

This constructive conflict was something that my youth crew had to master while training for the Sydney to Hobart race. We had to learn the difference between challenging each other’s ideas and unproductive personal differences. A simple illustration of this is that we learnt to say ‘that was stupid’ but never ‘you’re stupid’.

Training with my 2011 youth Rolex Sydney to Hobart crew, the youngest ever team to compete in the notorious race.

Drawing on his time in numerous business leadership positions, in addition to his sailing achievements, John Bertrand also acknowledges the importance of diversity and conflict. ‘To maximise the potential of the organisation, the entire organisation needs to feel comfortable challenging the status quo,’ says John. ‘Everyone’s not the same and nor should they be. The power of an organisation is to have different people, with different characters working together.’

With the benefit of nearly ten years’ experience, I now see that the diversity of the largely volunteer team that helped me prepare for my voyage around the world was key to the project’s success. Those who offered their help were a mix of professionals and trades, all with very different sailing and adventuring backgrounds.

On a number of occasions, I remember feeling stressed by the conflicting advice I was being given and by the vigorous debates that were had on the merits of choosing one piece of equipment over another. These were life-and-death decisions, and I realise now that we were able to make the right decisions (there is very little I would do differently with hindsight) because the team had both a great diversity of perspective and a willingness to challenge each other’s thinking.

Of course, diversity only flourishes, and constructive conflict is only possible when there is an adequate level of trust (covered in this earlier post) and collective commitment to a team’s objective (to be covered in a later post).

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, 2002

2. McKinsey & Company, Diversity Matters, 2015

3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Vintage boat review: Savage Tasman 52 SP Mark II
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted May 3 2018

1997, January; Port Phillip Bay: Most boatbuilding companies specialise in one material, usually either aluminium or fibreglass. J. J. Savage and Sons is probably the only builder in Australia that uses both materials and, whilst most models in the Savage fleet feature aluminium, this Tasman 52 is an example of the company's skills in mouldwork and 'glass construction.

With rounded 'Euro-style' lines, the Tasman is a very contemporary design that's focused on fishing but perfectly suited to family cruising and other water sports too. The layout is quite straightforward, but includes plenty of clever touches that make the boat that much more usable, and more enjoyable.

The cockpit has lots of room with a carpeted floor and plushly upholstered aft quarter seats that drop down out of the way when not needed. There's a neat panel between the seats, also nicely trimmed, that innovatively drops down to form a bait workbench with a cutting board. With the quarter seats down and the baitboard up, there is a full width padded 'leaning board' against which you can comfortably and securely brace whilst working fish astern.

Big sidepockets have moulded liners for a clean and tidy appearance, with brackets for rods and recessed grab rails. On the side decks, just aft of where they flare up into the cabin, are teak boarding pads with rod holders about half way back to the transom. Behind the aft seats, on either side of the engine well, are live bait wells or storage lockers.

Up front there is a pair of superbly padded and trimmed swivelling bucket seats. The skipper has a good office, with the gauges mounted in clear line of sight above the wheel. The first mate is equally well cared for with a grab rail and an extra storage pocket to port, and with a drink holder and glovebox in front. There's another grab rail below the centre of the curved screen, just above the companionway into the cabin.

The latter has comfortable seat cushions down each side and centrally forward. All three have stowage below, and there's padded sidepockets to take more essentials. There's just sitting head room at the aft end of the seats. A nice touch is the moulded steps on which you can stand to work mooring or anchor lines through the quite big hatch. Split bowrails, a good anchor locker and solid deck hardware make everything very practical and easy to use.

The Tasman had a 75 Honda four-stroke for power and it delivered plenty of punch to give the cuddy-cab pleasing levels of performance. The hull swept swiftly on plane, and ran easily with a soft and controlled ride. Turns in both directions were as tight as you'd like to make them, with hull and prop working perfectly together. The Tasman showed no signs of anything other than good manners and exemplary handling.

The best cruising speed seemed to be around 4,000 rpm when we had 39 kph showing on our GPS. Pushing the throttle all the way forward took us to 5,600 rpm and 58 kph, which is pretty good for 75 hp on a boat this size. The 90-litre underfloor fuel tank would give a good cruising range.

The skipper's seat is adjustable fore and aft, so you can get the distance from the wheel that best suits you. The only thing I noted as a point to improve was that the throttle did come a bit too close to the rim of the wheel at times, but that didn't stop me having a highly pleasurable time driving the Tasman.


Length: 5.20 metres

Beam: 2.11 metres

Deadrise: 18 degrees

Weight: 620 kgs

Fuel: 90 litres

Power as tested: Honda 75

Price (at time of review): Around $25,500

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Inclusive Communication
Jessica Watson
Posted April 29 2018

Cover photo: John Bertrand and his crew claiming victory in the 1983 America’s Cup, Larry Moran.

Some of the most effective leaders on the water use an inclusive communication style whenever possible.

Like trust, good communication is well credited for the success of countless teams. An investigation of maritime disasters by Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff (1) bluntly highlights this, finding that survival was less likely for those groups who communicated ineffectively. ‘Communicate,’ Eleanor and Jenny recommend. ‘Silence is your enemy.’ (1)

However, communication is also an unhelpfully broad and vague concept, so this blog will drill down into a more directly applicable style of communication that’s been used to great effect by successful sailing skippers. This communication style is an inclusive or participative one that enables input from the entire team.

Iconic Australian skipper John Bertrand observed that his legendary rival Denis Connor used a participative leadership style to great effect on the water, but in adopting the technique himself John was conscious of ensuring consistency and authenticity in its use both on and off the water. ‘Getting people involved and getting them connected is really powerful,’ says John. ‘It’s the empowering of the people, you can potentially get one plus one to equal three.’

Jimmy Spithill provides another perspective on the importance seeking input from the entire team. ‘From my experience, especially in America’s Cup campaigns, the new concepts and fresh ideas come from the fresh faces generally, not from the experienced guys. So it’s important to have an environment where people, especially inexperienced people, are encouraged to express themselves.’

A leadership study of the 2013/2014 around the world Clipper Race (2) listed ‘valuing contributions from all crew’ as a key characteristic expected of skippers. Winning Clipper skipper Wendy Tuck points out that input from all crew members can’t always be sought in urgent situations, but she also recognises the importance of team discussions that allow all crew members to air their views.

Like Wendy, explorer Tim Jarvis describes high-pressure situations where inclusive communication isn’t appropriate, but for that reason, he acknowledges its importance whenever it is possible. ‘If everybody is sitting there worried about what it will be like if they bring up a problem - if I’m going to get cross at them,’ says Tim, ‘then you get to the Southern Ocean and find things that you’ve missed, then that’s a problem.’

A few words about this blog series:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth.

1. Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality, 2013

2. Mission Performance, Leadership: Lessons from Ocean Racing, January 2016

5 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
Vintage boat review: Malibu Axis A20
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted April 26 2018

2011, November; Wisemans Ferry, Hawkesbury River: Malibu is highly regarded for its specialised ski and wakeboarding designs, and the company has also shown it is well aware of market trends. So this Axis A20 makes an interesting comparison with the car industry – but in reverse!

When Toyota wanted to expand its market potential, it moved into the more upmarket arena by introducing its Lexus brand. Lexus is wholly owned by Toyota but is run as an autonomous operation. When Malibu decided to address a different market segment, it also created a new brand but, as Malibu was already in the ‘upmarket’ domain of watersports boats, the new line was positioned in a lower price bracket.

The new name is Axis, and Malibu has formed the company Axis Wake Research to design and build boats that hold the quality and performance levels for which Malibu is renowned, but which are more suited to owners who are a little more budget conscious. For example, this Axis A20 is priced from around $65,500 as against the more upmarket Malibu Wakesetter VLX from around $80,500 (at the time of review).

In Australia, both brands are built at the superb Malibu factory in Albury and, if you’re at all interested in these tow boats, a factory visit is a great way to truly appreciate how well they are put together.

Axis boats are designed by a dedicated team, separate from Malibu-branded designs, but the same construction techniques are used including hand-laid, cross-core laminates and the all-fibreglass FibECS - Fibreglass Engine Chassis System. The boats retain a string of included features to make them more than competitive in their size and price bracket, but to achieve the lower price point there are less interior components and reduced electronics than their Malibu counterparts.

Nevertheless, the A20 still comes with cruise control and triple sub-floor ballast tanks plus it provides a pro-level wake. Additionally, it can be optioned up with items such as a plug-and-play ballast system and an auto-set Power Wedge (the Malibu transom-mounted hydro-foil that can be deployed to boost wake size and shape). Even if you are not interested in serious watersports, these facilities are great fun with which to play!

The Axis independent design team sure came up with a boat that looks different; the black colour with blue accents adds to a quite aggressive stance that’s further highlighted by the forward hull shape and a unique windscreen too. Even the rear vision mirror looks extra cool! It’s mounted on a bracket that curves inward from the front frame of the wake tower to be positioned in the best possible spot above and ahead of the driver. It’s a great combination of style and practicality.

Let’s get back to the hull through first. The chines, as they run toward the bow, lift up and stay parallel without the usual curving in toward the stem. The effect is to carry the beam of the boat right forward, so there’s lots of lift and buoyancy there, and loads of space aboard, but the keel line stays sharp for a soft ride. It looks quite like a tri-hull, or cathedral hull as they were sometimes called, but it’s not truly that – just a clever innovation of design that again mixes a terrific and unusual appearance with practical performance.

From amidships towards the stern, the hull is more conventional with a single strake on both sides and a small planing delta broadening toward the transom from a start point at the single turn fin. The inclusion of that last word in the name of the new company – Axis Wake Research – would indicate some careful investigation went into the hull design, and it certainly works well out on the water.

Although visually different from a ‘mainline’ Malibu such as a Wakesetter, the Axis is very similar when it comes to driving and performance. The skipper’s position is amongst the best around with a top seat offering good support, both from underneath and the sides. It’s comfortable too, adjusts fore-aft and swivels so the driver can more readily join in the conversation when the boat is stopped. For varying your stance at the wheel, an optional flip-up bolster gives a higher sight line. Even when sitting properly in the seat though, the view ahead is unrestricted as are the two big dials on the dash. All the switches and the throttle/shift lever are within easy reach and fall naturally to hand. The padded rim of the sports-style wheel feels good, and it looks good too with a polished hub and broad scimitar-curved alloy spokes. The wheel is tilt-adjustable while an angled floor panel makes an excellent foot rest regardless of individual leg length – helpful for those like me who are not so tall.

The dash panel area has a dark non-glare finish so there are no reflections in the screen. The two dials on the dash comprise a rev counter with inset digital readings that cycle through data such as (river/lake) water and air temperatures plus engine water temperature, oil pressure and volts, and a speedo that also has read-outs such as fuel level. Alongside the ignition key to the right of the wheel is the control for setting speed (cruise control), while the Sony stereo controls are to the left. Banks of switches are set a bit higher on both sides where they are easy to both see and operate.

Adding to the convenience of the driver are an armrest shelf behind the throttle/shift and a drink holder down to the right below a small storage pocket – the whole set-up is excellent, very well thought out and beautifully executed. And then there’s that superb ski (rear view) mirror on a magnificently manufactured arm that gracefully curves in from the wake tower; the arm looks marvellous and it positions the mirror perfectly – it’s maybe a small point, but it’s original and it just looks and works so beautifully – well done Axis Wake Research!

Motive force for the A20 came from a (standard equipment) 335 hp Indmar V8 that had all the grunt you’d need for any form of watersports. A 400 hp Raptor V8 is optional. For sure the boat would be great at any of skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing or toy-towing, although the design criteria are more targeted at wakeboarding – and it’s a happy cruiser too for those times you just want to stay on the water rather than in it.

The V8 is rear mounted and operates through a V-drive to spin a four blade 14.5-inch diameter by 14.25-inch pitch prop. Throttle response was smooth and steady with strong punch away from rest; the bow lifts under the thrust from that 4-blade prop but is soon back down to an efficient running angle. The steering was light (3.5 turns lock-to-lock) with a pleasing level of feel as to how the hull was behaving – which was invariably just right as at tow and cruise speeds the boat felt balanced, and it held that stance even through tight turns. Again the ‘Research’ has paid off with an excellent matching of hull, engine and prop.

We carved up the water with a few figure eights then ploughed through those to see if it would upset the A20, but it didn’t and the hull slipped through the slop with no bumps or rattles. The wide bow area with those ‘non-curve-in’ chines didn’t seem to stop the boat riding softly and keeping its crew comfortable and dry.

I looked ahead below the top frame of the screen with a good view all round – including astern with that beaut mirror. The screen doesn’t have a side return and the end frame is wider than usual, but that didn’t affect my vision, and there was only just enough slipstream around the edge to provide fresh air so I doubt on cooler days that it would be too cold. The aerodynamics seem to have been thought out carefully, and the styling is clever too in this area for the sharply forward-angled lower frame for the wake tower makes it look like there is a screen return, but the open area makes it much easier for the driver to talk with a ‘boarder in the water. It’s another little aspect of the A20 that’s different and adds to its visual ‘stand out’ impact.

At 3,000 rpm the V8 and the A20 were just loafing along at 35 kph and a relaxed cruise was faster at 3,500 rpm and 47 kph. Edge the throttle further forward and you’d be really starting to eat the river at 4,500 rpm and 59 kph, whilst we found top speed to be 65 kph with 5,100 rpm. At any velocity, the A20 was a delight to drive and gave a calm, silky run for the crew. With all that Malibu tow-boat experience in the hull, and the Axis research, plus the ‘playability’ of triple ballast tanks and the Wedge, the wake could be set for any individual predilection.

Those triple ballast tanks (one amidships, two aft either side) add 360 kgs of displacement to boost the wake, and the optional ‘Plug ‘n’ Play’ adds extra water sacks under the bow seats and in the rear storage lockers (still leaving room for stowage) that give a further 590+ kgs of ballast. If that’s still not enough for you, add the Auto-Set Wedge for an effective jump of another 454 kgs and you have a total of a monster 1,400 kgs! Both the standard tanks and optional sacks are filled and drained through switches on the dash.

To cryptically sum up the interior of the A20, all you have to say is seats and storage. Not only the whole bow area can be set up with seats, but even the passage through the screen has seats! These can flip-up for seating or lay flat for movement fore and aft. With the removable bow fill-in cushion, maybe calling it a huge lounge arena might be a better description. The seats continue from that through-screen passage and wrap to port for a very good observer’s spot before flowing aft, then across the back of the cockpit and forward again to behind the skipper’s seat. The cockpit aft lounge can be slid forward for a different seating position, or it could be used as a table for snacks. Storage spots are everywhere including under all the seats, behind the observer under the screen console and either side of the engine under the full beam sunlounge. Drink holders, grab handles and stereo speakers abound too. The standard of upholstery and trim cannot be faulted, and there are LED courtesy lights and storage area illumination.

Soaring above the boat is the standard ‘FatAX’ tower with dual wakeboard racks and bimini shade cover which was stored in its sock for our run. The tower folds down so the A20 can be parked, on its trailer, under a ceiling or carport that clears two metres. The boarding platform is removable and the trailer draw bar hinges back so that overall length for parking is reduced to 6.45 metres (6.55 if a Wedge is optionally fitted). Incidentally, the galvanised custom trailer has 15-inch alloy wheels on dual axles, Dexter electric-hydraulic four-wheel disc brakes and a four-way bearer system to properly support the hull.

Axis set out to provide as much room and as good a wake as a larger boat can provide, and the A20 achieves those goals admirably. Despite the lower price point compared with its sibling Malibu-branded boats, the A20 carries an impressive list of standard features and inclusions.


Overall Length: 6.10 metres

Beam: 2.49 metres

Draft: 0.68 metres

Weight (boat): 1,451 kgs

Fuel: 182 litres

Power: Indmar V8 335 hp

Top Speed: 64.9 kph

Price from (at time of review): around $65,499

1 person found this helpful. Do you?Thank Graham Lloyd
Enduring Leadership Lessons from the Ocean: Trust
Jessica Watson
Posted April 23 2018

Cover photo: Tim Jarvis and his crew in the Southern Ocean, Si Wagen.

Introductory note:

Sailing, whether for survival or competition, is an unforgiving business. Confined in close quarters, crew members are utterly reliant on each other, and a heavy weight of responsibility falls on the skipper’s shoulders. The teams that excel in such environments provide a multitude of learnings for leaders back on dry land. So through this blog series, I’ve set out to explore some of the most important and universally applicable leadership lessons from the oceans.

Based on existing research, interviews with some very well-credentialed sailors and my own observations, I’ll be posting weekly, covering trust, communication, diversity, culture, leadership styles and team formation. I wanted to include a breadth of insight from the different extremes of sailing, so you’ll be hearing from legendary America’s Cup winning skippers, a skipper charged with leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous oceans, and a man who re-enacted one of history’s greatest survival voyages.

Occasionally I still see some of the concepts that will be covered in this series – such as trust and diversity – considered ‘fluffy’, nice ideas, luxuries that are secondary to a team’s core business. So by showcasing their importance in such punishing, competitive, life-threatening, and typically masculine environments, I hope to prove their worth. There is no place for ‘fluff’ on the ocean, so when these concepts are credited for survival or triumph in these extreme situations, I believe it is great validation that they are at the core of a team’s success and are not dispensable luxuries.

Vulnerability, responsibility and time are key to the development of trust among high-performing teams on the water.

Trust is perhaps the most heralded element of an effective team, and it’s therefore the most logical place to kick off this exploration of leadership on the water. Patrick Lencioni (1), an authority on team effectiveness from the business world, suggests that the absence of trust is a crippling team dysfunction. And it’s an observation that rings true in the most extreme situations on the water as well.

A study by Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff (2) of groups who have survived maritime disasters provides a rather grim example of the importance of trust. Survivor groups that demonstrated a total absence of trust, allowing the weak to die to save the strong, were less likely to survive. Tim Jarvis, an adventurer who re-enacted Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1916 incredible survival voyage, sailing from the Antarctic continent to South Georgia Island in an open boat, agrees that ‘trust is very, very important’ in such circumstances.

But while trust is an easily understood and straightforward concept, its establishment isn’t necessarily easy, nor can it be taken for granted. Patrick Lencioni (1) believes that an inability to develop trust stems from team members’ ‘unwillingness to be vulnerable within the group’. Tim Jarvis echoes this, stressing how critical it was that his crew members were open with him and each other during the years of preparation preceding the adventure. And in my own experience leading a youth crew in the notorious Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, I saw that it was only when crew members were willing to be open, even making themselves vulnerable by admitting their limitations, that a level of trust was established allowing us to operate as an effective team.

Then there’s a consensus among a number of successful sailing leaders that a notion to the effect of responsibility is critical to the development of trust. The skipper of two America’s Cup winning teams Jimmy (James) Spithill puts it simply, suggesting that trust is achieved ‘by giving responsibility and by accountability’. Another legendary America’s Cup winning skipper John Bertrand builds on this, suggesting that, ‘It’s how you conduct yourself. It’s a sense of authenticity. It revolves around honesty and integrity, transparency and communication.’

However, it’s also clear that these first two elements require a third thing: time. In the words of John Bertrand: ‘Time is fundamentally important, and the quality of time. You can’t dial up the concept of trust without time’. Jimmy Spithill agrees ‘it [trust] is time-dependent,’ as does winning around the world Clipper Race skipper Wendy Tuck. In her challenging role leading largely amateur crews through some of the world’s most dangerous waters, Wendy says that it’s the accumulation of runs on the board, over time, that allows the crew to have faith in her.

1. Patrick Lencioni, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, 2002

2. Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff, No Mercy – True Stories of Disaster, Survival and Brutality, 2013

8 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jessica Watson
In Praise of the Deckee Insurance Finder
John Storey
Posted April 20 2018

I have recently purchased a Wharram Tiki 30. This is a fibreglass and plywood composite catamaran that is not an easy boat to find insurance for.

On many of the Wharram forums I have read have threads decrying the difficulties of obtaining suitable cover. As a result of this, many sailors are out on the world’s oceans with little or no insurance cover.

This is not acceptable to me or to my family, so I rang the company with whom I have had marine insurance for fifteen years (Club Marine), they declined to insure the boat.

I then spent a couple of weeks ringing around the usual suspects; big companies, little companies and many middling companies. I spoke with several brokers who each assured me that they would find cover - but only one did. That broker obtained a quote through QBE but, when I accepted it, QBE withdrew it!

I couldn’t even get third party cover for the four days of the delivery voyage to where I could get the boat surveyed.

Then I remembered that Deckee had a section on insurance. I pressed the “Get Free Quotes” button, filled in a simple online form, sent it off and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long until I was contacted by a charming lady called Lisa O’Sullivan. From the moment Lisa had my details, she was on the case.

The result? A fully comprehensive policy, a temporary waiver of the survey so that I could move the boat from Grafton to Brisbane, and a very reasonable premium.

I am a simple pleasure-boater, I have no connection to Deckee, or the insurance industry. I am writing this article solely in gratitude to the efforts and professionalism of Lisa O’Sullivan.

Thank you.

John Storey

Try Deckee's free Insurance Comparison and Quoting Service here. It's our mission to help save you time and money finding the best cover! 

2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank John Storey
Vintage boat review: Haines Hunter 650SF Encore
Graham Lloyd
Deckee Pro  Posted April 19 2018

1998, June; Jumpinpin, Gold Coast: A big sister to Haines Hunter’s 585SF Seeker BIAA Boat of the Year, this facility-rich 680SF Encore had a pair of very efficient 115 hp FICHT outboards for grand performance - including on just one!

Twin engines have been always been a serious safety consideration for those looking to range far offshore for their fishing expeditions. If one engine failed, you always had the other to get home. The disadvantages though were higher fuel consumption and the fact that many twin engine boats had abysmal performance on only one.

These days however, the advent of higher technology in outboards has considerably reduced those disadvantages. That was shown with clarity during our run aboard this rather superb Sports Fishing (hence the SF in the model name) boat from Haines Hunter. With OMC owning both the boat and engine companies (at the time of review), the package was well integrated and nicely rigged.

Power came from a pair of the new V4 115 Evinrudes with OMC’s unique FICHT direct fuel injection system. These two-stroke powerplants offer an excellent power-to-weight ratio that I’m sure was a factor in the performance, including the way the 680SF ran on one. The FICHT technology also offers excellent fuel economy with the factory claiming tests prove a saving of around 35% against older outboards, and some 80% reduction in emissions. The full benefits of these latest outboards have been well documented elsewhere, so we won’t go through them again here.

From a practical viewpoint of everyday use, the advantages include instant starting, smooth idling cold or hot, the ability to idle and troll for as long as you want with no oiling of plugs or other side effects, instant acceleration at any time, greater cruising range, lower cost of operation, and no smoking. It was the latter as much as anything else that used to annoy me when running an outboard.

The Evinrude 115s have a displacement of just over 1.7 litres (105.4 cubic inches) and produce 85.8 kilowatts (115 hp) at 5,500 rpm. Running four-bladed Renegade Offshore stainless props with 17 inch (43 cm) pitch, the Evinrudes smoothly spun to 5,900 rpm on the 680SF for a top GPS-confirmed speed of 36.8 knots (68 kph). As that’s 400 rpm above the rated maximum revs of the engines, I’d say a slightly bigger-pitch prop would see even better performance. Even so, that’s an excellent result from two 115s on a big, fully-equipped hull measuring nearly 24 feet (7.3 metres) overall.

With one Evinrude intentionally stopped and trimmed up, the other had no problem in bringing the 680SF on plane. It then easily revved to 5,000 rpm and had us ripping along at 25.5 knots (47 kph) which is a remarkable speed from one half of a twin-rig of this type. The 115 did this with such aplomb that I had to keep looking aft to remind myself that one engine was up and off. Those slightly-underpitched (for maximum speed) four-bladed Renegade props would have helped this aspect of the Haines Hunter’s performance and, for serious offshore use, would be an intelligent choice.

The hull design helped performance too. A typical Haines Hunter 21 degrees deadrise on a rounded keel gave a controlled and soft ride, with good lateral stability when running and when at rest. We stopped broadside-on to a fair swell rolling in through the Jumpinpin Bar, and the 680SF held as steady as you could wish. Taking the seas on any quarter from ahead or astern proved no trouble, and this would be a wonderful boat to cruise in most any offshore conditions.

The dash layout is unusual and works exceptionally well. Right in front of the skipper was a Lowrance Global Nav 310 and matching X85 Fishfinder for the key information needed to navigate and watch for quarry. There was space for more electronics, and a neatly moulded panel for two additional circular gauges top left. A Ritchie compass was mounted on top while the main gauge panel ran vertically just to port of the wheel where both the skipper and first mate could watch everything. The key dials of speedo, tachos, fuel and trim gauges were uppermost where they were more easily monitored, then below that were water pressure and volts gauges plus hour meters.

The throttle/shift binnacle was to port too, again allowing either the skipper or first mate to operate those controls, while two switch panels were to either side of the wheel. The stereo cassette and 27 Mhz radios were located just inside the cabin -- I’d mildly prefer the 27 Mhz unit (and a VHF radio) to be at the helm.

The hydraulic steering was a bit heavy, and I suspect some tuning of the installation may have given an easier task at the wheel. Nonetheless, the helm gave quick and precise response. With both props spinning in the same direction, there was some torque effect that tended to run the boat with a slight list. However, trimming the engines a little asymmetrically overcame that and had the 680SF cruising with good balance. Optional trim tabs would achieve the same result, and possibly a trifle more efficiently. The Evinrudes quickly lifted the hull on plane, and optimum speeds for comfort and range appeared to be from 4,000 to 5,000 rpm when the Haines Hunter was recording 26 to 32.5 knots (48 to 60 kph).

The layout onboard is great, not only for fishing which is clearly the intended focus, but for cruising and family use as well. There’s what amounts to a full width boarding platform immediately forward of the engines, with a transom door to port. The cockpit is roomy with a fold-down aft three-quarter lounge and lots of stowage. Big underfloor kill tanks will hold the catch for you, and there’s bait prep facilities aft and on the side decks.

A couple of steps lead down to a quite roomy cabin with a vee berth, good sitting headroom, storage areas and a concealed toilet (a holding tank for the latter is optional). Courtesy lights are fitted throughout the boat. The fit and finish everywhere is top class, and the whole rig felt nice and tough when running through some chop and swells.

The 680SF has been around for a while, and the company has continually refined its design so that the current generation of the model is very well sorted in every aspect of space utilisation, onboard facilities and performance. It’s a big boat when the bow sprit and boarding platform/engine pod are included, for the 6.8 metres implied by the 680 designation is significantly shorter than the actual overall 7.3 metres.

The walk-around cabin style is perhaps the best for offshore fishing. You get more protection and more cabin space than with a centre console, yet you still have good (fast, safe) access all around the boat, and a secure forward position from which to fish or handle anchoring duties. It’s a good looking boat, in a chunky, tough manner, with above-average freeboard and well-above-average rough-water abilities.

The boat is rated up to 300 hp and can take single outboards or sterndrives as well as the twins.


Overall length: 7.30 metres

Beam: 2.50 metres

Weight (approx): 1,300 kgs

Deadrise: 21 degrees

Fuel: 270 litres standard, 350 litres optional

Power (as tested): Twin Evinrude 115 FICHT

Price (as tested, at time of review): $79,500 ready-to-run on trailer

Was this helpful?Thank Graham Lloyd

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