Edencraft 6m Offshore Boat Test

The Edencraft 6m Offshore is a modern and improved derivation of the legendary Haines V19R hull. Tough as nails, Edencraft are now favoured by many hard-core offshore anglers because of their solid construction and impeccable sea handling.

Edencraft 6m Offshore Boat Test

Boat Test Edencraft 6m Offshore : RETURN TO EDEN
Author and photography: John Ford

This boat test ran in ISSUE 108 of BlueWater magazine – MARCH-APRIL 2015

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

The story of the Edencraft six metre Offshore begins with one of the most revered trailerboats ever to hit Australian waters: the Haines V19R. Blogs and bars resound with the deep affirmation that in terms of a soft ride and safe passage home, nothing today comes near these boats.

I can attest to the ride through my own experiences in some pretty awesome seas in my own early reverse chine model, but perhaps memory has somewhat enhanced the reality.

If I recall correctly, my wife hated its austere seating (there was none) and for the sake of peace at home, a more wife-friendly boat eventually took its place in the garage. Mind you, I had no trouble selling it to someone who had swallowed the legend whole and like many other aficionados of the model, the buyer went off and spent a small fortune restoring it to showroom condition.

John Haines is credited with creating the iconic hull, but there was certainly influence from the almost saintly C Raymond Hunt and the style of Hunt-designed Bertrams ofthe time. Whatever the genesis, the 19R is ‘the bomb’, with its deep-vee hull offering optimal dynamic stability and its heavy construction helping to cut through the waves.

When Haines Hunter decided the hull had run its course and put it out to pasture there were a number of others who begged to differ. The moulds were bought and passed through a number of owners, initially in Eden, NSW, where it earnt its new name.

Reincarnation

In the hull’s reincarnation, Edencraft grew in popularity among the south-east coast abalone fleet and still remains so today. Its appeal stems from its inherent seakindliness and solid, durable build. Astute recreational anglers also saw the advantages of the design and the brand has continued as a boutique builder, now in the hands of Alan Ball whose Geelong factory in Victoria is capable of building 20 boats a year.

With memories of some pretty basic-looking V19Rs in mind, it was a real pleasure to see the new Edencraft 6m Offshore in spring’s early morning light at Merimbula’s boat ramp on the far south coast of NSW. Alan and owner Joel Ryan had planned our test in the hopes of catching up with the late run of bluefin that were still showing up spasmodically out past the continental shelf drop-off. They had arrived in town from Melbourne the previous evening and despite looking a little bleary eyed were keen to get going.

Extended Hull

Alan explained that the original moulds had finally gone to God a few years ago and new moulds were fabricated adding 400mm in length to the hull and introducing a redesign of the topsides. The extra length adds buoyancy to the transom area, allowing bigger engine power – up to a single 250hp or twin 140s, as fitted to our test boat.

As well as the extra length, the hull was also treated to more flare in the top of the bow for better wave disbursement and a dryer ride. Joel’s boat was finished in a gleaming ultra-white gelcoat, with black sides and details setting it off splendidly. Bold Edencraft logos along the sides proudly shout the boat’s marque. Alan said the black carbon-fibre wave breaker has been a real hit and it, along with a carbon-fibre cabin door, gives the boat a very contemporary look.

A neat and compact bimini, which folds for storage, covers the helm area without impinging on the fishing space in the cockpit. It integrates well into the boat and the clears are well secured with zips, Velcro and rubber seals. Forming part of the bimini support, an overhead rocket launcher rod holder carries 11 outfits, set in a sawtooth pattern so the reels don’t damage each other.

Redesigned Dash

As part of the new interior design, a single-piece dash runs across the width of the boat and there’s a central door to the compact cuddy cabin. The redesigned dash has room in the instrument panel for the larger navigation and sounder screens of well-equipped fishing vessels.

The test boat was fitted with a pair of 20cm Garmin screens – one for the GPS in a raised brow ahead of the skipper and the other a centrally mounted sounder on the dash connected to a through-hull 600w CHIRP bronze transducer. Garmin GMi20 electronic screens display information for the Suzuki engines and the switches for pumps and lights are neatly laid out below these screens.

A Garmin VHF radio and a Fusion sound system are mounted just inside the cabin for protection, but were easily reached when needed.

With the helm and cuddy set well forward there is six square metres of space in the uncluttered cockpit where strong sidepockets along each side are built to withstand the weight of larger anglers climbing up to retrieve rods from overhead. The floor is finished in a stipple flowcoat that has good grip underfoot, but which also looks a tad industrial. Soft rubber matting would fix that pretty quickly if aesthetics override the simple and practical approach.

All electronics and pumps are neatly concealed in the transom behind hinged plastic doors, with twin tri-cell start batteries to port and a single house battery opposite. I liked the neat and practical stainless-steel grate stopping any wayward tackle or fishy bits getting into the bilge.

Removable Side Door

A comprehensive Edencraft bait table has a storage space under the hinged cutting board and a couple of stainless-steel rodholders. It sits centrally on the transom over a plumbed livebait tank with a see-through window. Centrally located in the rear section of floor is a giant plumbed fishbox and to starboard is a removable door, which is handy for both diving and retrieving large fish.

The outriggers have Reelax T-topper bases, while the 4.5m fibreglass poles are from Black Pete. All the magnificent brightwork was built by Macquarie fabrications in Melbourne, including the bowrail around the Stress Free anchor winch.

With a 1250kg hull weight it’s unusually heavy for a 6m boat, but that helps keep it in the water in a boisterous sea. There has certainly been no skimping on material, which is one of the things that makes the boat so special, according to Alan. All Edencrafts are built to Marine Safety Victoria survey standard and as long as the relevant certification fees are paid at the time of construction they can be registered for commercial use.

Survey Standard

A marine surveyor inspects hulls at various stages of construction and the temperature and humidity, as well as resin batch numbers, are recorded during layup. Box stringers run the full length of the boat, with the hull hand laid in high-quality isothalic resin and multiple layers of top-quality, 1000-gram double bias glass, with particular attention to the keel and bottom sections where strength and weight are critical.

Cavities under the floor and high in the sidedecks are foam filled to create level floatation. Testing included resting an 800kg weight on one side to verify the boat’s resting stability.

Before venturing out to the ’shelf we completed some speed runs in Merimbula Bay and the immediate impression behind the wheel was how stable and solid the boat feels underway, with its weight a very obvious benefit even through the first set of swells at low speed.

Driving is comfortable and there is plenty of room at the helm. Twin Ray-Line deluxe helm chairs are comfortable and look great with the Edencraft logos embroidered into the back. Both the Sea Star steering and Suzuki twin binnacle, side-mounted electronic controls are smooth and effortless.

Even in the bay the sea was pretty sloppy, with a 1.5m swell and close wind chop just the conditions to assess a boat’s ride and handling. The 6m Offshore didn’t disappoint. We were able to maintain speeds in the mid-30kt range, and it wasn’t until searching for the upper end of its performance of 43kt that we went looking for calmer water.

Ride was exceptionally soft and handling was precise and reassuringly predictable without excess roll and no wallowing through turns. The twin engines help give the feeling that the boat is glued to the water in turns and their impressive power gets the boat moving quickly and with a determined growl from the induction ports.

To The Drop-Off

Our 18NM trip to the ’shelf edge passed quickly and I noted fuel use with both engines was 40L/h at 4000rpm travelling at 29kt.

I’d love to report that we smashed it on the bluefin, but it wasn’t to be. After a few hours scouring the ocean we were finally rewarded with a baby mako, but the tuna had moved on. Trolling at 6kt consumed a miserly 6.8L/h so there was plenty of fuel left in the 280L tank for a quick trip home.

Any criticism levelled at the hull is usually along the lines that it’s not as stable at rest as it could be. However, I noticed no such problem in the time we spent bringing in the shark or bobbing around preparing rigs and such.

Running back, Alan urged me on to faster and faster speeds in the still sloppy conditions, until we eventually sat on 35kt through a short one-metre sea as the Edencraft ate up the distance. It was enough to convince me of its perfect balance of quality build, ride and safety.

Pricing for this boat starts at $95,000 for the base hull and an alloy Easytow trailer, but with all of the electronics and fishing options it ended up totalling $120,000. While some might balk at that price tag, there can’t be much argument about its value as one of the safest and softest offshore trailerboats around.

Highlights

  • Bulletproof build quality
  • Soft, safe ride
  • Well laid-out for fishing

Capacities

  • People: 6
  • Rec. HP: 200-280hp
  • Max. HP: 2 x 140hp
  • Fuel: 280L

General

  • Type: Monohull dive/fishing
  • Material: GRP
  • Length: 6.48m
  • Beam: 2.4m
  • Weight: 1250kg
  • Deadrise: 22°

Engines

  • Make/model: Suzuki DF 140 A
  • Type: Fuel injected 4-cylinder, 4-stroke x 2
  • Weight: 184kg
  • Displacement: 2044cc
  • Gear ratio: 2.59:1
  • Propeller: 35cm x 60cm
Edencraft 6m Offshore Boat Test

Boat Test Edencraft 6m Offshore : RETURN TO EDEN
Author and photography: John Ford
Supplied and Manufactured by: Edencraft

This boat test ran in ISSUE 108 of BlueWater magazine – MARCH-APRIL 2015

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here