Pleysier 38 Flybridge My Lure Boat Test

Pleysier 38 Flybridge My Lure Boat Test

With its striking deep-vee hull, clean lines and soft curves, the 12m flybridge cruiser My Lureis unmistakably from the drawing board of legendary designer David Pleysier. However, instead of a traditional twin-screw power system, the ground-breaking My Lure runs a single shaft-drive diesel for substantial savings in running costs, coupled with a bow thruster to maintain directional control at low speeds. Jeff Webster joined My Lure’s owner, Rob New, aboard his stunning Pleysier 38 to discover the development of this innovative craft.

Pleysier 38 Flybridge My Lure Boat Test

Boat Test Pleysier 38 Flybridge My Lure: MY LURE
Author and photography: Jeff Webster

This boat test ran in ISSUE 125 of BlueWater magazine – JULY-AUG 2017

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

In gamefishing circles, David Pleysier-designed fishing boats are revered. In a career spanning five decades, Pleysier has designed and/or built some truly classic gameboats, including Pannawonica, Cervantes, Sea Strike, Broadbill, Pacemaker, Kamari,Spirit of Brisbane and Amokura. These boats have been operated by some of the sport’s best-known and most successful skippers and anglers, including Sir Garrick Agnew, Bill Edwards, Geoff Ferguson, John Johnson, Bob Brookes and more.

Another, and perhaps lesser-known Pleysier is a 12m flybridge cruiser called My Lure. Designed in 1998, yet not completed until 2011, My Lure is one of the most recent Pleysier creations and perhaps one of the last boats from this renowned designer. That said, David, who classes himself as semi-retired these days, was hard at work on a new project when I contacted him recently. It’s expected to be completed within the next 12 months.

My Lure bears all the hallmarks of a Pleysier design, including a proven deep-vee hull, the gorgeous rolled bridge design, curved and radiused transom corners and coverboards, as well as lightweight core epoxy composite construction. In my opinion, this is one of the best looking of the Pleysiers –and as one of the last, this is quite fitting.

The Planning

While My Lure may share design cues from previous Pleysiers, mechanically it is quite different and in fact was something of a prototype. Instead of a traditional twin diesel engine shaft drive power system, My Lure was designed for a single engine.

According to David, My Lure came off the drawing boards in mid-1998 following the completion of the 12m twin-screw flybridge gameboat Shakara and prior to the stunning Pleysier-designed, Assegai-Marine-built 17m Amokura.

After the launch of Bob Brookes’ Shakara in 1998, David said he was approached by Rob New of Marine Castings who asked if he could design him a similar looking boat, but powered with a single engine of around 450hp. The boat needed to be economical to run and provide the ability to manoeuvre while backing-up on gamefish.

David completed the design, then he and Rob commenced construction in core epoxy composite in late 1998. However, at this point they still had no clear idea as to how to achieve sufficient directional control to chase active gamefish in reverse with a single engine.

They decided on a deep tunnel at the stern to minimise draft and to lower shaft angle. David also found inspiration for a revolutionary horseshoe-shaped rudder which he believed would deliver exceptional directional abilities at manoeuvring speeds in reverse. My Lure was to be the prototype.

In the end, Rob opted to stay with a conventional rudder system together with a bow thruster, as he wanted to be able to repair the rudder himself if needed. With a traditional system he would be able to do so through his Marine Castings business which specialises in manufacturing custom propellers, shafts, couplings and rudders for the marine industry.

The Build

When the project was first mooted, Rob initially hoped to complete the construction over a three- to five-year period. However, marriage, children and work slowed things up a bit and My Lure did not hit the water until 2011.

During the first few years, My Lure was constructed out of a shed in the Brisbane suburb ofCornubia, with David assisting Rob with the build of the hull, deck and fuel tanks. David subsequently left to commence the build of another single-engined prototype later called Beluga One.

Much of the hull and deck of My Lure was completed during those first few years. The hull bottom was built using a lightweight but strong foam-cored epoxy composite. Strip-planked cedar sheathed in epoxy and glass was used for the sides, while the cabin/super-structure was later completed with both foam- and cedar-cored epoxy composite.

Following David’s departure, My Lure was moved to Rob’s own house in Manly West and construction continued steadily in his backyard over a number of years with the assistance of a number of well-known shipwrights and boatbuilders.

For the finishing touches, the hull was moved to Maryborough, where it was eventually launched in 2011.

Mechanical Advantage

During the design stages of My Lure, Rob had intended to power his new Pleysier with a single Caterpiller 3208TA V8 turbo-charged diesel. However, it was about this time in the early 2000s when diesel engines really started to shrink in size and weight that the newly released Yanmar diesel caught his eye. The model was the 6CXM-GTE2 turbo-charged, intercooled six-cylinder inline 4-stroke diesel. The new engine weighed just 825kg sans gearbox, yet the output was a considerable 493hp at 2900rpm.

The power-to-weight ratio for the Yanmar 6CXM-GTE2 engine was class-leading at the time, and still stands up pretty well. The equivalent Yanmar today is the 6CX530, which delivers 523hp for much the same weight and dimensions.

The Yanmar diesel was coupled to a ZF 280A gearbox with a 1.77:1 reduction ratio with trolling valves and ZF electronic controls. Rob installed the engine himself and made the propeller shaft, coupling and rudder gear. The prop is a ZF CNC-machined four blade with right-hand rotation, 64cm diameter and 61cm pitch.

Mounted within the tunnel beneath the stern of My Lure, the propeller shaft has a running angle of just six degrees for maximum efficiency, a shallow draft and improved performance over conventional shaft-drive installations.

Shaft Tunnel Performance

This efficiency is reflected in My Lure’s performance figures. When it was first launched, My Lure could reach a top speed of 30 knots and cruised effortlessly at around 18 knots. These speeds were attained with low fuel and without the hardtop, clears or outriggers. In full running trim, with half fuel and water tanks, My Lure will run to 27 knots.

By themselves, these performance figures are unremarkable, with most modern gameboats achieving these speeds with ease. The difference is that they are generally dual-engined and have double the power and consume twice the amount of fuel. In contrast, My Lure achieves 27-knot top speeds with a single 500hp Yanmar diesel.

The secret to the performance is the tunnel-mounted six-degree-angled shaft drive, combined with an efficient, albeit deep-vee hull, along with My Lure’s lightweight core epoxy composite construction. Consider that My Lure weighs just 5500kg dry and 6700kg with 1400 litres of fuel, 450 litres offreshwater and 50m of anchor chain in the bow.

During our test of My Lure, we were unable to match the boat’s original performance numbers, achieving a top speed of 24.9 knots at 2800rpm. However, the boat had not been slipped for nearly two years and the hull was dirty! Given a clean hull and a lighter breeze (the boat was running a full set of speed-robbing clears) I believe we would get very close to Rob’s original 27-knot top speed.

What is probably more impressive than the speed of the boat is the economy and efficiency of the Yanmar single-engine installation. I was not able to run fuel consumption tests, but to give you an idea of My Lure’s performance efficiency, when Rob cruised from his berth in Birkdale, Brisbane north to Mooloolaba a few years ago, the Yanmar diesel consumed just 130 litres of fuel. In contrast, some of his friends, who were accompanying him on the same journey and running dual-engined gameboats, consumed more than double that amount.

Added Family Functionality

When Rob originally commissioned David to design My Lure, he intended to use the boat for offshore gamefishing. However, after marrying and having kids he realised he would be spending more time onboard with his family. With this in mind, he modified the layout and design to make it more family friendly. For example, some of the interior bulkheads were repositioned to enlarge the toilet and shower compartments, as well as to provide more storage space.

Having now viewed the interior of My Lure, there is not a lot I would change for serious gamefishing. The cockpit remains unchanged from the original design, and it’s a ripper. At 2.25m long x 3.25m wide, it’s just about the perfect shape and size. The coverboards are wide and all the corners are rounded off in the classic David Pleysier style. The cockpit freeboard is just the right height too, at between 740 and 760mm. You can stand against the gunwale with great security and with no real need for any toe-rails. A 100-litre livebait tank graces the centre of the transom, but it too is rounded so you don’t bruise your thighs when working around it.

Steps and a stainless-steel ladder on the port side provide access to the bridge and helm station, which itself is surprisingly compact and simple in design. There is space for engine instrumentation, radio, a compass and Garmin fishfinder/GPS, but not a lot else.

Other bridge features include a passenger bench seat to port, a small removable fridge to starboard, storage lockers, and a full set of clears with zip-out sections and drop curtains.

The skipper’s view into the cockpit with the rear curtains and clears in place is slightly impeded, but they are easily removed for gamefishing. Rob leaves the full ‘oxygen tent’ up most of the time to provide shelter for family outings and reef fishing trips.

Comfort And Class

My Lure is designed to sleep five people comfortably. In the forward stateroom is a large island double bed surrounded by storage cupboards. The bed and cupboards are trimmed with beautifully varnished cherry timber, adding warmth and class to the cabin and surrounds.

Cherry trimming is also used throughout the interior to line the cabin windows, bench tops, galley, tables, doorways and storage cupboards. It is not only practical in a construction sense, but also aesthetically very pleasing.

Aft of the forward stateroom there is a large head and shower compartment on the port side, as well as a double-berth sleeping area to starboard, again with hanging cupboards and plenty of storage compartments. The two individual bunk beds are larger than you would normally find; the upper berth measuring 1.95m x 880mm wide.

There is an additional convertible berth in the saloon area. On the starboard side, just inside the double cockpit/saloon doorway, there is a settee which converts into a good size berth running fore and aft. Opposite, there is another L-shaped seating area set before a folding timber dinette table.

The u-shaped galley is quite compact, but very well equipped, including ample bench space, dual sinks with running water, Dometic fridge/freezer, microwave oven, two-burner stove with splash-back and fan, as well as lots of storage cupboards.

The main switchboard is situated opposite the galley, along with a bulkhead-mounted flat-screen television and more timber storage drawers.

Exceptionally Economical

The Yanmar 6CXM-GTE2 and Mase 5kVa generator reside under the floor of the saloon. For servicing and maintenance, the carpet and floor panels are easily removed to expose the engine compartment. While it is a little awkward to climb down into the engine room from the saloon, another more convenient access point is located beneath a hatch behind the cockpit doors.

A lazarette/storage compartment in the cockpit provides access to the steering gear, pumps, plumbing and sea-cocks.

I was not able to give My Lure much of test during our run on Moreton Bay as conditions were calm, with only a slight breeze ruffling the bay’s surface. That said, Pleysier-designed hulls are well proven and I have no doubt that My Lure’s deep-vee hull (20 degrees at the transom) would prove comfortable and well-mannered in most sea conditions. Rob, who has obviously spent a lot of time aboard his boat in varying conditions, assured me that it handles most conditions with ease and is particularly soft-riding into a choppy sea.

I noted earlier that the hull is also efficient underway. Rob can cruise the boat at around 2150rpm for a speed of 15.8 knots, with the Yanmar consuming just 33 to 35L/ph. With a full fuel tank this would give My Lure a maximum cruising range of 618 nautical miles on the 1400-litre fuel tank (less 5% for line losses). This is exceptional efficiency and a very good argument for a single diesel engine installation.

Single-Engine Manoeuvrability

Poor low speed manoeuvrability has always been the Achilles heel of single-shaft-drive powerboats, particularly when running in reverse. In My Lure, Rob has countered this by fitting a bow thruster and he is certainly adept at using it.

You will recall that in the design stages Rob considered running David’s prototype horseshoe-shaped rudder to improve direction control in reverse. He ultimately fitted a conventional rudder, but together with the bow thruster to change direction it works pretty well.

In reverse, My Lure has a natural tendency to turn to port following the direction of the propeller, but Rob has been able to counter this with the bow thruster. My Lure still does not have quite the low-speed directional control of a twin-screw gameboat, but it is not too far off.

My Lure is still able to reverse pretty quickly, and this will prove invaluable for backing-down on gamefish. The shaft tunnel along the keel of the boat provides a significant amount of lift in reverse, to the extent that you can feel the stern rise up when the boat is throttled backwards at speed.

A Classic In The Making

The My Lure build project was a long one, taking more than a decade to complete, with construction undertaken as time permitted. However, Rob has no regrets and now struggles to think how he could replace the boat.

As arguably one of the last and best of the Pleysiers, My Lure could well be a classic in the making. It has certainly fulfilled all of Rob’s boating needs and requirements to date. With its efficient hull design, practical interior layout and very low, single diesel engine running costs, My Lure is an inspirational new recipe for a great family cruiser and a very competent gamefishing rig.

Highlights

  • Enduring, classic Pleysier design.
  • Single-engine economy and running costs. 
  • Comfortable ride, easy handling. 
  • Bow thruster improves manoeuvrability. 
  • Lightweight composite construction. 
  • Practical interior layout. 
  • Wide, uncluttered cockpit.
  • Family boat as well as practical gamefisher.

Capacities

  • Fuel capacity: 1400 litres
  • Freshwater: 450 litres
  • Livebait tank: 100 litres

General

  • Type: Monohull flybridge gameboat
  • Material: Composite (foam and cedar core epoxy glassed)
  • Length overall: 12m
  • Length waterline: 10.6m
  • Beam: 3.6m
  • Deadrise: 20 degrees
  • Weight: 5500kg (dry)
  • Weight (fuel & water): 6700kg

Engines

  • Make/model: Yanmar 6CXM-GTE2
  • Type: Inline six-cylinder turbocharged 4-stroke diesel inboard
  • Maximum rated hp: 493hp
  • Displacement: 7.4 litres
  • No. cylinders: 6
  • Weight: 825kg (less gearbox)
  • Gearbox: ZF280A – 1.77:1 reduction ratio
  • Propeller: ZF 64cm diameter x 61cm pitch, 4-blade, RH x 85
  • Propeller shaft angle: 6 degrees
Pleysier 38 Flybridge My Lure Boat Test

Boat Test Pleysier 38 Flybridge My Lure: MY LURE
Author and photography: Jeff Webster

This boat test ran in ISSUE 125 of BlueWater magazine – JULY-AUG 2017

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