BLOG - Scimitar and SeaQuest in the spring
We're on the water again, testing new versions of two old favourites.
There’s a spring in the step, we’re loaded with armfuls of victuals again, and the tykes are snapping at our shins. This will be a five-day sortie aboard the 42-footer, spilling into Monday purely because the forecast says 26C tops. And I’ve been smiting the keyboard, so I’m ahead of schedule for a change. Writing is like that. Pulling teeth one day, child’s play the next.
The fact we’ve been interstate on assignment for the past two weeks has helped. We winged it to the Gold Coast and drove up to Brisbane via a convoluted route thanks to a GPS left in no-toll mode. Thankfully, you don’t get slugged with them on the water. Yet. The way we’re headed, tolls will come, I reckon.
Anyway, the impetus was a revisit of two unsinkable Australian-built boats we first tested by yours truly in the mid-1990s. I got back behind the wheel of the latest SeaQuest 3000 cabin cruiser with twin 200hp Verado outboards. It’s an interesting boat, with nothing else much like it, that is surely tried and tested more than a decade on.
Developed by F1 race-boat buff Bob Trask, the SeaQuest left an impression. I remember well our inaugural test all those years ago when we shot across to Tangalooma Wrecks inside Moreton Island with an esky full of fresh prawns and a model who must have been sporting the first set of silicon floaties fitted in Australia.
I photographed the boat through the rusted porthole of a wreck, shot the model in a pink bikini down below, and raced up the top of the sandhills, hopping away from the March flies, to get some overheads. They were great pics and, moreover, testimony to a good day aboard a clever compact cruiser.
But do you remember 1997? How could you forget it? It was the year Tony Bullimore was plucked alive from his yacht five days after it capsized in the deep Southern Ocean. Thanks heavens for that chocolate bar and bottle of water, if not sheer British bulldog determination.
But it was also when a bunch of colleagues and I awarded the less well-known Scimitar 1010 our prestigious Australian Powerboat of the Year award. The boat we judged back then was number one. Fast forward 14 years and I’m back aboard. Only this is Scimitar 65. In the interim, I’ve tested the 1010 on one other occasion. That was mid-2002 on Pittwater after the clever catamaran underwent its first round of modifications. Actually, it’s been more evolution than revolution, as the Scimitar was always ahead of its time.
After those twin Moreton Bay tests, it was onwards and upwards to Maroochydore for some R&R about the river and along the beachfront. I contemplated renting a tinnie or even a Hobie cat, but a couple of flicks of a long-dead pilchard off the beach provided the fix — a couple of bream and a lone flathead.
Besides, everyone’s champing at the bit now to make tracks in our boat. I knew that was coming. Spring in Sydney is among the very best boating seasons, even if the water is bracing and you need a shot to muster the courage to dive in.
On that note, I have to fly or, rather, cast the lines. We need a beach anchorage. Then we’ll feed the rug rats and paddle to shore. I might make some water with the desalinator and arc up the barbecue, too. Then I’ll celebrate with a sundowner on deck and crank up the Bose without fear of upsetting neighbours. The just-add-water fix without a manic Monday.
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