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This truly is a story of the devil and the deep blue sea



For a person who has only been into fishing for a short time Martin Burchill has had a lot of boats. Martin decided he wanted to get into fishing about four years ago and as a member of the Warringah Anglers Fishing Club his needs were very specific. Firstly, the fishermen there launch off the beach at Narrabeen on Sydney's Northern Beaches. Then, as Martin tells it, he likes to fish every week even if the sea is a bit rough - when most folk are at home in front of the fire. So, his boat needed to be tough and with good protection from the elements.



The journey to his 520 Sea Devil saw him purchase and sell five other boats where the various models he experimented with were either too small, too wet, fell apart, were too hard to launch, or were too unstable in the swells. One boat, which was recommended by a friend, he bought new and only had for a week before deciding it wasn't the right one for him.

Then, when he had a spin in a Sea Devil owned by another club member he liked it straight away. On further investigation he was most impressed by the dedication to strength and quality that Fred Law at Sea Devil Boats was promising. While not a household name the company has been in business for 25 years. Fred builds boat to order at his Ulladulla factory on the NSW South Coast and has a niche market for off-the-beach boats and a model dedicated to spear fishing. His larger model 6m boat has a good reputation in the rough-and-tumble abalone fishing industry.



Martin discovered that Sea Devils are built tough and to order using a full hand lay-up. The hull gets seven layers of mat, plus extra layers in the keel section, which take the thickness to 23mm for maximum strength. Dragging these hulls across the sand to retrieve them is not going to be a problem.

The transom receives similar heavy-duty treatment using three layers of 15mm ply with two layers of glass between each and another two inside the transom.

A feature of the hull design is a water-ballast system for additional stability at rest. A flow-through section under the floor allows 200lt of water to settle in the hull at rest, which runs out as soon as the boat moves forward. Water flows through a triangular section in the transom with an opening to two breathers in the bow.

The boat has a purposeful look with its solid wave-breaker and black and white hull. The finish of the glass is high-class and all fittings are top quality 316-grade stainless steel.

Martin has made modifications to the boat and trailer to make it easier to launch from the beach. These include an extended section at the back of the trailer for easier loading from the beach and a release key for the motor, which allows it to flip

up when it hits the sand. His motor is an extra-long-shaft allowing the power head to be set higher out of the water.

The transom has large flat sections either side of the motor well, which accommodates a large, plumbed livebait tank. The padded coamings give good support. Two full-length shelves run along the side and four stainless steel rodholders and pop-up stainless steel cleats sit atop the sidedeck. A removable anchor light fits into the transom section, but is stored in a special bracket under the sidedeck when not in use. Twin batteries fitted under the transom take care of the starting and house circuits and a 4542lt/h Tsunami pump is fitted in the bilge.

A 120lt marine-grade aluminum fuel tank is fitted under the floor and has two breather hoses.

At the bow is a low cuddy cabin with storage bins each side of the deep anchorwell. A solid wave-breaker wraps around the top of the cabin giving a feeling of security and has a very strong, built-in handgrip. There's no access to the bow, so anchoring is done from the cockpit using a retrieval line from the cockpit. The system works well and offers an added level of safety at sea, although there could be times when it might be useful to be able to get to the bow.

A well-made custom bimini from Pro Trim in Dee Why, offers plenty of protection from the elements and adds to the look of the vessel. Removable clears can be fitted in three sections to the forward and side sections of the cabin.

A full-width dash runs across behind the wave-breaker. The owner has fitted a Lowrance DDS7 chartplotter/sounder and has a backup GPS with all his old fishing marks.

Swivelling Rayline LB9 Pacific pedestal seats are adjustable for height and offer very good support.

A storage area, or killtank, is fitted into the floor at the front end of the cockpit.



Driving the boat in the protected bay showed she was a willing performer.

The Sea Devil gets on the plane at 16kmh (8.6kts) where the fuel consumption is 12lt/h. A slow cruise around 35kmh (18.9kts) consumes 18lt/h. She seems most happy at 4500rpm where we achieved 42kmh (22.7kts) at 23lt/h. Trolling speed used 4lt/h.

At wide open throttle the 115hp Evinrude E-TEC had her hitting 55kmh (29.7kts) at 5900rpm where it sucks in 30lt/h. Aided by hydraulic steering the boat tracks true and turns smoothly and safely.

The Evinrude outboard is a great match for the boat giving plenty of performance and economy. This motor's quiet even at high revs where you can still carry on a conversation without shouting.

Once we were out of the bay and into open-ocean we were confronted by a slow 1m swell and a small chop. Heading into the sea at around 40kmh (21.6kts) was comfortable. The boat felt solid and there were no rattles, or bangs from the hull, even when airborne after coming off a wave, plus she lands gently.

The boat turns easily and safely in all sea directions and rode straight and well in the following sea.

The sitting position seems to be the best place to drive the boat from in most situations and there's great support into sharp turns. Even across decent swells the ride is soft enough not to demand standing and bracing. Standing gives a bit more visibility if you're looking for fish and offers good access to the wheel and controls.

Settling down to see how the boat behaved in its intended role, we tried a spot about a mile off Barrenjoy and managed to find a few small flathead. The boat was stable at rest and offered plenty of room for two of us to fish in comfort. Deciding the spot was unproductive, Martin headed out into deeper water. With him at the helm we ran about five nautical miles to sea at full speed, which I took to be his usual pace, but even as a passenger the boat still felt soft riding and stable.

Fishing the deeper water raised a couple of bigger fish and allowed plenty of time to evaluate the boat as a fishing platform. It was very stable at rest. This was no doubt enhanced by the water ballast that did its job without the sound of water slopping around below.

Martin said he was very happy with his choice. He feels confident that he has found the right combination of size, strength and sea handling. He added that this was a good thing, because he had probably reached the outer limits of understanding from his family in his search for the perfect boat.



Soft riding

Strong construction

Angler friendly



Anchor handling


Price as tested: $49,500



Type: Cuddy

Material: GRP

Length overall: 5.2m

Deadrise: 23°

Weight: 600kg



Fuel: 125lt

Rec. max. HP: 115hp



Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC

Type: Two-stroke V4 w/
direct injection

Rated HP: 115hp

Displacement: 1727cc

Weight: 170kg



Ulladulla Marine,

335 Aroo Road,

Ulladulla, NSW, 2539

Ph: (02) 44541233; 0402 300551





Originally tested in TrailerBoat 251.


Find Sea Devil boats for sale.


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