Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

Pegiva_33_27_0040.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0040.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0069.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0069.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0133.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0133.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0158.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0158.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0135.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0135.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0120.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0120.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0142.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0142.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0155.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0155.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0154.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0154.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0152.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0152.jpg
Pegiva_33_27_0002.jpg Pegiva_33_27_0002.jpg

The handcrafted Pegiva cabriolet teams terrific performance with pizzazz and panache, discovers DAVID LOCKWOOD

Pegiva Eclipse 33

If it's good enough for Billy Joel it's good enough for me. Well, actually, this is even better. You see, the boat-loving American singer and songwriter bought the handcrafted Australian-made Pegiva 24-foot runabout called the Retro Sun. The boat I'm driving - top down, wind in the hair, eyes streaming - is the latest sister ship, the 33ft Eclipse, and it's got a lot more sophistication or uptown girl about it.

Believing in the thrill of a good daytrip, Mick Smith from Aquabay Charters was the local talent responsible for our test drive. He procured both Pegiva runabouts and had them built to survey after identifying a hole in the market for luxury smaller charter craft on Sydney Harbour. Fittingly, he dubbed the Retro Sun, "I Will", and the Eclipse, "I Do". Weddings, parties, superyacht transfers, restaurant runs, and just about anything else are on the agenda.

With their Bahia Beige-coloured (titanium to me) metallic hulls, the Pegivas look the part and thrill underway. To sample the action, a Retro Sun charter starts at $450/h for up to four passengers, but the Eclipse is even better value at $550/h for up to eight passengers.

If you want to get behind the wheel and thrill to the drive, you can order an Eclipse 33, the subject of this test, from $594,098 with twin 300hp V8 MerCruiser 350 MPI petrol engines and Bravo 3 sterndrives. To make a business of it, the survey cost will add $24,000 but then you get to save the GST on the above price.

But with significant upgrades, most notably twin 250hp Steyr turbocharged diesel engines with Bravo 3 sterndrives in place of the standard petrol MerCruisers, the Eclipse as tested was a $656,098 package (excluding GST). For that you get a lot of driving pleasure and the Austrian-made motors, which boast excellent power-to-weight ratios and swift acceleration, are as refined as diesels come. Enjoy your day in the sun, or Eclipse, as it were.

Going one better, the test boat also had optional Vetus bow and sternthrusters for easy decamping from just about any big-city marina or pick-up spot, a windlass and chain counter for push-button anchoring, upgraded battery charger, extra underfloor fridge, wine cooler, custom LED lighting, deluxe cockpit table, and loads more to make your dayboating experiencing a real five-star fling.



Modern renditions of classic Sixties runabouts, Pegivas are built on the Gold Coast by the Wyllie family. Patriarch Gerry is no stranger to boats; he first built an 18ft carvel half-cabin launch by hand before crafting a succession of clinker cruisers and sailing craft. Then, some years later, he worked at a Sydney boatshed building a range of timber craft from 38ft flybridge cruisers to a 60ft ferry, six police boats and several yachts.

Yet the boat he really wanted to build was a chic runabout somewhat reminiscent of those Italian Rivas or the early-American Chris Crafts that have long been the preferred conveyances of Hollywood stars.

Gerry says he had always admired the beauty of the Mediterranean speedboats and it was just a matter of time before he would make that dream come true.

But not long after the Pegiva Retro Sun was launched about four years ago (test 2007), Wyllie started thinking about a bigger boat. He engaged designer Grant Robinson, a New Zealander now based in the USA, to draw the underwater lines and running surface. Bringing those drawings to life was Wyllie's doing. He is a real aesthete with a shipwright's conscience.



The hand-built fibreglass Eclipse hull has vinylester resin and balsa-cored top decks. The foredeck has the best Brazilian mahogany timber trim with silver ash inlay and it is coated time and again with polyurethane for a lustrous shine. The decks are topped with a spread of custom-made stainless steel fittings from docking lights to special retro engine vents, fuel tank vents to Pegiva insignias, with a swim ladder off the teak platform back aft and a bow cutwater up front that protects the stem when you nose into a beach.

The comely hull lines range from the flared bow to the aft spray rails and tumblehome at the transom. Rather than being built just for show, the Eclipse wowed this writer with an amazing smooth, dry and quiet ride. In fact, this is as obliging as any dayboat I have driven if not chauffeured aboard.



LED lighting shows the way aboard at night and, with clever fold-down internal steps, passengers can access the cockpit without standing on the plush tan-coloured leather upholstery. Indeed, the devil is very much in the detail on the Pegivas.

However, there are also plenty of examples of practicality by way of moulded toerails that help keep you contained on the foredeck, wipers on the windscreen, and terrific servicing room around the twin Steyrs. Equally, the boat performs in an ergonomic sense and you can trounce around with summer abandon.

Because the diesel engines are mounted well aft under the rear padded sunpad, which is big enough for two couples, and with a handheld hot and cold shower nearby, this is an exceedingly quiet boat. You can cruise and muse, carry on a conversation with the crew, and talk about the sights as you slip by without needing to raise your voice. Bravo!



Kicking back in the Eclipse is a treat. Six people can gather around the stylish (stowable) timber lunch table on U-shaped lounges with comfortable backrests. Nearby are port and starboard amenities centres with wine fridge, sink with hot and cold water, storage, Corian food-prep counters, even engraved Pegiva glasses are provided. Underfloor is another fridge - keeping the champagne cold is a priority - while a sound system is on hand for party mode. The sun worshipping comes gratis, but there's a trick foldaway canopy that turns the Eclipse into a cabriolet just in case.

Under the foredeck, meanwhile, is a cosy cabin with vee-berth for sleeping two adults, or sitting out of the weather, dry storage, and a sink and fully plumbed marine head. So if one thing leads to another and day turns to night you can head upriver and sleepover. Failing that, the crew will appreciate somewhere to tug on the bikini in private or splash the boots.



Yet the thing that most impressed this writer was the performance. The helm has the goods including leather seat, Livorsi steering wheel linked to hydraulic steering, Glendinning electronic controls, bow and sternthrusters controls, Raymarine plotter screen, and a racy spread of analogue engine gauges. There is also a remote for the Glendinning controls so the skipper can stand at the transom and reverse up to a superyacht to take on passengers.

Underscoring the hull's efficiency is a slippery planing speed of 9.6kts at 2000rpm. Smooth cruise was recorded at 3250rpm and 26 to 27kts, with top speed of 39kts at 4500rpm seeing us race from one end of the harbour to the next in the blink of a couple of streaming eyes. Utterly enjoyable.

Best of all, despite blustery conditions, there was no spray lashing the rear lounge, meaning your passengers travel in five-star comfort, and the ride was smooth, without a bang when traversing boat wake. The quietness of the twin Steyrs added to the enjoyment and diesel smoke was noticeable by its absence.

With exciting off-the-wheel response, you can rip the boat around to whoops of delight while enjoying unfettered views from the helm whether standing or seated. This is summer fun all the way for everyone aboard and it's probably high time boat-buff Billy Joel upgraded.


Specifications: Pegiva Eclipse 33



Approx $632,098, excluding GST and $24,000 for survey, with twin 250hp diesel Steyr engines and options upgrades



Diesel engine upgrade, bow and sternthrusters, hull colour, upgraded upholstery, windlass and chain counter, upgraded battery system, underfloor and wine fridges, LED lighting, deluxe cockpit table, bimini and covers, Glendinning remote, and more



Approx $594,098 w/ standard twin 300hp V8 MerCruiser 350 MPI petrol engines



Material: GRP w/ vinylester resin and balsa-cored top decks
Type: Variable deadrise hull
Length overall: 10.10m
Beam: 3.10m
Draft: 0.45m sterndrive up; 0.90m leg down
Displacement (light): Approx 4400kg



Berths: 2
Fuel: 500lt
Water: 110lt



Make/model: 2 x Steyr 256H
Type: Six-cylinder turbo-diesel
Displacement: 3.2lt
Rated HP: 250 at 4500rpm
Gearbox: Bravo Three sterndrive
Propellers: Alloy



Aquabay Charters
Phone: 0412 297 211
Fax: 02 4751 7417

For charter: Aquabay Charters, Eclipse 33 from $550 per hour, with up to eight people. Phone 0434 392 225



Pegiva Boats,
11-13 Reichert Drive,
Molendinar, Qld, 4214
Phone: (07) 5571 6113; 0418 870 851


Find Pegiva Eclipse boats for sale.


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.