REVIEW: DICKEY CUSTOM 750 XS

By: MATTHEW JONES, Photography by: MATTHEW JONES

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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Matthew Jones discovers why the unique Dickey Custom 750 XS Kiwi fishing boat won two highly-prized awards in NZ this year.

REVIEW: DICKEY CUSTOM 750 XS
DICKEY CUSTOM 750 XS REVIEW

Innovation isn’t a word taken lightly at Dickey Boats – in fact the Napier (NZ)-based company, led by Jason and Tristin Dickey, prides itself on it. "We don’t like looking to the left and right," says founder Jason. "We like looking at solutions for people and that’s where the innovation comes from. It’s a driver for the company, there’s no question about it."

With their brand-new model, the Custom 750 XS, Dickey Boats won the Overall Boat of the Show award after winning the Aluminium Fishing Boat Open class at the 2013 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show. Anyone who viewed this boat at the show will appreciate the reasons behind the judges’ decision. The superb attention to detail, outstanding quality and clever, innovative features are obvious as soon as you step aboard, but the performance is a treat you only get to savour once in open water, as we were fortunate enough to do in Napier soon after the show.

While not giving away too many secrets, Jason Dickey says, "Our hulls ride so well because our focus is on build quality. Everything we do is for ride, performance and economy – everything. At every step in the design and build process we strive to improve those three key characteristics."

The Custom range is built using the same construction techniques as the larger Dickey Semifly range – basically, they’re all built like ships using Dickey Boats’ trademarked space frame interlocking structure, which creates an unyielding, quiet and superb-riding hull.

The standout ride is a culmination of multiple factors, with the internal structure, finish, layout, centre of gravity and the bow/hull design all playing a part. The bow with its fine entry parts the wave before the boat rides over it, considerably smoothing out the ride. Dickey hulls also exhibit impressive dynamic stability, allowing its boats to run at 28 to 30kts comfortably through a messy beam-on sea. The large downturned chine and balance of the boat ensure it maintains a level attitude and grips exceptionally hard in tight turns.

Dickey Boats offers a fully-custom in-house design service for your imagination to run wild. It fabricates as many components in-house as possible for two reasons: quality control and assurance of parts in the future. Every Dickey boat built is kept on file, so owners can be sure that if they do manage to break something the company can make them a new one.

Following the builder’s first sale to Switzerland, both the Dickey Custom 750 and 800 will soon be CE certified, with the full range to follow suit.



EXTENDED STAY

The new Dickey Custom 750 XS (XS stands for extended stay) is based on the acclaimed Custom 750 blueprint, with cleverly added features to allow four people to enjoy comfortable, prolonged good-times on the water. No one likes having to pull-up the bedding in the night to use the toilet in full view, so an enclosed head was a must. The infill for the front berth has been skilfully designed to remain in place when the toilet door is opened.

In the cockpit the front seat extends out to seat two. The seat extension is strong enough that you can sit on it while underway – this also allows four people to dine at the table, which easily folds down so the double berth can be made up. A sociable seating arrangement is a Dickey Boats’ hallmark. Comfort is also paramount and everyone gets a footrest whichever way they’re sitting.

Clever engineering sees the rear seat (its backrest pivots to allow either front-facing dining or rear-facing for watching lures) flip up to reveal the gas cooker and sink, or flip down to form a double berth. The position of the galley remains nicely situated within the hardtop, so you can cook or make a coffee while remaining protected from the elements.

The multipurpose road cover allows tent poles to fit into the angled transom rodholders, transforming the centre piece into an awning for added comfort at anchor. Classy LED side lighting creates a relaxing ambience after sunset. A pull-out freshwater shower retracts neatly into the transom and there’s 60lt of freshwater aboard.

Another requirement for staying away at sea is storage and there’s plenty. The Dickeys recently got to enjoy the fruits of their labour spending five nights on the Hauraki Gulf with their two young children. Jason says that even with all the water toys and extra luggage requirements of small children, storage was never a problem.

The helm provides an entertainment hub and this talented boat is also a wireless hot spot allowing tablets and smartphones to tap into internet access and remotely control the intelligent electronics package (Fusion stereo system and Raymarine HybridTouch screen).



OFFSHORE EASY

I met the Dickey Boats team in Napier, where Jason and Tristin were treating their staff to a day’s fishing. Due to great customer relations we had use of privately-owned Jack, a stunning Dickey Semifly 32, as a photo boat. Onboard Jack all eyes were on the Dickey Custom 750 XS as the early morning light danced around its superyacht-like hull finish.

At 30kts both boats comfortably sped through two to three metres of swell and a metre of opposing chop. We were on course to the Lachlan Ridge some 43nm offshore. Once at the ridge I jumped off the 32 photo boat to join Jason and test the Dickey Custom 750’s fishability firsthand. The 15.4in Raymarine HybridTouch with CHIRP technology did a superb job of locating the ridge rising out of 130m of water (it also gave a crystal-clear reading of the bottom at that depth while travelling at 30kts).

We spent an enjoyable few hours bottom-fishing baits with mixed results before Jason dug into his tackle box and handed me a jig. No sooner had I joked, "This is how they do it on TV", than I was being railed by a solid kingfish peeling line from 75m below.

The 750 XS made the ensuing battle relatively easy. Anglers can brace themselves hard against the thigh-height gunwales, while the flooding keel and large downturned chines provide excellent stability – even with a two- to three-metre swell beam on and three excited blokes on one side.

Multiple line-peeling runs later, the gaff went into a 17kg bad boy and kingfish steaks were on the menu for dinner. We tail-wrapped the kingie and safely bled it in the outboard pod livebait tank before placing it in the icebox under the transom. Underneath the excellent swivelling-lid baitboard is a second livebait tank, which we used for dead-bait storage on the day. As a nice touch Dickey Boats custom makes each baitboard with high-quality, food-grade plastic cutting boards.

The deck tread provided good grip, was comfortable underfoot and also proved easy to clean, even when covered in fish blood – thanks also to the saltwater washdown system and self-draining scuppers.

Jason is somewhat of a gamefishing fanatic, so a gamechair bolts to the floor and there’s no walkthrough transom on his boat – for both serious fishing and child-safety reasons. There’s a clever removable step that attaches to the parcel shelf for an easy step down into the cockpit.

A seriously cool hand-wash system is located on each side of the hull, which is simply operated by leaning on a button with your knee – very clever indeed. It saves having to lean perilously over the side with passing waves soaking your sleeves.



SURREAL EXPERIENCE

With the sun getting low we called time on a thoroughly enjoyable day’s fishing and engaged the Lewmar windlass, letting it do the hard yards with around 100m of anchor warp to retrieve – it didn’t miss a beat.

Relaxing back into the comfortable soft-rider helm seat puts a whole lot of toys and a seriously capable boat at your fingertips. The driving experience goes something like this: put the throttle down, feel the responsiveness of the big V6 Honda outboard combined with the slippery, soft-riding and unyielding hull. Then push the throttle past your usual comfort zone, relax and try to stop the grin from forming. It really is that good.

For most of the 1.5-hour trip home we had a metre of chop on the front quarter, with rolling two- to three-metre swells and comfortably sat on 25 to 30kts the whole way. Jason says he chose the 250hp Honda four-stroke outboard for its superb fuel economy – it’s also quiet, smooth and very responsive. Helming the Dickey Custom 750 XS back to Napier into the setting sun, surrounded by dolphins with
Jack on our stern quarter, was a truly surreal experience.

Dickey Boats manufactures its own high-quality alloy trailers fitted with rubber skids to provide a secure cradle. We launched at dawn and retrieved at dusk by simply driving off and then back on again.



THE TRADE-A-BOAT VERDICT

The Custom 750 XS combines clever innovation, great performance, a superb ride and a stunning finish in both a family and fisherman friendly package. Its superior versatility means you can take the family away one weekend and the boys offshore the next – either way, it’s equally capable and fully customisable.



[HIGHS]

› Super ride

› Stunning finish

› Great fishing/family boat

› Stable and soft riding



[LOWS]

› Standard 60lt water tank maybe a little light for some families





[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

Even though this is the third and smallest Dickey boat I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing, I’m still extremely impressed. It’s certainly in my top five, along with a couple of other Dickey boats...





DICKEY CUSTOM 750 XS SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$195,000



GENERAL

MATERIAL 5083 marine grade aluminium

TYPE Planing monohull

LENGTH 7.9m

BEAM 2.5m

DEADRISE 20°°

WEIGHT 2300kg (dry)



CAPACITIES

FUEL 300lt

WATER 60lt



ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Honda BF250

TYPE V6 petrol outboard

RATED HP 250 at 5800rpm

DISPLACEMENT 3.6lt



SUPPLIED BY

Dickey Boats,

28 Mersey Street,

Pandora, Napier, NZ

Phone: +64 6 834 1310; +64 21 577 781

Email: info@dickeyboats.co.nz

Website: www.dickeyboats.co.nz

 

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #443, August/September 2013

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