REVIEW: BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESS LAUNCH

By: JOHN WILLIS, Photography by: JOHN WILLIS

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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The Bancroft Bay 30 Express Launch looks may look like a stylish, if slow-moving launch, but beneath that smart exterior lies a powerful heart.

Bancroft Bay’s owner and boatbuilder Michael Boag has employed the proven design concepts of commercial fast planing vessels – a traditional full keel protecting the propeller and rudder that gives surprising performance, as well as shallow water access. All up, Michael has combined classic boatbuilding techniques to create a real blueprint for custom artisans. His concept, design and composite engineering was supported by naval architect Chris Tucker to produce excellent balance and layout. On the water she sits just right with her 3m beam and 0.9 metre draft. The weight distribution seems near perfect with a rear mounted V-drive configuration and a very flat, even attitude.

 

BANCROFT BAY BOAT COMPANY

BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESS LAUNCH

There’s nothing opulent about Sirens’ running costs. She boasts a snappy freshwater cooled Yanmar 6LPA-STP2 turbocharged and intercooled diesel that throws down a gutsy 315hp at 3800rpm. It drives through a Yanmar KMH50V 2.47:1 V-drive and a 38mm stainless shaft with PPS dripless stern gland, and five-blade bronze propeller. This ensures you arrive at your personal watery Utopia with fuel to spare and savings in your pocket.

The traditional Express Saloon style is reminiscent of the lobster boats of north east America. The traditional hull proudly bears an Alaskan styled extended express cabin, albeit with a splash of modern flair. There are beautiful timber trims, beech decks and accents throughout the boat, including the foredeck where we find a bowsprit, plough anchor and a Muir anchorwinch.

The side decks are minimal, yet easy to walk around, particularly with the security of full-length beech handles on the cabin roof. A strong, single piece stainless steel rail defines the bow enclosure. The long, flat roof extends halfway over the rear deck and the windows are large enough to suit the overall demeanour. The hardtop has a navigation mast as well as room for a raft or water toys as desired. Her creamy beige gelcoat, make-up, timber trims and accessories combine for a beautiful presentation worthy of any red carpet celebration.

 

LAYOUT

BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESS LAUNCH INTERIOR

The eye candy continues to the stern, where she’s wonderfully proportioned and easy to live with. Boarding is simple, via the transom platform and rear doorway but the most striking aspect is the beautiful beech flooring and inlays that Michael has obviously spent many loving hours perfecting with some artistic carpentry. As it is a rear V-drive configuration, the stern coaming, icebox and lounge take up most of the transom space but it’s in no way restrictive. Access to the engine bay is quick and simple with fibreglass internal frames and hatches for the supporting structure.

The rear lounge extends to an L-shape up the port side. It’s trimmed with plush marine leather-look upholstery and enclosed by the roof overhang and detachable side clears.  All of the seating is fairly upright but very comfortable. The starboard side coamings in front of the rear door are beech trimmed too and feature a neat pull-out table for entertaining. This is a great idea, however the fold-out legs need a little rethink as they aren’t entirely stable. We can’t have you spilling your drinks on the way to the awards ceremony now can we? Further forward to port is the solid timber galley. It’s a relatively simple affair with a bar fridge/freezer, single burner gas cooktop and a stainless sink with hot/cold mixer tap. If it were mine, I’d probably select a more comprehensive galley for extended living, however the design brief was for a dayboat and hence suits the owners perfectly.

 

HELM

BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESS LAUNCH HELM

The vision around the boat from the helm is very good with three beech trimmed windows framing the scene forward and large curved glass sliding windows on the sides. When you consider that every stick of timber in the boat has been hand shaped, you come to respect this labour of love. The helm is relatively high and I’d probably like a footrest, but otherwise it’s comfortable and workable. Sticking with simplicity, the dash folds open to reveal the standard Yanmar gauge panel and a Humminbird GPS/plotter/sounder. This locks away precious instruments from prying eyes while on your mooring. I loved the combination stainless steel spoke and  cherrywood steering wheel, too – very classy and very beautiful. The controls for the Bennett trim tabs are on the horizontal helm surface to the right.

 

BERTHS

BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESSLAUNCH BERTHS

Designed as a custom day boat, the accommodation is fairly simple, but in saying that, I could very easily see myself spending a week with a loved one cruising the Gippsland waterways. Up forward is a largish V-berth in the lockable cabin. There’s not much else in there and it could use a bit more storage but it is well presented, warm and inviting. There is a very small bathroom to the port side with a pump out toilet and a hot/cold shower providing the necessities, but you will need to pop the hatch in the passenger dash if you want to get anywhere near an upright position while showering. I think I’ll stick with the hot/cold pull-out shower on the rear deck. But, we need to remind ourselves that this is designed very much as a day boat, and as such, it’s a beautifully presented and very inviting one at that.

 

PERFORMANCE

BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESS LAUNCH ENGINE

From first appearances you would be easily forgiven for assuming that Sirens boasts a displacement hull – I did. But no, she’s a single diesel V-drive with a planing hull. She’s powered by that tremendous Yanmar inline six-cylinder diesel giving her the power, the torque, the efficiency and the fuel consumption that come from one of the most technologically advanced new generation engines.

Given the boat’s profile, style and 4500kg weight, I certainly didn’t expect the speedy top end of 27kts at 3750rpm. This speed was further confirmed in an official survey by Ashworth Maritime Services when she was still being run in and with a clean bum. The independent marine surveyors also noted: "The vessel performed smoothly with ample effortless power to attain planing and cruising speed".

The vessel would perform well in heavy weather with the fine entry bow. Using trim tabs is essential to attain premium trim for balanced performance. Bow and sternthrusters make for ease of docking." I couldn’t say it any better myself; I would add though, that it’s suitably quiet with almost no turbo or V-drive scream, nor is there any aspiration, vibration, drive or harmonic noise.

 

THE VERDICT

BANCROFT BAY 30 BOAT

The Bancroft Bay 30 Express Launch is a traditional boat with modern accents, technology and surprisingly, a sportsboat temperament. She has wonderful yesteryear charisma with the layout and prestige to host that Hollywood after-party. She hides great seaworthy ability and construction quality behind that alluring outward presentation, and would be entirely suitable to break free from the enclosed lake environment to challenge the infamous waters of Bass Strait.

 

HIGHS

  • Mouldings (all fibreglass construction)
  • Aesthetically beautiful
  • Gentleman’s cruiser with grunt
  • Premium hand built construction
  • Rear platform
  • Entertaining, liveable layout
  • Power selection

 

LOWS

  • Cockpit table legs
  • Small bathroom
  • No small item storage
  • Fuel capacity

 

Performance (five passengers)

800rpm

4.3kts

1200rpm

6.1kts

1500rpm

7kts

1800rpm

7.9kts

2100rpm

10kts

2600rpm

15kts (planing)

2800rpm

18kts

3000rpm

20kts

3200rpm

22kts

3600rpm

26kts

3800rpm

28kts (WOT)

 

BANCROFT BAY 30 EXPRESS LAUNCH SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$288,000

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Timber deck and sole, Humminbird sounder/GPS/Plotter combo and ice box.

 

PRICED FROM

$267,000

 

GENERAL

TYPE Planing hull express cruiser

MATERIAL Fibreglass

LENGTH 8.72m

BEAM 3.00m

WEIGHT 4500 kg

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 8

REC HP 315

FUEL 280lt

WATER 140lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Yanmar model 6LPA-STP2

TYPE In-line six-cylinder turbocharged intercooled four-stroke diesel

WEIGHT 408kg  

DISPLACEMENT 4.16lt

 

SUPPLIED BY

Bancroft Bay Boat Company

4 Lawrence Ct, Metung, VIC, 3904

Phone (03) 5156 2564

Web bancroftboats.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #451, April / May 2014. Why not subscribe today?

Find Bancroft Bay boats for sale.

 


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