REVIEW: NORTHCAPE 34

By: MATTHEW JONES, Photography by: MATTHEW JONES

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

NORTHCAPE 34 NORTHCAPE 34
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The NorthCape 34 custom sportsfisher is synonymous with serious gamefishing, enjoyable diving, relaxed entertaining and living the family lifestyle dream.

In a feat often attempted but rarely achieved, the NorthCape 34 looks good from every angle and you can customise her to live out your lifestyle dreams.

Sure, it would have been easier for Brad Rowe to craft his stunning new NorthCape 34 using moulds and other production-based processes, but precisely-sculpted curves and clean, flowing lines don’t come easy. Nothing worthwhile ever does. The NorthCape 34’s sultry curves are the result of a devotion to quality, a passion for perfection and the skills of talented, dedicated craftsmen.

 

BLUEFIX BOATWORX

NORTHCAPE 34 SPORTSFISHER

Brad’s an experienced master craftsman whose utmost devotion to quality has seen him build numerous boats for the extremely rich and famous, none of whom would feel out of place enjoying a glass or two while savouring the NorthCape 34’s comfortable, luxurious ambience. 

But just because the vessel possesses supermodel looks doesn’t mean she’s high-maintenance. "By having cleaner lines and a cleaner look you end up with fewer fittings so the whole boat is easier to maintain," says Brad.

Refined touches of master class feature throughout: the 50mm polished stainless steel belting with no exterior fastenings for superior aesthetics and durability, the tumblehome stern for classic styling, exceptional New Zealand tawa woodwork, soft-closing drawers and cupboards, a gloss finish to die for and beautiful big radiuses on every curve.

 

CABINS

NORTHCAPE 34 CABIN

Down below, the large rear dropdown window and bi-fold door provide a seamless flow between the main cabin and the cockpit for effortless entertaining. The layout’s been customised to suit the Rowe’s young family, with a small forward bunk room maximising entertainment space in the well-appointed galley and cabin. By removing the leather backrest cushions on the portside couch, a comfortable double berth is revealed. It’s designed so you can simply replace the cushions in the morning, with your bags and bedding stowed behind to quickly restore the cabin to its pristine state.

In the master cabin a spacious double awaits, which has been raised to allow space for four drawers below. Behind a wooden wall panel a discreet wardrobe is neatly concealed. As in the galley, all cabinetry is stunning in tawa with soft-closing drawers and doors.

Classy curves carry through to the bathroom, featuring an electric-flush toilet and glass shower cubicle. It’s beautifully finished and spacious, with just the right amount of timber, stainless steel and glass. 

 

MARLIN BOAT

NORTHCAPE 34 COCKPIT

Brad’s first boat, a NorthCape 24 called Bluefix which he built and launched in 2003, has caught more than 65 marlin. It’s a six-time winner of NZ’s hotly-contested Bay of Islands Swordfish Club trophy for the most billfish caught on a non-commercial boat. All that winning knowledge is taken to the next level to create the NorthCape 34.

Precise positioning of the rodholders allows both light and heavy tackle to be fished, and the Reelax outriggers can be operated from the lower deck and the flybridge. The curvaceous 180lt livebait tank has been seamlessly integrated mid-transom and allows uninhibited access to the baits within. All-round toe space, combined with 900mm-high gunwales helps provide the upper hand when the drag is set to sunset. 

A completely snag-free environment has been achieved using inner gunwale cleats, an internally-fastened solid stainless steel belting strip, down-blade trim tabs and no boarding platform or ladder, so there’s little chance of escape once the hook is set. Tackle can be kept dry and out of the way in the watertight storage unit that also doubles as a serving table. A secondary throttle and bowthruster control are concealed beneath an integrated flap and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

To preserve the clean lines there are no bowrail or exterior handrails on Brad and Charlotte’s personal NorthCape 34, which can be unnerving when venturing forward but with the automatic capstan fitted they find there’s little need. There’s also no baitboard or gamechair as yet but being a custom build, all of the above can be fitted if desired.

NORTHCAPE 34 DIVING BOAT

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Due to rising fuel and servicing costs the boat is powered by a single 440hp Yanmar turbo-diesel driven through a shaftdrive and complemented by a 9hp bowthruster for enhanced manoeuvrability. The shaftdrive is housed in a tunnel to increase efficiency, reduce the shaft angle and allow the big prop to pull the boat backwards across the top of the water rather than pulling the stern downwards. This allows the NorthCape 34 to rapidly accelerate to 7kts in reverse to run down a fish.

I arrived at the Bluefix Boatworks premises, at Kerikeri on NZ’s North Island, a few months too early to experience the NorthCape 34 in its element – backing down on a rampaging marlin – so we loaded dive tanks (and a few DVDs for the kids) and cast off to savour a day onboard a fantastic lifestyle vessel in a stunning boating destination, the Bay of Islands.

NORTHCAPE 34 BOW

After casting the lines at Doves Bay Marina, we plotted a course for Whangamumu Harbour for lunch. The throttle was set at 2800rpm, providing a cruising speed of 23kts as we headed out through the choppy bay. The tender was deployed at a few scenic and sheltered spots to shoot photos, while the NorthCape 34’s soothing diesel reverberations appealed to a pod of dolphins who stopped by for a look.

After rounding Cape Brett we dropped anchor to check out one of Brad’s secret dive spots. Three sets of scuba gear were easily stowed beneath the cockpit floor with plenty of cockpit space on offer for gearing-up.  With the wide transom door and sole just above water level, entering and leaving the underwater realm was as easy as it gets. The first dive was stunning and successful, the second just stunning. A couple of respectable crays were placed in the 180lt livewell for safe keeping on the trip home and we later reminisced about the ones that got away.

Rounding Cape Brett we had a metre of messy sea on the front quarter that the fine entry fluently parted, the flared bow keeping the cockpit dry. The large chines, wide beam and low centre of gravity combined to provide a comfortable and stable ride.

 

THE VERDICT

Brad and Charlotte Rowe have created a sultry blend of quality, class, comfort and functionality in their latest creation. Being designed and built by a gamefishing guru with a devotion to excellence, it’s a potent sportsfisher that strikes an impressive balance between all-round functionality and first-class finish.

NORTHCAPE 34 HELM

 

NORTHCAPE 34 SEA TRIALS

RPM

SPEED

500

5kts

1000

6.1kts

1500

8.3kts

2000

12kts

2500

18.5kts

3000

24.5kts

3200

26kts

WOT

29kts

Single 440hp Yanmar 6LY STP2 turbo-diesel. Sea-trial data supplied by Bluefix Boatworks.

 

HIGHS

  • Clean and functional cockpit
  • Entertain in style, luxury and comfort
  • Luxurious flybridge lounge bar
  • Spectacular finish and fitout
  • Curvaceous and functional
  • Stunning from every angle

 

LOWS

  • Some may find the lack of a bowrail and external handholds unnerving
  • Once you step onboard you may never want to leave

 

NORTHCAPE 34 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED AS TESTED

$665,000 (subject to exchange rate)

 

PRICED FROM

$610,000 (subject to exchange rate)

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Reinforced epoxy over cold-moulded marine ply

TYPE Planing monohull

LENGTH 10.5m overall; 9.3m waterline

BEAM 3.95m

DRAFT 0.9m

DEADRISE 18°

WEIGHT 7500kg

 

CAPACITIES

FUEL 800lt

WATER 400lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Yanmar 6LY STP2

TYPE Turbo-diesel

RATED HP 440

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Bluefix Boatworks,

11 Tanekaha Lane,

Kerikeri, NZ, 0230

Phone +64 (9) 407 3021; +64 021 410 322

Email info@bluefixboatworks.co.nz

Web bluefixboatworks.co.nz

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #450, March / April 2014. Why not subscribe today?

Find Northcape boats for sale.

 


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