REVIEW: NORTHBANK 750 HT OUTBOARD

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

South Australians love their Northbanks and now a new dealer in Sydney is bringing the brand to the masses. John Ford reports how the outboard version of the 750HT handles the Tasman Sea.

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HIGHS

  • Well-engineered, solid build
  • Attractive lines and high-quality finish
  • Impressive, economical performance
  • Great value

LOWS

  • Dash could be bigger for larger screens

REVIEW: NORTHBANK 750 HT OUTBOARD priced from A$155,888

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When I last tested the inboard version of the 750 HT in its home waters off Adelaide, this biggest Northbank scored well enough to fight its way into contention for the 2016 episode of Australia’s Greatest Boats Trailer Boats.

And even though it was pipped at the post, this vessel remains one of my favourite offshore powerboats.

So when Northbank fronted this year’s Sydney Boat Show with a new east coast dealer AND an outboard-powered 750HT, it didn’t take much convincing to get me on board.

The Northbank name is as familiar to South Australians as Coopers or the Adelaide Crows, but for some reason, they are still something of a rarity further east.

That’s a real shame, because the company has been creating beautiful and very seaworthy models since 1995 from its factory on the shores of Spencer Gulf.

Company owner Rob Cuming is a passionate fisherman who, like other gulf anglers, often travels long distances chasing snapper and pelagics in conditions that can be treacherous in a wild westerly.

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That short, sharp chop will quickly highlight any handling issues, and the Northbank range has been developed to shine in such trying conditions.

The big Northbank vessels are built to survey standard, and on the water, the boat feels every bit of its 1650kg weight, with real presence.

Seven glass-clad timber bearers contribute to the mass, and layers of woven rovings are hand-laid before the underfloor space is foam-filled.

The sharp entry has a moderate flare, and leads back to reversed chines and a rounded 21 degree deadrise.

Dark grey and white sides that follow the straight sheerline seem to emphasise the boat’s length and its pretty lines, while wraparound glass windows in the narrow hardtop add to a purposeful and sporty attraction.

DIVE DOOR DELIGHT

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Jumping aboard, I was greeted by nearly 1m high sides and a very spacious and well-ordered 5m2 cockpit with plenty of side storage.

Four or five anglers should be able to dance around here during the heat of battle without mishap.

A wide dive door makes easy work of climbing in from the trailer or, more importantly dragging fishy monsters on board.

I liked the way this door includes storage in an otherwise unused space and, because the gunwales are so high, there are acres of rod and pole room, ready to fitout to your needs.

The transom is perfect fishing simplicity.

Flat surfaces and a panel down low close off the service area, making the aft area very clean and with nothing to snag lines.

To port is a swimplatform with dive ladder and handrails leading up a couple of small steps to a gate into the cockpit.

The neat and well-built bait table with lid and drain holes to the engine well slips into a pair of stainless steel sockets in the centre of the transom, while to starboard is a plumbed bait tank with a fish calming, light blue interior.

A decent-sized killtank is located under the cockpit sole, just forward of a 350L fuel tank, and the rocket launcher at the back of the hardtop has slots for six rods.

Two cruiser-style helm seats rest on gas-dampened stainless steel pedestals, and there are bulkhead-mounted footrests either side.

The passenger gets a glove box, grab handle, a moulded tray on the dash for random bits, and a side storage console.

All windows are built from toughened glass and ventilation comes from sliding side panels and an overhead hatch.

A roller door at the cabin entry looks really cool and slides effortlessly.

COSY BELOW

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Inside the cabin, a removable infill makes a full-width double bed with two levels of storage shelves around the sides.

When set up as a vee-berth, there’s loads of sitting room, and with a carpet-lined ceiling, it would be a cosy place to retreat from the weather.

A large cabin hatch gives access to the bow where a moulded bowsprit supports your choice of anchor and a rail helps keep crew on board.

When combined with the high hardtop and wraparound windows at the helm deck, there’s a roomy feeling and space under the roof for the crew when travelling.

A three-piece tempered glass screen has a robust construction and a set of two-speed wipers.

Ahead of the skipper and mounted high on the dash is a large compass, but most drivers will rely on the 12in Garmin GPS system to find their way.

Important diagnostic information for the 250 Honda is displayed on a smaller Garmin GMI 20 digital screen.

To the right of the navigation screen are two switch panels for lights and accessories and on the other side are the easily reached controls for the Lectrotab trim tabs.

PLENTY O’ POWER

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The 750 HT can be powered right up to 450hp with a pair of 225s, so the 250 Honda on our test boat is at the lower end of the range, but she was no slouch.

Acceleration was impressive and we saw a wide-open-throttle speed of 38kt (70kmh) at 6200rpm.

The boat felt happiest and returned good economy around 4000rpm at 23kt, consuming 28L/hr for a theoretical range of 250nm from the 350L tank (with a 10% reserve).

Some may lust after more get-up-and-go, but the 250 is a good fit.

The boat likes a bow-down attitude in rough water, so it doesn’t necessarily benefit from extra weight down the back, which surprised.

While I can see the advantage of a twin setup for the added bite of two props in the water, and an easy way to trim the boat, the performance of the test setup is sensible.

At trolling speeds, fuel usage was around 9L/hr with the Honda almost silent and no exhaust blowing back into the cabin.

During our speed and fuel use trials in calm water, the hull was stable and safe right through the range, and handling was smooth and precise.

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The hull leans into high powered turns with no nasty habits, going where it’s pointed, with no tendency to slip or cavitate when the engines are trimmed-in correctly.

Offshore, conditions were quite lumpy, with a sharp 1m swell and wind chop from a 15kt breeze.

With the bow trimmed down, we headed safely into the seas at around 22kt without bashing the crew around.

Over bigger waves, the boat landed softly and we were able to steer precisely through the waves.

In a following sea there was plenty of power to climb up the back of waves and, again, the ride was soft and I saw no sign of broaching.

THE WRAP

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The big Northbank is designed for travelling significant distances in comfort during testing conditions.

With loads of room and a hardtop designed to protect crew from the weather, it’s the sort of boat you will feel safe in when heading wide for pelagics.

With a drive-away price of A$155,888, the package as-tested includes an alloy drive-on trailer, dive door, foam floatation, swimplatform, ladder and the Garmin electronics – in today’s market that’s excellent value.

Add in some game poles and you will have a competent game boat.

It’s great to see an east coast dealer supporting this iconic South Aussie builder, because the 750 HT is a genuine no-bull offshore charger that will last for generations.

It’s a big boat, built tough, without pretentions and with great sea handling and lively performance. 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED AS TESTED 

A$155,888

OPTIONS FITTED

Bait tank, walkthrough transom, foam-filled hull, roller door, dive door, electronics.

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Monohull hardtop

LENGTH 7.67m

BEAM 2.45m

WEIGHT 1650kg

RATED HP 250hp-450hp

DEADRISE 21°

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 8

FUEL 350L

WATER n/a

MANUFACTURED BY

Northbank

Lonsdale, South Australia

SUPPLIED BY

GRE Marine

2 Stoddard Rd Prospect, NSW, 2148

Phone +61 2 9898 1010

Email grumpy@gremarine.com.au

Web gremarine.com.au

 

 


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