REVIEW: RAND PICNIC 18

By: JOHN FORD, Photography by: JOHN FORD

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

You hate noise and nasty, polluting engines so you’ve tried paddleboards, kayaks and canoes but it’s all too hard to get the family on board. John Ford offers a solution from a group of crafty Scandinavians.

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HIGHS

  • Supreme finish on gelcoat surfaces.
  • Avantguard appeal
  • Economical to run

LOWS

  • Limited range at full speed

REVIEW: RAND PICNIC 18 priced from $45,000

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As we powered silently across the confines of Blackwattle Bay, the contrast against Sydney’s fleet of mega yachts couldn’t have been greater. The immaculate lines and supreme fitout of our little picnic boat matched the quality of the big cruisers, but their powerful engines and monster proportions were a far cry from our 5.4m length and diminutive electric power.

Inspired by the peaceful progression that sailing delivers, the new Rand was pushed silently along at a leisurely 5kts powered by an electric motor through a 6.2kw gel battery, that I liked to imagine would be charged by green energy, rather than coal, on occasions when the onboard solar panel doesn’t cope.

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The brainchild of Danish designer Carl Kai Rand who set about building an eco-friendly boat in his Kobenhavn shipyard using low impact production methods. He designed a wave-piercing hull with minimum hydrodynamic drag to maximise speed and economy, while at the same time providing a stable platform for a ten person capacity. Because the boats would also come with a 60hp outboard option it needed to perform at speed as well.

In keeping with the company’s ecological mission the hull’s core and frame is formed from recycled plastic bottles, with a lightweight composite exterior and the timber fitout is from sustainable forests.

Sporting a Sapphire Blue hull and contrasting macadamia canvas interior, our test boat looked a treat, shimmering jauntily in the afternoon sun. A pure Scandinavian simplicity is highlighted by ultra smooth lines of a plumb bow sweeping back to the transom along a straight sheerline topped with a rubber rub rail.

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A U-shaped lounge dominates the forward half of the hull, and with more seating over the stern, there is space for ten. A drop-down table in the bow complete the picnic theme, but it can be lowered to form a full-width sun pad for an even more relaxed environment.

A fully self-draining deck means the floor is above the waterline leaving freeboard at a rather low knee height, but the boat is very stable, and it would only be in rougher conditions that the lack of grab rails might be apparent. Underfloor floatation gives the hull an unsinkable rating and 600L storage in the bow and another 700L under the rear lounge provides loads of room for dive gear and lunch.

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The central helm station is set into an aluminium console with a large circumference stainless steel wheel and an engine control that requires only a feather-light touch. A simple set of gauges gives battery condition and readouts for the amount of power being used and time available at any given throttle setting.

The Torqeedo motor is mounted on a raised section of the transom aft of a timber clad swim platform, and as I clicked into gear, there was a faint hum as we moved forward. As we did a few laps of the bay without threatening the speed limit too much, all was pleasantly quiet. The boat is very stable and quite manoeuvrable, and I eased back into the dock without mishap.

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Along with the company’s altruistic belief in conservation, there is a trend in Europe towards banning fossil fuel powered craft from many pristine lakes, so it was interesting that the first lot of the boats sold in Australia are heading to Canberra where there is a similar ban on Lake Burley Griffin. Near home, a popular storage dam also has these restrictions, so maybe we are seeing a trend that can be met by the electric Rand. I can easily envision sneaking up on an unsuspecting bass on the Brogo and then settling back for a proper picnic. Beats paddling your own canoe.

With a Torqeedo Cruise 4.0 engine and a 6.2kw battery, pricing for the Picnic 18 is around $45,000, including bimini, dive ladder and navigation lights. This package should return a maximum speed of 10kph and 2 hours running time or 8 hours at a sedate 6kph. There is a big range of electric engines and larger batteries or, for the diehard petrol head, outboards up to 60hp.

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Hull weight is only 390kg, so hook it up to your latest generation Prius for a matching pair of sun-powered vehicles and guilt-free enjoyment.

I can see a future for these electric boats in hire fleets on places where pollution is a dirty word and speed is frowned upon. The Picnic will also appeal to many who are keen to spend time on the water in peace and quiet immersed in the warmth of helping save the planet and those dollars in fuel.

SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$45,000

GENERAL

MATERIAL Composite construction

TYPE monohull picnic boat

LENGTH 5.35m

BEAM 2.1m

WEIGHT 390kg

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 10

FUEL 6.2kw battery

WATER Nil

MANUFACTURED BY

Rand, Norway

SUPPLIED BY

PREMIER MARINE Sydney Boat House

Unit 4, 2 Waterways Court

Rozelle NSW 2039

PHONE 02 9328 0999

WEB premiermarine.com.au

Check out the full review in issue #500 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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