REVIEW: SPORTSMAN ISLAND REEF 19

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

The Sportsman Island Reef 19 is a ‘star spangled’ centre console catering for serious fishermen and family boaters.

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HIGHS

  • Stylish lines
  • Nicely finished
  • Awesome soft-riding hull and stable
  • Above average performance out of F115 considering hull size
  • Alloy trailer

LOWS

  • Rear seating could do with a decent backrest
  • Gunwales could do with recessed/moulded rod racks or extra stowage built in as standard

REVIEW: SPORTSMAN ISLAND REEF 19 priced from $58,862 BMT

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Sportsman Boats is yet another worthy brand of centre console from America to hit Australian shores, again complementing one of the most popular selling boat styles on the market. It seems like a political analogy where American centre consoles are seeking asylum in Australia, albeit all are most welcome.

Sportsman Boats in the USA are no underdog when it comes to building centre consoles and with an extensive range – from open bay centre consoles to tricked up tournament and flats boats, and even high-end offshore centre consoles up to 30ft – they most certainly cater for serious fishermen and family boaters alike. What’s more, these boats sport a classy finish and are very reasonably priced against the competitors.

BREACH OF JUSTICE

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The first Trade-a-Boat Sportsman test was the latest Island Reef 19 centre console from Northside Marine in Brisbane, and having researched the boats online some time back they didn’t appear that aesthetically attractive, or loaded with the normal American bling. However, in the flesh it’s a totally different story as they sport a classy sheerline off a beefy flared bow, a big beam with spacious decks, quality finishes throughout, and a 19ft hull that looks more like a 22ft hull. It’s a good-looking boat and photos just don’t do it justice!

Another deceiving discovery at first glance was the motor, and expecting to see a 150hp badge I was surprised to find a Yamaha F115 on the transom. Well, don’t judge a boat by its motor – read on to check the performance on this little weapon.

OPEN AND SPACIOUS

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Centre consoles are all about space and 360 degrees of usability and fishability, and the Island Reef 19 is not lacking in this department with a decent 2.3m beam. Onboard you get a workable-sized cast deck up in the bow, with ample storage space for gear and tackle, as well as a dedicated anchor well.

The centre console is well appointed with enough flush-mount area for a few gauges, large switch panel and seven-inch Simrad GPS/Sounder. If larger electronics are your whim, then a bracket mount would be fine on the dash behind the screen.

The console is also lower than found on standard offshore boats which may provide less protection, but works well for lure fishing as it doesn’t restrict casting. A front console seat with insulated storage adds to the seating options.

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A 2.3m beam is also a bonus as it allows for wider seating options. In this case the dual console seat is positioned to suit seated or standing at the helm while driving, and is comfortable either way. The open frame below also allows for an Esky or large tackle box to be strapped in – and out of the way.

Rod holders are generally an issue on smaller centre consoles but having the six-side rod holders built into the console makes a big difference to additional rod stowage. Another four vertical holders between the seats and the four flush-mounts in the coamings gives a total of 14 rod holders, and that’s far more than standard.

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In the stern the rear seats open up to good-sized deep live wells and can also be used as an elevated fishing platform, although they are not great as dedicated seats at speed due to having no backrest. Personally, I would prefer a flip-up backrest, especially when it comes to kids in the boat.

Overall the layout might be simple, but at the same time it’s clean and spacious. Like any boat you could take extra Eskys, add a bait board, ski-pole or whatever works and suits your style of boating or angling.

EASY RIDER

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One compromise I’m happy with on a boat is a soft-riding hull in the chop at speed over dryness or stability. This hull is beamy and although it only has a 16-degree deadrise, it’s soft as they come in the chop for a 19ft boat.

The Sportsman is also above average when it comes to stability under way and at rest for its size. Moreton Bay produces some nasty wind over tide chop on the best days and putting this hull through its paces and even punishing it at times was no issue. This kind of ride enables longer time spent on the water and in harsher conditions if need be. Pretty impressive to say the least. Oh, and the big flared bow keeps it pretty dry for a centre console.

HUMDINGING HORSEPOWER

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With the hull coming across far larger than what it is, I must say I had my doubts and did not expect anything wild out of the F115. Interestingly, it also turns out to be the maximum horsepower rating for this boat.

Hole-shot would be the first tell-tale if the F115 was sufficient or not, and that turned out to be an instant pass with flying colours. It’s instant, responsive and quick off the draw onto the plane – I was blown away. Next the mid-range, and here the Sportsman settles down to a gentle four-stroke hum between 3500-4000rpm, at a comfortable speed of 16-20kts, and definitely not being overworked. Knocking the hammer down to WOT the F115 is again responsive and quick to get to its top speed of 36kts at 6000rpm.

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As for economy, unfortunately the electronics were not set up yet with fuel data, however on a similar-sized and weighted alloy hull with the new F115 the speeds were similar. That boat produced impressive economy of 3.5Lt/h at low troll speeds of 5kts, 12-13Lt/h at 3500rpm and 15kts, and around 40Lt/h at 34.5kts (WOT). The Island Reef 19 seems to be efficient on the water and would no doubt have similar or slightly better economy in my opinion. Regardless, the F115’s low economy means fewer trips to the bowser and far lower costs to run the boat.

When it comes to sound or noise factor onboard, the F115 hums a pleasant and smooth tone through the low and mid-range revs; and when cranking it up to full noise you know it’s there, but it still maintains a smooth and pleasant sound to the ears.

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As mentioned in previous tests, we have evaluated the new generation Yamaha F115 on numerous brands and styles of boats and without doubt it is one of the most popular brands and common horsepower outboards on the market. It’s no wonder as they provide ample power, they are lightweight for a four-stroke (176kg), super economical, and fairly easy to maintain when it comes to servicing. As an out of warranty motor they are the kind of motor that I would be comfortable doing services, due to easy access to the filters, oil drain, pumps, plugs and even timing belt settings.

And as a motor that’s commonly used on commercial vessels, and carrying a warranty of four years recreationally, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha F115 on the Sportsman Island Reef 19.

THE WRAP

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Undoubtedly, it’s a case of more boat for less dollars. As more of an entry level Sportsman, the Island Reef 19 is kept simple with limited bells and whistles within the layout. Regardless, the standard features included are more than enough to get you on the water.

Maintaining simplicity certainly keeps the price down with this package and as tested, with a few extras, you are looking at $59,598. In my opinion, that’s good value considering the hull size, standard inclusions, quality of build, Yamaha F115 four-stroke outboard, and awesome dual-axle alloy trailer. 

SPECIFICATIONS

PRICED AS TESTED

$59,598

OPTIONS FITTED

Helm pad, partially smooth waters safety gear, sand anchor kit

PRICED FROM

$58,862 BMT

GENERAL

Type Open centre console

Material GRP

Length 19ft 1in

Beam 7ft 7in

Weight 657kg hull only (dry)

Deadrise 16°

CAPACITIES

People 6

Rec. HP 115hp

Max HP 115hp

Fuel 136lt

­ENGINE

Make/model Yamaha F115XB

Type Four-stroke, 16-valve DOHC Direct Action in-line four

Weight 176kg dry

Displacement 1832

Gear ratio 2.15: 1 (counter-rotating prop available)

Propeller 13x19in Yamaha aluminium

SUPPLIED BY

Northside Marine

2294 Sandgate Road

Boondall QLD 4034

Phone (07) 3265 8000

Email billh@nsmarine.com.au

Check out the full review in issue #499 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.

 


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