Review: Sailfish S8


We water test and rate the Sailfish S8, the winner in the aluminium fishing boats category at the 2016 Australia’s Greatest Boats awards.

Sailfish S8
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Wow! Quite simply wow! The X-factor on the magnificent Sailfish S8 has gone stratospheric! At the Australia’s Greatest Boats 2015 competition, the smaller Sailfish S7 power act had all our judges hooked, gaffed and in their death rattles lying on the expansive deck of this award-winning presentation. The S7 model won outright in the prestigious 2015 Aluminium Fishing Boats category.

This year’s judging team was gilled, gutted and filleted by its awe-inspiring big sister, the Sailfish S8. In a previous review we said: "The Sailfish is a fisherman’s wet dream, where everything a skirt chaser or bait slinger could want falls immediately to hand." She is one hell of an impressive nautical weapon. Sailfish has all the fundamentals set in stone thanks to many years of real-world seagoing experience.

Its hulls ride on a cushion of air, taming the slop and challenging wild seas with  determination. The huge footprint and incredible stability provide the ultimate trailerable fishing platform but still allows for all of the creature comforts expected of a large enclosed wheelhouse. Meanwhile, the relatively light weight and high hull efficiency mean very low running costs paired with extremely gutsy performance.

The Sailfish S8’s self-draining deck with non-skid floor is the base for one of the fishiest deck layouts imaginable, with a plethora of angling accessories all beautifully engineered to create the ultimate sportsfishing platform.

Sailfish S8 image gallery

Sailfish developed its Hydroflow Gen 2 Hull from 45 years of design and testing experience. Beyond her fishing credentials, she’d make a wonderful family boat or a top dive boat, thanks to the big decks, rear door access and immense load capacity for plenty of gear.

A high percentage of Sailfish fishing boat customers are buying for commercial applications, where safety, economy, longevity, payload and stability are primary requirements.

The wheelhouse is simply brilliant and gives you a real sense of solid confidence in the hull’s massive abilities. There’s a ton of room on the cabin roof for accessories and water toys, and the cabin’s internal layout is generous, comfortable and welcoming, with plenty of comforts for overnighting.

The helm is simple but effective, with 360-degree vision and provision for large multifunction screens, anchor controls and twin binnacles for the Honda BF150 four-stroke outboard motors. There’s also comfortable seating and another ton of storage space.

The Sailfish S8 power cat jumps up with agility as you plant the throttles on the Honda outboard motors. There’s a real spring in her step right through the rev range as she beckons you to embark on extended ventures or fight a big fish well into the night. Each sponson is compartmentalised and foam filled for even more peace of mind.

Yet despite all this, she can be towed quite easily as she’s less than 2.5m wide and comes in at an all-up dry weight of around 3000kg.

Overall, the Sailfish S8 is one hell of a competitor in the tough world of offshore fishing machines. As judge John Ford commented: "There’s nothing missing to make this the perfect fishing platform," while Kevin Smith added: "You can’t not like it. Uncompromised stability that’s typical of big cats, loaded with more rather than less. Turn-key and ready to rumble."

Sailfish S8 fishing deck

Sailfish S8 specs

Sailfish S8 price: $204,940

Price as tested

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Reelax outriggers, second wiper, full vinyl wrap, tuna tubes, stone guard on trailer, Furuno electronics suite, FUSION and more.

 

MATERIAL Aluminium

TYPE Powered catamaran

LENGTH 7.5m beam 2.45m

WEIGHT 3000kg (BMT approx)

FUEL 2x 175lt

ENGINE 2x four-stroke Honda BF150 outboard motors

 

MORE INFORMATION

Webbe Marine

Phone (02) 9521 7944

Email gavan@webbemarine.com.au

Web webbemarine.com.au

 

More on Australia's greatest Boats 2016

Fibreglass fishing boat

Fibreglass fishing boats

 

Aluminium fishing boat

Aluminium fishing boats

 

 

 

 

 

Sailfish S8 rating

Sailfish S8 rating

 

What the judges said

Fishing suitability

There’s nothing missing to make this the Sailfish S8 perfect aluminium fishing boat platform if you have the wherewithal to buy one. Perfectly laid out cockpit and a big, secure cabin. Fast and soft —smells of the essence of fishing!

Deep sea aluminium fishing boat, it’s got it all. As a serious offshore fishing machine, this power cat performs exactly as it should and fulfils all the associated functions very capably. A great all-round package. Hard to fault and even harder to think of anything else it needs to improve the overall package. Looks the business. Great offshore fisher and great family boat. You can’t not like it!

 

Innovation

Evolution more than revolution. Small changes on the Sailfish S8 are excellent but not major. 600mm longer significantly increases the fishability footprint and cabin alike. A few modifications to positioning of features has also made a big difference to the ease of use and ergonomics.

The Sailfish S8 is packed full of great ideas and is put together to make a great overall package. The manufacturers have clearly listened to constructive feedback and taken it onboard this powered catamaran. An abundance of small but important tweaks lift this boat to a new level of performance and functionality.

New swimladder design; new cockpit seat design; new dash layout. They listen to their customers and continually refine from this knowledge. Lots of little improvements that mean a lot.

 

Design and layout

Beaut enclosed, locking cabin = good security. It’s as close on board to a fibreglass boat feel as you will find in alloy. Looks and feel classy.

Everything works on this aluminium cat and the layout lends itself beautifully to serious offshore fishing. As for aesthetics, it’s a cat and beauty here is very much in the eye of the beholder. You’re a "cat person" or you’re not!

Safety labels for all gear are a must this day and age and great to see. Being a powercat the cockpit and cabin space are epic for its length and beam. A very impressive rig. Very fishable. Great open cockpit, and deep, too. I liked the extended transom platform between outboard engines.

Everything you need for a big day offshore as well as simple creature comforts added and all easily accessible. Can’t go past this boat without being tempted to have a look.

 

Quality of finish

Overall finishes seem to improve all the time on the Sailfish S8. A neat, well-presented boat in all areas. Absolutely top quality in terms of fitout, finish and attention to detail.

Paint is exceptional. Love the hard wearing floor covering. Quality of fixtures and fittings are superb and welds are all first class. Ground-off welds hint at high attention to detail. Well finished cabin. Top quality and well-applied paint.

 

Handling and ride

Soft and stable, the Sailfish S8 sits back and rides like a train. No rattles! Soft, but not perfect in the chop. Turns OK for a powercat.

Very dry into the wind, but some spray across the screen still. Ride into head seas was harsher than I expected, with some "tunnel bang". In cross seas and downhill it was very good — typically "cat-like" Not as soft as expected. It’s a power catamaran — not much else to say. Great ride!

Lean? What lean? Use the throttles to manipulate the back end and the Sailfish S8 just pushes through turns without the characteristic lean some powered cats have. Smooth and economical cruising in the mid-range but doesn’t mind a handful of throttle either in the right conditions. Smooth and easy to work out the sweet spot.

 

Stability at rest

Uncompromised stability that’s typical of big aluminium power cats. The days of breakdancing on rough days is something not experienced on this aluminium fishing boat.

Doesn’t get much better as fishing platform. A touch more tender at rest than expected. The extra length without more beam may be the limit of the hull design. Stability very good, but perhaps not as rock solid as I would expect from a cat this size. Perhaps a compromise inherent in maintaining that trailerable beam? Big, stable ballroom of a cockpit. Some roll as it moves with the swells.

 

Ergonomics

Easy movement around the boat. Controls are well laid out. High sides and a perfect design of the baitstation, plus a padded transom and that walkthrough to the stern.

Very good to excellent. I LOVE the helm seats! Great helm position, good visibility. No front hatch a letdown and livewell a touch small. The Sailfish S8 ticks all the boxes of all categories.

Neat, clean and stylish with ample to load up big electronics on the dash. Although fully enclosed, the cab remains airy with good visibility throughout.

 

Standard equipment

Loaded with more rather than less, the Sailfish S8 is turn-key and ready to rumble for offshore fishing or around the islands. A load-and-go solution to boating. Even the EPIRB and fire extinguisher is standard! Built to a very high standard in terms of standard fitup.

Comes with quality offshore safety pack, no cheap and nasty gear. Hardly any options, the Sailfish S8 comes ready to go. Quality of items offered is excellent. All standard items well above par.

The Sailfish S8 is a premium product with all the extras included and then some! Foam-filled hull, twin outboard motors, electronics and built to survey standard. They build a boat to last, with passion and quality.

 

Value for money

In the same range as other big boats, so worth every dollar. You’re getting two hulls for the price of one! Yes, it’s pretty expensive , but you get a lot for your bucks. Not sure about resale value? Maybe good?

At $169,990 base price, the Sailfish S8 comes with a lot of gear for little money. As the tested price of around $205,000, considering the upgraded engines, massive electronics fitout the Sailfish S8 is a good buy. Definitely gives punters what they paid for and will also hold value very well

You get what you pay for. A big power cat with big features and one you will probably keep for a long time.

 

X-Factor

It’s in the simplicity and ability to rig the way you want. Impressive soft ride for a boat under 5m.

The Sailfish S8 gives me a real positive vibe, despite the ride being a bit harder than anticipated. It’s a tradies’ dream boat! From the great wrap to the textured cockpit floor and cabin — this boat is loaded with WOW!

You don’t see enough of these fine aluminium powered cats on the water. Stand out from the crowd and get one, you won’t regret it. Big and bulky like a heavyweight prize fighter. Gutsy performance and tons of speed. 38kts of smooth performance = desirable and versatile.

 

How the boats are rated 

Judges at Australia's Greatest Boats Boat judges  
Meet the judging panel

The rating criteria 
explained
 

 


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