BOAT TEST: BERMUDA 540 KINGFISHER

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: STUART GRANT


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The 540 Kingfisher from Bermuda is a no nonsense fishing platform that will make an ideal base to build a long term asset

BOAT TEST: BERMUDA 540 KINGFISHER
BERMUDA 540 KINGFISHER

 

TRIED AND TRUE


On a recent trip to Victoria your TrailerBoat team got a run on Port Phillip Bay in Bermuda's 540 Kingfisher.
With large expanses of relatively shallow water, wind driven chop gets short and sharp and where we launched from that was definitely the case. The Patterson River runs into the bay and with 15 knots of wind blowing into its shallow mouth we contended with about a metre of chop that was spaced not much more than that apart in the confines of the mouth. Farther out the chop spaced out a little more and remained at the same height.
With two aboard we headed out into the bay with 115 horses more than enough power to get the job done. With the conditions as they were, speed was not something we were going to be testing on this particular day but, rest assured, it will produce more than enough kph for the sort of work this boat was designed for and that is a sturdy economical fishing platform.
The 540 is a tried and proven hull fitted with an alloy cuddy cabin welded to a continuously wide gunwale that runs the entire perimeter of the boat. This gunwale is about 25cm wide and ideal for fitting down and outriggers, heaps of rod holders or for suspending storage rack systems underneath.

 

 

MANOEUVER IN COMFORT


Considering the wind and waves we expected a drenching but the opposite was the case with very little water coming up onto the screen even with the wind on a quarter and the bow ploughing at speed into steep waves. High speed landings off those waves were reasonably soft too.
This rig was fitted with mechanical steering and with the trim tucked right in it exhibited the usual amount of stiffness due to torque but with some trim out it made for easy manoeuvring over the waves in all directions. With tight turns trim in was required to prevent aeration at the propeller, and nothing too abnormal about that. Its manoeuvrability at speed was excellent and tight turns could be made with very little sideslip.
In the construction department the usual rebate in the helm bulkhead that allows one to enter the cabin has been done away with and the aperture extends to the port side of the top liner.
While cabin space is not large and an average person would have their head stooped when sitting, this open area allows one to sit on the seat at the opening and makes for easy entry to and from the cabin when working the ground tackle from the large hatch. With the hatch open the anchor, rope and chain are bought into the cabin and sit in a well at the fore-section in front of the two padded seats. There is stowage under those seats and more could be added with a retaining wall put on the vertical against the wide gunwale making for all round shelving.

 

 

ELECTRONICS


The helm station on this boat is spartan but there is room for larger marine electronics other than the small Navman Fish 4380 unit fitted. This depth sounder worked well at speed. Not wasting space, the Navman radio has been fitted in the fascia of the dash over the entrance to the cabin keeping more of the helm dash free.
The windscreen is wrap-around and, although not fitted, a stainless steel grab rail is an option and one you would want to add due to inertia generated during the tight turns this rig is capable of when pushed. An option that was fitted is the 6-rod rocket launcher that is collapsible and will lie down in the cockpit with the removal of two bolts.
The seat modules are of cylindrical fibreglass construction and opened up the deck space nicely without any toe stubbing corners to worry about. With the seat base fully slid back, the front of the seat is very close to the back of the legs while the front of the thighs rested against the wheel. If you are big in the upper thigh department this might be an issue that needs addressing and perhaps a relocation of the seat base aft by some centimetres.
The cockpit deck is carpet over marine ply and was stiff enough not to overly flex under 90kg of weight. Good sized side pockets ran from both seats back to an enclosed foam buoyancy compartment in each aft corner that counters the engine weight should the boat fill with water. The rest of the level flotation buoyancy is installed under the deck.
Under the transom bulkhead an elevated tray ran from the starboard side to the side of the walk through transom frame. On this, the starting battery was fitted with enough room left for small tackle boxes.
On the front of the tray is a hinged seat base with a pipe-in socket fitting that is locked in place with a pin each end and is easily removed. When standing fishing at the transom with the seat down, the toes can fit here and it pushes past centre out of the way. With the seat removed the frame for the pipe on the port side might prove a hassle to the shins when fishing, it protrudes some way out and is right next to the walk through door. This door is a slide-in nylon board that is completely removable.
The 540 Kingfisher will make a good base on which to build a long term asset. It behaves well in the chop so will be handy for big lake work, open estuaries and close coastal fishing.

 

 

WHAT WE LIKED


Soft dry ride and excellent manoeuvrability with stability at dead in the water

 

 

NOT SO MUCH


Rear lounge bracket protruding into leg space while at transom

 

 

 

 

Specifications: BERMUDA 540 KINGFISHER

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested:      $39,532
Options fitted:       Rocket launcher, metallic paint and transom door
Priced from:          $37,000

 

 

GENERAL


Material:                Aluminium 3mm bottom, 2mm sides
Length overall:       5.65m
Length on trailer:    6.8m
Beam:             2.26m
Weight (hull only): Approx. 575kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


Rec.max HP:         150
Fuel capacity:        100lt
People:                  6

 

 

ENGINE


Make and model:   Mercury OptiMax
Type:                      Electronic fuel injected two-stroke
Weight:                  170kg
Rated HP:              115
Displacement:        1524cc
Gearbox ratio:       2.07:1
Propeller:               18-inch

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Brunswick Boat Group
Phone: (03) 8368 5612
Website: www.mercurymarine.com.au

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #219

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