BOAT TEST: HURRICANE FUNDECK 196RE

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: LOU MARTIN


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The Hurricane FunDeck 196 RE hails from the States and is part of a huge line up available over there but one of a dozen or so that will be imported into Australia by Austech Exports Pty Ltd

BOAT TEST: HURRICANE FUNDECK 196RE
HURRICANE FUNDECK 196RE

HURRICANE FUNDECK 196RE


Cruising around the east coast's canal estates, one gets the impression that the place is a massive flotilla of gin palaces. There are some fantastic boats and small ships tied up in front of equally resplendent residences, making it a great place to cruise if you want to dream of luxury.
Of course, all that flair and pizzazz doesn't suit everyone. Even in this environment you can always find a boatie who is happy to just cruise around in a craft that's comfortable for family and friends, but that doesn't require a second mortgage to run.
It's not surprising then that party boats are gaining popularity. Given their passenger capability, they seem incredibly good value for the money outlaid.
We took an imported party boat for a spin on the Broadwater to check its credentials and it turns out this rig will be giving the alloy pontoon models a run for the money.
The Hurricane FunDeck 196 RE hails from the States and is part of a huge line up available over there but one of a dozen or so that will be imported into Australia by Austech Exports Pty Ltd.
This fun boat features a fibreglass tri-hull bottom, with each sponson being of equal depth with the rig drawing approximately 25cm of water with the engine leg up. This shallow draft makes it ideal for beach parties where the rig may be pulled up, bow or side on to the beach for exit straight onto the sand. The 'RE' tag on this rig refers to 'rear entry' of which it has one but also it features a port side midships gate and a centrally mounted bow gate. Other gates are optional should you wish to do away with some of the lounges.
The distance from the beach to the deck for boarding and alighting is within reach of adults and small children should be able to scramble aboard without any problems. The carpet in this rig is removable should you wish to save on the maintenance of it if around muddy areas or perhaps where a lot of food and drink ends up on the deck.
The passage down the centre of the boat was ample and it passed a three seater L-shaped lounge mounted on the starboard forequarter and a chaise lounge on the port forequarter. The lounges throughout the boat had their back rests at coaming level, against extruded alloy work that formed the rails above smartly finished alloy panelling that meets the deck
The modules for the lounges were moulded out of nylon and were fixed to the floor where required. It would be very simple to change the layout of these rigs, simply with a screwdriver. Lounge bases were high-density upholstered foam that was very comfy and mounted on marine ply bases. Another L-shaped lounge in the aft port quarter could seat another five people around a removable table that featured drink holders.
In the very aft port corner a change room materialises by lifting back a lid, which draws a curtain upwards allowing for privacy inside. A porta potty may be installed here also.
The opposite corner featured the rear entry and it opened inwards so that passengers could not lean against a gate that had not been latched and subsequently be jettisoned over the side. The catches and stops for the gates on this boat were of a plastic material which might suffer the ravages of time and become brittle. Only time will tell but for a safety feature such as this, a metal latch and stop would circumvent any problems in the future. A drop down telescopic ladder swings off this corner.
The helm position features a plush swivel bucket seat behind a wide helm station. The module of the helm is from a full fibreglass mould which can be positioned anywhere provide cabling is catered for. A small icebox could fit here. A nicely laid out dash board also featured Sea Star hydraulic steering which was typically smooth and easy on the arms even in aggressive situations when underway.
When the partygoers have had enough of the sun, a large canopy may be unfurled to shade the rear 2/3rds of the boat.
This boat was on a mooring when we arrived and without seeing the configuration of the hull out of the water I was expecting typical tri-hull behaviour when turning underway. That is, leaning out on cornering rather than leaning in. That tri-hull habit would not have augured well for this style of boat due to the passenger weight shift throwing the boat out of balance suddenly. I was pleasantly surprised to spin the helm and see this rig lay into the turn rather than out. A later inspection revealed the rebates in the outer sponsons at the aft end, which is the only way to alter this unsettling behaviour.
With a Yamaha 115 four-stroke motor on the back, three adults and a child, hole shot was smooth and effortless. With so much planing area in the water, these hulls don't bog down, they simply slide out of the hole with no grunting whatsoever.
At 5,400rpm the Yamaha was not working to it's fullest and a re-prop would fix that. It still managed 53kmh and was a dream to drive.
When making performance comparisons between typical alloy pontoon party boats and the Hurricane, you will notice that the latter does not exhibit any chine walking often seen in catamaran hulls which results in a not as smooth cruising ride.
This rig is as smooth as silk and on a trailer would make a great family fun boat for daytrips or weekends, on the beach or fishing and crabbing the shallow creeks.

 

 

LIKES


Smooth comfortable ride
Exceptional stability on the plane and dead in the water
Compact change room did not encroach on party area even when erected

 

 

DISLIKES


Plastic gate latches and stops

 

 

 


Specifications: Hurricane Fundeck 196 RE

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $42,015
Options fitted: CD/Radio, carpet, hydraulic steering, ski towbar, change room, full docking cover.
Priced from: $38,990

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Fibreglass
Length (overall): 5.7m
Beam: 2.3m
Deadrise: N/A
Rec/max hp: 150
Weight: 1230kg wet with rec/max hp

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 110lt
Passengers: 9 or up to 600kg

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Yamaha F115
Type: Four-stroke, four-cylinder
Rated hp: 115
Displacement: 1741cc
Weight: 193kg
Propeller: 13in x 17in pitch

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Austech Exports, Runaway Bay, Qld,
Phone: 0410 538 894, fax (07) 5577 4758, or email austechexports@bigpond.com

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #193

Find Hurricane Fundeck boats for sale.

 


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