By: John Ford, Photography by: John Ford

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Measuring more than 7m and covered with striking sponsor logos, the Noble Super Vee 6.85 Walkaround is an imposing sight


Driving towards the boat ramp at Swansea, NSW, people in the street stop and stare, nudge their partners and point. It's the same at the ramp. "Hey… you're that bloke on the telly? Love the show, where are the fish biting? What an awesome boat."

Michael Guest, the test boat's owner, is the same friendly person in real life as he seems on television; answering questions, offering advice and listening to fishing tales. You can see he's passionate about fishing, boats and life in general.
And while his Noble Super Vee is a big boat, she launches from her custom trailer effortlessly. We were off to play in the swell around the Swansea Bar for the photos of this test; then, we'd head south to fish the rocks near Catherine Hill Bay.




Queensland-based Noble Boats was recently taken over by Noble Boats International and are now built under strict quality- control conditions in China.
These plate-aluminium hulls have an extremely deep-vee at the bow with multi-chine shape midships and a 24° deadrise in the stern. The design is claimed to give superior sea handling and stability at rest. At more than 7m, and with a dry hull weight of around 900kg, she's a big boat. The transom has rounded swim platforms on each side of the motor and there's a transom door to starboard for easy access to the cockpit. This boat was ordered with a strengthened transom to allow a 300hp outboard to be fitted, instead of the standard maximum 225hp. According to Noble this adds about 15kg to the hull weight.
In the portside of the transom is a plumbed livebait tank and deckwash; on the starboard side is a Cannon digital downrigger-mounting plate. The batteries and oil reservoir sit neatly in lockers with sturdy hatches and a custom-bait table completes the stern area.
Against the transom sits a large removable Esky with locating lugs set into the floor. Carpeted sidepockets run the full length of the cockpit, under the gunwales that have two rodholders and a large deck cleat on each side.
Access to the bow section is via a walkaround section on each side of the cabin. There's built-in steps up to the decks, but they're fairly narrow. However, you do get good support from the solid handrails on the cabin roof and sturdy siderails running forward.
At the bow is a large casting platform, which has been lowered 100mm from standard for better support when fighting a fish. The coamings are heavily padded and there's a padded seat set into the cabintop. There are also steps to aid access to the anchorwell, a huge bollard and bowsprit.




The cockpit and cabin are large and uncluttered. On the starboard side of the cockpit is a large moulded-storage unit with padded front-to-back seating. The unit makes maximum use of available space and has a dry-storage area built into its top under the lift-up seats. In its rear side are two lockers, each with nine tackle drawers. The side section opens up to another two sections giving more storage for fenders, spare oil and so on.
Under the cockpit floor houses a plumbed 140lt killtank, which can be used as a livebait or holding tank. The tank drains directly overboard. Also underfloor are two fuel tanks, which hold a total of 390lt. Each tank is fitted with an inspection port.
The helm area is functional and well laid-out. Sitting on the upholstered seats is comfortable and the boat can be operated from a seated position, but its design lends itself to standing and driving. The wheel and controls fall easily to hand and the instruments are all clearly visible. However, the top of the windscreen cut my vision while I was standing and driving, but it wasn't a problem when seated. Obviously, this can be easily addressed when you order your new boat.
The Super Vee has a sporty, wood-grained wheel set into a protruding console with a rounded top section that houses the E-TEC I-Command instruments, control switches and a VHF radio. Extras fitted include a Coursemaster Auto Pilot and Lanco Trim Tabs.
A flat, carpeted dash area extends across the cabin top and is fitted with a 12in Lowrance LCX-112C sounder and Globemaster 9200C GPS. The toughened glass windscreen has two central and two swept-back side sections. A 50mm stainless steel grabrail runs across the dash and a lip at the rear of the dash stops things from sliding off.
The passenger gets a small sidepocket for personal storage. The Targa arch supports a custom-built eight-rod stainless steel rack and the custom soft-top.
The boat's cuddy-cabin has padded seating around a footwell, but because the well has been widened for additional storage, the seats are quite narrow and offer marginal comfort and aren't for sleeping on.




From a standing start, the hull jumps out of the hole, as you'd expect with 300hp booting her up the bum. The boat planed at 14kts pulling 3000rpm and consumed 30lt/h of fuel.
Hitting 4000rpm, the boat cruised comfortably at 23kts and used 37lt/h. Increasing the revs to 5000 burns 64lt/h, but scoots you along at 32kts. At WOT (6000rpm) the Super Vee did 42kts with a fuel-burn rate of 98lt/h. But the great news is that at trolling speed the boat burns only 1.2lt/h.
Right through the rev range the motor was quiet, with no vibration or rattles coming from the hull, allowing us to hold a normal conversation underway.




So, with the photos and speed tests out of the way we headed off to find some fish.
The sea was a nasty 1m chop, but when I remarked that the ride at 23kts was quite comfortable, Michael said she would handle more than that and demonstrated it by opening her up. Even at 35kts, the Super Vee's ride was safe and comfortable with no banging coming from the hull.
Our mission was to get into the kingies and salmon in the wash around the rock ledges.
There was plenty of wash, maybe a bit too much, but the boat was well balanced and stable and we did keep a weather eye on the sea.
For this style of fishing we used 7ft-spin sticks fitted with 4000 series reels loaded with 14lb-braid and 20lb monofiliment leaders.
Michael told me to cast my soft plastic at the edges of the foam. My third cast was met with a savage strike, but I failed to hook-up. I retrieved the lure to find the hooks were straightened out. Meanwhile the skipper was onto a small kingfish that had taken a hard-bodied lure cast into the foam.
I asked Michael for his tips on fishing in close to the rocks. "The prime thing is safety - be sure you know the area and the depth of the water," he said.
"You have to have one eye on the sea to avoid disaster. Even flat seas can be dangerous, because you don't see waves breaking over rocks before they hit.
"When you approach the rocks don't drive straight through the foam, not only because it could be hiding a submerge object, but the fish will be hiding under it and you will scare them away. Cast right up to the rock edge and let the lure sink a bit before you start your retrieve. Give the area a few good casts to make sure the fish get a chance to see your lure," Michael explained.
We moved farther south to a rock ledge with a deep drop-off and Michael hooks into a decent fish, which turned out to be a good-size salmon. We took a photo (in case it makes the 2010 Pirtek Fishing Calendar) and released it.




Heading back in a following sea the boat demonstrated no nasty habits and reinforced her stability and safe nature in some sharp turns across the swells.
This is a fully-customised fishing platform with a number of changes from a Super Vee's standard fitout. While these changes were done at the factory during the building process, they could have also been completed "aftermarket" if you wanted to save a few sheckles.
Back in the harbour, many fishos made themselves known as we washed her down. But that was to be expected. With a boat like this you'll have plenty of mates wanting to share the experience on this truly awesome fishing machine.




Soft, smooth ride
Stability at rest Custom-built trailer




Windscreen cut line of sight
Narrow steps to bow




Specifications: Noble SuperVee 6.85 Walkaround




Price as tested: $118,000
Priced from: $90,000 w/ trailer and 200hp outboard




Material: Plate aluminium; 5mm bottom; 4mm sides
Length: 6.85m (hull);
7.2m (overall)
Beam: 2.5m




Rec. HP: 150 to 300
Weight: 880kg (dry)




Make/model: Evinrude E-TEC 300hp
Type: Direct Injection V6
two-stroke outboard
Displacement: 3441cc
Weight: 233kg
Warranty: Three years




Noble Boats,
19 Brewer Street,
Clontarf, Qld, 4019
Phone: (07) 3283 7061
Fax: (07) 3283 6731

Originally published in TrailerBoat #247

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