BOAT TEST: OCEAN MASTER SENATOR 7.1

By: BERNARD CLANCY, Photography by: BERNARD CLANCY


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The Senator 7.1 cuddy cabin dominates Victoria’s new Ocean Master range of trailerable fishing boats. Bernard Clancy ticks the right boxes in his on-water appraisal

BOAT TEST: OCEAN MASTER SENATOR 7.1
OCEAN MASTER SENATOR 7.1

 

SENATOR RULES
The Senator 7.1 is the Big Daddy in the new Ocean Master brand from Victoria. It's an impressive looking craft with lovely lines from the long bowsprit to the fairly conventional stern.
The craft is well built with practicality in mind. For example the bowsprit is long, strong and designed to carry the anchor of your choice. Not only that, there's a stainless steel gutter running from it to the hatch covered anchor well, so the chain doesn't make a mess of your gelcoat. Nice touch and it gives the bow a clean look. The anchor well has plenty of room to fit a barrel winch under the hatch.
The split bowrail is oversized 32mm stainless steel and quite strong. Large pop-up cleats either side of the bow are a good idea and there's plenty of non-slip on the walkways around the cabin. The hatch, fitted with a smoked acrylic insert, didn't have a gas strut, but this boat wasn't fully dressed when we did our test and one is on the to-do list.
Ex-factory Ocean Masters are fairly basic with much of the fitout presently done by dealers, in this instance, Geelong Boating Centre, to customer requirements. It's a system that works and allows you to see exactly where your dollar's going.
Entry to the cabin is offset to port a little and is via a triangular step down. The cabin is fairly spartan with no lining except for flecked, black carpet on the walkway and black vinyl cushioned V-bunks with a portable Springfield toilet under a cushion against the starboard bulkhead. The flowcoat looks good and the wide parcel shelves are gelcoated white.
Good light is provided by twin acrylic, tinted windows and it is where these are fitted you can see the thickness of the glass used in the deck. It's solid without being overdone. Wiring is protected behind a GRP moulded hatch which unscrews at the top and hinges down.
The cabin doorway (there is no door but I imagine a canvas cover could be easily fitted) is just about right without being too open. A stainless steel grabrail over the space is good for both entry assistance and passenger security when underway. A lockable vertical glovebox, stainless steel cupholder and footrest are convenient for the passenger, but the footrest could have a non-slip cover. Similarly, the driver's footrest is larger and quite solid, but also needs non-slip tape.

 

AT THE WHEEL
The twin bucket seats are on white painted poles and have full fore-aft and swivel movement. The helm position on the Senator is good, with a five-spoke, stainless steel wheel with knob. Instruments are front and centre, with the compass beautifully positioned in a dash binnacle. The switch panel is easily accessible to the left of the helm.
A Furuno GP 7000F is mounted on the dash behind the instrument cluster and there's plenty of room for more electronics if you need them. The radio is mounted on the solid GRP hardtop which is a lovely piece of work, mounted on an attractive stainless steel 32mm framework. It has six rod pots on its trailing edge, plus mountings for twin aerials.
The windscreen is four-piece wraparound glass, fitted with a grabrail.
Sidepockets on both sides of the boat are enormous and feature two tiers, the bottom for rods and the top for odds, ends and gear. It's a clever design and they are lined on the bottom.
There are four rubber insert stainless steel rodholders on the non-slip gunnels and another two on the substantial baitboard which sits over the engine well. The fully plumbed livebait well on the starboard side stern quarter is plumbed from the bottom to ensure oxygen gets to the bottom of the tank, not just the top. Live baits will survive far better with this arrangement. The twin tank on the port quarter is shallower.
Again, pop-up cleats are used down back; these seem strong enough to handle anything you may require.
Twin removable rear-quarter seats fit neatly into the transom. So many of these, which are really a relic from the past, are intrusive, especially when fishing, but these don't seem to get in the way at all. There are small stainless steel grabhandles in the coamings to add a little security for those travelling in these seats. The battery is now mounted in a box and kept secure.
The cockpit is very generous in size, covered in black, flecked carpet with an underfloor hatch between the seats with a strong lid.

 

UP AND RUNNING
Performance was pleasing. The big 250hp Yammie (twin 200s is an option) pushed the boat along at WOT (6100rpm) to 80kmh and it cruised comfortably at 50kmh at 4100 rpm. Wide chines on the hull gave the boat considerable stability and it handled well on a flat sea.
This new brand is an amalgam of many good ideas and will suit many fishermen.

 


WHAT WE LIKED
Good looking
Price. But beware, the options will add up
BMT weight of less than 3000kg
Great sidepockets
Storage

NOT SO MUCH
Fairly spartan cabin for a 7m boat
Footrests need non-slip

 

 



Specifications: Ocean Master Senator 7.1

 

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:  $105,453 
Options fitted: Carpet, VHF radio and aerial, CD stereo, Furuno GP7000F colour sounder/GPS, hardtop with stainless steel rocket launchers, toilet, Muir DW08 drum anchor winch, fibreglass baitboard, plumbed livebait tank and deckwash, BEP VSR auto switching dual battery system, white alloy wheels and LED trailer lights, 250hp Yamaha EFI four-stroke engine upgrade, high-performance propeller, concealed controls, switch panel auto bilge pump, and Hella LED cockpit lights
Priced from:  $78,799

GENERAL
MateriaL:    Fibreglass
Type:    Cuddy cabin
Length overall:  7.1m
Beam:   2.5m
Deadrise:    21°
Rec. max. HP:  300
Weight:   Approx 1600kg (hull); 3000kg (hull on trailer

CAPACITIES
Fuel:    350lt

ENGINE
Make/model:  Yamaha 250
Type:    Four-stroke petrol
Rated HP:   250 (single): 200 (twin)
Displacement:  3352cc
Weight:   274kg
Propeller:   Yamaha stainless steel 13¾ x 17in



SUPPLIED BY
Geelong Boating Centre,
88-92 Barwon Heads Road,
Belmont, Vic, 3216
Phone: (03) 5241 6966
Website: www.geelongboats.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #237 

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