BOAT TEST: POLYCRAFT 5.99M CENTRE CONSOLE

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP, Photography by: LOU MARTIN


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Polycraft makes absolutely no apologies for the sturdy, utilitarian nature of its boats, and nor should it — poncy poseurs need not apply, writes Rick Huckstepp.

BOAT TEST: POLYCRAFT 5.99M CENTRE CONSOLE
POLYCRAFT FRONTIER 5.99 CC

 

TOUGH LOVE


Having tested the entire Polycraft range of boats since the company's inception some three years ago, Trailer Boat was more than interested in the evolution of this style of boat and what it offers to budget-concious small-boat anglers.
The 5.99m boat features a centre console, fabricated from the same low-density polyethylene material, fixed to the floor midships. In comparison to the smaller models, this boat has a flatter-profile deck with less reinforcing ribbing across its entirety.

 

 

ENGINEERING & LAYOUT


The test boat was one of the first of this model off the production line and featured squat bowrails running around the forequarters, parallel to the coamings - but these will be higher in later models.
The top of the coamings and the deck have a dimpled button-type surface that serves as non-slip, and the deck forward of the console is raised by about 100mm.
Three large hatches are installed in this foredeck, the central being the largest - approximately 180lt in volume and hinged to fold back against the front of the console. The other two hatches have flush-fitting handles and lift off completely, and all hatches are constructed of sheet polyethylene - as is the rest of the deck.
All three hatches are also drained via bungs into a channel between the deck and the hull, which carries water through a scupper to the engine well on the transom. This well is full depth to the bottom of the hull, and when the water exits the channel into it, a float-switched 1200gph pump empties it outside. Another 1200gph bilge pump is also float-switched and located inside the hull.
The anchor well is deep enough to hold a lot of ground tackle and Danforth-type anchors.
The console had an aftermarket canopy fitted, supported on four posts. The helm and the single helm seat were installed to the starboard of the centreline on the console. This put the helm close to the binnacle controls for the 130hp Honda, and there were occasions when I knocked the throttle when throwing the boat around at speed.
There's not really enough room for a passenger to stand within the confines of the canopy posts, so I reckon the helm would be better installed in the centre.

 

 

COCKPIT & STORAGE


The boat comes with a box seat and backrest as standard rather than the pedestal chair as seen on this rig.
A windscreen with grabrail was fitted to the console, and other than basic Honda instrumentation, the dash appeared fairly basic. It would have been handy to have a recessed pocket in the topside of the console, as there is not a huge amount of casual storage on this boat.
The liner is nearly sheer and high enough to offer upper thigh support, even though there is nowhere to tuck your feet underneath. With the surfeit of aftermarket hatches available, any number of them could be installed throughout this rig, at areas to suit the owner's own idea of customisation.
To do so, one would have to cut away some of the positive foam buoyancy that is installed in the hull from the waterline up.
The inner transom bulkhead is padded, and a removable seat base sits on the carpeted deck here. This is easily shifted to allow anglers to fish against the transom, at which time there is plenty of room underfoot.
This seat base had three apertures in its front that allowed gear to be stowed. Other than a large aperture in the aft end of the console, that pretty well wraps up the stowage that this boat has to offer straight out of the mould.

 

 

PERFORMANCE & HANDLING


The transom is part of the full-width pod. A massive aluminium box section sits inside the engine well, while another sits on the outside. The engine-mount bolts are installed through both.
The test day was the second in a row that had us thinking we all should have learnt barefoot skiing as kids. All the same, we pushed and shoved this rig around on our own wash and the 130hp Honda wound it out to 60kmh at 5900rpm: not incredibly quick, but certainly economical.
A two-stroke would return better top-end figures, and you can safely power the boat with up to 175hp.
Stability on this boat is very good, and prominent outer chines become more aggressive towards the stern, ensuring that this rig tracks with no sideslip. With the engine trimmed in for full-lock high-speed turns, you appreciate the horizontal rails between the front and back posts of the canopy - the inertia is huge, as this boat has very little "lean-in" during high-speed turns.
If this style of driving is your norm you should look at hydraulic steering. While trimmed out for normal running, the non-feedback steering was fine; but a tucked-in leg for aggressive cornering at speed generated a lot of torque, making it harder work at the helm.

 

 

ROUGH & TOUGH


The concept of the Polycraft is interesting in that it really is a boat suited to those who want a rig somewhere between aluminium and fibreglass.
It offers a more quiet ride than alloy, but shares the indestructibility factor of a tinnie - evidenced by the manufacturer's willingness to back it with a four-year hull warranty.
The colour of the boat is impregnated throughout the thickness of its skin, so scratches are less easily seen - and you'll struggle to dent this rig at all.
According to the manufacturers, polyethylene has five times the impact resistance of fibreglass, which is a nice attribute to have on your side when bashing around new country.
You will not have a trailer choice with this rig: they must be carried on one that is designed for the boat. What you can have, however, is lots of fun customising the rig with recessed rod lockers, tackle lockers and the like. Alternatively, you can store your gear in tubs, Eskies or opt to install one of the those fibreglass iceboxes that doubles as a seat for two.
Some of the smart cockpit inserts seen on Haines Signature boats - in particular the RF600 - might suit this application if you can find them. One thing is for sure, though: these boats will last, and they are here to stay. They fill a void in the market for those who like to be a little different, or people who dare to venture into places that others fear to tread.

 

 

HIGHS


• Very good stability
• Soft riding and quiet
• Plenty of room to move around the console
• Very durable, strong construction
• Good value for money

 

 

LOWS


• Unhinged hatches on the foredeck might become airborne and get lost
• Requires a basic stowage tray or compartment on the console for car keys and the like
• Comparably less storage space than competitive boats\

 

 

 


Specifiacitons: Polycraft 5.99M Centre Console

 

 

HOW MUCH?


Price as tested (BMT): $39,750
Options fitted: Targa top and clears, rego and safety gear, wide version of centre console
Priced from: $37,500 w/ 130hp Honda

 

 

GENERAL


Type: Monohull centre console
Material: Low-density rotomoulded polyethylene
Length (overall): 5.99m
Beam: 2.49m
Rec/max hp: 150/175
Towing weight: About 1800kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 200lt underfloor
Water: n/a
Passengers: Six adults

 

 

ENGINE


Make: Honda BF130
Type: Fuel-injected four-stroke
Rated hp: 130
Displacement: 2254cc
Weight: 225kg
Gearbox ratio: 2.00:1
Propeller: 13in alloy

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Extreme Marine, 3491 Pacific Highway, Springwood, tel (07) 3808 2222, email extmarine@yahoo.com or visit www.extrememarine.com.au

 

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #186

Find Polycraft boats for sale.

 


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