REVIEW: FIBRAFORT 238

By: RICK HUCKSTEPP


Rick Huckstepp took to the water with the Fibrafort 238 and found that the Brazilian-born beast was one versatile bowrider

While the Aussie dollar remains high, the imported boat market in this country looks set to remain at a reasonably elevated level compared to years past.
One of the more recent boats to hit our shores hails from Brazil in the form of the Fibrafort 238.
We put this one through its paces out of Bribie Island recently, finding that it offered plenty to those that liked the open air of offshore waters.
This hull is made of a composite of polyurethane and fiberglass, blended to offer a sturdy and robust finish.
A hollow grid of stringers and cross sections is secured to the outer hull of the Fibrafort 238.
This base system is pumped with closed cell foam, resulting in a positively buoyant hull that has increased rigidity and soundproofing, reducing a lot of the water-on-hull noise that normally emanates from a hollow shell hull.

HEAVY-DUTY
At a distance, the 238 looks like a full-blown sport fishing boat.
A browse of the internals, though, reveals this rig is set up as one of the biggest bowriders available on the market.
The bowrider section has comfortable cushioning in an arch format in the very forward part of the deck area, under which are three compartments.
The two to the sides are for dry stowage and the one in the middle is the ground tackle locker. It is utilised over the bow through the split bowrail.
The deck here has a large hatch that opens to a removable icebox and, once out, the intricate, reinforced hull system is visible.
The centre console is a substantial unit which features a spray-proof map box with a transparent lid and other pockets for storing mobile phones and the like.
The Furuno 7000 combination sounder and chart plotter, itself slightly larger than an average unit, looked lonely atop a dashboard that has a lot of room for other electronics. A portside walkthrough hatch in the console opens to expose an electric macerator toilet.
Double seating at the helm is on a large box arrangement, which has a tilting backrest for viewing astern.
The internals of this seat/box had been insulated and converted to a twin compartment icebox.
Further wet stowage is available under deck behind the helm seat and it too can be lifted out for the easy cleaning and transfer of the day’s catch.
The aft corners and transom bulkhead are in the form of stowage compartments that have heavy-duty transparent hinged hatches.
Across the full inner beam, a drop-down hinged door eliminated engine noise when in place and, when lowered, provided easy access to the full beam swim out.
This boat was fitted with a V6 Yamaha two-stroke engine armed with a 17-inch propeller that jumped the 238 out of the hole effortlessly, even with three big blokes aboard.
Top speed was 39kt at 5600rpm, while a comfortable cruise of 28kt at 4200rpm was experienced.

SMOOTH AS SILK
Handling on smooth waters was absolutely effortless, its easy maneuverability belying its true size.
We took this rig out of Pumestone Passage, the strong northerly pushing into the top of Moreton Bay generating a large swell that the Fibrefort gobbled up at speed.
By this time we had another body aboard and, out in the shipping channel toward Moreton Island, we drifted the channel markers and produced a couple of fish.
This showed how stable the boat is, displaying very little list despite the 360kg human payload standing on one side.
This boat did not have side pockets. Instead, it had large rebates in the liner with holes each end in which to hang boat hooks and the like.
A stainless steel rail across the bottom of this rebate was just the right height to tuck toes under for extra stability while standing at the gunwales fishing.

STAY DRY
Turning and heading for home, wind on the forequarters, the ride was dry. This can be attributed to the overly flared forequarters of the external hull coming up of the keel line.
I haven’t seen such a configuration since the days of the now vintage Swiftcraft Dominator and it’s good to see it back.
A lot of us like centre consoles, but none of us like getting wet.
The helm felt as comfortable offshore in the swell and chop as it did on the glassy Pumestone Passage.
This boat has had a heavy-duty makeover in the stainless steel department.
The Fibrafort website shows the standard configuration, which has been altered to give full shade in the rear cockpit, and the front section has a collapsible bimini that stows out of the way under the front of the hard top.
I can imagine this rig at home in a canal estate front yard or far offshore.
The Fibrefort is just that sort of versatile rig.

WHAT WE LIKED
Wide open spaces and plenty of walk-around room
Very soft riding over big swell at speed
Extremely maneuverable
Potential to be a big family day boat and equally at home on the high seas

NOT SO MUCH
The transparent hatches on the rear bulkhead are prone to breakage as they are installed on a standing area. We broke one on the day when a foot came off the fibreglass section onto the lid
A 200lt fuel tank for a two-stroke is a little on the small side for long ranging. Moves are afoot to address this


Specifications: Fibrafort 238

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested:    $89,283
Options fitted:    Stainless steel alterations and extra clears and
                         bimini, CD/radio, toilet, sounder/GPS, battery
                         isolator, safety gear and trailer
Priced from:        $56,060

GENERAL
Material:    Fibreglass/polyurethane composite
Length (overall)   7.23m 
Beam:     2.52m
Deadrise:    21°
Weight:    1200kg dry hull only

CAPACITIES
Fuel:     200lt
People:     8
Rec/max hp:    1 x 250hp or 2 x 150hp

ENGINE
Make/model:    Yamaha 200FETO
Type:     V6 two-stroke
Rated hp:    200
Weight:    198kg
Displacement:    2596cc
Gearbox ratio:    14:26 (1.86)
Propeller:    17in   

SUPPLIED BY
Fibrafort Boats Australia
PO Box 86,
Bulimba, Qld, 4171.
Phone: (07) 3399 5394
Mobile 0412 763 049
Email: fibrafort@froggy.com.au
Web: www.fibrafortboats.com.au

Originally published in TrailerBoat #202

 


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.