BOAT TEST: COMMODORE MARINE ABROLHOS


IMGP2572.jpg IMGP2572.jpg
IMGP2516.jpg IMGP2516.jpg
IMGP2552.jpg IMGP2552.jpg
IMGP2553.jpg IMGP2553.jpg
IMGP2579.jpg IMGP2579.jpg
IMGP2958.jpg IMGP2958.jpg
IMGP2959.jpg IMGP2959.jpg
IMGP2966.jpg IMGP2966.jpg
IMGP2969.jpg IMGP2969.jpg

Sometimes our fishing comrades in the west need to go wide and Commodore Marine’s Abrolhos range is built for the job

BOAT TEST: COMMODORE MARINE ABROLHOS
Commodore Marine Abrolhos

 

The Abrolhos Islands are the "one day" destination of every serious WA boatie and fisherman. But they're 40 nautical miles wide of Geraldton, far enough offshore to constitute a real voyage, so most never get there.

Commodore Marine organise nearly as many owners' events as Riviera and the road trip to Geraldton and sea convoy to the Abrolhos is one of the major expeditions. It's attractive enough to entice well-known Commodore owner Danny Green away from the boxing ring to join in. All in, the range are "boat enough" for the trip, but the need for self-sufficiency with fuel and water means you have to carry a lot of cans and drums.

But this is not the only big trip along the coast. Cruising Shark Bay, King Sound, or the Montebello's also needs significant range and, ideally, space and storage. The Commodore Abrolhos range was the natural outcome.

With a near-enough hull length, and tanks for 450lt of fuel and 150lt of water, the space and capacity are there. Then, Commodore built the range in three versions: the primary cabin version called the Sprinta 8000, the centre console Sportsfisherman - for those who will live rough for the sake of a dedicated fishing hull - and the latest, a centre cabin.

I tested the Sportsfisherman and Sprinta off Fremantle, in weather that was untypical both for there and the Abrolhos at this time of year. It was weather that encouraged any boatie to take a sickie: low swell, barely any sea, and a temperature on the high side of warm. I, of course, did not take a sickie - this was work.

The hull the boats share is 7.7m long - 8.4m overall - with a beam of 2.6m. On the face of it a curious choice of beam: why go just 10mm over the rule-free 2.5m? It used to be 2.5m, and the increase is all in the new large-section rubber fender strip.

A wide range of motors have been used on the Abrolhos, because Commodore's happy to install any make. There's a few twin 150s, plenty of single 225s and 300s, a growing number of 350s, and so far just one 260hp Yanmar 6BY260Z sterndrive.

 

 

SPRINTA 8000

The cabin version is the original Abrolhos and it has a lot of appeal for a family owner who wants to cruise as well as fish. Even if you never actually do anything but fish you feel good about the extra capability and the female half of the ownership will be happy with the toilet down below.

For the long-range fishos this boat offers a lot. Full-length bunks for four, the basis of a practical galley, a big cockpit, a well-protected driving area, heaps of storage and the expected fishing-specific items.

The lined fore cabin is big, with a pair of bunks that convert into a double. Its high-volume and large fore hatch are definite overnight assets for warm climates and the mid cabin has similar properties. These places can be claustrophobic caves, but the Sprinta's is roomy, well lit and has good ventilation. This is thanks to opening windows in the base of the cockpit's portside settee, which also serves to give volume and sitting headroom down below.

The driving area has the level of shelter you want in a boat intended to cover a lot of distance; with canopy and clears in place, it almost has the feel of a wheelhouse. The massive fibreglass targa arch carrying the canopy folds for parking at home and, importantly, for reduced drag when towing. The fore and aft settee was a necessity for the mid cabin, but it also makes a better social grouping with the driver's seat design the usual two-facing-forward setup, plus a couple of jump seats.

Behind the driver's seat is a moulded locker with a sink on top and a surface to carry a single-burner cook-top. This is about as much domesticity as most people use - it will handle a kettle, toasting and the like. Serious cooks will opt for a barbecue dropped into the baitboard sockets.

To continue with the social theme, the open rear of the cockpit has abundant space to take a picnic table and chairs, and the underdeck storage has room to stow them. Or, in fishing mode, you have a pair of tanks that you can share out between catch and dry stowage. Naturally, there is a bait tank and plenty of rod storage.

 

 

SPORTSFISHERMAN

The Sportsfisherman is the purist's fishing machine you would expect of an 8m centre console. Yes, centre consoles can make great party boats, but all that deck area and rail length are even more attractive to fishermen. There's so much deck that it has baitboards at both ends.

There are two full-sized reversible seats and a console wide enough to give them good shelter. Two more can sit on the double seat moulded into the console's front, and all get the benefit of a large-area canopy. Only those in first class get the benefit of the clears.

Storage is a major feature. From the console forward the bulwarks have cave-type pockets above the toe space. Farther aft of it, single pockets each side have horizontal rod stowage above. There is more rod space under the raised foredeck reached through doors in the riser, and if this isn't enough the rocket launchers and coaming sockets take a dozen more.

A long foredeck hatch opens up the bulk of the underdeck space. A pair of compartments can house scuba gear near the keel, a double mattress could be fitted and used and a toilet installed below the hatch.

Two more hatches aft cover the same killtanks as the Sprinta and these can have removable liners. This is in addition to six rocket launchers and half a dozen sockets in the coaming.

The Sportsfisherman can take enough anglers to justify the rod complement. There's more than enough room at the
rail of course, and stability to match. We had only four medium-sized bodies available for a workout, but the induced list was impressively insignificant.

 

 

COMMODORES RUNNING

The Commodore Abrolhos hull is a medium deep-vee, a pat expression that seldom tells much of a story. The overall hull shape is a good deal subtler than those few words can say. Above all it looks right: a chine that climbs in a good-looking curve; a forefoot with the right sharpness; and shoulders with enough beef. It cried out for a long, testing passage and unfortunately, it was not going to get one.

However, the crayfish season had opened and the boats were working inshore, so we had plenty of artificial sea to play with. Some of those fast boats had more than 1000hp turning their big props and the wakes in consequence had real size.

We ran parallel with the cray boats, to overtake the wake at an angle likely to induce a broach if one was lurking within the Abrolhos. We ran into the wakes at speed and became partially airborne. We took them on the beam. The result? Above-average ride, excellent predictability, and we found no hidden nasties. You feel very secure in one of these.

The two boats behaved near identically, which was not surprising, but far from inevitable with their different concentrations of weight. And with both carrying 300hp Suzukis, speeds were also very close, the Sportsfisherman creeping ahead slowly with a top in the high 30 knots.

These are well thought-out variants, well equipped (Commodore believes power windlasses should be standard in this class of boat) and built to a high standard of finish.

 

 

 

WHAT WE LIKED


Top ride
Plenty of storage
Toilet

 

 

 

NOT SO MUCH


Towing permit required

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specifications: Commodore Marine Abrolhos

 

 

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $117,655 Sprinta 8000; $111,930 Sportsfisherman

Options fitted: 300hp outboard (225hp base motor)

Priced from: $110,855 Sprinta 8000; $105,130 Sportsfisherman

 

 

GENERAL

Material: GRP

Type: Monohull

Length: 8.4m (overall);
7.7m (hull)

Beam: 2.6m

Fuel: 450lt

Freshwater: 150lt (Sprinta 8000)

Holding tank: 120lt (Sprinta 8000)

 

 

ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki 300hp

Type: V6 four-stroke outboard

Rated HP: 300hp

 

 

SUPPLIED BY

Commodore Marine,

24 Tichborne Street,

Jandakot, WA, 6164

Phone: (08) 9417 7200

Email: sales@commodoremarine.com

Web: www.commodore marine.com

 

Find Commodore Marine Abrolhos boats for sale.

 


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