BOAT TEST: FISHER BOATS 700 MAXI WALKAROUND HARDTOP


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The 700 Maxi Walkaround Hardtop from the recently reborn Fisher stable shows us how everything remains the same about these highly regarded plate boats.

BOAT TEST: FISHER BOATS 700 MAXI WALKAROUND HARDTOP
FISHER BOATS 700 MAXI WALKAROUND HARDTOP

FISHER BOATS 700 MAXI WALKAROUND HARDTOP

Fisher, like so many medium-size boatbuilders, went through a crisis during the financial upheaval of 2009. Like so many others, Fisher endured a period of pain, withdrawal, and a comprehensive restructure before re-emerging as good as new.

I'd long been a fan of the plain honesty evident in how Fisher boats were built. Perhaps they're not the fanciest plate-aluminium hulls around, but with critical welds left au naturel for all to see, there couldn't be any doubt about how they were built - and that was very well indeed!

For me, testing one of the latest Fishers was as much a process of checking out what might have changed, as it was time on the water, putting the 700 Maxi through TrailerBoat's usual test procedure. The good news is that as far as the basic design of Fisher hulls is concerned, virtually nothing has changed. The design is unique and effective in equal parts, and it uses a steeper deadrise than the average plate-aluminium hull, resulting in a profound effect on ride quality across choppy water.

 

 

SMOOTH RIDE

Plate-aluminiums are hardly known for their plush, soft ride, as anyone who's spent time in them knows only too well. However, Fisher's 23° deadrise (at the transom) is right in there among 'glass deep-vees, and the effect of this on their rough-water ride is never to be underestimated. At the bow, 23° translates into a much finer cutting edge where the hull first meets surface chop compared to the blunt attack angles used by standard plate-aluminium designs.

On the water you quite literally feel the difference, and you get a feeling that a Fisher hull rides much softer than many other plate tinnies. Our seven metre test boat rode typical northern Moreton Bay chop well when we ventured out from the lee behind Bribie Island. You don't have to be a veteran boat tester to experience this for yourself, and anyone considering a plate-aluminium boat should simply arrange a test ride in a Fisher and make up their own mind.

Unlike many other hulls with deadrise angles beyond 20° at their transom though, the Fisher hull isn't prone to flopping from side to side. This disconcerting aspect of some deep-vees is controlled by what looks like a pair of monster exhaust pipes exiting the transom when you inspect the boat on its trailer, but they're actually self-flooding and draining ballast tubes.

 

 

STABILITY AT REST

The ballast tubes measured 200mm in diameter on our test boat, and the hull immediately came to rest when they flooded with a substantial amount of water, adding enough weight way down below the boat's centre of gravity to stabilise it effectively.

All that water drained out again in a matter of seconds when under acceleration, and the hull immediately returned to its "unflooded" weight. When you're actually out on the water there's no noticeable change as the flooding and draining takes place, to a point where you soon forget about it altogether.

Another difference between this and otherwise similar hulls is that, thanks to the effectiveness of the ballast tubes, it's unnecessary to add the very wide flat or turned-down chines often used to aid stability in other hull designs. Wide chines work well enough at rest but can be notable for an incredibly harsh ride when wind and chop come at the hull from an awkward angle off the bow quarter. An unsympathetic hand on the wheel and throttle lever can thump any hull into chop from that angle; wide-chined hulls make it almost impossible to avoid. But as our testboat Endorfin ably demonstrated that morning on northern Moreton Bay, the relatively slim chines on Fisher's Maxi hull make it easy enough to avoid the worst of the inevitable bumps and bangs (At this point I should point out that the term Maxi designates the 23° deadrise, among other design parameters. This differs from other Fisher hull designs that have flatter deadrises).

 

 

PERFORMANCE

Another notable characteristic of this boat was its effortless transition from displacement to planing speeds. A distinct flat plank running along the keel line aft is presumably responsible for much of the lack of bow-lift or stern-squat through these transition speeds, and this too contributed significantly to our test boat's fine set of (on-water) manners.

Back on more benign water inside the Pumicestone Passage, looking for someplace calm enough for a photo shoot, I found the 700 Maxi hull's minimum planing speed to be a mere 6.8kts at 1900rpm. The ability to slow right down to such speeds while remaining cleanly on the plane is a great asset anytime the weather deteriorates.

At cruising revs of 3500rpm and 4000rpm, the 700 Maxi, powered by a 250 Suzuki swinging a 20in pitch stainless Suzuki prop, achieved 20.6kts and 24.5kts respectively. Flat out, we recorded an impressive 44.2kts just as the big Suzi touched its rev limiter. This suggests that a prop with another inch or two of pitch may be worth a try, although with a full load of people, fuel and gear aboard, I suspect the 20in will prove about right.

 



FISHABILITY

At seven metres, Endorfin is a roomy trailerboat entirely capable of fishing some distance offshore, venturing out to the typical reef's many island anchorages, while a 300lt fuel tank enclosed in a safety capsule offers plenty of range.

Fishing-wise, I'm happy the reborn Fisher company was left well enough alone there too. An expansive selfdraining checkerplate deck, big sidepockets tucked under the deck along each side of the cockpit, sensible workbench, big plumbed livewell (fed by both an electric pump and transom scoop), hefty rodholders, easy access walkaround bowdeck, massive anchorwell, and (optional) racks for seven rods along each side of the hardtop are all in place as they were - and should be.

Our test boat had an extra-long narrow in-deck fishbox beside the standard one, set centrally in the cockpit. Apparently this was optioned as a speargun locker, although it would have to be one of very few fishwells I've ever seen that is capable of holding a really big mackerel or wahoo.

Inside the cabin, the bunk extends out to the hull underneath the bow access-deck, providing massive amounts of bunk space where either a couple or two blokes in sleeping bags could stretch out comfortably. Option, a freshwater bladder feeding a cockpit shower and a portable toilet under the bunks, and you've created a boat capable of providing several days of comfortable onboard camping around any convenient inshore islands or a big bay.

This is when the huge transom door and solidly built boarding ladder would really come into their own. I hesitate to speak for the fairer sex but I imagine that choosing these options should keep any boater's other half smiling.

 



THE RAP

Whenever I shoot interiors I usually make an intimate inspection of how a boat's put together and finished off. On this occasion I couldn't avoid expressing some disappointment that many of the welds which used to distinguish a Fisher boat have now been smoothed over. I guess I now have to concede that probably only someone like myself, who's spent much of their working life shaping and welding sheet metal, ever appreciated those welds.

A final favourable impression was delivered while I photographed the ballast tubes after Endorfin was back on her trailer. Right there, literally before my eyes, was a beautifully executed transducer mount incorporated into the bottom sheet, placing the transducer neatly in smooth water, streaming off the plank. Transducer placement on aluminium boats is typically a right pain in the proverbial but here I'd found a very clever piece of innovative engineering that left me thinking how good it is to see that Fisher boats is back with us.

 



WHAT WE LIKED

Soft ride for a plate aluminium hull

Excellent at rest stability despite steep deadrise

Fishing-friendly interior

Transducer mount!!!

 



WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

I'd still prefer to see the weld

 

 





SPECIFICATIONS: Fisher Boats 700 Maxi Walkaround Hardtop

 



HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $104,950 (excl electronics)

Options fitted: Suzuki DF250, speargun locker, Engel fridge, dual-aeration for livewell (incl deckwash), 70lt freshwater bladder / shower, rodracks, electronics, and much more

Priced from: $89,980 (w/ Suzuki DF200)



GENERAL

Type: ...Monohull centre-cabin sportfisher

Material: Plate-aluminium

Length: 7m

Beam: 2.45m

Deadrise: 23°

Weight: Approx 3000kg (BMT)



CAPACITIES

Fuel: 300lt

Fresh water: 70lt (optional)

People: Seven

Min HP: 200

Max HP: 300 (twin-motor transom for 2 X150s optional)



ENGINE

Make: Suzuki DF250

Type: DOHC EFI V6

Rated HP: 250

Displacement: 3614cc

Weight: 265kg

Gearbox ratio: 2.29:1

Propeller: Suzuki S/S 20in pitch



SUPPLIED BY:

Fisher Boats Australia

2/77 Pasturage Rd

Caboolture, Qld, 4510

Phone: (07) 5495 4696

Web: www.fisherboats.com.au

 

 



Originally published in TrailerBoat #255

Find Fisher Boats boats for sale.

 


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