By: Warren Steptoe

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Warren Steptoe takes the Noble 5.0 Centre Console for a spin around his hometown haunts of Moreton Bay, and rekindles his love of tough centre-console fishing boats.



I've long been something of a Noble fan and I've tested and fished from many different models over the years.

The common thread with these boats was that they were built by Aussie fishermen for Aussie fishermen. It started with Dave McKenzie, who built superb plate-fishing boats under the Sportfish brand in a shed at Clontarf. He introduced a radical hull design which is still used in these boats, and was subsequently developed by Brisbane's Noble shipyard.

I'll concede that my experience with grass roots Aussie products going to overseas manufacturers has not been good, often due to the inexorable degradation of many details that made them great in the first place. So yes, I was concerned about the brand's move to China.

This concern was exacerbated by the fact that centre-consoles in the 4.5-5m range are particularly close to my heart. In so many ways they're the perfect fishing boat, especially for Brisbane's Moreton Bay. I've chased surface feeding tuna and mackerel here from boats just like the Noble for 30 years, so running the company's latest 5.0 Centre Console out of Scarborough Boat Harbour for a boat test was déjà vu big time. Was this going to be a letdown or an affirmation that all is well with some of my favourite things? A few hours on the water would tell...







As luck would have it (or not), Moreton Bay turned on the perfect day for fishing. Perhaps it was the time of year, but it definitely seemed like the right thing to do to have a couple of big spin sticks aboard when a light breeze failed to build any kind of surface chop. Days like this are rare on northern Moreton Bay.

As such, the best we could do to gauge this boat's ride was to use the mish mash of wakes caused during our photo shoot. This is where we found out what made Noble's deep-vee hulls so much better than many other plate-aluminium tinnies. Thanks to a deadrise that's much steeper than competing designs, these boats offer a superior ride and handling that leaves little to be desired.

Basically, this steep deadrise - "deeper vee" if you prefer - eliminates the bangs and bumps which characterise many plate-aluminium boats riding across chop. Its unique double chine also ensures that stability at rest doesn't suffer, as it sometimes does in steep deadrise hulls with narrow chines.

My only proviso is one that's common to all steep deadrise hulls; the need for trim tabs so they can genuinely realise a hull's potential for a smoother ride across rough water. It's important to balance weight distribution in any boat, but this is especially true when there's two people aboard a centre-console.

A centre-console's central helm inevitably places a passenger's weight to one side of the console, where it forces the hull into a side-down attitude. This swings the deadrise angle off centre, effectively flattening it on one side and steepening it on the other. This can cause the hull to bang down hard on the flat side rather than slicing into the water the way a steep deadrise is designed to.

The extra wide chines on Noble hulls do a great job of keeping them nice and level at rest. However, they can sometimes exacerbate the issue when travelling at awkward angles to surface chop. Trim tabs therefore allow you to compensate uneven weight distribution and adjust a hull's attitude at the touch of a button, avoiding the whole scenario and really bringing out the best in this industry-leading hull design.

This characteristic of the Noble hull wasn't revealed during the pleasant weather experienced for this particular test. Even so, I'd still suggest budgeting for trim tabs if you're contemplating buying this boat and want to enjoy its roughwater performance to the fullest.







The Noble 5.0 Centre Console features a raised casting deck in the bow with the console set against its aft end. The console is quite big and affords plenty of dry stowage inside while leaving plenty of room on either side to pass by.

Our test boat's low-cost packaging meant it had analogue instrumentation and no fishfinder or GPS, although there's plenty of dash space plus the perfect place atop the console to mount an electronics cabinet of substantial size.

Behind the console is a massive aluminium storage box-cum-seat with a high-set, swing-over backrest. It looked high to my eye and I thought it spoiled the boat's otherwise attractive lines - but it was quite comfortable to sit against.

The aft bulkhead incorporates a portside livebait tank (which overflows overboard), with the usual central workbench perched above the motor. Four rodholders on the workbench and flush deck holders in the sidedecks comprise rod stowage. I'd certainly look at increasing this if it were my boat. Aeration for the livebait tank is supplied by a pump which also serves as a deckwash.

Noble calls the cockpit deck self-draining, but I'd call it a wetdeck as it isn't carried high enough to prevent water entering the scuppers when even my minimal (sub-60kg) weight ventured into an aft corner.

Here's the compromise in a 5m boat; if you set the deck high enough to be above the water line at rest, it also raises the centre of gravity high enough to make the boat wobbly underfoot when you're fishing - which you don't want.

To my mind the arrangement here is quite acceptable given the fact that this is a fully-welded deck. The bungs can also be screwed into place to prevent water entry if you wish. With the bungs removed the deck drains when the boat is travelling at planing speed.

One thing I didn't like, however, were the plastic hatches in the raised forward deck. While these do keep water out of stowage under the casting deck, I felt they weren't very substantial, and they also flexed underfoot. Similar hatches are used to seal compartments for the battery and other areas in the aft bulkhead but I can live with them there as they're not in an area where they're likely to be walked on.

Stowage beneath the forward deck is lined as standard to prevent gear from getting down into the bilge. Other standard items include a boarding ladder on the stern, a 120lt underfloor fuel tank and hydraulic steering.







Our test boat was supplied by Cunning-ham's Marine in Brisbane, and included a 90hp Suzuki outboard, which is an alternative to the 90hp Mercury carburettor two-stroke that comes standard in the package.

Performance was not disappointing, with ample oomph right across the rev range and a top speed just under 33kts (61kmh). Idling in gear the Noble 5.0 moved along at 2kts (3.5kmh), making trolling livebaits a viable proposition. It planed cleanly under 7kts (12.9kmh) and this can only be a good thing on those really rough days when you have to tough out the trip home.







A new, curved sheer makes the 5m Noble hull a great looking boat to my eye, and particularly so for a centre-console. Its ample freeboard won't go astray when fishing offshore and on big open bays. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find a better proposition for chasing tuna and mackerel around places like Moreton Bay and Hervey Bay, and I reckon this would make one exceedingly handy and dead-serious fishing boat any place north or south of that.

As previously mentioned, I've tested and fished from many Noble boats and their predecessors over the years and I'm happy to report this one continues my enthusiasm for the brand. I'd take it fishing around my backyard waters of Moreton Bay any time…







Readers may have noticed that the photos of the boat featured here seem to be missing several details. I later learned this was because it was an early model without a proper grab bar on the console; minimal leg support in the cockpit from too narrow sidedecks; and a console-top with an obvious water trap.

Fortunately, Noble has addressed these issues with more recent versions of the 5.0 Centre Console. I can confirm this thanks to Bruce Cunningham, from Cunninghams Marine, who was kind enough to show me a brand new shipment of 5.0 Centre Console models awaiting fitout.

On inspecting the new boats I found that every one of my concerns had in fact become, well, no longer a concern. The consoles had a stout grabrail framing a low screen (see above), flush console tops that don't hold water, and wider sidedecks with stowage pockets tucked away underneath to provide excellent leg support around the cockpit periphery.

To top it off, the finish on these new boats is excellent. Our test boat's finish was okay, but Blind Freddy could see that the overall standard of finish on these new boats took a quantum leap forward. The paintwork was some of the best I've ever seen on an aluminium boat, and the metalwork was notably neater and better finished around the edges and joins than that of the test boat.








Wind: 5-10kts


Sea: Light chop





On the plane...



Soft ride compared to many plate-tinnies its size


Sealed, drainable deck with standard deckwash


Safety of high aft bulkhead in following seas


Versatile fishing layout




Dragging the chain...



Bow-casting deck hatches could be more robust


Could use more rod stowage


Trim tabs should be standard







1.9kts (3.5kmh) @ 600rpm (slow troll)


7.0kts (12.9kmh) @ 2600rpm (min planing speed)


8.9kts (16.4kmh) @3000rpm


16.3kts (30.1kmh) @ 3500rpm


19.2kts (35.5kmh) @ 4000rpm


24.1kts (44.6kmh) @ 4500rpm


27.7kts (51.3kmh) @ 5000rpm


32.8kts (60.7kmh) @ 5800rpm (WOT)






Specifications: Noble 5.0 Centre Console







Price as tested: $40,690


Options fitted: Suzuki 90hp outboard


Priced from: $35,990







Type: Monohull centre-console


Material: Plate-aluminium, 3mm sides / 4mm bottoms


Length (overall): 5.3m


Beam: 2.1m


Weight (hull): Approx. 810kg







People: 4


Max. HP: 130


Fuel: 120lt







Make/Model: Suzuki DF90A


Type: Four-cylinder, in-line, four-stroke


Weight: 160kg


Displacement: 1502cc


Gear Ratio: 2.59:1


Propeller: 19in aluminium








Noble Boats International


PO BOX 3279


Putney, NSW, 2112


Tel: (07) 3303 8441









Cunningham's Marine


51-59 Snook St


Clontarf, Qld, 4019


Tel: (07) 3284 2342




First published in TrailerBoat # 274


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