TEST REVIEW: EDENCRAFT 233 FORMULA


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The Formula 233 once again demonstrates Edencraft's almost legendary reputation. John Ford reveals all.

TEST REVIEW: EDENCRAFT 233 FORMULA
TEST REVIEW: EDENCRAFT 233 FORMULA

When two boaties start talking about "the best boat" it’s usually not long before Edencraft gets a mention. Edencraft has for years been a highly desirable model among serious mariners and its stable of boats has a long pedigree on Australian waters. The designs go all the way back to the 60s and include the 565, the 6m Offshore and the big gun Formula 233.

AB BOAT

Our test boat was built for Wade, an abalone diver from Mallacoota in Eastern Victoria. He had upgraded his 6m Edencraft earlier this year and had customised it to suit his specific needs. He says that he’d been yearning for a Formula for many years.

Wade says that although he’d gotten a good few years out of the boat on a single 225 Evinrude E-TEC, he also wanted the extra safety and reliability from twin motors and a bigger hull. After all, he goes fishing in the middle of winter on big ocean swells and wild southerlies in Bass Strait.

"We have a 35-tonne quota over a year which starts in April," says Wade.

"But we like to get our quota in by November, so some of the days we dive are not ideal. We can be punching back into a 30kts breeze with around 700kg of abalone aboard."

IT’S BIG

The first thing you notice about the Formula, as it towers above the tow vehicle, is its great size. It’s a big boat even without a bimini or hardtop, but that said, launching is easy from the custom-built aluminum trailer (with no rollers, the boat slides easily from its Teflon runners).

The helm station is 2m aft of the bow, so with a length of 7.1m and a 2.4m beam, the 233 has plenty of room in its huge cockpit. However, this is a boat without too many creature comforts. The deck is clear of any obstructions such as seats and storage boxes and it’s all open workspace from the cabin bulkhead to the transom. The style is noticeably angular, which to some might seem old fashioned, while others might say it’s tough and purposeful.

Forward, the huge cuddy cabin provides storage and shelter. It’s kneeling room only here, but it could be fitted with a bunk. In a working role this boat could store 200 to 300kg of abalone for the home trip.

The console contains all the E-TEC instruments that provide readouts for every imaginable engine condition, as well as the combination Lowrance GPS-sounder. There’s a good amount of space on the dash for additional navigation displays or radios and you’ll find a large lockable glovebox on the port side.

This boat could actually accommodate any seating combination — but it didn’t have any. Wade knew that he would be steering from a standing position only, so he felt no need for it. Even the wave-breaker windscreen with additional wind deflector was custom made to suit his height.

The floor is finished in an easily-cleaned fleck gelcoat and underneath rests the 400lt alloy fuel tank. The filler is located on the sidedeck rather than the transom, making fueling at a service station or dock much easier.

The transom itself is fitted with a large central storage area, which on some boats would be the livebait tank, but in this case, provides a space for safety and emergency equipment.

The engine well accommodates two motors, but an optional pod setup is also available. Custom diving fittings include the air compressor, hose reel and filters. For survey works there are additional requirements like a manual bilge pump, VHF radio with separate battery and a lifering.

STUFF OF LEGENDS
And now to the hull… forget the niceties of your family dayboat with your cupholders and sun lounges. Everything about this boat oozes quality that’s designed to outlast trying conditions. At a tic over 7m and with a 24-degree deadrise, this is one serious vessel weighing in at 1600kg.

The 233 hull is very solid. The manufacturer claims to use up to 40 per cent more resin than in similarly-sized recreational boats. They employ a superior resin and skilled layup using biaxial cloth, woven rovings and chopped strand for a hull that’s fitted throughout with a fire-retardant foam for positive buoyancy.

The stringers are moulded fibreglass and are formed into sealed foam-filled boxes for strength and buoyancy.

The strength of the Formula hull was clearly demonstrated during the test. No mercy was shown as the boat powered into solid swells and became airborne at speeds that defied the laws of nature. Abalone deckhands must be a special breed with strong backs.

WAVE WAVES GOODBYE
Our test day had a short 1m chop and a 1m to 2m swell running with about 15kts of breeze from the northeast.

From the outset the boat’s twin 150hp E-TECs had no trouble propelling the Edencraft 233. Wheel and controls were easily to hand but, as mentioned, there was no seat to stop you from being flung to the transom.

The Formula 233 lifted quickly onto the plane and rode easily over the bay chop. Heading into the swell and picking up speed, there was little banging from the hull as it traversed the waves. Noise from the motors and the well-insulated hull was also minimal.

We headed into sea that would have slowed most trailerboats and into these conditions the Edencraft maintained around 30kts, getting the props out of the water and landing with almost no fuss. Water flew metres into the air and to the side, but none came onboard.

Back in the bay, we settled into some speed and fuel checks. The Evinrudes proved to be a handsome match for the hull and trolled effortlessly with just one motor using 0.5lt/h.

At around 8kts at 2300rpm it got on the plane. A slow cruise of 23kts at 3000rpm uses 22lt/h while on a fast cruise at 4000rpm we hit 32kts using 34lt/h. WOT gave us 42kts at 57lt/h spinning 17in Rebel props. As you can see, the fuel consumption is sensational.

All things considered, the Edencraft Formual 233 lives up to its reputation. It’s a solid and highly capable sea boat that would make for a brilliant fishing platform once kitted to your needs.

WHAT WE LIKED
Superior sea-handling
Tough construction
Big-carrying capacity

NOT SO MUCH
Needs a lot of power
No creature comforts

SPECIFICATIONS

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested:
$108,000

GENERAL
Material:
Fibreglass
Length:
7.1m
Beam:
2.4m
Deadrise:
24°
Draft:
0.4m
Weight:
1600kg (dry hull)

CAPACITIES
Cockpit:
7.0m²
Rec. max. HP:
2 x 200hp
Fuel:
400lt

ENGINE
Make/model:
2 x E-TEC 150
Type:
V6
Displacement:
2592cc
Rated HP:
150hp
Weight:
190kg
Propeller:
19in Rebel

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Edencraft,
53 Riversdale Road,
Newtown, 3220, Vic
Phone: (03) 5221 0444; Alan Ball 0402 114 071
Email: alanball@edencraft.com.au
Website: www.edencraft.com.au

First published in TrailerBoat #246

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