BOAT TEST: LARSON 180 SKI & FISH


larson01.jpg larson01.jpg
larson02.jpg larson02.jpg

Intelligent seating and floorplan ideas suggest that Larson's 180 Fish & Ski will please the whole family, even hardcore fans of both pursuits.

BOAT TEST: LARSON 180 SKI & FISH
Larson 180 Ski & Fish

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #180, May 2004 

 

 

Few boats setting out to be all things to all people succeed completely, but American company Larson Boats reckons its 180 Ski & Fish series will more than satisfy the needs of keen anglers without alienating the family.

Australian boaters have the chance of enjoying the new bowrider/bass boat crossover as more dealers are appointed in each state, joining Coastlife Marine in Wyong NSW and Tweed Coast Marine further north.

Larson Boats is a division of Genmar Holdings, the boatbuilding giant that also owns brands like Four Winns and Glastron. Most of the hulls in the Larson range (extending from a 17ft bowrider through to a 37ft sportscruiser) are built using Genmar's efficient and precise Virtual Engineered Composites (VEC) technology. The company offers a lifetime warranty on VEC-produced hulls.

One of the most interesting boats in the range is the 180 Ski & Fish O/B (meaning "outboard" - a sterndrive model is also available designated I/O). The 5.33m (17ft 6in) hull has a flat casting deck up front, a central driving and co-pilot position protected by a high, clear windscreen, a second row of pedestal passenger seats and an open transom bulkhead for better access over the back when fishing. There's also a ski tow eye installed.

The way this boat has been set up appears to be intelligent. The front deck looks to be a well-thought-out workstation with two big dry storage lockers, dedicated tackle tray storage and a plumbed livewell found under flush hatches in the fibreglass deck liner. There's also provision for a bow-mounted electric motor, and one of the pedestal seats can be relocated forward so the angler can take a pew between casts.

Drop in the optional bow cushion infills when serious fishing is off the cards and you've got a bowrider area for two adults. Things like recessed stainless grabs and cupholders haven't been forgotten.

Walk through the screen to the helm area with its moulded dashboard, spread of Faria gauges and sports steering wheel. Both seats - which are made in-house and feature inner springs, 34oz heavy-duty marine vinyl upholstery, high-density foam, moulded rotocast seat frame and fore-and-aft adjustment - swivel around to face two more pedestal passenger seats. These can be swivelled to face backwards when fishing or watching the kids being pulled along behind on an inflatable tube. This seating arrangement suggests great flexibility and comfort for a family of four.

Should the old man want to sneak off with a mate for a fish, the second row of seats can be lifted out and the bowrider cushions snapped out to turn the boat into a dedicated fishing rig with ample floor space, seating and dry storage.

There's even dedicated rod storage under the gunwales in the cockpit that can be secured with lockable hatches, while post-fishing clean-ups are made easier with the inclusion of clip-out carpet. Quality stainless-steel fittings are used throughout, and cleats are throughbolted rather than screwed on.

The hull has a wide 2.36m beam, a substantial wave-taming 21° of deadrise in the bow graduating to 14° in the stern for stability. Outboards of up to 150hp are bolted directly onto the stern, shielded by a full-height splash well, while the planing surfaces are carried all the way to the transom (rather than cutting off at a swim platform) for a smooth ride.

The sterndrive model has an engine-box workstation in the cockpit and can accept up to 225hp in Volvo Penta or MerCruiser powerplants. Both outboard and sterndrive variants have 87lt tanks.

The hull weighs in at 771kg (sans motor and fuel) and rolls on an American-made EZ Loader tandem trailer fitted with brakes and spec'd up for Australian conditions.

Larson hopes Aussie boaters respond to such a flexible and versatile boat design offering comfort and usability for the family without ruining things for a fishing-mad dad.

 

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS

 

Priced from (BMT):  $43,875 w/ Honda 135hp four-stroke

 

 

GENERAL


Length: 5.33m
Beam: 2.36m
Dry weight (hull only): 750kg
Deadrise: 14°
Fuel capacity: 87lt
Rec/max hp: 150 OB, 225 I/O

 

 

For more information, contact Tweed Coast Marine, South Tweed, NSW, tel (07) 5524 8877, or Coastlife Marine, Wyong, tel (02) 4353 3644.

 

First published in TrailerBoat #180

 

Find Larson boats for sale.

 


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