BOAT TEST: SEA QUEST ECLIPSE 4.7

By: Rick Huckstepp


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Turn around, bright eyes... Rick Huckstepp's found a bonnie lass in the Sea Quest Eclipse range that’ll stop you holding out for a hero.

BOAT TEST: SEA QUEST ECLIPSE 4.7
Sea Quest Eclipse 4.7

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

 

 

It seems there's a trend for trailerboat buyers to shift the goalpost higher when it comes to purchasing a rig under five metres. Just look at the demand for, and volume of, plate-aluminium boats in Australia by various companies under the five-metre mark.

Plate is tougher than sheet and, generally speaking, hulls made from this material are more specialised than those mass-produced from pressed sheet aluminium. Hearing the call of the marketplace, some larger manufacturers are mass-producing their boats from plate as well.

While in Western Australia recently, Trailer Boat climbed aboard a sweet little rig put out by Sea Quest Pleasure Boats - a company that for years has been the beneficiary of accolades from the commercial-fishing and charter-industry sector from Derby to Albany.

This proactive group took over ownership of Hampton Yachts, which had Razorline Boats as its recreational flagship. From a stable of recreational boats that measure up to seven metres, the Eclipse 4.7 comes in as the baby of the family - but as it turned out, it proved to be a real surprise package.

 

 

STABLE, MATE



This rig sits solidly in the water. With no people aboard, its chines are under the surface, not above, ensuring minimum rock and roll when climbing on or off.

The coamings are also nice and high, which gives an overall "chunky" appearance - but this is alleviated somewhat by the handsome rake in the coaming sheerline from the forequarters to the aft end.

This rig has its helm and passenger seating well forward of the longitudinal centre of balance where the forequarters carve the water. Usually this configuration suggests harder-than-average landings when coming off chop compared to a seating position aft of this point, but I was gobsmacked at how gentle this baby really is. In fact, this writer is compelled to say that this boat is the softest riding of any under five metres that I've driven in the past 35 years of boating!

Anyone who has boated off Perth would know all about the short, sharp chop that the Fremantle Doctor dishes up - but this hull was an absolute dream to be in, over, against, along and with the conditions that the good Doctor regularly foists upon fishy sandgropers.

 

 

SPARTAN THE WATERS



The hull as tested was spartan, with the dash at the helm holding a lone compass recessed into the top. This could be installed hard against the windscreen to open up this space for compact sounder and GPS cabinets.

A deep rebate in the centre of the dash allows you to come up against the central-opening windscreen and work the ground tackle from a large anchor well. The modules either side of the walkway are supported by aluminium struts that have a foot rail servicing both swivel seats. This area could be fenced with amplimesh to allow gear to more securely stowed.

The coamings are about 650mm off the deck and provide safe and comfortable fishing supports when standing at the gunwales. While standing at the dash, the only grab supports are the top of the windscreen and the canopy tubes. A set of grabrails around the top of the screen would be a big improvement.

Sidepockets running down each side of the spacious cockpit will hold plenty of tackle, and the rear stowage locker is the ideal spot for safety gear. This locker is welded in place with a padded lid and a permanent padded backrest featured on the face of the transom coaming.

The fully scuppered deck was well clear of the water level, and backing hard astern failed to get any water onboard. The full-width pod also remained above the waterline.

A step-through transom door swings on a full-length fibre-type hinge. Having never seen this style of hinge prior, I can't comment on its longevity in the harsh marine environment - but I somehow doubt it would be as strong as stainless-steel piano hinge.

 

 

TALL, DARK & TRANSOM



Out on the transom, the fuel comes to the motor from the underfloor tank via an aluminium pipe that protrudes through the topside, onto which the rubber fuel line and squeeze bulb are installed.

The lack of instrumentation aboard made speed calculation difficult, but the holeshot with the Honda 75 on the back was good, and top-end speed was not lacking either.

Manoeuvrability with the manual steering system was comfortable at the helm, and hard turns at speed failed to uncover any bad habits at all.

At only 4.7m the Eclipse is, in reality, a bigger workhorse than its length suggests. It has a large fishing cockpit and will take a lot of big sea, and will do so safely and in comfort. Its performance in chop is brilliant and those who don't like to get bumped around out on the briny must seriously look at this hull as a long-term investment.

Tested with the 75hp Honda, it proved to be a perfectly balanced rig. Overall finish of the boat, its welds and paint is as good as it gets in this segment of the market.

This boat with a rear-mount centre console would prove interesting as a mini sportsfishing boat for those that push the envelope in offshore fishing.

 

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS - SEA QUEST ECLIPSE 4.7

 

Price as tested: $29,990 with braked trailer (excluding freight)
Options fitted: Bimini and clears
Priced from: Boat only $14,750 excluding freight

 

 

GENERAL


Material: Plate aluminium, 4mm bottom and 4mm sides
Length overall: 5m
Beam: 2.3m
Deadrise: 14°
Rec/max hp: 90
Weight on trailer: 980kg

 

 

CAPACITIES


Fuel: 125lt
Water: n/a
Passengers: Five
Berths: n/a

 

 

ENGINE


Make/model: Honda BF75
Type: Carburetted four-stroke
Rated hp: 75
Displacement: 1590cc
Weight: 169kg
Drive: 2:1
Propeller: 13.5in alloy

 

 

SUPPLIED BY


Sea Quest Pleasure Boats, 36 Attwell Street, Landsdale, WA,
tel (08) 9302 4500 or visit
www.sea-quest.com.au

 

 

HIGHS


Wonderfully soft, gentle ride
Stability and manoeuvrability 
Overall finish and manufacture

 

 

LOWS


Needs more grabs around the windscreen
Transom-door hinge might not stand up over time
Spartan interior as standard

 


Story and photos: Rick Huckstepp
First published in TrailerBoat #180

 

Find Sea Quest boats for sale.

 


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