By: Rick Huckstepp

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Proving yet again that West Australian fishing boats are something to behold, Trailcraft's 5.8 Centre Cab delivers value and performance in a package that's built to last. Rick Huckstepp has the story.

Trailcraft 5.8 Centre Cab

FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #181, July 2004



Trailcraft has certainly made huge inroads into the plate-boat market over the last couple of years. The company's full-on approach to R&D and marketing both in Australia and overseas has seen all-important design changes and an increase in model numbers to satisfy demand.

Under the direction of Brett Martin, Trailcraft has gone from being a smallish boat manufacturer to one that now occupies a huge factory in Fremantle; and a company that's also building arguably the best boat trailers this writer has seen.

The stones do not remain unturned there either, with a massive factory just starting construction at the front of the boatbuilding premises that will crank out quality Trailcraft Caravans!

What next?



Well, let's start with the company's 5.8m centre cab that we took for a spin recently when down Freo way. This boat boasts 5mm bottom plate and 4mm sides, providing a tough shell in which to house a packed-out fishing platform.

As tested it was a bare boat and, like many on the market, probably should remain that way from the point of manufacture so it can be personalised around the owner's requirements once on the water.

Wide coamings all round provide plenty of space to have a number of rodholders exiting at various angles without their bottoms protruding into cockpit space, and there's also plenty of room for downriggers and perhaps a pair of outriggers.

Wide gunwales also make a good seat when fishing, and adds to the overall strength of the hull.

The anchor well is close in when standing and working the ground tackle over the well-engineered bowsprit, which equates to plenty of leverage potential if required, with minimum back-bending and strain.



The deck from bow to stern is one level and features a pair of ample scuppers. A companionway with an alloy door leads out onto the full floating pod and a boarding ladder that's designed at an angle to steady the body when boarding and disembarking.

While on its own it doesn't seem that special, this is one feature that Trailcraft has included throughout much of its range - and got right from the very beginning.

The transom bulkhead houses a pair of vertical hatches that hide a single-crank battery (there is room for two) and the oil bottle for the outboard should you opt for two-stroke. With this space freed up with a four-stroke on the back, a nice tackle locker could be installed here as an option.

Sidepockets provide ample stowage for tackle, and - like the rear bulkhead - are high off the deck, allowing you to get snug against the coamings when fishing over the sides and stern. A solid bait station fixed centrally on the bulkhead makes for a good leaning post when the bait rigging is done.

With not much beam behind the centre cab, the ideal seating solution is what was on the test boat - a padded storage box. A rocking backrest would go well here so that anglers drowning bait could sit back comfortably in the shade of the bimini top and swing the backrest the other way when on the run. This style of seating is available as an aftermarket item and is well worth the money considering the comfort it offers.

Entry into the cabin was easy thanks to the large doorway. Sidepockets inside will keep the smaller items in storage easily accessible while there is plenty of room for plastic storage bins in which lifejackets and the like can be stashed.

The helm layout leaves enough room for medium-sized electronic screens to be fitted behind the Perspex screen, and a solid grabrail will be welcomed by the passenger coming to grips with rough seas on the plane.




With a maximum rating of 200hp, this rig would really march along - but as it was, it performed quite respectably with the 150hp on the back. Thirty-nine knots (72kmh) is nothing to sneeze at, and the 150 Mercury delivered this speed at 5600rpm. Just on the plane at 16kt (30kmh), the tacho was showing 2600rpm.

Unusually flat seas off Fremantle failed to provide any challenge whatsoever for this rig, which presents as a good base for the serious light-tackle angler. Plenty of room to move in the cockpit and plenty of room for add-ons make this rig a value starter package compared to other plate boats on the market.

Its hull-only weight of 745kg will have the boat, motor and trailer package at around 1800kg, which is big six-cylinder family car or 4WD territory.

What really caught my eye was the Trailcraft trailers - one of which was under the test boat. We looked at the assembly of these units from woe to go and can say confidently that these trailers are designed for longevity. Heavy "I" beam side rails and beefy "C" sections are exclusive with the only box section being the drawbar.

The box section is typically the starting point for rust in the aft end of most boat trailers. Many other boat manufacturers have realised this and will be adding these trailers marketed as "Trailmaster Trailers" to their packages.

When it comes to the crunch and the wallet comes out of the back pocket, size up this rig against its opposition and then count the value in having a trailer that is capable of the long haul. In many cases, true value is in the lifespan of the boat and trailer rather than the initial outlay for the rig. This outfit will fill the bill if you're looking for a long-term offshore fishing boat.






Price as tested (BMT): $43,500
Options fitted: Baitboard
Priced from: $43,050




Material: Plate aluminium
Length (overall): 6.1m
Beam: 2.55m
Depth: 700mm
Deadrise: 17°
Rec/max hp: 150/200
Weight: 745kg hull only




Fuel: 250lt
Passengers: Six adults
Water: n/a




Make: Mercury
Type: Two-stroke V6 EFI
Rated hp: 150 @ 5500rpm
Displacement: 2507cc
Weight: 194kg
Gearbox ratio: 1.87:1
Prop: 17in Vengeance




Saltwater Marine, 221 Hampton Road, South Fremantle, WA, tel (08) 9431 7779, email or visit




Value starter package
Great build quality
Good base for building your ideal fishing boat
BMT includes a high quality Trailcraft trailer




Perspex, not safety glass screen
Storage box seating could do with a folding backrest
Windscreen needs a grabrail

Find Trailcraft boats for sale.


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