OCEAN MAX MARINE 21SC FISHING BOAT TEST

By: KEVIN SMITH, Photography by: KEVIN SMITH


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The new 21SC from Queensland’s Ocean Max Marine is a versatile boat with plenty of room for a large fishing crew or the whole family.

OCEAN MAX MARINE 21SC FISHING BOAT TEST
Made on the Gold Coast, the OceanMax Offshore 21SC has a beamy fishing work area but is still friendly to families and social boating.

In 2010, Gold Coast boatbuilder Ocean Max Marine introduced its first trailerboat to the market, the Offshore 24 centre console. That boat was an absolute weapon on the water, and with a combination of classic looks and long-distance offshore handling characteristics, so it should do very well despite the fact it's tailored to a very niche market.

The company recently came up with what is definitely its best design to date, the new Ocean Max 21SC. At first glance the boat comes across as having a typical American-style design, which seems to be tempting increasing numbers of Aussie trailerboat buyers these days.

Just like its centre-console big brother, the 21SC was completely designed and built locally on Queensland's Gold Coast. The boat is a manageable size and it sports the typical modern lines commonly found in this style of vessel. It has a fully-moulded interior with a comfortable half cabin for the kids and, best of all, it has a beamy-sized fishing area ready for serious offshore jaunts.

 

ON DECK

Climbing on board the 21SC, fishermen and family boaters alike will be in awe of the deck space. Thanks to a full 2.5m beam, the space is unusually large and can fit four adult anglers or a small family very comfortably.

Another of the deck layout's major attractions is that it's very similar in design to the American offshore boats, which means it has loads of space and storage, as well as fully bolstered padding along the inner coamings, side pockets with built-in rodholders, flush-mount fish hatches, a non-slip self-draining deck, flush-mount rear lounge, and the usual bait tank, transom door and rear boarding platform with ladder.

Although very spacious, there's no lack of standard fittings to suit the offshore angler, and the fact that everything is moulded really does make for a neat setup.

I like the dual fish hatches built into the deck and although they are not too deep they could take a few long mackerel. The deeper stowage hatch between the console seats could also be used for fish if necessary.

Up front, the console is protected by a stainless targa with clears and has a massive wrap-around screen, large dash panel with tinted top hatch for easy entry into the cab, more side pockets beside the seats and a console with angled panels to suit different types of electronics on the skipper's side.

The dash has a nice design, but unfortunately I battled to see clearly over it while seated and driving. However, this isn't a major issue because there would be a few ways around it with some mods.

The serious beam on this boat means there are no issues with space around the console, and it's very comfortable for the passenger and skipper when seated.

The front cab is another area that's slightly larger than usual and the 2.5m beam that runs right up into the cab means it has a proper double or even queen-size bed, which is something not many trailerboats of this size can offer. Having the extra sideways space makes it suitable for those who want to overnight and also serves as the perfect on-water cubby house for the kids.

The bow is home to an adequate anchor well that can take a windlass system. The area can be accessed either along the cab side or through the top hatch of the cabin.

Overall, the layout is very clean and would be highly suitable for offshore fishing or time on the water with the family. If you are looking for a manageable boat with more on-board space than usual, this is definitely worth a look.

 

PERFORMANCE

One of the first inspections I like to conduct on any boat is a look at the bow and transom shape / deadrise, because it gives you a fair idea on how a boat is likely to ride. I discovered the 21SC has a very interestingly shaped hull, with a semi deep-vee in the bow with quite a bit of flare, no major planing strakes, and variable deadrise that tapers to around 16°.

In my opinion, a 16° deadrise on any boat will give superb stability, but this is especially true in the case of the 21SC due to that 2.5m beam. However, there is generally something of a compromise in the form of a harder ride produced by the deep-vee not cutting through the chop. So, to be honest, I was a tad concerned before we went out.

Our day started off with a gusty south-easter puffing up to 20kts (37kmh) in the main channel between Cleveland and Stradbroke Island off the Queensland coast, so it was perfect for a true test.

Due to it's hull design, my initial prediction for the 21SC was that I would possibly have to make an appointment with my chiropractor after the test, but I'm more than pleased to say I was well wide of the mark. But don't get me wrong; it's definitely not the kind of boat that can race across the water and it remains better suited to the more timid boaters among us.

Smashing into a gruesome semi-side-on chop at around 30kts (56kmh) didn't last long and, although do-able, it didn't suit the boat - and definitely not my back.

Once the velocity was toned down to something more civilised, the 21SC's ideal speed was around 17-20kts (31-37kmh). At the lower speeds, a comfortable and stable ride was maintained without having to work the throttle. Considering the average conditions the boat did pretty well, especially considering the hull design.

Once out of the slop and in the lee of the island, the hull rode very well and, if anything, I found it could have done with a set of tabs to be able to manipulate the ride a bit better. As I always say, any centre console can benefit from trim tabs (provided the skipper concerned knows how to use them to their full potential).

Holeshot from the Suzuki 225hp four-stroke was as good as expected and once up on the plane the hull reacted well to trim. The hull does not lean in much in turns, which stemmed from the wide beam and low deadrise. I did find a bit of cavitation in tight turns out of the hole, but that's to be expected if you want maximum performance
out of your engine. A simple drop of a single bolt hole will eliminate that, but will obviously affect performance in other areas.

We had planned to sneak offshore for a fish (err, I mean test), but as per usual the weather gods didn't grant permission. The bar was out of control and even on the inside there was still enough swell and chop to rate boating as an offshore venture.

Again, this isn't a high speed machine in the rough, but it still rides well and can handle a grumpy ocean, just at a more civilised pace.

 

THE WRAP

Once again, Ocean Max Marine has produced a very nice boat, the kind that comfortably suits offshore fisherman and family boaters alike. I like the American design and with a few minor tweaks and adjustments I reckon the company is going to do pretty well with this hull. And with an entry point of $69,900 ($87,730 as tested), it's definitely competitively priced.

 

ON THE PLANE...

· Superb stability

· Oversized rear fishing deck

· Neat top-deck mouldings

· Nice offshore fishing / family boat

· Massive 330lt fuel capacity

 

DRAGGING THE CHAIN...

· More attention to small details would finish it off nicely

· Could do with passenger grabrail and some form of footrest (if possible)

· I would prefer a lower dash for more vision through the screen when seated

 

Specifications: Ocean Max Offshore 21SC

 

HOW MUCH?

Price as tested: $87,730

Options fitted: Dual-axle trailer; Suzuki 225hp four-stroke; electric-flush toilet; VHF radio; Garmin GPS Map 750 S and GMI 10 smart gauge; electric anchor winch system; bimini cover; storm covers; clears covers; stainless targa with rodholders; 100lt water tank and plumbing; boarding ladder; transom door; deck wash; hydraulic steering

Priced from: $69,900 (BMT) with 150hp Mercury two-stroke and list of standard inclusions.

 

GENERAL

Type: Offshore fishing / family

Material: GRP

Length: 6.3m

Beam: 2.5m

Hull weight: 1300kg (hull only)

Deadrise: 16° variable

 

CAPACITIES

People: 6

Rec. HP: 175 to 200

Max. HP: 250

Fuel: 330lt

Water: 100lt with pump and plumbing

 

ENGINE

Make/model: Suzuki DF 225

Type: Four-stroke DOHC 24-Valve V6 (55°)

Weight: 263kg

Displacement: 3614cc

Gear ratio: 2.29:1

Propeller: 16in x 19in-pitch three-blade

 

MANUFACTURED & SUPPLIED BY

Ocean Max Marine

Factory 7/8

200 Beatie Road

Coomera, Qld 4209

Tel: (07) 5580 1473

Mob: 0418 872 920

Web: www.oceanmaxmarine.com

 

Originally published in TrailerBoat #289, December 2012.

Find Ocean Max boats for sale.

 


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