Review: Sailfish S8

By: John Willis, Photography by: John Willis


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The Sailfish S7 was a superb offshore fishing boat. Then aluminium power cat maker Sailfish came up with the S8.

20 years ago I was employed by a dealership that sold the magnificent Sailfish plate aluminium power cats. I had many enjoyable days chasing pelagic fish off the southern NSW continental shelf and I was always impressed by the strong and seaworthy attributes of these twin-hulled aluminium fishing boats.

 


CMLOGO

This boat was rated one of the best of the year. It has been nominated to participate at Australia’s Greatest Boats 2016.


 

Roll on two decades and the Sailfish S7 power cat was rated as being worthy of competing in the Australia’s Greatest Boats competition. In fact, the Sailfish S7 model won outright in the prestigious 2015 Aluminium Fishing Boats category.

 

Sailfish S8

Sailfish S8 power cat

So can such a good boat get any better? You bet – roll on the new Sailfish S8.

Sailfish has the fundamentals set in stone. The hulls ride on a cushion of air, taming the slop and challenging wild seas. Their huge footprint and inherent stability provide the ultimate trailerable fishing platform, but still allow for all of the creature comforts of large enclosed wheelhouses and
cruising facilities.

The relatively light weight and efficiency of these hulls means very low running costs, yet extremely gutsy performance.

There’s no doubt about it – bigger is better in hard offshore conditions. The all new Sailfish S8 has the same DNA as the highly successful Sailfish S7, but with an added 600mm length. Customisable build options mean you can choose to enjoy this added length in the cabin area or aft deck, where most fishos would probably want it.

 

Layout and design

Transom of Sailfish S8

Our review boat had been produced for a couple of long term fishing comrades. Yep, another couple of angling lunatics who have worked up to their ultimate dream machine with the aid of the good people at Sailfish. They love their fishing and have definite preferences and ideas on what makes the ideal workhorse.

My first impression of the Sailfish S8 as it planed toward us, was of a well-proportioned package.

She’s pretty as a picture to any seafarer, with modern lines and a beaut four tone colour combination. This is a boat that appears solid and also proud, ready for any offshore battle but also appealing for an afternoon cruise up the harbour.

The massive deck is large enough for a boardroom table and you could likely run an annual general meeting, with the skipper at the helm and caterers working the galley.

The wheelhouse is simply brilliant and gives you a real sense confidence in the hull’s massive abilities.

Out front, the sloping cabin roof has grey non-skid and it peaks with a bowsprit and enclosed anchor well, where a Lone Star stainless steel drum winch does the heavy lifting of a Mud Magnet.

It’s a little awkward to get around the sides with my … stature, but quite safe and achievable with plenty of hand grips and a big strong bowrail to enclose you.

The cabin roof was fitted with dual ventilation hatches, twin aerials, navigation lights and the arch for the customers’ Furuno electronics, including radar. The customers also opted for a set of Reelax outriggers with tilting vertical mount bases.

 

Cabin

Sailfish S8 power cat cabin

The cabin has two forward bunks with storage, and (usually) a full pump-out electric toilet – however the owners chose not to fit it.

The cabin entry is large enough for big blokes and is open and airy. It’s hard to believe this package is under the legal towing width, but it is actually 50mm less than the maximum allowable beam of 2.5m. She carries that beam all the way fore and aft, giving immense volume.

The cabin features commercial-grade toughened glass windscreens, providing excellent vision and sliding side windows for ventilation.

The owners optioned windscreen wipers with washers on both sides, and the cabin roof is lined and has a good solid bar overhead for standing passengers when the need arises.

Sailfish has worked hard on perfecting its helm. The layout is simple but effective, with great vision and space for large electronics, multifunction screens, anchor controls and the twin binnacles for the Honda BF150 four-stroke outboards.

Sailfish S8 berths

You can be quite comfortable either standing or seated, with upholstered bolster seats, a footrest and a strong stainless-spoked wheel for attacking the rough stuff.

Sailfish provide plenty more storage with a pair of large seat boxes extending to the rear enclosure.

The barn doors entry allows the security of a solid lock-up cabin, combined with easy traffic flow, and vision is excellent right around the boat.

 

Fishability

Sailfish S8 deck layout

The deck is big enough to hold a barn dance, but it’s also extremely well-constructed and appointed. The floor has speckled non-skid paint that works really well when wet or covered in fish blood.

Under the floor are wet boxes both sides, and the owners have fitted a mounting plate for a game chair. Immediately outside the cabin are a more storage boxes that have been customized in this case with upholstered rear facing bolster seats, so you can be really comfy while waiting for that strike.

A metho stove and 47lt cooler usually slot under the starboard seat, with a sink and tackle drawers to port, but in this case there’s just more storage.

Overhead you find a shade awning and rocket launchers, while the side pockets contain rod, tag pole, boat hook and gaff storage, plus a huge array of welded alloy rodholders for every type of fishing fitted to the gunwales.

The transom layout is sensational. She has a plumbed livebait tank with viewing window in the port side, combined with a large hatch housing one of the three batteries and fuel filtration.

On starboard is a complete workstation with lift-up cutting board and saltwater tap, high pressure wash-down, plus a deep bait bin.

Typically for a cat, you can walk right out between the outboards on the centre platform which has its own gate and folding dive ladder.

You’ll feel very safe with the freeboard and won’t ruin your knees in a serious sea, with padded coamings to the rear workstations.

Of course, the entire deck is self-draining for maximum safety and there’s a bright array of gunwale lighting, combined with sensible LED worklights both on deck and throughout the boat, including underwater.

 

Handling and ride

Sailfish S8 cat on the water

Cats certainly take some getting used to if all of your experience stems from monohulls, so don’t buy one if you want high speed maneuverability or a family skiboat.

But if you do want a big, safe, secure and extremely seaworthy platform for long range offshore excursions then this is a terrific boat.

It makes a wonderful family boat, or an excellent dive boat with its big decks, rear door access and immense load capacity for plenty of gear.

Much like its feline namesake, the Sailfish S8 leaps with agility as you plant the throttles on the Hondas.

There’s a real spring in her step, right through the rev range and we hit a sprightly top speed of 38kts at 5600 revs with three on board and three-quarters of a tank of fuel (2 x 175lt tanks). And I daresay you could get even more out of her with a bit of propeller tuning, too.

More importantly, there was confident and immediate power, right through the rev range with incredibly low noise levels.

I like the feel of this boat and would be more than happy to take her on extended ventures in the Top End, or fight a big fish well into the night out at the shelf. Or what a great boat for a broadbill excursion!

 

The Trade-A-Boat verdict

Sailfish S8 at rest

The custom fitout options on this boat are endless, but the standard package is pretty much all-inclusive and only needs your electronics selection.

The Sailfish S8 comes on a custom tandem aluminium trailer and those 150hp Honda outboards are standard for the very attractive package price of around $165,000.

The hull length is a full 7.5m and each sponson is compartmentalised and foam-filled for even more peace of mind. For such a big boat, she can still be towed legally, with a dry weight of around 3000kg.

There’s plenty to like about the all-new Sailfish S8. This is one hell of a competitor in the tough world of offshore sportsfishing boats.

 

HIGHS

• Strong and stable

• Enclosed wheelhouse

• Huge deck area

• Towing weight

 

LOWS

• Sounder mount (owners’ choice)

 

Sailfish S8 sea trials

Sailfish S8 power catamaran with twin Honda BF150 four-stroke outboard engines; three passengers; ¾ fuel load.

RPM

SPEED (KTS)

3400

18.9

3500

19.7

4000

24.3

4500

29.2

5000

33.5

5500

37.3

5600 (WOT)

38.3

*Sea-trial figures supplied by author

 

Sailfish S8 specs

Sailfish S8 price: $165,000 (priced from)

 

PRICE AS TESTED

POA

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Aluminium

TYPE Trailerable power catamaran

LENGTH 7.5m

BEAM 2.45m

WEIGHT 3000kg (BMT approx)

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 7

REC. HP 2 x 135

MAX. HP 2 x 150

FUEL 350lt

WATER 45lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x Honda BF150 outboard motor

TYPE Four-stroke DOHC outboard motor with VTEC

WEIGHT 220kg (each)

DISPLACEMENT 2354 cc (each)

GEAR RATIO 2.14:1 (counter-rotating)

PROPELLERS 2x Solas 19in three-blade stainless propellers

 

SUPPLIED BY

Webbe Marine

17 Yalgar Road, Kirrawee, NSW, 2232

Phone (02) 9521 7944

Email gavan@webbemarine.com.au

Web webbemarine.com.au

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #467, July / August 2015. Why not subscribe today?

 


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