I first traveled in a positive buoyancy aluminium boat in the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand in 2003. I new I was on to something good when I worked out these boats were light weight, safe and easy to handle. On my way home I purchased a few New Zealand boat trader magazines and started my own research. Kiwi Kraft jumped out at me as a very well designed and manufactured boat at a good price point. So I went for it, sold my old boat and purchased a 590 despite never actually seeing one in the flesh or being in one.
I purchased a 590 Aqualine in January 2005 and I could not be happier. I sold my trusty 21 foot fifteen year old fibreglass with a deep V hull and purchased the 590. The difference with any new technology is truly amazing. I tell my friends that it's the same as trading a pair of 15 year old snow skis for the latest available. In the 590 I can go more distance, I feel safer, I can turn better, I can handle any water scenario better and it is an exciting boat. I have a 2004 model 140 Suzuki 4 stroke engine and this new technology (great power to weight ratio) has complemented my goal of having the perfect boat for my needs.
This boat is much lighter (around 1/3 of the weight for similar size) making it easier to handle out of the water and at the boat ramp. I like to drive long distances with my boat on the trailer to reach new and exciting locations. The old fibreglass made this a little difficult, it was heavy and hard to tow. A huge difference is that I can beach launch the 590 from my 4WD vehicle even in light surf. This is something I would not have dreamed in the old fibreglass.
The real difference is in the ocean, I first put my 590 in the water at Queenscliff near Geelong for a days fishing out side of the heads of Port Philip Bay. The first thing that surprised me was the interest from other boaties at the ramp and a lot of interested spectators. The engine started first click and having sold my old 2 stroke I was surprised that the 4 stroke was so quiet and did not blow smoke on ignition. My buddy a I were off through the blue water with a steady swell rolling into the Bay, the boat immediately displayed excellent stability and great handling. This is my first positive buoyancy boat and I really felt safe as the swell picked up as we entered the ocean. The light weight hull meant the engine can really can push the 590 along, and I have since had it to around 70 km/hr. We had a great day and caught a few snapper but I had still not really tested it out as I wanted to run the engine in.
The next thing that surprised me was how little fuel I had used on my first journey, the old V6 2 stroke pushing the big old fibre glass use to eat fuel, my new 590 uses around 30% as much fuel as my old boat. Again it is new technology!
Finally I really got to really test out the 590, I drove for 2 hours out of Melbourne to a small beach called Walkerville North (on Waratah Bay), this is the most Southern beach ramp on the Australian mainland and gave me direct access to Wilson's Promontory. The boat is light to tow so the journey was a pleasure and my 4WD really did not notice it on the back. I proceeded to launch it off the beach and I have it set up to roll straight off the trailer so I do not need to back too far into the sea water. The light weight and excellent buoyancy of this boat are immediately an advantage when you beach launch.
So underway and further down Waratah Bay there was a good 5 foot wave rolling in to the delight of the local surfies. I soon joined the surfies to try out the boat in five foot waves on the verge of breaking and soon found with the power to weight ratio and balancing of the boat it was both very stable and I had the ability to get totally airborne and land smoothly. The more I push this boat the more I realise it can do.
Waratah Bay had a small chop that day which this boat loves to cut through under power so we did the 20 mile journey to the bottom of Wilson's Promontory and the most Southern Point of the Australian Mainland with ease. We got to see the local seals playing in very clear blue water and caught some Trevally. Really a great day.
My friends and I also water ski in Port Phillip Bay off St Kilda, this boat is again good for this purpose as it accelerates well and turns beautifully, the light weight and aluminium also means I can land on a beach without worrying about getting stuck or damaging the underside of a deep V fibreglass hull.
I will be sticking with these boats from now on they are fantastic for my needs!
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