A Dreadnort is not like anything you’ve seen in the NZ trailerboat scene. While a few manufacturers have strayed from the norm and built vessels with plumb bows, none go further than the Dreadnort D7500. Miah Dixon spent a day on the new model to check it out…
Ifirst saw a Dreadnort boat at the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show. It stood tall and proud outside the main hall in striking blue and orange, sporting a shape that I’d not seen in a production Kiwi trailerboat before.
It’s undeniable that the first thing you notice about the Dreadnort is its prominent inverted bow – a hark back to the first dreadnought class battleships from the early 20th century that featured a similar, albeit less drastic inverted bow. As was soon discovered, this feature made a world of difference to the vessel’s performance.
The inverted bow provides two key advantages: the extended waterline makes this boat ride like a much larger one, and it allows for a much beamier boat, extending it’s full width right through to the helm station.
That beaminess is the base for the second thing you’ll notice about the Dreadnort. Inside, it is huge. With the lockable cabin door and windows opened, you’d be convinced you were on an 8.5m-9m boat if not for the ‘7500’ specification. The cabin steps down from the cockpit, giving great head height, which, when combined with the width, makes for a very spacious cabin area. I can see it comfortably sleeping three well-built fishers, plus a few more if you wanted to lay some sleeping bags out on the cockpit floor. There are few vessels in this size category that can genuinely say that they’d comfortably sleep that many crew! The width also allows for a fully enclosed head, complete with a sink fed by a 42l freshwater tank.
With the cabin doors and windows open, you'd think you were on a much bigger boat.
This particular vessel was the first off the line, but you’d never think it was the ‘guinea pig’ model. In saying that, Blair and Stuart have already identified a few key changes they’ll make on the next one, including raising the height of the cabin seating, making it easier for passengers to see out of the wide, swept-back windows.
The structure of the boat is hiding in plain sight in the roomy forward berth.
Of course, the stand-out feature in the cabin is the helm station, which despite its technology, is quite compact compared with the overall size of the interior. The helm is dominated by a 12” Raymarine Axiom+ MFD, followed closely behind by the uniquely designed Yamaha throttles and HelmMaster system. For those unaware, HelmMaster is Yamaha’s answer to joystick manoeuvrability but can be used with a single engine. Given the windage on this boat, it will certainly make a difference when trying to twist around in tight spaces at the marina or ramp. The controls power a 300HP Yamaha outboard, which barely breaks a sweat pushing this big girl up on the plane and across the short chop the Gulf is notorious for.
The 300HP Yamaha doesn't break a sweat pushing this big girl out of the water.
The electronics are rounded out with a Raymarine VHF, Fusion stereo and ZipWake trim controls. Hidden under one of the seats is a Engel 42l fridge to keep supplies cold.
The helm is dominated by a 12” Raymarine Axiom+MFD. All the important kit is within arms reach, while lesser used switches sit further around to the right.
When taking the helm myself, I appreciated that the most used switches were mounted on rockers in front of the steering wheel, with all the peripheral switches tucked behind the throttle where they won’t be accidentally knocked and don’t take up valuable helm space.
Take a step outside, and the cockpit is spacious enough to comfortably fish four, if not more. The aluminium canopy extends a little further than some fishers may like, but as Blair and Stuart noted, everything on their vessels is customisable, and the canopy can be extended or shortened as much as desired for the buyer. The gunnels are wide (ideal for storing all the usual boating/fishing bits) and will sit at thigh height for most adults with ample toe room below – perfect for bracing yourself when hooked into a solid adversary.
Storage can be found under the port side seat, as well as inside the cabin under the seats. Underfoot, comfortable UDek lines the floor. The transom is clean and simple – a bait station sits centred, along with a livebait tank and washdown hose, leaving the corners free for fishing. The swim deck is long enough that you can happily stand out there and fish on a calm day. A rigid S-style ladder can be dropped in and out to suit.
Custom UDek lines the cockpit floor, while recessed grips lift the floor to give access to the fuel tank. The Dreadnort logo contains a vegvisir, or ‘Viking compass’, an ancient rune that was said to help the bearer through rough weather.
While we didn’t get to see them in action ourselves given the time of day, the vessel boasts a full Hella lighting package, with lights tactically positioned throughout the cabin and cockpit, as well as Piranha P3 underwater lights and a forward-facing flush-mounted spotlight under the anchor – a unique solution to the problem of glare that reflects off the bow rails with conventional roof-mounted spotlights/lightbars.
The Dreadnort range is built to commercial standards, with full stringers throughout, and all furniture (bench seats, head, bunks) built into the structure for great integrity, without being obtrusive. When riding in a head-on sea, I noted that everything sits tight, with no banging or clanking of metals.
On the trailer (an aluminium Aakron Express model), she’s a heavy rig, weighing in at around 3.4t fully laden with fuel and water, giving any good tow vehicle a run for its money.
On a sunny day like the one we had, it would be rude not to test her fish-attracting ability. By chance, we had some of the Catch Fishing crew, John Donald and Jack Lucas, aboard. The latter is a Hauraki Gulf charter skipper, which put us in good stead to find some fish, or at least we hoped – no pressure Jack!
Jack hardly broke a sweat as he fired up the Yammy and took off, bow towards Anchorite Rock, giving us a good chance to experience the Dreadnort in the prevailing 15kt sou’wester. Combined with an incoming tide, the Gulf was true to form, chopping up as we headed further out. The Dreadnort rides much softer than its fellow trailerboats in the same length category – the extra length from the extended bow really plays its part, as does the extra weight from the 6mm hull and 5mm sides. When cornering tight, she heels over nicely, but not so much to make you uncomfortable, and rights herself well when coming out of a turn.
After 15 minutes of steaming, we came across the scenario we’d been looking for – birds working an area, with promising sign below showing on the Raymarine. We dropped a few lures, and Blair successfully brought aboard the first fish for the Dreadnort – officially christened! It was John, however, that stole the spotlight on this day. While the rest of us played with slow jigs, John discreetly rigged up a new 10” Black Label Livie soft-bait on an elevator rig and cast it out ahead of the boat. It wasn’t long before his rod was bent over, line whirring off the reel, and we knew his strategy had worked. As he patiently worked the fish to the surface, we all prepped ourselves for what was about to appear. Sure enough, the big white belly of a snapper emerged, and we knew then we’d need a bigger bin! We brought the fish aboard and John smiled for a few snaps before landing it in the cooler, tail hanging out and all!
John Donald wasted no time getting a 10” Livie soft-bait down, and his decision paid dividends!
It was a successful end to a great boat trial. Given the comfort of the ride out, I elected to head home on the Dreadnort, too, leaving our photo boat to catch a few more fish. As we skipped our way back into the Waitemata Harbour, I took a moment to consider my overall thoughts on this new model. She’s clearly a combination of well-thought-out design and excellent craftsmanship. She ticks the boxes for a number of uses and will make an awesome platform for a fisher or boatie looking for a step up.
As we got back to Okahu Bay, an arrival party greeted us – another group waiting to have their turn on the Dreadnort. Clearly, this vessel is already making a few waves.
Bottom thickness: 6mm
Top sides thickness: 5mm
Test engine: Yamaha 300HP DS + 15” prop
Fuel capacity: 370 litres
Tow weight: 3400kg (with full tanks)
Price as tested: $340,000
Test boat courtesy of Dreadnort Boats
January 2022 - Miah Dixon
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
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