Everyman 720 SF boat review

Everyman 720 SF boat review

After a great start, winning the ‘People’s Choice’ Award for their 685 SF model in the 2009 Waikato Boating and Leisure Show, Everyman Boats went on to establish a reputation for producing boats with a high level of finish, robust construction and excellent on-water performance.

At the end of 2012, the company moved to new premises in Frankton, Hamilton, which had originally been purpose-built for aluminium boat manufacturing by Ramco Boats – a perfect facility for Everyman.

Last year, the company decided a model to fill the space between the existing 690 and 750 models was needed. But rather than just cut some length from or ‘stretch’ an existing model, they made a new design with a finer entry. The first hull of the new design was rolled out in October, with the two test boats being numbers two and three off the block.

Everyman Boats’ 720 SF (Sportfisher) is available in outboard and inboard configurations, and Everyman principal Russell Spiers arranged for both to be at Whangamata township, on the Coromandel Peninsula, at the same time.

Sister ships

Back ‘n’ Red is owned by super-keen fisho John Bellamy, based in Whangamata. It is set up as a hard-core fishing boat and powered by a bracket-mounted Honda 250hp V-Tec four-stroke outboard. Although it only hit the water at Christmas time, this vessel already has about 150 hours on the engine and a lot of fish to its credit. (By comparison, an average recreational boatie does about 30 engine hours per year.)

The second, as-yet unnamed 720 SF is owned by Hamilton couple John McLaughlin and Susan Robertson. It is powered by a Volvo Penta D3 220hp with a Duo-Prop leg, and is still being run in, having less than 10 hours on the clock.

Everyman Boats was a good fit for John and Susan; with the high-quality hulls built in their own hometown, they were able to have plenty of input into the features and also enjoy watching the build progress.

John is a fan of Volvo Penta engines, and said he always wanted a boat powered by a Volvo Penta D4. However, after the 720 SF had been decided on as the ideal boat for their needs, they discovered the Volvo Penta D4 was too big for the hull, so went with the smaller D3 engine instead.

John and Susan’s 720 SF is more of an all-rounder compared with Back ‘n’ Red, and their plans include skiing and water toys on the Rotorua lakes with family and stay-away trips, as well as allround fishing up to, and including, big game.

Stem to stern

In many respects the two rigs are similar in construction, having 6mm plate bottoms, 4mm sides and topsides. Deadrise is 17 degrees at the transom, and the rising sheerline in the bow gives the hull a classic look, as well as turning the spray. Reserve-buoyancy figures were not available at the time of writing.

I spent most of my day in the inboard-powered model. This rig is fitted with an electric Savwinch drum anchor winch under the foredeck, and has a helm-controlled Manson anchor permanently mounted on a decent fairlead. Substantial bow rails and a nonslip finish allow safe access to the bow, as does a hatchway in the cabin roof. Twin mooring cleats – one on each side of the fairlead – complete the bow furniture.

Inside, the forecabin is lined to the chequer-plate deck. Two levels of shelving and under-berth space provide stowage. The berths would easily sleep three adults with a berth infill added, and a macerating, flushing toilet is set under the central berth.

The Sportfisher (SF) model has a sliding, lockable door to the forecabin. (Another variation built on this hull is the Gamefisher [GF] version, which has an enclosed, lockable wheelhouse.)

The wheelhouse windows are toughened glass, fitted with two Roca wipers. Sliding side windows offer ventilation, while two overhead hatches add to the ventilation and allow more light under the hardtop. The dash has plenty of space to store small items; as it’s lined with dark marine carpet, internal glare on the windscreens is avoided and things placed there don’t slide around.

The owners have gone with a suite of Simrad electronics, including a Multi-Function Display for the sounder, GPS plotter and autopilot. Mounted overhead is a Simrad RS 12 VHF and the sound system – a Fusion MS RA70 – along with cabin lights, cockpit floods and grabrails.

Lectrotab trim tabs are fitted, but were seldom needed on the day. Steering is supplied by a hydraulic Seastar unit with a flyby- wire throttle/shift incorporated. The wheelhouse is lined to the gunwales, and includes plenty of side pockets and a decent glovebox on the passenger side.

Seating is provided by two king-and-queen units. The rear-facing bench seats make ideal lure-watching positions. The forward bucket seats have roll-back bolsters (allowing more standing room in front) and shock absorbers. There is plenty of internal stowage space in the seat-base units, one of which is designed to take a 70-litre Icey-Tek bin. To separate the catch and bait from food and drinks, a second 105-litre Icey-Tek sits in front of the engine box, also offering an additional seating option.

Cockpit stowage comes in the form of two, large, full-length side shelves and a large under-deck hold. The chequer-plate deck drains to sumps at each side of the engine box, drained by bilge pumps. Overhead, a canvas sunshade adds to the cockpit protection.

Vive la difference

The main difference between the two boats’ layout is in the cockpit. Obviously, the Volvo-Penta installation takes up more room than the 250hp Honda outboard, but is still remarkably compact for an inboard, extending through the transom wall and having only minimal impact on cockpit space. Two transom stepthroughs, combined with the chequer-plate stern platform/leg cover, allow easy access around the engine box and across the stern, with railings providing security to anyone using the platform as a fishing spot.

A live-bait tank is fitted under one step-through, while a cleverlydesigned bait station (incorporating four rod-holders) is mounted on the stern railings and easily removed if you want a clear field for towing water toys or playing a big fish. Further rod stowage includes four holders on the front of the engine box, and six – three per side – through-gunwale rod holders (also fitted with four sinker/drink holders) along the sides. This boat is fitted with Reel Rods outriggers and is easily gamefish capable.

By comparison, the outboard version allows a stand-up angler to get right up to the transom wall, but the outboard must be worked around, and the single transom cut-out is on the helm (starboard) side, preventing the angler from leaning against the transom there, so the skipper can see the line while chasing fish forward. This is not an issue, as Back in Red has been fitted with a Relax game chair in the middle of the faux teak-decked cockpit.

Other big-game fittings include: two tuna tubes out on the platform; a set of Reel Rods outriggers and a shotgun pole; an eight-position rocket-launcher; and nine through-gunwale rod holders – plus a couple more on the game chair.

Both boats have a fold-down T-style boarding ladder built into the stern railing and plenty of workspace. Flat gunwale faces offer good mid-thigh support for anglers, and there is plenty of toe space under the side trays.

Fishing potential

Back ‘n’ Red had already knocked over a decent feed of pannie snapper in the morning while waiting for us to rendezvous for the photo shoot. So, pics taken, we strung out some game gear and went for a troll out around Mayor Island. Although the game fishing setup is yet to be fine-tuned, the makings are there.

A pretty serious skipjack soon jumped a marlin lure and managed to give a decent account of itself – even on 24kg standup gear – while a similar fish on a bungee line proved too heavy to swing over the side, with the hook ripping out.

Out at Mayor Island we dropped some cut baits for a little while, and managed a few porae and kahawai for the ice bin. The boat was comfortable, stable and easy to fish from. There was room for four anglers, good mid-thigh support on the gunwale faces, plenty of toe room, and decent footing was provided by the chequer-plate deck.

Meanwhile, Back ‘n’ Red continued further offshore to hook and lose a striped marlin; unfortunate, as it would have provided a fairytale ending for the boat test!

On the water performance

We ran from Whangamata out to Mayor Island, a straight-line distance of about 19 nautical miles each way, eventually doing about 50nm for the day with four adults aboard. However, it didn’t seem like a big day, as conditions were good and the inboard rig was a pleasure to helm. Coming back later in the afternoon, a 10-12 knot sea breeze had kicked up half-a-metre of chop, but this had little effect on the 720 SF’s performance. I think it would take a fairly rough sea to make this boat’s ride uncomfortable.

Relative performance figures for the inboard and outboard rigs are shown on page 131. As already mentioned, I spent most of my time on the inboard-rigged boat but, upon questioning the owners, found that the fuel usage of the two different rigs at game-fishing troll speed (about seven knots) to be very similar – about a litre per nautical mile (although 96 octane petrol is quite a bit more expensive than diesel).

However, the capital cost of the Volvo Penta and the extra work in building the engine box and installing the engine is roughly $22,000 more than fitting the Honda 250hp, and that is quite a bit of money to claw back in reduced fuel costs. The weight difference is another factor to be considered.

On the road

The 720 SF is carried on a Voyager A22 trailer. This is a tandem-axle model with each axle rated for 1500kg, and has hydraulic front brakes and zinc protected leaf-spring suspension. Other features include: a cradle A-frame design, entry bay, and 40 wobble rollers for easy loading; galvanised steel guards; wind-down jockey wheel; and dual-ratio manual winch. Tow weight (light ship) is about 2100kg.

All in all...

I guess the choice between an inboard or outboard version comes down to individual engine preferences, the value of a little extra cockpit space to the owner, the amount of use the rig will get, engine life, resale value and so on.

Inboard or outboard configuration aside, there is no denying that Russell Spiers and his team at Everyman Boats have made a great boat in the 720 SF. The model offers attractive lines and excellent sea-keeping, as well as being robustly built and nicely finished. Everyman is happy to customise to an owner’s requirements and offers a good range of practical options to enhance fishing and stay-away comfort.

Specifications

Material: Aluminium

Configuration: Open hardtop

LOA: 7.25m

Beam: 2.50m

Bottom: 6mm

Sides: 4mm

Topsides: 4mm

Deadrise: 17deg

Fuel capacity: 280 litres

Recomm power: 200-250hp

Test engine: Volvo Penta D 220hp DPS

Trailer: Voyager A22 Tandem braked

Weight on trailer: 1900kg approx

Basic key-turn rig (250hp Honda): $118,650

Price as tested: (250hp Honda) $149,900

Price as tested: (Volvo Penta D3) $171,900

Test boats courtesy of John Bellamy, and The Volvo Penta D3 installation is John McLaughlin and Susan Robertson.

   This article is reproduced with permission of   
New Zealand Fishing News

April 2017 - Sam Mossman
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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