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First boat - fg vs alu, size, family vs fishing?

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: First boat - fg vs alu, size, family vs fishing?
    Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 11:15am
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Hey guys,

So been lurking for quite some time and have picked up some pretty solid advice from these forums, been seriously thinking/longing for a first boat over the past 6 months or so - but struggling with the options and how much cash to throw at this....and how far on the want vs need spectrum I should go.

Background / Options
  • Have 3 young ones to consider - twins are just over a year and a 3 and a half year old.
  • If it wasn't for the youngins, I think I'd be pretty close to pulling the trigger on a 1550 fisher - the price points about what I can afford in the short term without financing a chunk of it
  • Would the 1550 be capable of a trip to GB?  Going on adventures further out is pretty appealing after learning the ropes
  • I COULD fit the kids in the 1550 but think that it's not going to be a great experience with 5 on a sub 5M boat?
  • Other options considering Fi-Glass Firestar or Senator - same kind of pricepoint ($35-45:), Cuddy cabin for the kids, softer ride being FG?  But less forgiving if I dont get the launch right?  are they capable of trips to GB and further out? (minus the kids?)
  • Sub 6M boats prone to get knocked around in the chop? And not great for trips further out? Can squeeze the kids in but not comfortably...I live near Manukau harbour so good to have the West Coast as an option to explore also
  • Which takes my thought process to a Stabi 2050 - this looks like an amazing first boat, big cabin with squabs for the kids - but also a large chunk of change (@90k) that  I'd need to save for another 12-18 months for - or finance partially on mortgage(? LOL).  Spoke to someone who owned one recently and manages to solo launch - so doable?  A similar sized FG boat seems to add another 300KG or so to tow weight and less forgiving to launch?
  • ^^ Also looked at the 1850 supercab x1, @ 60.. kind of doable, but is barebones (no cushioning in the cuddy for the kids) and still a lot of cash for a sub 6M boat - and if I'm spending serious cash, why not save and extra 6-12 months and get a boat that's just right, not compromised? also looked at mclay, kiwikraft, senator (these seem pretty nice) and a bunch of other options.. trying not to overcomplicate things
So pretty much just looking for different perspectives advice from everyone that's been there done that and knows what they're doing :) 

Thanks all and happy Friday.


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Moots Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 12:08pm
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Is buying new a priority? Fibreglass good for family, Ali better for fishing layout - you will use the boat 90% of the time without family and when you do, you only go when it is calm - This is my experience of having 3 kids. I have a Buccanneer Billfisher that I love and can handle everything I use it for - bar crossings, going wide or softbaiting shallows, but this is my 4th boat and I would recommend something smaller for your first boat. 
Therefore, my recommendation would be the 1550 or something similar - 5m Senator etc. Get some bean bags for the kids to sit on down the back of the boat and get seadek type flooring to keep it better on your feet for the family. Wouldn't be keen to take to GBI, but as you have more experience and confidence, you can then upgrade to something bigger
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote letsgetem Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 12:26pm
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Ive had 6 boats in 10 years. Im not proud of that, I should have been able to decide on the right boat for me, much earlier. Broadly, I went from big to small and then to in between - and from fibreglass to aluminium to fibreglass; before ending up with a Figlass Firestar (5.3M), which I love and will stay with.

What will be good for me wont be good for everyone. General points I will make -

Its hard to decide on buying a boat, without first having a lot of handson experience. Asking on this forum will help. Asking other boat owners will help. Having a ride or two on others boats would help. Probably end up trying a boat, and later changing to whats more suitable.

I think aluminium is - tougher, ie less susceptible to damage hitting things (like wharves, rocks near shore, shells on the shore, sinkers dropped that chip fibreglass). - and lighter (thats  lower towing weight, but harder riding in choppy). 

Fibreglass - is susceptible to impact damage, as its brittle. Can be fixed. Also, probably softer riding, if its heavier.

The ride in chop, was crucial to me, as Im 76 and dont like hard ride. Note that in addition to weight, ride in chop is worsened by a hull shape that does not cut through water as well. Consider three things - bigger/longer is softer ride - sharper hull bottom is softer, usually indicated by the deadrise angle (thats at the stern); 16 degrees is low (hard), 21 degrees is high (soft). My firestar is 21 degrees, the main reason I chose it) - and my previous boats were aluminium with pontoons outside the hull, which prevent cutting through the water, and give a harder ride). 

I have heard that women prefer fibreglass, as its nicer looking; and also softer riding. Aluminium quickly becomes pretty stained looking (from oxidation); that some dont like. But, if you dont mind the oxidation) aluminium would be easier to maintain.

Dont forget the towing length and weight - legal maximum towing weight seems to be uncertain. THe firestar tow weight is about 1000kg. I would be happy towing with a 2.4L Mitsubishi Outlander. I wouldnt want to tow a 1500kg rig with it. 

And finally,  manouevring and parking can be a problem, as a boat trailer is longer than an ordinary trailer 

You wonder if could take the boat to Great Barrier. I wouldnt do this in my boat. That should be considered with caution. ON a very light wind day, could do it ok. But, even moderate wind causes sea to become rougher than I would like in a 5m+ boat. As its a long way, sea conditions couldnt be relied on. I suggest you forget that idea, at least until you have a lot more experience.  


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 12:52pm
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Great summary there Letsgetem. I agree on the 5m boat too, I wouldn't take one across to GB
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 1:32pm
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Originally posted by Moots Moots wrote:

Is buying new a priority? Fibreglass good for family, Ali better for fishing layout - you will use the boat 90% of the time without family and when you do, you only go when it is calm - This is my experience of having 3 kids. I have a Buccanneer Billfisher that I love and can handle everything I use it for - bar crossings, going wide or softbaiting shallows, but this is my 4th boat and I would recommend something smaller for your first boat. 
Therefore, my recommendation would be the 1550 or something similar - 5m Senator etc. Get some bean bags for the kids to sit on down the back of the boat and get seadek type flooring to keep it better on your feet for the family. Wouldn't be keen to take to GBI, but as you have more experience and confidence, you can then upgrade to something bigger

Cheers Moots - New is not a priority, but looking at TM, the second hand market doesn't seem like good value at the moment?  See 4-5 year old stabis going for close to the price of new.  Then the challenge of my uneducated view on what to look out for when buying second hand...

The Buccanneer looks like a great boat (well out of my price range new unfortuneatly)- seems to be similar style and shape to the Extreme 605 gameking - which I also mulled over.  again good cabin space for the kids 10K less than the stabi 2010, but less info avail on how it rides etc and I guess back to the too much boat for my first challenge?  

The more I think about it the more a 5.3-5.4 meter fi-glass looks to be the "sensible" choice - for some reason I don't quite get the same sense of adventure from the family boats..(shoulda thought about that before having kidsSmile
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Bounty Hunter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 1:51pm
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if having wife and kids with you on a regular basis is a priority - fibreglass with a cabin and canopy is the format which is most likely going to ensure success. 

i would also suggest that a reliable (new) 4stroke motor is a big plus - nothing will turn the family off more than the merest hint of a scary situation where you cant get home when the engine doesnt start on the first turn of the key.

a fibreglass 'something' - be it a figlass, bucc or whatever - in the 5-6m range isnt going to be too much of an ordeal to live with, and when its just yourself and another bloke, will take you as far as the weather allows - Barrier, mokes, manukau bar etc...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 1:53pm
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Good advice LG - thank you..

The firestar is where I started when looking at FG - good to hear it's served you well.  Will be keeping this near the top of the list. I was at Auckland Marine the other week and it does seem fairly spacious, also taking a closer look at the senator - same hull from what I can see, a bit more deck space for fishing, slightly smaller cuddy.

Tow weight I think should be ok, have a 2.4 V6 Serento (not 4wd), but yes - parking space (car port is 5M x 2M - so regardless pof what size boat, it's going to be sticking out a way when on the trailer).

Consensus seems to be to leave the GB and off shore ambitions for a bit later....
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Big -Dave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 4:09pm
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Start smaller and stay local for a while.
That stretch of water by the barrier can get really nasty really quickly. I have a nervous to in a heavy 6m boat a few years ago.
Don't underestimate it.
you can't fix an idiot with duct tape, but it does muffle them for a while...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote Rozboon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 4:51pm
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You won't be taking kids that young for anything more than a 15 minute fizz around a sheltered bay, unless you love being miserable.

Go for the 1550, cut your teeth on it and make all those nice first-boat mistakes in a cheaper, tougher little boat that will hold its resale value incredibly well.

When the kids are a bit older and you're a bit more experienced, sure, upsize.

A 2050 is a big honking boat. Yes, people manage to single-hand boats like that but believe me it's a pain in the arse if anything is less than ideal. I'm getting around in a 1550 and fish solo from that fairly regularly and even that thing can be a handful with a cross-breeze on a crappy ramp, and it's light enough that I can easily shove it around under normal circumstances.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Moots Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 5:00pm
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For other fiberglass options in the 5M bracket - i would also look at haines hunter 545 (better layout that 535 HH), Sea Force 530 and buccaneer 525. They all ride well and in the order I have written, good enough layout for fishing and decent cabin for family. work well on lake and look good
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 8:09pm
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Cheers moots - I had read about the sea force mate before, but forgot as they don't seem too big on marketing and no dealer network selling as far as I can tell. Contacting sea force directly the way to go it seems?

Looks to be a nice middle ground between hard core alu fishing boat and family fg boat and somewhere in the middle between the stabi 1550 and fi-glass. Others you mentioned also looked nice heard good things about the haines hunter.... but pricey...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 8:28pm
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Yea.. all good advice roz.

Realistically the kids are probably too young to to take out for too long. My vision is taking them out with enough food to get through the day, putting them down for a peaceful nap on the cuddy around lunch time, island hopping and exploring in the afternoon reality is probably tantrum and tears as soon as boat has launched, sucking it up for a bit before heading back miserable 45 min later.. drowning in my sorrows with a bottle of wine... perhaps your right.. maybe you're onto something bugger kids and get the 1550 fisher ;) .. going to make getting a pass from the wife harder if I can't take one or two of them with me though
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote CrayZfish Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 8:50pm
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Does not matter how big your first boat is. It will feel small and you or the Mrs will feel like jumping off when the kids kick off. I also guarantee you won't be doing day trips for a while. My two are 5 and 7 and have been out since babies and if I can get a couple hours in its a good trip. I still have my first boat 16 years on but will be upgrading soon. Good luck in your search.
Why choose either diving or fishing when you can do both. Besides crayfish tail is very good bait!!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote OneWayTraffic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 9:06pm
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I suppose it depends on how much you want to keep that first boat. Whatever you get, just make sure that there's a way to get the sun off the kids. If going West Coast, you won't be bringing kids for a while. I'd rather have a Stabi or similar for bar crossing than a glass boat of the same size. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote DIY Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Nov 2020 at 9:23pm
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I own a Seaforce 530 Ute and really happy with it. I’ve also had a few smaller boats before that and have kids that are now 14 and 11. When the kids were smaller we always went out with the attitude that we could come back in if somebody wanted to and had no expectations of spending a long time out. I’m quite happy to shoot out for a couple of hours with the family. I saved the bigger trips for mates. As the kids have got older it’s a whole lot easier.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Steps Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 2020 at 8:16am
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Im pretty much along the Bounty Hunter comments.
5m is just that little bit small, hull length and cramped for over the bar, the chop outside and makes a trip to the 60m and barrier a long long one.
 And if chopps up for return home...

We spent the last near 10yrs out on the east coast , bottom end Waiheke, Firth, Coro in an older  5.5m glass with over nighters.
 Now moved it is Manukau Harbour and the west coast bars.
Ideally I think a alloy maybe better, but in saying that the old 5.5m does real well, in harbour and river.
A 6m or 6.5m hull (which currently thinking about going to) gives better  comfort options on the bars and out wide.

5.5m would be the smallest would go.. Barrier trip will have to be carefully planned for the barrier. As with bar trips.
 And even then that trip out to 60m with a little chop and 1m swell drags out abit .. Cruising 19/20 mph. Mirror day 30 mph.

 As for solo launch, a little thought, a 5.5 m is NPs at all, even on a keel trailer.. Even in a strong side wind or current... and dont put the trailer too deep.
Going up in size, a Buccaneer 635. would be far more ideal concept type boat for your longer term use.
Barrier far more do able in comfort. Solo launch NPs

 Another issue is well powered.. on a bar, when that pair of 'freak waves' climb up in front, even on a 1m swell.. u NEED that power..
How a hull performs, comfort , speed , and helm control, in chop is determined by the amount reserve power at the prop at that speed.
General 5.5 m cabin around 1200kg total gross weight on water about 130/140 hp
 6/6.5m 1800/1900   200hp

If was me, a small family, spend bit of time east coast, thinking hit the barrier on a good window. Spend time on the manukau with odd trip over the bars.. would go FG, around 6m+
 If a west coast fishing machine, would be a flip of the coin on alloy or FG weighted a little more to Alloy, again 6/ 6.5m

Boats are like planning out a garden or choosing a  tropical fish tank or making a garden pond.
 Mark out/ choose tank size, then increase by about 1/3 and you will not have the need to re do/ change later.


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote MightyBoosh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 2020 at 9:56am
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Some great replies. I'm in a similar position, but only one child. I've been going round in circles with this for such a long time. I do a lot of jetski fishing which I really enjoy, so no rush to buy a boat. 

If it was just me, I'd go for an aluminium centre console, but it isn't, family is a consideration and a cuddy for the wife and boy would be a good thing. That said, a cuddy of appropriate size on most aluminium boats would be a bigger model than I otherwise would have bought. 

Ride is very important to me (stability at rest, less so), so go back and forth between aluminium and glass. 

Agree with the comment about the second hand market. People want stupid money for second hand boats.



EDIT: Having re-read all the posts, screw it, forget the family and buy the boat you want Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 2020 at 10:23am
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Another good perspective steps.. this is the post I want to hear. But probably not the post I need to hear as it brings the expensive 6m plus boats back into the mix!

Order sight unseen
1) seaforce 530 mate
2) fi glass firestar/senator
3) 1550 fisher
4) f it.. all in on a 1850 or 2050!

Order changes with the wind and each post at the moment! All good advice though...
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Sufishent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 2020 at 10:24am
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I always read this comments with a smile - any potential buyer in this situation needs to be very honest with themselves and buy the vessel for what it is TRULY going to be used for. I suspect many might be hiding the purchase behind the "take the family boating" reason whereas in reality it is just for fishing - and the requirements differ ie comfort vs cockpit space.

I have a 4.6m tinny and it is just for fishing - the wife never goes on it and the grandkids go on it for a slow troll into the bay and a fish for anything and back in 30 minutes, and it is quite fine for that. I fish local waters and have no desire to take my boat to Great Barrier. I only go out in good weather. I still catch a good feed and have a lot of fun. Each trip costs me less than $50 in petrol and I launch from a multitude of beaches as I don't need ramps.

As you can see from the replies - different folk use their boats in different ways and hence a mixed set of replies. Each are correct for their use - but may differ completely from your real use.

I suggest you make sure you have the MUST have list sorted before you do the LIKE to have list.

Would I like a bigger boat - hell yes. Do I need a bigger boat - no.
You can never have enough fishing tackle
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote mtroskll Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Nov 2020 at 11:43am
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And the practical realist answer that brings something like the 1450 explorer into the mix. Probably a boat of this size is most sensible starting point... and still a lot of fun to be had...
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