Boating is a very personal thing. One man’s mulloway is another man’s mullet. For some, style is preferable to function, while for others practicality is the main concern. The latter is the case particularly for serious fishermen.
To prove this theory, next time you’re on a mate’s boat, take note of how long it takes you to think, “Mmm, I’d have that in a different place” or “I’d be putting more storage in there”.
The Webster’s Twinfisher range is a classic case in point. There’s no way a Twinfisher would be regarded as a stunning looker, but it doesn’t really matter: to a mad fisho, the most important issue is how well it fishes.
And after a quick sample, I’d have to agree that the Twinfishers are certainly an extremely well-thought-out craft.
What started as a means to build a personal boat has evolved into a complete range to suit all tastes. The first time I saw a Twinfisher in this magazine a few years ago, I thought it looked like a perfect fishing boat. It was reasonably priced and seemed to have heaps of deck space with plenty of thought in its design, so I’ve been keen to have a closer look since.
For the serious fisho, the Twinfishers offer a steady working platform with the twin-hull design, so it was a happy journo that had an opportunity to sample two of the craft in one day. The main focus was the relatively new 5.2 Cuddy, while a 5.2 centre console also came along for the ride.
Firstly, the owners of the cuddy, Peter Webster and co (no relation!), deserve praise for allowing Trailer Boat to get its dirty mitts on this spanking new craft without even coming along.
The new owners had only just taken delivery of their custom-made Twinfisher when the very man that sold it to them — Kevin Bannon from Independent Outboards at Blacktown — rang them asking if he could borrow it for the day so a motley journo could gallivant about on it. It shows the popularity of the craft — we’d had to wait ages before we could source one, as the Orange, NSW-based company has had its hands full keeping up with demand.
Also, “Bracksey’s Law” made sure there were miserable conditions when we finally made it out onto the waters of Middle Harbour in Sydney’s north after dropping the boats in under Roseville Bridge. It’s a handy little spot, but be prepared to spend $7 for the privilege of parking your car and/or trailer.
Showing great courage, Kevin invited me to hop aboard to take the controls when he backed the trailer down the ramp. The mantra “it’s not my boat” echoed in my ears...
Easy to manoeuvre into the crowded dock, the engine is responsive for steady, safe docking. There’s no “glitchiness” in the throttle, and with its spacious deck there is ample vision when standing.
Once underway, it’s a typical cat hull: on the plane in an instant for an easy getaway before accelerating to its top speed of about 70kmh. Turning is a snap, and if you prefer being on an even keel even in hard turns, a Twinfisher could be right for you.
The cockpit is very well thought out, with everything within easy reach. The tinted wraparound screen is a permanent fixture, as the anchor-well access negates the need for an opening screen.
The hatch is spacious enough for a large man and there is plenty of room in the cuddy. This had been fitted out with a mattress, and a cabin curtain was in place to keep everything out of sight.
There is enough room in the bunk to keep David Beckham happy, as the bed is situated crossways the hull.
HANDLING & PERFORMANCE
After talking to a few people, it seems many are unsure about twin hulls; but I feel what a lot of people talk about could be classed as urban myths.
Admittedly, at speed over boat wake or swell, the twin hull setup takes a bit of getting used to compared to the characteristics of a single hull — but there’s little doubt that it offers a very level ride and is very stable when at rest with a couple of blokes walking around throwing a line.
The stability is no doubt assisted by the boat’s 2.15m beam — almost half the length of the boat itself. Also, the aluminium powder-coated hull is ready for some rough stuff, as the bottom is 3mm plate while the sides are 2.5mm aluminium with a hull weight of 560kgs — impressive for a 5m craft.
A remarkable feature not found on single-hulled craft is that the Twinfisher’s floor is totally sealed off from the sponsons on the bottom, which means that no water can get into the cockpit even if both sponsons are holed.
In the unlikely even of that happening, the boat will still float as a normal punt. As Ron Webster, former owner of the Webster’s Twinfisher company, says: “Anything will tip over, but it is very, very difficult to tip this thing over.”
The basic package at Independent Outboards is priced at $32,000; but like on any new boat, the owner has requested a few options. These bumped the price up to about 45 grand.
Among the options on the test boat was the 115hp Yamaha four-stroke engine — up from the 90hp Yammie two-stroke in the entry-level 5.2 Cuddy. Apart from that, the boat has all the usual marine instrumentation including GPS, sounder, 27meg radio and antenna with AM/FM radio, which were all neatly fitted and easy to reach.
A handy option that Kevin took care of himself was the installation of larger seat boxes. These are pretty massive, featuring tackleboxes on both and an extinguisher in one as well. Although the seats are swivel-style numbers, they can’t be repositioned; however, they are well positioned for most sized bodies.
It also has a full camper screens to keep the elements well at bay even at the stern.
Unfortunately we didn’t have the boat for a week or more, but based on this tantalising taste, the Twinfishers are sure to gain plenty more admirers. Particularly those of the fairer sex, as I reckon once your other half samples its attributes she’ll be signing the cheque for you!
• Well made, sturdy construction
• Good storage, practical layout
• Wide beam, stability and freeboard
• Heaps of deck space
• Confident handling and ride
• Won’t win a beauty pageant
• Twin-hull cornering might take some getting used to
Specifications: Webster Twinfisher 5.2 Cuddy Cabin
Price as tested: $45,000
Options fitted: 115hp Yamaha, full camper screens, cabin curtain, rear lounge, South Coast trailer, deluxe cutting board, large seat boxes, Garman GPS and sounder, 27meg radio and aerial, AM/FM radio and aerial, dual batteries and heavy-duty switch, nav lights, tackleboxes, livebait tank, cigarette lighter, toilet, compass and offshore safety gear, bilge pump, pre-delivery water and road test
Priced from: $32,000 w/ 90hp oil-injected Yamaha two-stroke, multifunction gauges, water-separating fuel filter, battery and box, plus offshore safety gear
Length (overall): 5.2m
Rec/max hp: 90/120
Accommodation: Two adults
Make/model: Yamaha F115
Type: Four-stroke four cylinder
Rated hp: 115
Props: 15in pitch
Independent Outboards, 59 Holbeche Rd, Arndell Park (Blacktown), NSW, tel (02) 9672 1922.
Originally published in TrailerBoat #187