Yalta Craft 535 All Rounder
After moving back to Hervey Bay from Emerald, I had used the Stessco Squie for just over a year. It wasn't getting a whole lot of use, as it was too small to take the family out. I decided to get a reasonable size boat to get back out to my known fishing grounds, and to get the family used to boating. Ideally, I was looking for a side console of about 5.3m (17-18ft). I was looking at the Clarke Dominators - brand new. I had even spent a solid weekend driving down the south side of Brisbane to check them out, as well as some 2nd hand boats - Trailcraft. One of these Trailcraft I was keen on - but its price was at the high end.
I was persuaded to consider a half cab as they were more family friendly. However, I wasn't convinced straight away, as the retrieval at the ramp would be more difficult. Especially a fibreglass model. After looking at a number of them online, and speaking to a number of people who had them, I thought I'd give one a go. I figured I'll always be out with someone else and the weather can turn quickly, so a glass half cab sounds sensible.
A guy from the Sunshine Coast was selling this 2008 Yalta with a 115 Yamaha 4 stroke with about 390 hours. He met me at Gympie to look over it - it looked in great condition. He organised a RWC for the trailer and the following weekend (Friday night after work) we signed paperwork and finished the deal. I was driving home with a new boat - the Challenger towed it home beautifully.
Callum stayed awake until I got home - bit after 8pm. He was excited to see the new rig. We went out and had a little play with it. The next day we took it down to the ramp, as the weather was great. We launched it and I drove it to a pontoon. After I parked the car and hopped back in the boat I pushed off, started the motor and as I went to accelerate, it died. Wouldn't restart. Luckily we drifted straight into the other pontoon (very lucky!). Here we tried a lot of things. Tried priming. Tried a new fuel bulb. Rang mechanics, etc. No good. I ended up running up to VMR and asking them for a tow in - they agreed, as long as I became a member - no dramas, I planned to anyhow. They kindly gave us a push to the trailer. We made it home!
The following week it went into Barney's Marine to get the fuel line sorted and to have my HDS7 sounder/GPS and structure scan installed. It required all new rewiring and fuse plates. Luckily, the fuel issue was a 10c gasket! So $1000 later I had a clean boat.
Now it was fully loaded. It had a dedicated sounder, dedicated GPS and a HDS7 combo; Fusion stereo, EPIRB, lighting, bimini with clears, dual batteries, live bait tank, bait board, two esky seats, etc. It was a well decked out boat.
The following week we took it back out. Started fine, went fine. I was surprised with its ride though. Everyone talks so highly of glass boats, as if they're so comfortable. I find it jumped and was quite rough, even after trying different trim modes. It cruised nicely at 4000rpm at about 42km/hr.
The kids really only stayed in the half cab area - and because this was at the bow, they became quite crook from the rocking.
I took a few mates out over the next few months. We got some good fish - never would've though dolphin fish would be at the Outer Banks, but we got one! And some trips completely empty handed. Whenever I took the family out, we tried to pull up to Fraser Island or Pelican Banks, etc we found it difficult to anchor close enough to the beach without getting dumped from the swell. So we never did, incase the boat got stuck or damaged - with an aluminium boat I wouldn't have this concern.
As my family weren't keen on going boating often, the fact that I needed someone to use this (due to retrieving) and not enjoying the ride or vulnerability of the fibreglass, I decided to sell it and make way for a centre console - what I originally knew I wanted.
I placed the add on a Friday night (6pm) and had interest before bed. He organised to come and test it on the Monday afternoon. He was happy with it and wanted to get it checked by the local Yamaha dealer. It was all clear. I got the RWC for the trailer and within a week or so, it belonged to the new owner.
Although I lost out a bit (due to the work on rewiring and sounder/GPS) I was relieved that I could start looking for something a lot more suitable. I spoke to the new owner some months later, and he was stoked with it. Each to their own!