SQUIRE 375 Mk II
Stessco Squire 375 Mk II
After we moved to Emerald, from Hervey Bay, and did our first caravan trip to Agnes Water/1770, I decided it would be great to sell the Challenger, buy a dual cab ute with a tray and sell my 525 Stacer Sea Horse boat and buy a smaller tinny as a roof topper.
The plan all seemed to fall into place, just before we were set to go to Cairns for the winter holidays. I sold my boat to a local, using the postcard classifieds at the local shops for the same money as I paid for it, and sold the Challenger (via carsales.com) to a guy from Mackay. The search was then on to find both a dual cab and a small tinny.
I found a Rodeo that had quite a few extras on it for my upper limit of the car budget. He organised all the RWC and paperwork and I had RACQ inspect it - all good. Only 52 000km on it - 2005 model (current year 2010). I flew down and picked it up - and drove it home. On the way home, I had organised to check out a 3.75m tinny around the Tiaro area. It was exactly what I was after and a cash deal was done on the spot. Wow, I was driving home with a new package - only 8 hours to go!
It all towed home really well. I was stoked.
Soon after getting home, I had a local welder make up a roof rack specifically to cater for the tinny and to make some modifications to a trolley to carry the 18hp Tohatsu. I was quite happy with how it turned out.
I also got to work doing some modifications to the tinny - mainly making a new floor out of heavy marine ply and marine carpet. I also had floor braces welded in the tinny to hold the flooring. I also bought a small trailer that could be unbolted into parts from ebay, and had it registered. I managed to have it all together just before the Cairns trip - like a day before!
Getting the tinny onto the roof and off was actually much trickier than I thought. The wideness and depth of the sides made it very hard to handle, and with windy conditions it was very difficult. All the boat accessories, etc took up most of the tray space, and it all required a lot of effort putting it together and packing it away. This was the only trip that I used a roof top tinny!
On the Cairns trip it was cool. The motor had quite a lot of trouble getting on the plane. I went to BCF at Cairns and drilled in a hydro-plane. It helped but the motor positioning was too low - it needed more stern plate welded in. I got this done when we got back to Emerald. It was a pretty stable boat for a boat of 3.75m. I had my HDS7 and structure scan on it, as well as navigation and stern lights.
Another reason for buying this, was that the 525 Sea Horse was too big for Fairbairn Dam and I thought a smaller tinny would suit better. As it turns out, I probably only took it to the dam 2 or 3 times over the 2 and a half years.
When we returned to Hervey Bay to live I gave myself at least 12 months to see how it fit - if it was good enough. I did some short trips out the front of the pier, around Round Island, etc but not too often. After a year I bought a Minn Kota 55lb with iPilot - I tried it up the Susan River and got quite a few grunter really quickly. This Minn Kota was awesome. Within a couple of weeks I decided to upgrade boats and sold the tinny to a family from Toogum (I kept the HDS7 and structure scan). I sold the Minn Kota (at a small loss) to a guy from Ipswich (met at Gympie - the same night I picked up the Yalta!).
Overall, the Squire 375 Mark II was a reasonable boat once I got the motor plate jacked up. It didn't cut through the water as well as the Mark I, but made up for this with deeper sides and a wider deck. For its size it was a good little tinny. The 18hp Tohatsu had no issues - it became a little hard to start towards the end - new spark plug certainly helped.