Published: Issue June 2018, by Luke Fitzpatrick
Read the full review here: Seafarer Vogue 5.5m (PDF, 1.4MB)
After a dreary and rain sodden morning in Noosa, the clouds finally cleared, and the sun emerged just in time for my maiden voyage in a Seafarer boat. Matthew Boyce from Laguna Boating Centre in Noosaville met me at the Gympie Terrace Boat Ramp on the Noosa River with a Seafarer Vogue 5.5m Sports Console powered by a Suzuki DF140 4 Stroke Lean Burn Limited Edition White Outboard. To top it off, it sported a Garmin 10” GPSMAP Chirp Sounder and a Minn Kota 80lb I Pilot.
Now, it is fair to say, that I spend a lot of time on the water in open designed aluminium dinghies running around the Great Sandy Strait hunting fish. So, when I get a chance to ride in a fibreglass boat, especially one with a reputation as solid as Seafarer, it tends to feel a little bit luxurious. Why? Well, no one will argue that a key difference between a 5.5m aluminium dinghy and a 5.5m fibreglass boat is in the ride. Hands down a fibreglass boat of this size rides very smoothly compared to an aluminium dinghy and I can confirm that the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m Sports Console does not let the Seafarer reputation down when it comes to hull design and smooth ride.
The hull of the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m weighs in at approx. 800kg. With a deadrise of 19 degrees and its long time proven overall hull design, the smooth ride is without doubt a standout feature of this boat. Another standout feature is the amount of room inside the boat, especially behind the sports centre console. Rated to carry 7 persons or 630kg, once you are standing in this boat it is easy to see how a large family would be very comfortable.
Once Matt had the Vogue in the water and tied up to the pontoon, I took the opportunity to explore the boat in much more detail. Starting at the bow, the Vogue 5.5m is equipped with a self-draining anchor well with an anchor hatch fitted. The fittings around the anchor roller and in fact through the entire boat are all stainless steel. There is a moulded bowsprit and fitted on this boat were the optional 32mm stainless steel bow rails. Stepping back from the anchor well, there is a moulded bow seat with storage underneath, which when you remove the cushions would serve as a narrow front casting deck.
There is a reasonably sized storage hatch on the floor leading to the 3-piece moulded modular console with storage underneath and a front seat. Making your way around the console, there are side pockets leading aft past the massive bench seat with storage underneath to the transom which on this boat was fitted with a folding aft lounge with back rest. Electronics and batteries were tucked away from sight behind the folding lounge and the transom was also home to 2 x rear bait wells both with cutting board lids.
I have glossed over many of the other features of the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m, however you can find all of these on the Seafarer website.
So how does the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m perform? Well, as I have already mentioned the ride is extremely smooth. We did not cross the Noosa bar due to low tide and torrential rain but instead put the Seafarer Vogue through its paces inside the protected Noosa River. Which to be honest, I feel is probably where this boat would spend plenty of time. Why? Well, the Seafarer Vogue is not a fully dedicated fishing platform, nor is it a fully dedicated family boat, it is a hybrid, a cross trainer, an allrounder, which ticks enough boxes for the fishermen and families alike.
With stainless steel rod holders, a narrow front casting deck, the ability to fit an electric motor and rear bait wells, this boat is more than capable of being used for fishing in an estuary, river and even close in offshore. It just misses out on some of the features you would find in a hardcore dedicated fishing platform.
Which is fine as the Seafarer Vogue trades these for those little comfort pieces which make it very comfortable for a family to slip over to their favourite secret little beach for a day of exploring and letting the kids roam free.
This brings me to another important feature of the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m. During our boat test, Matt, selflaunched and retrieved this boat with complete ease.
Be it, pulling up and tying off to a pontoon or slipping it up onto some sandy beach, this boat is very easy to handle yourself. Which, when you have the family with you is a good thing as you can sort out the boat while your partner takes care of supervising the kids.
Sitting behind the large 3-piece moulded modular console I did find the mounting location of the Minn Kota 80lb I Pilot a little distracting, but again this is not a standard inclusion with this boat. Without the Minn Kota in place, the visibility offered is great. There is plenty of room on the console to mount your electronics. I found the position of the throttle a little uncomfortable as I had to really stretch forward to engage the throttle while seated, but when standing this was not an issue.
Storage space is always at a premium on any boat. The Seafarer Vogue 5.5m has a foam filled floor which without doubt adds to the smooth ride and overall safety design of this boat. But, like all boats there is a trade off when you have one feature versus another.
For the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m the trade off is under hatch / secure storage space.
Due to it being a hybrid boat of sorts, I feel this trade off is mitigated to a certain degree by the sheer volume of room available in the boat to carry items such as eskies and the like.
My final thoughts on the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m.
With loads of optional extras available for the Seafarer Vogue 5.5m it really does strike me as a boat which provides you with a solid foundation that can handle some serious conditions with its well-known, dependable hull design which offers a very smooth ride and looks very luxurious.
Coupled with the ability to really customise the spacious interior to suit your unique style, be it more fishing or more family focussed, this boat seems to offer a lot of choice. Meaning the Seafarer Vogue’s dedicated purpose really is, up to you.
Cheers, Luke FitzpatrickBack to all Reviews >
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