They have taken a great hull and given it a new interior layout and deck and created what is sure to be a real winner among fishos.
Issue: September 2003
Manufacturer: Honda Marine
It was a world first when New World Honda opened its extremely impressive doors for business earlier this year, to become the only showroom in the world where you can buy any product from the entire Honda range. Cars, outboards, lawn mowers, log splitters, motorbikes if Honda make it, it will there displayed for sale. New World Honda is a $6m, multi-storey, state-of-the-art dealership located at the junction of the Princes Highway and the South Eastern Freeway in Berwick, Victoria. It's the world's first one-stop Honda shop. And yes, it is home to a specialist Shimano tackle store. And yes, it's definitely full of surprises, because now New World Honda have also developed some unique products like ride-on mowers and, what for it now Honda boats!
There is a good range of boats in the new Honda line-up including plate aluminium and fibreglass vessels. The first boat the Modern Boating team were able to get our hands on was a top 5.85m cuddy cabin called the Honda 2000 Deluxe Cuddy. The 2000 Deluxe Cuddy is built under licence for Honda by Haines Hunter on its tried and true 5.85 classic hull, but that's where any resemblance to any Haines Hunter model ends. The 2000's cockpit layout, cabin and foredeck have been completely reworked to delivery a boat that fits perfectly into the range of exclusive Honda products.
At first glance the most noticeable changes are to do with the cabin and its higher and more rounded foredeck and cabin roof. By making this relatively simple change the available space in the cuddy cabin has been increased dramatically. The boat is sold as a turnkey package and has been well decked out for serious fishos. About the only other options that aren't offered as standard that the Modern Boating team would have included are a marine toilet, GPS Chartplotter and infill cushions for the forward vee-berth.
I mentioned the infill cushions only because with these installed a couple of burly fisho could curl up for a night onboard in their sleeping bags without too much trouble. At the helm a stylishly shaped dash houses a complete set of Honda instruments for the 130hp XD Honda four-stroke mounted on the transom. A Humminbird 250 DX depth sounder and compass are located directly in the skipper's line of sight above and below the engine gauges, with the circuit breaker switches positioned to the left of the sports steering wheel.
The curved and raked toughened glass windscreen is high enough to protect the driver and navigator from the airflow when they are seated on the pedestal mounted bucket seats. The driver's seat adjusts fore and aft so it can be positioned to make driving while standing easier. I would have these buckets seats mounted on hollow bases, so they could be used as extra storage compartments; however, this would mean removing the self-draining fish box sited between these seats. If the seas get rough and the ride gets a little bouncy, there is a stainless steel grab rail right around the windscreen and another smaller grab bar in front of the navigator's seat to brace against.
Also in front of the navigator is a lockable glove box. A six-rod rocket launcher rod rack is positioned above the driver's head and this also acts as the support for the all important bimini top. The main cockpit is open and uncluttered, so there's plenty of room to manoeuvre when playing that big one. Across the transom is a heavily padded lounge the folds down out of the way when not in use. The side pockets (really three cavernous holes in each gunwale) are each deep enough to hold a fender, plus you can get you toes in under when fishing for good support against the gunwales. On the portside the transom has a small cut away, which creates a walkway from the swim platform. This has a hatch that conceals a small locker.
When boarding over the transom you walk through the transom cutaway and step down onto a step, which also has a hatch over a small cabinet storage really isn't a problem on this boat. There is a larger locker in the port gunwale and another in the starboard gunwale. Live bait can be kept fit and healthy in the plumbed bait tank in the top of the transom to starboard. This boat also features a small split bowrail, which is more for good looks than safety, because all anchoring tasks are carried out while standing in the cabin hatch way. There is no anchor locker as such; the anchor is stored in the cuddy cabin. Out on the water the 2000 Deluxe Cuddy was a pleasure to drive.
The Haines Hunter 5.85m hull's deep-vee, sharp bow entry and large flat chines deliver that surefooted ride that Haines Hunter boats are legendary for. Port Phillip Bay was in a pleasant state of mind with only a small wind chop to contend with and the 2000 Deluxe revelled in the light conditions. As the test progress the winds and seas began to increase, but it didn't affect the 2000's soft and stable ride. The boat also proved itself to be a surprisingly dry boat and even when we were throwing her around like a ski boat, we didn't get one drop of water on the windscreen.
This test boat was fitted with a 130hp four-stroke and it literally purred during the test. Not once ' right through the rev range ' did this engine make us raise our voices to be heard. It was extremely quiet and at idle, if there is a bit of background noise, you sometimes had to look at the tacho to tell if the motor was running or not. Haines Hunter say the maximum rated horsepower for this hull is 150hp, but under normal boating conditions I doubt whether the extra cash outlay is warranted given the excellent performance the 130hp four-stroke produced on the day. During our performance trials the 130hp engine hit 13 knots at 3000rpm; 19 knots at 3500rpm; 24 knots at 4000rpm; 26 knots at 4500rpm, 31 knots at 5000rpm and there was still some left in the tank.
There is little doubt that this boat's been setup for serious fishing and there aren't too many situations at sea where speeds greater than 30 knots would be necessary. The hull's stability at rest was also good for a boat with such a deep-vee and it was obvious that it would take a lot of weight to push her large chines under too far. With two adults standing on the same side she barely moved. But it wasn't only the boat's good layed out that impressed the Modern Boating team; check out the Dunbier Supa Roller drive-on tandem trailer that comes as standard with this boat.
Bearing Buddies; submersible lights; wrap-around walkway; keel guards on all roller arms; galvanised frame, axles, hubs, U-bolts and springs; powder-coated wheels over galvanising; and white moulded guards and steps. It's a boaties' work of art. But when you buy a boat from New World Honda the team have even more surprises up their collective sleeves. To the side of the main service area is an enormous pool that has a boat ramp running into it. Here the New World Honda team run each new owner through launch and retrieval drills, which include rigging your boat for sea, tying her down once you are back at the ramp and how to back a trailer. Don't laugh. You might known how to back a trailer, but once you get back to the ramp after a day's boating with the missus and kids, who's the one who normally has to go and get the car ? mum.
But a little practice away from the prying eyes at the ramp until she, or he for that matter, build their confidence, might lead to many years of enjoyable, trouble-free boating. So how much will it cost you to park a new Honda on your front lawn ? $56,990 and that includes a stainless steel propeller. Honda has done their homework well with this one. They have taken a great hull and given it a new interior layout and deck and created what is sure to be a real winner among fishos.
Hang on, not just fishos, if you added a Porta Pottie and leave the transom lounge in place, this spacious boat also makes a top family cruiser for mum, dad and a couple of kids.
Words by Ian Macrae