Full marks to Joshua Boats for an intuitive design that's well suited to the 'outside the norm' intentions of Dad 'n' Me's lucky owners.
Honour thy Dad
Dad 'n' Me is a rugged custom-built plate boat that is big enough and strong enough to take care of its crew.
This 7m-centre cab is the biggest vessel Joshua Boats have built up until now. The Modern Boating team have always liked the rough water ride that Cliff Joshua's unique 'flared' hulls provide, but in a 7m boat it literally takes on another dimension.
The waterline length and mass of this boat make the ride noticeably superior to what you'd expect from the average plate tinny.
A full gale warning was current at the time we tested the boat, and while sanity stopped us venturing offshore, the Gold Coast Seaway offered the ideal conditions to let this big Joshua strut her stuff.
Performance & Handling
Even in the rough conditions, the 200hp Suzuki, mounted on Dad 'n' Me's transom, was impressive. Always quiet and vibration free, the big Suzuki had the 1.5-tonne plus hull planing at an effortless 8.4 knots while pulling 2000rpm.
Across the cruising speed range the GPS recorded speeds from 16 knots at 3000rpm and 27.3 at 4000rpm. But in sheltered water along South Stradbroke Island we clocked an impressive top speed of 39 knots at 5800rpm.
Dad 'n' Me
All Joshua boats are hand-built to suit the individual owner's requirements and Dad 'n' Me is no exception. Soon it will be shipped to the west coast of Cape York where a destiny of cruising, fishing and crabbing awaits. Yeah, the Modern Boating team dreams about it too...
This test boat is, as you might expect given her planned lifestyle, well equipped for life where assistance is definitely NOT a radio call away. With this in mind, the hull features independently sealed buoyancy tanks, designed to ensure the hull remains positively buoyant in a worse case scenario. The self-draining deck is 100mm above the waterline and the scuppers drain onto a motor deck outside the aft bulkhead. There are two separate 200lt fuel tanks and a big fuel filter.
With the heavy rains experienced on Cape York, it makes sense for the cabin roof to either drain overboard, or the 'run off' can be collected to top up the 60lt freshwater tank. A console in the hardtop houses a VHF-radio for communications and a stereo entertainment unit.
Above all, Dad 'n' Me is a boat designed to fish. Underfoot in the cockpit there's an enormous fish pit, which drains overboard for easy cleaning on the water. A deck wash stows inside the aft bulkhead, beside a central live well conveniently sited below the workbench/bait board. This is essential on any serious fishing boat.
On top of the dashboard a Humminbird 97 Chartplotter handles both navigation and fish finding with both a mapping GPS and sounder displayed on a surprisingly high-definition full colour screen.
The Joshua people also haven't forgotten the home comforts necessary in remote waters. With an aluminium hardtop and full clears, the helm area is completely sheltered and lit at night by a fluorescent overhead light.
Sleeping room inside the centre cabin is ample for two, thanks to the extra space created by the deck level stepping up beside the centre cab.
Wide side decks extend forward to a small foredeck, which has a small seat in the cabin top for comfort and security while handling the ground tackle. The test boat is fitted with an electric anchor winch feeding through a neat fairlead and bowsprit.
The 60lt freshwater tank feeds a handheld shower located where the hose can reach the motor deck for necessary ablutions and a plastic sink. This sits in a recess so it can easily be emptied and is hidden away below the passenger seat.
Beside the sink is a single burner stove with pantry space under both. An adjustable helm seat sits atop a large, well-insulated icebox. And aft there's a foldaway lounge to complete the creature comforts, which are simple and functional rather than Spartan.
All in all, this is a very well thought out boat. Full marks to Joshua Boats for an intuitive design that's well suited to the 'outside the norm' intentions of Dad 'n' Me's lucky owners.
WORDS : WARREN STEPTOE