DIMENSIONS AS TESTED
Draft: Up to 3ft
Fuel capacity: 100 gallons plus
Additional contact details and information check out their web site at www.offshore105.co.uk or www.procharter.co.uk
Report courtesy of Mike Thrussell
I doubt there are many regular boat anglers that havenít at some time fished aboard an Offshore 105. Iíve fished on loads, both in the UK and in Ireland. Itís a boat steeped in angling history, but thatís what the old type 105 is now, history. The offshore company recently introduced a new design and shape to create a brand new version called the Pro-Charter 25-35.
The company has also taken on a modern evolving attitude to boats and boat building in general, the aim being to give the customer exactly what they want and need. The best example of this is a closed GRP box section to cover the deck area during the build to both protect the workers and the building process from the weather. These boxes are to have a web cam fitted which will allow the customer to monitor the progress of the build as work continues.
Just like some house builders, Offshore will take stage payments as each stage of the boat build is completed, but only after the customer is fully satisfied with the build. This maintains a high build quality and produces the best in customer relations. What it also does is bring the boats within the price range of more people.
During my interview with them they were also keen to point out that any boat development is always done with the companies own money. No experimentation is undertaken on customer boats, which is a more common practice with some companies than you realise, and this is an interesting issue that Offshore have raised. A different modern approach then, from a company looking to provide the new generation of charter boats that will become commonplace in our marinaís and harbours.
CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN
The new boats are modular built allowing pretty much for any interior design shape the customer requires. They are called the 25-35 because they offer a choice of length between 25 and 35 feet using a floating transom, which basically means that you increase the length of the boat by sliding the transom in the mould to produce the required length.
The material used in construction is called Needaplas, a polycarbonate in honeycomb format with a GRP coating that is easy to work, but unbelievably tough and resilient. We tested a small section of Needaplas with my lad laying in to it with a series of blows from a claw hammer. After repeated blows you can just about make an indentation on the surface but it leaves the honeycomb construction underneath in tact. The other advantage with Needaplas is that it is easy and neat to repair should it ever need it.
The Pro Charter Sport on test was fitted with and IVECO 330hp Turbo Diesel engine, but with a Hamilton jet drive unit and the hull has been designed around the jet to get water to funnel directly in to the jet intake to maximise propulsion at the outlet.
The bow is now tri-hedral to give a quieter forward motion when planing and improved wave entry, plus has a sharper V to it to cut through water better improving both speed and economy. The design also includes a more rounded shape where deck unnecessarily long pointed upper bow section that would otherwise incur extra mooring fees for non useable length.
The new hull also sits higher in the water giving a better profile and again improving speed and economy by reducing drag.
They have also improved the visibility from the helm seat inside the cabin by making the forward windows in to just two sections giving you a full field of vision.
Full height safety rails run across the stern and up the gunnels, the latter splitting at the cabin for access. These are ideal for adding bolt on rod holders too. There is an additional safety rail running fully around the bow section for security when working forward.
Each stern corner is fitted with stainless steel Samson posts for mooring and tying up to, also stainless steel cleats just rear of the cabin mounted on the gunnels.
The engine hatch is raised, but leaving heaps of room around the deck sides for walking and working. Some skippers prefer a raised engine hatch as it gives somewhere for the anglers to work off and store tackle away from the deck walkways.
Lifting the engine hatch you see that there is plenty of room for basic maintenance and access is good for changing hoses and the like.
The deck is finished with a stipple effect to give good grip and coloured in grey to limit light reflection.
There are two spacious hinged lockers, one either side of the cabin door. The port side opens outwards and the starboard locker hinges upwards. These also double up as extra seats and are protected by the cabin roof extending out over this forward deck area.
The outside cabin has stainless steel grab handles running vertically down each side of the door, with large windows each side of the door to give full vision from inside the cabin to the rear of the boat.
The cabin door opens to port and entering the cabin the helm position is on the starboard side. The test boat has a single air cushioned helm seat, with two air cushioned seats for passengers on the port side, but with a large open area rear of the seats giving extra standing room, or additional loose storage space. The seat consoles also hide large lockers for more storage space, these accessed from the rear.
The console area directly in front of the helmsman is an elongated half circular shape mounted upright and carries all the instruments etc, and gives excellent identification of all the current readings. You also have masses of space on the console and shelf area to mount your electronics where suits you best.
The throttle lever is mounted on its own console at knee height when sat, and the wheel is a round car type with a rubberised grip that is extremely comfy to hold for long periods.
The forward cabin area is accessed through a door and hides a toilet area forward with locker bunk seats either side.
The main cabin area has hardwood dividers across the roof, a grey forward bulkhead and white walls and rear bulkhead which maximises light and makes the already spacious cabin area feel even larger.
Both side windows run the full length of the cabin and feature slide down ventilation windows in the middle. The front screen is split in to two for maximum forward vision and there is a windscreen wiper on the helm side. You also have cabin lights either side for night time illumination.
Access to the bow is open, easy and safe. The bow features a stainless steel bow roller and Samson post, with no other clutter to impede working.
The Nav lights are housed good and high on the forward cabin sides, and the upper cabin roof area sports sectional stainless steel safety grab rails with masses of room to fix a stainless steel gantry to carry VHF aerials, GPS receivers and the like, plus a life raft.
I also checked the load bearing plates used underneath the safety rails and these are as large as can be fitted in to the space available to maximise strength.
Bearing in mind these boats are a true work boat designed to earn money for the owner seven days a week if required and should not be compared to some of the gin palaces taking room in our marinas, then the overall finish is good and above all consistently so.
The Pro Charter Sport was moored inside Padstow harbour, Cornwall and the area had just experienced a couple of days of wild weather, but had settled down and a warm sun was hinting summer wasnít too far away.
Heading out through the outer Camel Estuary passing between Stepper Point and Pentire Point it was obvious the sea though was still carrying some swell, but conditions were good and would give a reliable indication of the boats performance.
Using another boat as a camera platform it was interesting to see the 25-35 underway at speed. The water is deflected in a mayfly wing shape outwards from the hull and it was also instantly obvious that the boat does truly have minimal contact with the water at speed.
Jumping aboard her myself and taking the wheel, I took it steady and just headed out in a straight course to get the feel for her. Easing the throttle forward there is literally no hint of hesitation as power piles in. The boat shoots forward continually increasing speed and powers over the hill in to full planing mode in the blink of an eye.
Turning the wheel hard over in to a tight turn the boat shows minimal tendency to neither lean, nor any sign of hull slippage at the stern. She remains stable and predictable and without throwing the passengers off balance.
Running across the waves at a slight angle I was trying to induce some sideways slide, but the boat holds a true course with sign of the bow sheering off at an angle as a wave puts sideways pressure on the bow.
Running forward again at speed you are instantly aware how much quieter this hull is regards hull chatter in comparison to the old 105. Inside cabin noise levels are vastly reduced and there was no sign of shudder in any of the build panels. The jet drive also reduces the noise level to a good degree. I also found that the boat gives the passenger a much softer ride without jarring your whole body through your feet, as those of you used to the old 105ís will remember well.
Even punching in to an almost moderate sea, spray getting back on the windows was minimal and vision from the helm seat was excellent, both forward for travelling, and to the rear through the cabin windows for manoeuvring.
Getting the local skipper to back the boat in to the waves, I was at the stern and saw that the pressure bulb of water built up against the stern only halfway and just odd wind blown splashes made it over the stern and on to the deck.
Under no power and letting the boat free drift she comes to sit with the bow just off the wind at a slight angle and holds there. There is no sign of yawing to the wind, so she is a good boat for drift fishing.
The sea was a little lumpier out here, but on the drift with us on deck we found her very stable, not prone to over rocking side to side and Iíd say sheíd make a really stable platform to fish from in all normal fishing conditions. I also watched how much water accessed the deck via the scuppers, but this was minimal on the day and my feet stayed dry in just a pair of trainers.
The Hamilton 270 Jet Drive is interesting too. The jet drive has whatís called a bucket on it which is basically a water deflector. This can be used via the drive lever to steer the boat under minimal power bringing either the stern or bow around for tight manoeuvring and for mooring in between other boats and against quays and pontoons. It also acts as a brake too, reducing speed.
It sucks water in under the boat and spits it out at the back and is said to expel a third of a ton of water every second. Itís also been found that these jet drives give a more natural noise in the water, possibly akin to bait fish shoals being attacked by big predators, and itís been noted that dolphins are attracted to this boat more so than boats with traditional propulsion units.
This got me thinking that maybe these units might be of benefit if youíre keen to drag lures for tuna and other potential game fish in UK waters?
We were cruising easily at about 24-knots, but flat out youíre looking at around 35-knots in ideal conditions.
Fuel consumption would be in the region of 2 to 3 gallons per hour taking an average figure.
THINGS IíD CHANGE
I found the engine hatch cover flexed pretty easily under my weight and these need to be stronger on a boat designed to graft for a living.
The safety rails on the gunnels and stern especially flexed too easily and I was afraid that a big guy slipping on deck in bad weather might produce enough impetus to actually bend the rail enough to cause a safety problem.
I mentioned both these things to Phil Mitchell of Offshore and he immediately agreed with me and said theyíd already picked this up as a potential problem and was in the throws of eliminating both the flexing engine hatch and the weak safety rails.
Underway inside the cabin, Iíd also fit a grab handle positioned on the console in front of the seated passengers. Given the awesome speed of this boat, and its capability to power ahead in to a big sea, then something for the passengers to hold on to is a must.
I also felt the instrument console on the test boat looked old fashioned, and sure enough I was shown a new style console back in the work shop that replaces the old type.
I only review the boat as tested, and itís likely that Offshore customers requesting things like additional grab rails would see the company happy to supply them.
A different boat altogether then, than the original 105 with massively improved performance and sea keeping ability, plus a reduction in noise levels when underway.
She is extremely stable with minimal rock, has acres of deck space for comfortable fishing. She is also pitched at the right price to be bought by charter skippers, both new and established, and by individual anglers than can afford a boat of this size for personal fishing.
I see the shorter 25ft version being a major consideration for groups of four anglers looking to buy a cost effective craft between them for regular use, plus this smaller version is ideal for the new breed of charter skipper working bass and cod trips, shark trips etc, around smaller groups of four to six anglers.
These boats have already sold in good numbers to people who rely on the sea for a living and they will become an even more popular boat than the original 105 in the years to come.
Disclaimer: Everything written in these reports are based on personal experience and the individual's opinion only. I have tried my best to present the facts correctly, but I/we take no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions.