Drago Boats - Sunday Fishing Boat Report

Sunday Fishing Pilothouse

Report courtesy of Boat Mart

Specification:
Length 17ft 5ins (5.4m)
Beam 6' 9" (2.08m)
Draught 12" (0.33m)
Weight 500Kg (1110lbs)(without engine)
Engine 50hp Yamaha 4 Stroke
Max rated power 90hp
Design Category C

Web site Drago Boats

SUPPLIED AS STANDARD
Two tinted window and hatch in the cabin
Anchor locker
Stainless cleats & pulpit
Pilothouse
Steering console
Pilot and co pilot seats
Cabin berth with cushions
Navigation lights
Stainless Steel Bathing ladder

OPTIONS
Galvinished Bunk Trailer
Auxiliary Engine Bracket
CD Stereo System
VHF Radio & Aerial
Compass
Speed Log & Echo Sounder
Fixed GPS
Cruising Pack

In recent year small small trailer fishers have been introduced onto the British boating scene. These tough little craft provide the means for highly enthusiastic (and sometimes seemingly certifiable) anglers to head to sea in search of sport.

Often bare of any luxury, these craft are launched and used in appallong conditions, often heading for a favourate fishing spot a score or more miles from shore. Such craft provide great sport but few creature comforts.

On the otherside of the Atlantic sports men believe that when you want to go fishing there's no reason why you shouldn't do so in comfort. Thus the popularity of sport fishers with their vast open cockpits, fly bridges, air conditioning, drinks coolers, sound systems and luxury accommadation.

In Europe, fitting between these two extremes, we've seen a growing demand for small wheelhouse fishers offering basic shelter, safe high sided cockpits, walk around decks and (sometimes) even rudimentary accommadation and galleys.

The French have been building these for years and more recently, Quicksilver have joined the fray with "budget" versions to appeal to the family user. Indeed such has been the acceptance of such craft that they're now seen in direct competitors for small family day (or week-end) cruisers due to their high headroom, large welcoming wheelhouses and safety in the cockpit for kids.

So we grabbed the opportunity of taking their little 5.40m Sunday Fishing out of Lymington. We thrashed it across to the Isle of Wight, used it as a camara boat and gave it a fair hammering throughout the trip. It shouldn't have sprung too many surprises - but it did!

This is a new boat weighing in at 500kg, even with a new Yamaha F50 FETOL (new 2005 model Efi four stroke) on the back was hardly likely to set the world alight in terms of speed, and this proved to be the case with the GPS hovering around the 26 - 27 mph mark on full chat.
However, the utter joy of this little boat is that it'll sit at 25mph with two crew and the Yam' wide open and virtually silent on the stern. In a mixed sea, the Drago gave a firmish but pleasant ride whilst keeping those on board warm and dry!

Whilst out at sea we came across another similar sized popular small fisher running across the swell in a series of highly uncomfortable 'porpoise leaps'. Being curious we ran alongside, in precisely the same conditions and at the same speed, but the Drago remained perfectly level giving its crew a far more pleasant experience!

With our curiosity whetted we decided that we should put the Sunday Fishing throughits paces to see whether it would handle in a similar fashion to the centre console Olympus, which is based on the same hull.

Despite the additional bulk of the wheelhouse and fore cabin the little fisher was quite happy to behave like a sports boat handling tight turns with ease, and with minimum slip. Thus, with a little more power, the fisher would easily equal the performance of its similar sized sports boat sister!

Perhaps the most convicing demonstation of the advantages a wheelhouse craft offer over an open sports boat or an open cockpit small crusier was demonstrated by accident during our tests. Whilst photographing other boats on test we didn't spot a large 'hole' caused by a ferry's wake which literally buried the bow of the fisher. despite shovelling tons of 'green' over the cabin and onto the windscreen absolutely none cot into the cockpit, and we remained perfectly dry!

The boat has important features not found in less well equipped fisher, which must surely appeal to the fisherman and his family:
* As a trailer wheelhouse fisher it provides an excellent fishing platform
* Its accommodation provides a far better level of comfort than the average ciddy fisher
* Its performance on a relatively low power engine make it an economical small crusing craft
* The high cockpit sides provide safety for kids
* Foredeck space, with safe access for sun bathing is provided by the cuddy top.

As with everything there's always a snag - in the case of the Sunday Fishing it's the height of the wheelhouse roofline. Whilst there's stacks of room to sit at the helm the interior standing headroom is a couple of inches short for anyone over 5' 9"! However this is a minor fault in otherwise superb little boat.


Sunday Fishing Pilothouse

Specification:
Length 17ft 5ins (5.4m)
Beam 6' 9" (2.08m)
Draught 12" (0.33m)
Weight 500Kg (1110lbs)(without engine)
Engine 50hp Yamaha 4 Stroke
Max rated power 90hp
Design Category C

Report courtesy of Sea Angler

What do you want from an angling boat? The key features have to be easy to tow, which means a length between 15ft and 17ft, a doddle to launch and retrieve, plus a spacious angling platform for two or three people. You might like an open cuddy and a fair turn of speed.

Lets hear a fanfare for the drago Sunday Fishing, a boat that meets these criteria perfectly. I am not familiar with Drago, but am told they are based in Greece and have a long experiance building high-speed pleasure craft.

The boat features an open cuddy, forward lockable cabin, an overall length of 5.50 metres, 2.08m beam, tips the scales at 500kg and is ratedfor use with outboard engines up to and including 90hp. Sounds like she's worth testing.

This is a smart, sportylooking boat. At first glance it was easy to see her performance pedigree, but as some manufactures have found in the past, the transformation from ski boat to fishing boat is not simply a case of adding a cuddy, a few rod rests and giving the hull a new name.

The forward cabin, reached by a folding doorway, provided sufficient space for two people to lay down in relative comfort. There was also aa couple of spacious stowage lockers, while a skylight and tinted side windows gave lighting and ventalation. This offered great secure stowage space for tackle and clothing.

The cuddy had decent headroom with the helm traditionally located to starboard, from where the helmsman could get good all-round visability through large windows. Ample space on the console allowed the strategic positioning of essential electronics.

Both the helmsman's and crewman's pedestal-type seats are standard and you also get a couple of useful openn stowage pockets, one on either side that should be perfict for small items of tackle, a mobile phone and the like.

The self-draining deck afforded ample space for two or at a push three anglers to fish in comfort. Inboard freeboard seemed to be very good, with a pair of moulded seats each side of the rear quarter.
It was good to see there was stowage within the transom, reached through a hatch, where there was room to store a couple of fuel tanks and battery. A 150 litre integral fuel tank is an extra.

The Sunday Fishing has been classified as conforming to CE Category C, with her buoyancy provided by sealed voids beneath deck.

Access to the bow was along very narrow walkways either side of the cabin. Whilst she was provided with a smart stainless steel pulpit rail, that did not exactly make me feel safe while forward. I was assured this would be addressed either by the manufacturer or in the UK. All the necessary deck hardware for mooring and anchoring is fitted as standard.

The boat was tested at Swansea marina and headed out into Swansea Bay, which was virtually becalmed, but hit by a sizable ground swell and freshening westerly breeze south oof the Mumbles Head.
The first thing I noticed was that with two adults standing on the same side, this boat did list excessively, which was the trade off for a high speed Vee-hull and proportionally narrow beam.

The test boat was fitted with a four-stroke 50hp Yamaha outboard engine, which certainly perfored impeccably. During the sea trial we reached a top speed that approached 30mph, though the engine was only going a tad over 5000rpm which indicated that she was not fitted with the ideal propeller.
So fit a suitable propeller, increase the revs to the more usual 5,500-5,600rpm and a top speed over 30mph should be easy to achieve with a steady cruising speed of about 20 knots.

Having mentioned her tendency to list if two people stood on the same side of the boat, I can report that with the weight evenly distributed the vessel performed superbly, her high-performance origins really comingto the fore.

I ran her hard through the sea and swell at all angles, then finally put the boat through a series of tighter and tighter turns at speeds in excess of 25kts. Most boats would not have been able to stick the course.

The hull performed with minimum slap with barely a drop of spray hitting the windscreen. The 50hp engine, which is the minimum recommended for this model, produced all the power I would ever need. Increasing to 70hp would give plenty of speed when heavily loaded, but to be absolutely honest I really cannot see the need to raise the horsepower.

To summarise, the Drago Sunday Fishing is an excellent, small, high speed angling boat and given a little attention to those ares mentioned, I am sure she will find wide appeal with many Sea Anglers.


Sunday Fishing Pilothouse

Specification:
Length 17ft 5ins (5.4m)
Beam 6' 9" (2.08m)
Draught 12" (0.33m)
Weight 500Kg (1110lbs)(without engine)
Engine 50hp Yamaha 4 Stroke
Max rated power 90hp
Design Category C

Report courtesy of Mike Thrussell

Chatting to so many people in various pockets of the boat trade you inevitably pick up snippets of gossip. One of the most recent being good things said about the Drago Sunday Fisher, an 18ft fishing cruiser.

One of the things that is coming across from feedback of the boats were reviewing is that individual buyers are more and more looking for craft that they can use with the family as well as catch fish from. To some extent the same applies to two man angling partnerships that buy the boat between them, they want proper accommodation and more comfort for weekend trips.

On paper the Sunday Fisher certainly has all the criteria, so I was looking forward to a day testing out from Lymington in Hampshire with lads from Severn Valley Boat Centre of Stourport-on-Severn who are the sole distributors for Drago here in the UK, and also working in conjunction with BHG Marine Ltd, Lymington who are the main dealer for Drago boats.

ALL AT SEA
Id got a good test day. A stiff northerly wind was whipping across the sea which looked short and confused with a few white tops evident further out. It was bitterly cold too!

I was getting my gear ready, but watched the lads launch the boat. Its dead easy with two of you, and looks easy enough for just one person if youre organised. Shes easy to relocate on the trailer too. No problems there!

Leaving the wheel to Roger Page, the Managing Director at Severn Valley Boat Centre, as we slowly motored out through the navigation channel I used this opportunity to wander about on deck checking out the stability of the craft. Moving my weight around to each gunnel saw little appreciable movement regards lateral stability, and keeping my eye on the helmsman he needed no correction to counteract my weight, the craft keeping a steady course.

You have acres of room for two guys and all their gear, and still plenty of space to fish four people when required. I also felt safe on deck with the boat underway as the gunnels are good and high.

What makes this boat that bit different is that you have a walk in cabin. This gives the boat a feeling of being much bigger than it really is, plus it increases the comfort factor and you can fish sat inside the cabin during bad weather and only brave the elements when a fish bites.

Once out to sea, I jumped in to the helm seat. The Sunday Fisher test boat was fitted with the new Yamaha 50hp Four-Stroke Fuel Injection engine which had less than ten hours on it. Nevertheless when I eased the throttle forward the boat came rapidly on the plane and once shed settled at a steady momentum I eased the throttle back a touch and let her run on in a straight line with the wind and sea direction. The ride is steady and predictable. There is some hull chatter, but noise levels are minimal even with the open cabin, and it was a very bumpy sea we were skipping across.

Choosing a particularly nasty area of short sea I eased back the throttle and swung the boat around. We were still going quite quickly and I glanced back during the peak arc of turn both looking and feeling for any sign of major lean and especially to find out if the stern showed any sign of slipping. Nothing to report here, the hull has great grip sticking like gum to a footpath when powering through tight turns.

Taking a straight course and increasing speed we were now punching directly in to the wind and waves. I was impressed how little spray reaches back to the windscreen. The wind was touching a force 5 out here, yet only the odd splash made it on to the windows.

Risking the wrath of Roger, I left the power on and made the boat really attack a couple of bigger waves that conveniently loomed up in front of me. This V hull cut through the first smaller wave smoothly, but had no choice than to hit the whole weight of the next wave full on. The boat barely felt the impact, but took the wave on the chin, pushed the wave either side, gave no spray back the cabin, and pushed through with minimal hesitation. Normally Id read a wave of this size and ease back on the throttle, but it was a good test manoeuvre and will tell you the strength of a boat to some extent too highlighting any judder through the main structure.

Bringing her around again I took a course that saw us run parallel with the wave pattern. This can often cause the helmsman to work hard having to continually correct the course as waves push against the full length of the hull. The Drago holds her course well, just occasional adjustments of the wheel being needed to get her back on track. Running the leading edge of some of the bigger waves the boat showed no sign of slipping away from steep wave and remained stable for anyone on deck to retain a comfy ride, and this was at a good speed too.

I positioned the boat up for a short drift through some lumpy water, pulled the throttle back in to neutral and watched how the wind affected the drift of the boat as the wind pushed on the cabin. The bow comes around to lie nicely just off the wind, but once shed found this angle held that position comfortably. She was also stable on deck and is an easy platform to work from while drifting. Leaving minimum throttle on and working with a following sea pushing us along the boat again held a steady course with barely any wheel correction needed. Sticking poor Roger back on the wheel, I got him to back the boat hard in to the oncoming waves. A short bulb of water builds up and washes in to the splash well and out again. Next to nothing came back up over the transom to reach me stood on deck by the transom. Me at wheel again, you have excellent all round vision when seated in the helm seat with the massive side screen windows superb for close quarter manoeuvres when up against pontoons and other structures youre about to moor to. I did notice that when you stand you do touch the cabin roof with your head, and Im only 510, so anyone taller would need to bend at the knee to stand upright for better vision if you were caught out in big seas, or looking for lobster pot buoys in dense early morning fog. The throttle lever is also at a comfy level when sat, with the helm seat comfy and all the instruments and switches easily accessible.

I hadnt got the sea state to really open the boat up, plus the engine was almost straight out of wraps, but Ive been quoted a top speed of 32mph for the Sunday Fisher and Yamaha 50hp Four-Stroke with fuel consumption around 17 litres. I guess shell cruise easily around 25mph, which would also reduce your overall fuel consumption. Id really enjoyed my test of this boat and can see why tongues have been wagging about the Sunday Fisher.

BUILD FEATURES
All the Drago range of boats are hand built to a high standard with many fixtures and fittings made in the one Athens factory. Just looking around the boat with her sat back on the trailer the overall finish is very good with neat lines and no mould blemishes that can be part of parcel of some British built craft.

She sports a full length stainless steel pulpit rail leading from the cabins rear edge, plus carries a stainless steel bow roller and stainless Sampson post for tying off.

The cabin roof on the test boat has stainless safety rails either side. The walkway alongside the cabin some may feel is slightly narrow and it does mean that should you need access to the bow when at sea, you have to lean out slightly over the water when holding the safety rails. I dont have a problem with this as Id be tied on, but it is a test review and I need to mention this. It is though a common thing with many boats.

The cabin roof offers masses of room for adding a gantry to house aerials, GPS locators or radar. I also understand there is a rocket launcher type rod carrier available too. The cabin edges also have vertically stainless grab handles in place.

The windscreens are divided in to three facing forward and tinted, located in tough looking alloy frames and screwed in place with stainless screws.

There is a small step built in to the gunnel at the cabin rear for access to the bow and deck, also for stepping off the boat. The self-draining deck has a deeply stippled finish to it to create excellent grip, even when wet. The gunnels are upper hip high for on deck security and each gunnel has a small in built storage shelf centrally located.

The transom houses an upholstered seat built in to each stern corner, the starboard side under seat area carrying the battery box on the test boat. These have storage space underneath with the actual seat removable. The transom middle offers a large storage locker and carries the remote fuel tank, with easy deck access. You also have stainless safety rails around each stern corner, with a stainless T cleat for tying off to. There is also a dive ladder available, plus an auxiliary engine bracket.

The open cabin gives easy access straight off the deck and in to the forward accommodation area. There are two upholstered swivel seats with back supports. The helm console has direct vision for the helmsman of all the instruments and gives easy access to the switch panel, this being on the starboard side of the wheel. The wheel is a round car type, but offers excellent grip and comfort during long range trips. The throttle lever is on the starboard side and at a comfy working position.

Above the console is an area ideal for fixing your compass, Fish Finder and GPS unit too, also your VHF, though I suspect many buyers would choose to mount the VHF on a bracket off the cabin roof in front of the helm seat. This wide shelf area extends along the width of the whole screen, but also has a recessed area built in to it on the port side for carrying small items like pens etc. There is also storage shelves built in to the cabin sides either side of the seats.

Access to the accommodation is through a hinged tinted door opening to port. The inner cabin area offers a double bunk and storage faculties, plus a full length shelf area either side. The bunk is upholstered in blue, with the cabin walls and ceiling covering in white. You also have an escape hatch/air vent and small tinted side screens for natural light to enter.

What really struck me was that theyve made maximum use of the space available. You have lots of storage space, easy access from cabin to deck, plus comfortable and roomy accommodation. The cabin is also easy to work with, with everything close at hand, yet nothing in the way to make clutter.

Two guys taking a weekend fishing trip can fish in real comfort, and if youve the family aboard for the day, there is more than enough space to accommodate a family of four.

THINGS I MIGHT CHANGE
The 50hp Yamaha works really well with the boat, especially if the bulk of your fishing will be relatively close in, but I think offshore anglers would probably choose a bigger 70hp unit, some going the whole hog for the maximum rated 90hp unit. Id go with the 70hp myself. The speed is not the issue, though there would be obvious gains, but for long range trips a bigger engine does not need to work as hard for the same effect, especially if youre loaded with fishing gear and supplies, or working with three or four anglers aboard.

I did notice that at the base of the windows where the alloy frames are there are open holes which, in big seas if you took water over the bow, would potentially let water through inside and on to the inner cabin shelf area. Its a minor thing, but Id feel happier if these were plugged to stop any chance of water ingress.

I seem to mention this with most boats these days, but the navigation lights are set low down below the wind screens on the cabin sides. Id prefer my nav lights high up on the cabin roof side edge and my steaming light on a vertical bar for maximum visual identification at night.

Inside the cabin a small grab handle positioned conveniently on the port side console area would be useful for the passenger when travelling in heavy seas.

There were no rod holders on the test boat, but you have loads of room on the gunnels and transom to fix in what you need.

All very minor points and easily adjusted if you have the same ideas as me.

FINAL CONCLUSION
For the price I feel it offers excellent value! It has good sea keeping qualities, is stable in what were poor conditions on the test day, its fast, economical to buy and run, plus is safe and easy to work from. The boat is capable of fishing far offshore in good weather, with the turn of speed to get home again if youre running before the weather. At the same time, it can tackle seas far worse than the helmsman will.

Fishing wise, take your choice, it can handle the lot. I see it especially ideal for long range day trips to wrecks or for offshore shark fishing, for which it would be bang on. Its shallow draft also makes it suitable for shallow reef bassing, tope fishing over the banks, and reef fishing for general species. Its also a good choice for anglers wanting to fish through the winter time. The cabin area gives full shelter from the elements, but being open gives quick access to the rods.

I feel this boat will be a big seller over here and become a common site moored in our marinas and harbours!


 

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.

 

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