New Antares 8 Fishing: Club Marine TV

If you want the perfect fishing-oriented Friday afternoon getaway machine, what are you waiting for? Check out Beneteau's new Antares 8.

Mark Rothfield: Hi. Mark Rothfield, for Club Marine TV, down here, on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula. Now, we normally do these introductions on shore or at anchor, but to be honest, I could not wait to start driving this Beneteau Antares 8. That's because it's the perfect Friday afternoon getaway machine. You can fish, you can sleep really comfortably aboard and it's super easy to handle so let's see how she goes.

The answer is it performs really nicely. It's running a Suzuki 250 horsepower V6. Now, that's the maximum horsepower, but, I'd say it's also the recommended horsepower. Just jumping out of the hull now, about 12, 14 knots is your planing speed and once you're planing, off we go. We are, now, doing 23 knots, all of a sudden. It will go to 35. I particularly like that cruise speed of around about that 20 to 22 knot mark. Just really seems to suit this deep vee-hull.

Burning 41 litres per hour of fuel, so fairly fuel efficient, given it has a 350 liter fuel tank and the beauty of these pilot houses is you can open everything up. If I want air on me, open up these side windows. You can open up the cabin sunroof, you can also open up the aft doors and you get this full runabout-style flow through.

So it really is the best of both worlds and to be honest, I'm really enjoying the driving. The steering is so well sorted. Hydraulic, it's feather tip-like. One finger, one hand on the steering wheel and you can throw it into these hard turns. It's really impressive. The hull's got quite a deep V, two strakes. There's also what they call a tulip bow, which is sort of scalloped and what that does is it seems to throw the water well away so most of the spray gets tossed well to the side.

We've got pretty good water here, let's see how she goes. I've given a little bit more throttle. Here, we go. Speed's jumping up now. Let's get this motor really singing. It does like to be trimmed. It's slightly bow down. One thing I have noticed, there's no trim tabs on board. You probably could option them, but it's a really good sign when a boat doesn't need them.

Now, we're doing 30 knots. We're heading, basically, down wind and can a little bit more up-trim. I don't want to go too far because you will start to get a little bit of bow bounce. Now, that's 32 knots. Fuel usage has jumped to 64 and a half litres per hour. We're still pulling just under 5,000 revs so, with a bit of trim and better sea conditions, I'm sure we could see that 35 knots.

I love boats like this, to be honest. You feel really comfortable on them so, when you are getting away on a Friday, you're not mucking around. You can give it a little bit of throttle. You can get to that bay before the sun sets, start the sundowners and get your dinner on and you will just have a fantastic night. So how about we head into shore, drop anchor and have a really good look around?

It's amazing to think that France's Antares brand has a 45-year boat-building heritage. It was way back in 1977 that Andre Beneteau designed the first seven and a half meter pilot-house cruiser. This boat is light years apart, in terms of functionality and practicality. Really, it's a modern day take on a classic design. Significantly, you can order this boat in two very distinct versions. We'll talk about the cruising version first.

Cockpit is quite different. You get a full settee, here, with its own storage underneath. More of a wraparound shape so you get this L-shaped lounge with a teak table that can drop in and it all together is more comfortable. Yes, that can lower into a sun pad as well so if you're socializing with seven or eight people on board, you might consider that.

In this case, the owner's gone for the fishing version and it has an altogether more sporty-feel starting with this fantastic fishing module that's here. Has great rod storage, it's got some sinks under here and a whole unit can slide forward. So, when you're bringing your motor up, it gets the full tilt range but, in fishing mode and motor down, it slides back. Really clever space utilization. You still have excellent seating. In this case, fold down loungers so you've got the half lounge, there's another lounge here, to port and there's a forward seat. Now that seat has a cool box underneath it, the owner specified that. Couple of bags of ice, straight on board and off you go.

So under floor, there's a 350 litre fuel tank that's built in, nicely sealed for safety with its own inspection hatch. This starboard side gate can open up so they can pull those big fish aboard. Not that I catch them very often, but when you want to store them, there's a starboard side hatch. They can all go in there.

Port-side has access to the dual batteries. Other features worth mentioning, there's a little hatch here at the back so your wet gear, things like snorkel and goggles can all go straight in there. That's self-draining and it keeps water out of the cockpit. You can have a shower while you're at the back there. Opposite on the port site is your live well.

Definitely worthy of mention is the Suzuki V6 250 horsepower outboard. Now Suzuki are the preferred engine supplier for the Beneteau Antares range and I think with good reason. They look great on the boat, this lovely white cowling. Again, hydraulic steering but everything conceals nicely underneath this hatch so it all looks really clean and laid out.

Boarding platforms, these are optional but I would be specifying them, mainly to give you that protection when you're reversing. Now the starboard-side one, here, has a handrail. There's also a swimming ladder built in and you get really nice access through a side gate into the cockpit on either side.

The foredeck is actually another socializing area. You can have full sun pad over this and when you're at anchor and you want a bit of cool breeze, it's the perfect place to come. Also has a really nice anchoring setup so you get this solid spread, well clear of the bow. The anchor can actually self feed itself and it's never going to damage the boat. Leads back under this hatch so again, chain and everything is nice and safe and, inside here, the owner has specified a drum to actually pull the anchor and the rope up. Advantage of that, it's really fast and it's really powerful. If you prefer, you could probably have more of a standard [inaudible 00:07:24] arrangement.

A thing we're seeing more of in these pilot house cruisers, which are built for multipurpose and sports-use, are roof racks so with bars across here, you can store your stand-up paddle boards and your kayaks, just like you would on your car. It's also fitted with a rocket launcher aft, just to keep your rods nicely stored. The other thing you notice about these roof racks is they make great handholds as you come back. Now, Beneteau have moved the coach roof slightly further to port, which allows a wider starboard walkway. Again, it's about two shoe widths, so it's really safe.

Port side, you can still get forward if you have to, for tying up or whatever, but you'll definitely be favouring this side. I quite like that idea. The helm's on the starboard side, you've got a gate on the starboard side, so you most often will be tying up that way, if possible. Now stepping down is just a simple step one down. Again, there's a handrail really well placed here and you are into the cockpit.

The pilot house does have this little overhanging section which gives you a little bit of protection. Again, you can add an optional awning that will cover more of the cockpit, so talk to the dealer about that. When you're in fishing mode, you can actually have a repeater fish finding screen out here. It also comes with a nice light, that'll flood the cockpit for when you're operating at night. Now, great fishing features are one thing, but on this boat you get the benefit of a really nice comfortable cabin as well and not too many fishing boats can offer that.

That's something owners are going to like straight away. You've got these tri-fold doors that open well out of the way and give you really nice access. So much classier than having a canvas door here, which again, flaps and so on. You also get that added security of being able to lock it so you can leave this boat at the marina, fully secure. As you step in, you really impressed, straight away, by how much headroom here. I'm six foot, that's well over my head and, on a 23 ft boat, that is fantastic. Flooded with light, the beautiful windows all wrap around so, straight away, you're still connected with the environment. The other thing you notice, the French are fantastic with their styling. It's subtle but really classy and again, they've put a lot of thought, a lot of clever thought into the way this saloon area is laid out.

Starting aft, here, you've got a galley arrangement. Now it's fairly simple. It's a probably a wet bar. It's got its own sink, it's got a small amount of serving area. If you're going to cook on board, I'd be throwing a barbecue out in the back, to be honest. Nice little 12 volt fridge here. 

Again, you've got an ice box out in the back, but for your milk and your eggs and everything like that, perfect to have that arrangement. Immediately, opposite the galley, you find this beautiful dinette for four people. All this can lower and you get a nice big bed. Again, handy for when you're staying overnight and also the backrest, which faces the dinette, when you're underway, it slides forward and you get a forward facing seat.

Helm consoles can be really clean these days because everything is multifunctional, including this Garmin screen, which can be your GPS. It can also show your engine instrumentation. There's also your Suzuki gauges here. I love the fact that it's finished in black. Everything looks really good in black and it just contrasts nicely with the white molding that's around it. High quality steering wheel. It's got the fusion stereo. When you want to charge your iPhone, there's a nice little USB port, here.

This boat's got the bow thruster, as well. The owners, new to boating, but I think it's a clever feature, if you keep your boat in a marina. All the switches here are nice and close to hand. Another thing you notice, this stop start button for the Suzuki motor. Now, that is a security feature as much as it is a convenience thing because it comes with a key fob, that must be on board to start the motor. That means if, for any reason, your motor gets stolen or whatever, they will never be able to start that motor without the fob so fantastic security. Again, it's just that nice little bit of an automotive touch to this boat.

Suzuki also provide a trawling feature, so there's a little button here. When you're in trawl mode, you can just do those sort of micro adjustments of your speed to get your trawling speed just right.

Over-nighters do need a comfortable cabin and I'd give really good marks to this one. You get plenty of headroom as you come downstairs and really nice light. Now, for ventilation, they've got a hatch. You can also add a second, to port, which gives you that sort of nice crossfire. Again, it's so well connected to the saloon and that sunroof that you won't be short of air down here. Now, looking around, it's got beautiful muted tones, and this sort of walnut trim goes really nicely with the furnishings. I must say the bedding mattress is a little bit thin. I would be adding maybe a mattress topper to that.

When you want to create a big double down here, you just put a little V-shape infill and you can basically sleep diagonally, here, for two people. When you're in day-boat mode, you simply lift this V-shaped cushion out of the way and that gives you full access to this fully enclosed head compartment, that's a bit of a luxury on a 7-meter boat. Inside, you get a hand pump toilet, you get a sink. You also get a shower rose. Now, the boat carries a hundred liters of fresh water and an 80 liter blackwater tank as well.

Package price with quite a few dealer- and factory-fitted options is $228,000. Add a trailer, you're looking at about 250,000, as supplied by Melbourne's Sundance Marine. When you think about the lifestyle value and the fact that it's an affordable boat to run, that sounds pretty good to me. Performs really nicely. Great layout. So what are you waiting for?

I'm Mark Rothfield, for Club Marine TV. See you next time.

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