Platinum performer

David Toyer | VOLUME 22, ISSUE 5

Streaker’s Platinum Series 6.35 Commander, is likely to find favour amongst serious offshore anglers. Mum and the kids haven’t been left out either…

Established in Melbourne in 1973 by brothers Leon and Paul Savage, Streaker Boats took some time to make any substantial impression on the market. Before imports were heard of, Australia boasted numerous fibreglass boat builders trying to get into a developing market, of which Streaker was one.

As young men, Leon and Paul were into water skiing and racing, and this developed their initial range of small (by today’s standards) open runabouts.

Retailing direct from the factory, the model range gradually increased as the brothers concentrated their boats around the Melbourne market and the needs of lake and river boat users, and later, bay fishermen. It was with the local fishing market that Streaker eventually hit a chord, and from there the range and quality of boats was quick to develop.

The company resisted the urge to appoint dealers and instead concentrated on retailing factory-rigged boats where it had control over the quality and fitting of options sold to the customer. Streaker was able to develop a reputation for well-equipped and sensibly optioned trailer fishing boats – a reputation that grew beyond the confines of its home town.

FULL CONTROL

Today, Streaker is about the only major trailer boat brand that is still sold exclusively by the manufacturer through its own retail division. Tempted on many occasions to expand its business by appointing other retailers/dealers, particularly in other states, Leon and Paul Savage decided to accept the limitations of doing business this way so they could continue to personally ensure that all of their boats were rigged and sold (as turn-key packages) exactly as they were designed, and with the right power and correct propeller.

The Platinum Series 6.35 Commander reflects this attitude. This is a neatly finished boat, with a degree of flexibility within the options that ensures that every boat isn’t necessarily locked into the same fit-out solution.

Released at the 2007 Melbourne Boat Show, the 6.35 Commander is the largest of the 16-model Streaker range. This is a very well-equipped serious bay and offshore fishing boat, with plenty of options. But as is the case with all the other fishing models in the Streaker range, this boat is equally at home with family aboard and heading off for a day or weekend of boating fun.

At around 2200 to 2400kg on the road, the 6.35 Commander does need a decent tow vehicle, but it is not out of the realms of many of the family 4WDs that are so common these days. Consequently, the prospect of taking this boat away for a family day or weekend to some distant waterway, or setting out for a serious day’s fishing somewhere up or down the coast with the mates, is all very achievable, despite the near-maxi trailerable size of this rig.

I ran the boat with the maximum recommended power on the back – a 225hp Yamaha F225AETX four-stroke outboard. This 3.35 litre V6 engine certainly didn’t overpower the boat – in fact, I thought it was just about an ideal match. The hull sat well at rest, and underway trimmed nice and level no matter what the speed, with no real serious “hump” as it transgressed from displacement to planing trim.

TOUGH TEST

The day of our test was absolutely abysmal out on Port Phillip Bay, with 30 to 40 knot winds creating a real nasty rolling swell that no one in their right mind would consider venturing out on in a trailer boat. But we did – had to, in fact – and though the conditions were not pleasant for boating, the Commander did show how well it could cope in lousy weather, while also keeping the two of us very dry.

With the conditions being so bitchy, so steep and sharp, and plenty of wind about, there were times when it was a fulltime job behind the wheel, setting the trim, balancing the boat and adjusting the throttle to get what I thought was the ultimate trim and most comfortable ride.

And it was only after about 15 to 20 minutes of running that I looked down at the instruments and was impressed at just how quick we were running in such bad conditions – just under 3500rpm for 42km/h (23 knots). This was surprisingly quick, and the hull was handling the conditions very well. It was possible to run harder, but I had proved my point – the hull handled such bad conditions extremely well, while keeping me very safe and quite dry.

Although the side-on winds would really knock the trim around and needed a bit of work from the skipper, the ride was quite comfortable and very dry thanks to some very effective clears and bimini top. We took quite a deal of spray and white water over the top during the test, but everything was kept out of the sheltered area of the cockpit.

There were trim tabs fitted, but I preferred not to use them, finding the engine trim was more than sufficient and quite effective in obtaining a good ride from a well-balanced boat.

After a bit of searching, we managed to find some sheltered waters that enabled a more extensive evaluation of the boat’s performance. A top speed of over 78km/h (almost 42 knots) being achieved and this is probably more than the average user would want from this rig. But it is the cruising performance that is more critical – 50 to 60km/h (27 to 32 knots) at 4000 to 4500rpm, enabling a cruising range of approximately 180 nautical miles to be achieved.

The hull glides easily (and flat) on the plane, being pushed by the 225 horses on the back, and the weight of the engine doesn’t seem to be detrimental to the trim or planing attitude. There is an instantaneous response to the throttle and, while fishos will probably not always need this immediate response, the knowledge that it is there offers security. The engine/boat combination is capable of handling quite a significantly heavier load than the two and three persons we had during the test, and in open waters the response to the throttle gives the ability to get out of a nasty situation in a hurry.

The hull, while running clean and free at speed on the smoother waters, has a good contact and grip when put into a turn. While not a requirement of any family or fishing boat, the Streaker 6.35 can be thrown as hard and as fast into a turn as you’d wish. It will hang on and whip round with extreme efficiency and won’t let go.

The 14 x 18-inch Solas Hi Rake Titan four-blade prop hangs on well, with no sign of cavitation.

Engine installation height, along with propeller selection, is so critical to good performance from any trailer boat and Streaker has got it so very right here.

TIDY INDOORS

There is nothing unusually different about the internal layout. Along traditional lines, there are twin (v-berth) bunks/seats within the low profile cabin. With infill cushions to increase the width of the bunks, this cabin is suitable for an overnight stay. There is reasonable storage provided in the side shelves, a high level of night lighting via the single internal light, and though the cabin has a moulded liner for easy maintenance, extra comfort is provided in the form of clip-on carpet. The comfortable upholstered bunk cushions and side shelf back rests, along with the soft cabin head liner, add to what is a reasonably high comfort level for those seeking shelter from the elements.

Access to and from the cabin is as good as it can get, with only the helm station providing a solid closure to the rear. However, if you do want to add the portable toilet option or do an occasional overnighter, then a clip-on privacy curtain would be essential.

A Maxwell electric anchor winch with a Sarca anchor is provided as part of the standard Streaker Platinum series fitout, and the foredeck rope and chain locker can hold up to 100 metres of 10mm chain. With the remote-operated anchor winch, there is little need to get to the bow, but when you do, access, via the cabin, is excellent. The deck hatch opening isn’t tight, and with a moulded step underfoot at the vee berth junction, all the deck hardware can be worked from within the security of the deck opening. There is also side deck access, but why bother when going through the cabin is so convenient.

There is also security in the design of the cockpit, with the floor set deep into the hull to provide good high coamings all round. This includes the aft quarter jump seats (and the optional lounge infill) and I also liked the high backrests on the seats. This is not just a good, solid fishing cockpit, it is also a safe, family-friendly design.

Moulded side liners run the length of the cockpit, providing a clean, uncluttered appearance, with surfaces that are easy to clean and maintain and storage recesses that accommodate rods, rod holders, EPIRB, fire extinguisher, and a myriad of other small items that always seem to find their way aboard. All of this storage is set back flush with the coamings, leaving no intrusions into the cockpit. A small sink is neatly moulded in with this liner alongside the forward passenger seat, and though this does protrude, it doesn’t impede efficient use of the cockpit.

The sink is located alongside the passenger’s console, and the pedestal-mounted seat hinges aft to open up the small butane-powered cook top as well as a small amount of work space. Both the passenger and driver moulded pedestals have been used for storage, with a multi-level tackle drawer unit built into the driver’s seat base.

A simple clip-on curtain hides all the plumbing and electrics under the aft deck and engine well, including the dual 13-plate heavy duty batteries and various pumps and tap valves for bait and kill tanks and bilge pump. Streaker has consistently used the curtain system to close off the back because of its simplicity and the quick, easy access it affords.

FISHO FRIDAY

The back of the boat can be well set up for the fisherman, with live bait tanks in each or either of the rear quarter decks, complete with pressure water pump that is also connected to a deck wash hose. There is also an under-floor kill and fish tank, removable bait board across the top of the engine well (by the way, the engine will fully tilt and not hit the board) and burley bucket and muncher. Then, for a day out with the family, simply lift the burley bucket and bait boards out and you have what looks like – and is – your typical family day cruiser.

The stainless rocket launcher is well built and solidly anchored into the boat. It doesn’t shake or rattle about (and believe me, we gave it quite a workout on Port Phillip Bay) and provides secure anchoring for the bimini top and clip-on clears as well as two powerful cockpit lights.

Streaker provides a structural warranty on the hull and, consequently, it has to be built to last. All subfloor structural framing is foam filler fibreglass stringers and underfloor flotation is foam “noodle” – an entirely water-and-fuel-resistant loose foam system rather than a liquid expanding foam. Streaker prefers this fitted foam infill as the company believes expanding foam can stress the boat if too much is used.

The Platinum Series Streaker 6.35 Commander, as a turn-key package, is not the boat for someone buying on a limited budget. As reviewed, the retail price is around the $97,750 mark, including a Dunbier Supa Rolla tandum trailer. But for that, you get an exceptionally well-equipped boat ready to go out on the bay or offshore fishing one day, while being equally adept at a family fun day the next.

SPECIFICATIONS: STREAKER 6.35 COMMANDER

Length (overall): 6.8m

Beam: 2.5m

Deadrise: 20 degrees

Weight (BMT): 2200 to 2400kg

Fuel: 228 litres

Maximum Power: 225hp outboard

Performance

RPM Speed (km/h)

1500 7

2000 14

2700(planing) 21

3000 26

3500 42

4000 51

4500 59

5000 65

5500 74

6000 78

Price as tested: $97,750

For more information, try www.streakerboats.com.au or call (03) 9729 8288


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