Old-world charmer

John Curnow | VOLUME 30, ISSUE 3

Corsair Boats builds its handsome, hard-working Bass Strait 40 to suit owners’ requirements – Aranui is a bespoke version destined for Tasmania.

From the outset, Aranui was not made in Australia but was rather crafted here. This distinct, if slightly subtle point sets up why this Bass Strait MY 40 is so unique and appealing.

It took Corsair Boats, located in Victoria’s seaside town of Rosebud, two-and-a-half years to create Aranui’s bespoke $1m look, but it comes with things like a bowrail that appears as though mandrel-bent from a single piece of 316 stainless, and an extra coat of Awlcraft 2000 paint for that deep richness. The huge ring frames and steel engine sub-frame with custom mounts provide for smoothness, along with lower noise and vibration.

Aranui is a very Australian interpretation of the popular Maine lobsterboat style. Huon pine flourishes attest to that. It may also help to think of it as a Bentley Arnage for the water – exceedingly handcrafted, hefty, a bit old world, and ensuring the overall artistry remains intact. It is the feel that comes through in all her tactile elements, which in turn stems from not being worried about details like weight, cost and time. ‘Find the best and then use it’ was the mantra that took the owner’s singular vision and delivered this result.

Items like a meaty, 3in (75mm) prop shaft and an epoxy skin will ensure the boat outlasts its current owner’s life and stretches well into the next. A boat like Aranui is probably not an owner’s first boat, but it is the one boaters who know the difference between getting wet on deck and having a cup of tea there, or being quiet and running smoothly, will want.


In the early stages of construction, you could see the immense bow section and beam that provide two of Aranui’s best attributes: seakeeping and volume. The joins in the epoxy skin were rebated, so that these were the only areas to be filled and faired, not the whole hull.

Being built to survey, there were regular inspections and approvals during the build, yet from anchor roller to prop shaft and rudder bearing there are many instances of over-specced items. This ensures that hassle-free, low-maintenance, safe, and long running pleasure is ingrained in the boat’s DNA.

Aranui has an almost ‘Art Deco meets Australiana’ feel. Not two styles one would ordinarily consider bedfellows but, in this case, the simplistic approach of both means the builder could deftly utilise smooth, cool Corian with delightfully handcrafted, warm Huon pine, and set it all off with tallowood strip planking on the saloon floor and throughout the cabin spaces. A short palette of colours and tones allows the owner to splash colour and stay well clear of gaudy, while huge saloon windows provide the ultimate backdrop with a panoramic view of the surroundings.


Aranui’s heart is a Yanmar 6CX530. This is a powerplant that looks sensational when the engine hatches are up and then impresses further when tootling along at eight knots or carving a distinct path while travelling at 20 knots (37km/h).

The new owner was impressed with the engine’s performance during the delivery run across Bass Strait to Tasmania, when they cruised for 13 hours at nine knots (16.7km/h), using 16lt/h.

Aranui was built to go into a charter fleet for both day- and short-stay use. The owner is a serious yachtie – which is why you’ll find things like B&G wind gear onboard. A desalination plant and a genset are optional and weren’t installed. Instead, an inverter running off the 630Ah wall of batteries should take care of nearly any requirement, including a hairdryer. Charging of today’s multitude of electronic options can be accomplished through one of the many 12V outlets.

Nearly a metric tonne of freshwater should be enough for guests, while hot water is plumbed everywhere and, when in warmer climes, guests can rinse off at the aft deck shower. Greywater and blackwater tanks attend to the nasties.

In the main saloon, a viewing lounge for guests is adjacent to the pilot station. Opposite the dining settee is the galley with gas stove and oven, and two refrigerators. The accommodations below deck include an owner’s stateroom forward, a double cabin to starboard, and a head with separate shower to port. There’s a plethora of storage options throughout, all fitted with twist latches and gas struts so access is easy and safe.

Aranui’s many impressive features include Lewmar portholes and Marinco windscreen wipers. Chief amongst the bragging items would be the Twin Disc gearbox and high-end electronics from brands like Simrad for navigation, Finscan for controls and switching, and Fusion for the tunes.

Chief amongst the Bass Strait 40’s features is quietness. There is one hell of a donk below but in the sweet spot of 8.5 knots (15.7km/h), it almost feels like there’s a gang of rowers downstairs instead.

The lack of sound extends to almost no perceptible vibration – inside, and out in the cockpit. Even as the revs build, you’ll be talking normally. Just forward of the rudder post and directly atop the whirring screw you can only just tell that things are busy below.


There are two other noteworthy features: there’s almost no spray, even in the half-metre chop on our test day, and the lack of diesel fumes. Foreshore Marine Exhaust’s underwater exhaust is an absolute winner.

Marching on to 20 knots (37km/h), you’d expect it would no longer be conversational inside, yet this is not so. While the foot soldiers below are busy, you’ll be utilising all the touchscreens, gauges, and switches at your disposal, marvelling at the ride, the way the water is dispersed, and how the wipers aren’t that necessary with the Rain-X water repellent all over the glass.

The boat turns effortlessly and the rudder does not cause forward deflection. No doubt a top bearing on the round bilge and the bottom bearing on the full keel are part of that. At speed you get a real smile from the destroyer-esque outboard heel that occurs, all the while knowing the boat is not unsettled by your commands – indeed, it’s very manoeuvrable.


The bow thruster and three-position electronic gearshift mean the skipper can go about docking at a pace commensurate for a boat such as this. Ordinarily, that would be four knots (7.4km/h) at idle ahead. In express mode, you get reduced rpm at the gearbox until 30 per cent load is achieved – this means bringing in over 11t (when laden) at just 2.5 knots (4.6km/h), giving more time to position the boat and onlookers more time to admire the gorgeous lines.

For those wanting to do a fair amount of high-speed work (15+ knots) it would be worth considering installing interceptors, which will gain up to two knots and bring the bow down by around 1.5 degrees. Not necessarily earth shattering but it will reduce the wake considerably, which is then bound to be reflected in the consumption and range figures.

At this end of the market, there are not many other Australian offerings to choose from. Corsair Boat’s Bass Strait 40 is ready for anything, from duties transferring punters to the Melbourne Cup, weekend cruising on Pittwater, or exploring Lord Howe Island. And, being bespoke, there is nothing quite like Aranui around.


Overall length: 13m

Beam: 4.2m

Displacement: 10.7t (dry)

Power Yanmar 6CX530 390kW (530hp)

Fuel capacity: 1800lt

Freshwater capacity: 900lt

Berths/capacity: 2 double berths/4 persons

Price from: $1,000,000

For more information, contact: Corsair Boats, tel: (03) 5981 2451. Web: corsairboats.com.au.