Sailfish celebrates 25th anniversary | Mark Rothfield

NEW GENERATION: The Sailfish S8 powered by twin Honda 150 outboards and packed with rods as it heads to the offshore fishing grounds. The catamaran maker is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
NEW GENERATION: The Sailfish S8 powered by twin Honda 150 outboards and packed with rods as it heads to the offshore fishing grounds. The catamaran maker is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“IF there’s a single ounce of the ol’ briny in your blood, the mere mention of Australia’s own Sailfish Catamarans should get you salivating,” says well-known boating scribe John ‘Bear’ Willis in honour of Sydney-based Sailfish’s 25th anniversary.

Willis’s former publication, Trade-A-Boat, had been lavish in its praise for the catamaran builder’s impressively built aluminium models, which are also beloved of sportsfishers, divers and commercial operators.

There were consecutive Aluminium Boat of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016 for the Sailfish S7 and S8 respectively, making Sailfish the only manufacturer to win the award twice in the competition’s history. A T-A-B Aluminium Catamaran of the Year gong was awarded in 2012 along with a finalist ranking in 2014 with the Canyon Master. Sailfish was also the first aluminium catamaran to be approved for Volvo Penta IPS installation, though outboards are its daily bread.

The brand is renowned for offering a blend of seaworthy and efficient hulls with high volume and ample deck space, all wrapped up within legal towing limits. They weigh considerably less than equivalent fibreglass boats but pack great strength and need minimal maintenance.

In recent times the Hydroflow GEN 3 hull has been introduced to keep Sailfish at the cutting-edge of performance. It boasts of a magic carpet ride with improved hydrodynamics “providing the softest, most predictable and reliable offshore hulls available” as you get superior running efficiency, maximum stability plus fast planing.

The company announced itself on the Australian boating scene in January 1993, although founder and director Darren Foster had been tinkering with aluminium catamarans since 1984.

ALL OVER IT: Sailfish is renowned for making boats with an impressive ability to tackle ocean bars.

ALL OVER IT: Sailfish is renowned for making boats with an impressive ability to tackle ocean bars.

His original small factory in the northern rivers township of Alstonville had two staff producing five boats a year. Almost 450 vessels later, Sailfish now employs over 20 tradesmen and apprentices to create around 30 plate-alloy powercats a year.

Three years after its launch, a dealer partnership was formed with Sydney’s Webbe Marine. This partnership grows stronger by the day. In 1998 Sailfish also joined forces with Sports Marine in Western Australia.

While recreational boats dominate sales, Sailfish has supplied nearly 100 commercial vessels in full survey for safety organisations and authorities in Australia, the US, Russia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

“The aims of our business are to ensure a professional, custom-built, high quality range of aluminium power catamarans for the leisure, commercial and rescue boating markets,” Foster says. “Our success is dependent on the teamwork that exists and we will continue to cultivate the highest levels on workmanship.”

Spray painting, trailer building and engine installation are all done in-house to deliver turnkey packages. Most are customised. There’s a range of cabin layouts and options to suit overnight and weekend trips, but mostly they lean towards enhanced cockpit facilities for fishing.

 Info: Webbe Marine on 1800 885 635 or webbemarine.com.au

JETTING ON FOR VARIETY

A RECORD fleet of about 115 jet skis arrived in Newcastle Harbour earlier this week during their annual trek from Sydney to Yamba.

That might be some yachties’ idea of living hell but the riders have done well by raising more than $340,000 for children’s charity Variety.

It’s a 700-kilometre ride across open ocean with a butt-breaking six days in the saddle, taking in additional stops at Tuncurry, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour before reaching Yamba tomorrow.

Riders have come from as far as Tasmania, South and West Australia, and far north Queensland, with a quarter being newcomers to the event.

SHE SAILS REGATTA

THE second She Sails Regatta hosted by Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club was held last Saturday aboard the club’s Force 24 sailing fleet.

Club CEO Paul O’Rourke says “the inaugural development regatta held last year was so successful that we decided to make the one-day regatta an annual event.

“The aim is to progress the skills of our women sailors in a fun and safe environment, supported by experienced skippers on each boat.

“The emphasis is on learning, not winning, so prizes were presented for the most improved and best team player, for example, as opposed to first, second or third.”