by Dave Moran
Have you ever been out with a bunch of hard core spearos in a five metre plus something made out of whatever they could afford with the biggest motor that could hang off the back without ripping the boat apart? When the seas are big and the swell on the home bar is too frightening to contemplate and, for that matter, not worth worrying about because you might never make it to the bar entrance anyway?
The hammer is down, everyone is hanging on while their spines are being drastically shortened as they are pounded into the deck. The ocean waves split, spray drowning the diversâ faces… the boat pounds, lurches and crashes her way through, hopefully carrying her crew safely home.
Believe it or not, this experience is not uncommon amongst freediving spearos, in fact for some it is nearly a weekly event.
When youâre at sea, sometimes 40 miles off the coast, in a runabout you need to have complete faith in your boatâs ability to get you home safely.
The Design Concept
For three very experienced divers, the desire to have a very safe boat under their feet was so compelling they decided to build their own dream dive and fishing boat. John Ross already had a very successful boat building business, constructing mainly large motor launches and yachts up to 18 metres. So the structure was in place to build their dreamboat.
Safety was the main design criteria. They wanted the unsinkable qualities of pontoon boats built into a mono hull. A boat that would be very resistant to flipping upside down, have the ability to smoothly handle rough sea conditions, self draining deck, great stability when at rest and maximum deck space for divers and fishermen to move around in.
They presented their ideas to well respected boat designer Scott Robson. Scott beavered away on the drawing board. In his design he incorporated a fine entry 21 degree deadrise to slice through an oncoming sea. For stability with such a deep V hull he built in a large reverse chine and a flood channel through the keel. To provide unsinkable qualities, the sides of the boat consist of wide and deep sealed sections (pontoons) called air cocoons and the huge space under the deck is completely sealed. Large port and starboard hinged scuppers to quickly remove any excess deck water. To provide maximum useable space the fibreglass cabin dodger incorporating the steering console has been moved forward. So unlike most runabouts that have a cuddy cabin with small bunk/squabs, which are very rarely used, this boat has purposely only provided enough storage space and shelving to protect items that need to be kept dry.
Out on the water
Most boaties appreciate a good looking lady and Scott Robson can be congratulated on the lines of this boat, it turned heads at the boat ramp!
Summer had arrived on the Auckland Harbour and her waters were virtually dead flat, finding a wave to crash into would be impossible.
With the 130Hp V4 Yamaha Saltwater Series outboard trimmed up we were soon skipping along at 41 mph at 5000 rpm. With cable steerage she was easy to handle and tight manoeuvring was not a problem. For about an extra $1000 you can have hydraulic steering, which would be fabulous!
Because of its extremely solid construction, 5mm hull and 4mm sides incorporating the Air Cocoon design and 4mm plate decking over a substantial subfloor bearer system consisting of six 4mm thick longitudinal stringers, you had the feeling that you were surrounded by a very solid, well designed vessel. In fact, the manufacturers of NO LIMITS, Precision Hulls, are so confident of their materials, quality control and welding techniques, that they guarantee the hull and welding for an amazing eight years.
With a hull weight of 650 kg, her fine entry bow and wide reverse chine, I felt she would live up to the manufacturerâs claims of being able to handle rough sea conditions. As if to prove that point, Kim Ellett, who was taking me for this test ride, had recently competed in the New Zealand National Spearfishing Championships. He weighed in the largest kingfish, 24.4kg. He and Geoff Ross took their 6m NO LIMITS boat to about the furthermost point north you can go in Nwe Zealand. He speared his kingi off the tip of Cape Maria Van Diemen Island. Now thatâs big country up there!
The keel flood compartment is a winner. At rest the two of us could sit on the 25cm wide gunwales and she would barely lift her skirt. Scuba divers would find this âglued to the waterâ stability a welcomed benefit.
The twin stern scuppers are just about at water level, for maximum efficiency. With two of us at the stern a little water did trickle in, which is expected. The hinged scupper lids can be pulled shut by a bungy cord system if you wish to prevent this occurring.
With safety being the primary objective of the overall design, this objective carries on through to the electrics. The battery system is mounted on a transom shelf that is fixed as high as possible off the self-draining deck and is sealed from the elements with a waterproof hatch cover. As well as the dry bow storage area there are long recessed storage channels built into the Air Cocoon sidewalls. These are ideal for storing spearguns, fishing rods, gaffs, boat hooks etc. Scuba tanks and the catch of the day can also be stored in the underfloor storage compartment.
The floor is covered with non-slip Nautalex – cool on your bare feet on a hot summerâs day. Access to the anchor system is either through the bow hatch or by walking around the sides of the dodger, this is a feature of a boat that I consider a must.
Safety, plus whatever your Bank Manager will let you have.
As with all boats, the accessory list is really whatever you desire. Our boat from Rodgers Boat Shop had a heap of added features. For example, stereo sound system, GPS/chart plotter, fuel monitoring system, twin battery electrics, VHF radio and teak capping on the gunwales, very impressive. You can choose from a range of colours – the two pot Altex paint system gives these boats an appearance close to that of a fibreglass boat.
If you are serious about your boating adventures and have been held back exploring further afield because of nagging doubts about the boatâs ability to handle adverse sea conditions, I confidently recommend you check out NO LIMITS, as you like me will be impressed with this tough lady.
Specifications & Facts:
Initially NO LIMITS boats will be available in the Touring and Sport models, these are the same hull yet with different fibreglass dodger models and interior features. Both a 6.7 and 7.5 hardtop model are being planned for release later this year, with NO LIMITS boats also available to be custom built to any size.