There have been some major reshuffles in Aussie boat-building circles of late with one taking place right in the middle of this test. I won’t go into too much detail here, suffice to say that deals are being done all the time and some old favourites now have new owners who have given them the once over. Hopefully, this press release from DeepVee Marine will shed some light on the specific goings on. DeepVee Marine Managing Director, Stewart Smith, said effective immediately, DeepVee Marine would no longer manufacture the Black Watch range of sportfishing boats 260, 280, 310 and 340 previously built under licence to Black Watch Boats.
This has come about because the licence agreement for the use of the Black Watch trademark in North America and DeepVee Marine has expired. DeepVee has rebranded its entire product range to allow it to establish a global marketing strategy without brand-name conflicts in any marketplace, Stewart said. ‘In 2002, DeepVee Marine purchased the basic moulds and tooling for the 260, 280, 310 and 340 range from Black Watch Boats. ‘The company then embarked on an extensive research and development program, which resulted in a superior product range that has achieved excellence in design and a broader market reach.
The USA is an important market for the growth of DeepVee’s sales and, during the last four years, the company has grown to the stage of being able to deliver in excess of 50 vessels in the next 12 months. So, there you have it, the smaller Black Watch boats, from 26 to 34-foot, have been upgraded and while they have been manufactured by Deep V Marine for some time, they are now also badged as Deep Vs.
Enough of the history lesson; back to the test. The Modern Boating team reckon the Deep V 260 Flybridge is a tidy package in a ‘more affordable’ price group. And now another ‘equally affordable’ Deep Vee ‘ the Deep V 280 Express Cruiser with its new open, single-level layout, has joined it. Express cruisers are now extremely popular in this country, so it’s little wonder that Deep Vee have also gone down this road. There are plenty of Deep Vee boats out there set-up for serious fishing, because they are renowned as sea boats. But serious fishing isn’t the destiny of the Deep V 280. The test craft has an intentionally ‘non-fishing’ focus with the shift now being towards a functional traditional cruiser with an open cockpit.
The Queensland-built Deep V 280 is also quite different to the craft featured in the all the brochures. The owner’s decided to hold back on the teak deck and aft lounge options, but added a hardtop to created a crossover between a traditional cabin cruiser and the originally conceived Deep V 280 Express Cruiser. Interestingly, the options on this boat make up more than one third of the price of the final craft, but customising is the key here. The boat in the brochure is open, with a stainless steel arch, rocket launchers, teak combings, the obligatory bikini models and an aft bench seat. I had to look twice to see that the more functional test craft was in fact the same boat.
But what was also interesting is that this Deep V 280 is powered by the latest direct injection Volvo Penta 285hp diesel with a turbocharger and aftercooler. One impressive aspect of the combination of a turbocharger and supercharger is that they deliver an even torque curve right across the entire rev range. Powered by a new Volvo KAMD300 diesel, the Deep V 280 definitely has the grunt to take on the sea, while dealing with a wide range of varying conditions with safety and ease.
The Volvo KAMD300 is a six-cylinder, 24 valve, direct-injected 285hp marine diesel. Out on the water you can hear the supercharger’s compressor kick in, before switching off once higher revs were attained. The compressor and turbocharger do exaggerate engine noise, but it’s suppressed by the compressor’s silencers. A bit more engine room insulation would help. But most cabin cruisers do seem a bit loud compared to open craft, because the cabin ampilfies engine’s rumblings.
The boat has a large swim platform with transom door access to the vast carpeted cockpit. The combings are wide with optional padding all around for comfort. Aft facing lounge seats separate the cockpit and helm. All have storage underneath, while the portside lounge gives easy access to the cooler positioned behind it. The helm seats are mounted on boxes, which offer more storage, provide a good high driving position and allows for a level floor between the cockpit and the cabin. The helm station features smooth as silk electronic control and full instrumentation.
The stainless steel wheel has a swivel knob ‘ a feature that allows the skipper to make rapid changes in course ‘ while the optional bow thruster made light work of manoeuvring in tight spaces. When seated at the helm a long footrest adds to driver comfort; however, there is still enough space between seat and wheel to make driving while standing also comfy. But it’s the outdoor areas that are the main focus of this cruiser. Step down into the saloon and space becomes a bit of a premium. The galley is located on the portside near the stairs. It is equipped with cooker, a moulded Corinthian-bench top, drainer and sink.
Fortunately, the owner opted for various extras including a 12V fridge, 1800wattinvertor and microwave oven, larger batteries, 240V shore power, hot-water shower in the head and an electric toilet. The starboard side head is quite large for a craft of this size with plenty of legroom in the loo. The V-berth converts to a table and settee. Two portholes provide adequate natural light, one for the head and another above the galley. There’s also a deck hatch above the vee-berth. Back on deck, forward access is easy, because of her wide combings and plenty of grab handles. Anchor work is also made easy by the optional windlass, while the optional 12V deck wash.
It is worth noting that the $7500 worth of options on this boat are often standard equipment on other craft in this class, as are items such as the two-speaker stereo which, on the Deep Vee, are also an option. The featureless base price is competitive, but the most popular options should be packaged into a slightly higher base price. However, many people will wish to choose the components and retro fit them at a later date to keep the initial purchase price down.
Once behind the helm I found that the boat’s driving position felt natural and the wheel, aided by hydraulic steering, is light and responsive. The high bow and 19- degree deep-vee hull delivers a soft ride in mild offshore chop and swells and has the fl exibility to deal with quick shifts in the wave patterns. The Volvo’s power is adequate, but has a tendency to stay near the top end of the rev range at a cruise speed of around 24 knots quite the norm for mid-sized diesels. In turns she feels balanced and the hull shows no tendencies to drift off course, but she needs a good amount of power to keep the boat from dropping off in the tightest turns.
Overall, the team found the hull delivers confident handling in a mix of offshore conditions. As tested this boat will set you back around $210,000 as opposed to the price of a base boat of around $128,500. Options included an upgrade from petrol to a diesel shaftdrive, bow thruster, quality entertainment system and a comprehensive Simrad electronics package.
Now she’s steering her own course
Effective immediately, DeepVee Marine will no longer manufacture the Black Watch range of sportfi shing boats ‘ BW260, BW280, BW310 and BW340 ‘ previously built under licence to Black Watch Boats. This came about because the licence agreement for the use of the Black Watch trademark in North America and Deep- Vee Marine has expired. DeepVee has re-branded its entire product range to allow it to establish a global marketing strategy without brand name conflict in any marketplace.
DeepVee Managing Director, Stewart Smith, said that in 2002, DeepVee Marine purchased the basic moulds and tooling for the 260, 280, 310 and 340 range from Black Watch Boats. ‘The company then embarked on an extensive research and development program, resulting in the production of a superior product range that has achieved excellence in design and a broadened marketing reach,’ he said. ‘The USA is an important market for the growth of DeepVee’s sales and, over the last four years, the company has grown to the stage of being able to deliver in excess of 50 vessels in the next 12 months.’
DeepVee now markets its own range of products under the brand of Deep V. The Deep V range of sports fishing vessels will include the Deep V 260, Deep V 280 Express Cruiser, Deep V 310 and the Deep V 340.
Words : Andrew Richardson