WARREN STEPTOE finds a great value-for-money creek/dam punt with a roomy layout and strong hull.
Malcolm and Pauline Joshua’s firstborn Creek Runner, part of their Open Boat series, was well received when they toured the regional boat shows in south-east Queensland.
Initially, they thought to show the Creek Runner around to find out what people wanted, so they could decide how to configure the interior. But what they found was that everyone had different ideas about a boat’s interior.
It surprised them, but as I said when they told me, “we’re all a bit different and we who fish can be more so than most”. They realised that while they didn’t return from the boat show circuit with the neat plan they’d hoped for, they had an advantage.
Joshua Boats don’t present themselves as ‘custom’ builders but the way they’re set up to build each boat individually means that configuring interiors to suit customer requirements is what they do anyway! The more you want, the more it’ll cost, but the price of our test boat including a good trailer is only $11,900 as it stands.
That includes a nice flat (cockpit) deck, raised bow and stern casting decks with storage underneath, a couple of pedestal seats, sounder and wiring loom. It’s all good, but what makes this boat stand out is its robust ‘plate’ hull.
Joshua Boats are famous for their ‘flared forefoot’ (designed by Malcolm’s dad, Cliff Joshua) but the Creek Runner hull departs from there. As far as shape is concerned, it’s a pointy punt with an easy planing, almost flat, three-degree deadrise at the transom.
Your usual pointy punt is built as cheaply as possible, with thin bottom and side sheets wrapped around a light frame. The Joshua Creek Runner hull, however, has a 4 mm high tensile marine aluminium bottom and 3 mm sides.
It’s built like a tank!
It’s 4.2 m long and has a 2.1 m beam, which provides an enormous amount of space for a 4.2 m boat. Interior space is one reason pointy punts are so popular and this one has much more of it.
The familiar ribs and framing found inside comparable hulls simply aren’t there, which leaves an uncluttered and hassle-free interior that builds on excellent basics to be fully customisable. If you want electric motor mounts, battery racks, live wells, fish pits, rod lockers, whatever ? dream it up, name it, pay for it, and it’s yours.
As a moderately priced, damn good fishing vessel, the test boat was already spot on for the many people looking at a pointy punt.
On the water
The Creek Runner hull is almost flat at the transom, so it doesn’t need a heap of horsepower to return good performance. Our test boat ran a 30 hp two-stroke Tohatsu.
Contributing to the easy running nature of the hull, its bottom, unlike almost every other aluminium boat, is free of pressings. These are normally added for rigidity in an expanse of flat sheet metal, but the Creek Runner’s 4 mm thick, high tensile bottom makes pressings unnecessary. It reduces drag dramatically. The hull slides onto the plane and yet, thanks to a keel, it turns well enough to negotiate tight corners with confidence.
The Creek Runner would make a lot of people happy with the 30 hp tiller-steer two-stroke fitted to our test boat. The torque delivered by traditional two-stroke outboards and the free-running nature of the Joshua hull had the Creek Runner planing effortlessly at a mere 4.9 knots and ran out to a top speed of 25.1. It was no slouch getting there either!
Malcolm and Pauline have also tested the hull with a 50 hp four-stroke Suzuki and they raved about the combination. Malcolm described it as, “Purrrfect”.
It’s $11,900 for the boat packaged as tested, on a trailer and including the Tohatsu, carpeted decks, two seats, a battery, a Humminbird sounder, all wired up, and even the very cool sunset graphics, at that price I hope Joshua Boats are geared up to build heaps of Creek Runners, because they’re outstanding value!