For most fishermen, especially those with families, buying a new fishing boat can be something of a compromise. Dad wants a fully blown, bluewater fishing machine, while mum insists on a comfy day cruiser with all the little luxuries. But more importantly for her, the boat must have a loo. And not one of those pokey little boxes that are not much better than a “placky” bucket, she demands privacy and room to be comfortable. The kids, well, they want everything. Fishing, cruising, the power to race other boats up river and of course water toys, they have to be able to ski/wakeboard/or be towed in a tube behind the family boat.
The word “family” is the key here. A family boat must to be able to do it all and few do it as well as this newcomer to the Aussie boating scene, the Seaswirl 2101 DC sterndrive bowrider. Here’s a boat with an enormous aft cockpit with all the fishing paraphernalia such as live bait tank, rod lockers, heavily padded gunwales, removable rear quarter seats and rod holders, that help make a good fishing boat, a great fishing boat. But up front, in the area that is used for cabin space in the 2101 Walk-Around version (see test Modern Boating Jan/Feb 05), is a roomy bowrider.
So, yes, she is a bowrider, but the good news for fishos is that the 2101 DC sits on the same “ocean-proven hull”, with its classic heavily flared bow, that makes all the 21 footers in the Seaswirl range winners. After a morning out on Broken Bay, north of Sydney around the mouth of the Hawkesbury River, the Modern Boating team can assure interested readers that the 2101 DC retains all the sea-kindly, bluewater attributes that had the team drooling over the fishing machines in the Seaswirl range we have tested in the past. The contributing factors behind the boat’s top ride were clearly visible with the boat sitting on its drive-on drive-off trailer. The hull is heavily flared at the bow with its widest point, 2.59m, at the dual console bulkhead.
This pronounced flare and breadth well forward, ensure all spray and water is thrown away from the hull even before her wide flat chines come into play. Like many modern-day bluewater hulls, the 2101 DC features an extremely sharp bow entry that slices through chop and swells cleanly. But her biggest attributes are those wide, flat, down-turned chines, which form mini tunnels between the extremities of the hull and the keel. Air trapped in these tunnels creates a cushion that dampens the boat’s ride in rough conditions.
The hull’s heavily pronounced strakes also come into play and ensure the boat tracks straight, even in a following sea. The boat handles so well that even headon into some reasonable swells the team couldn’t put any water on the screen. But the big plus is that those travelling in the bowrider also remained dry. There was no banging and crashing as we bounced the hull off a few good waves and running noises drumming through the hull weren’t a problem.
POWER AND LAYOUT
The 2101 DC is powered by a 5lt 270hp Volvo EFI sterndrive, which is an extremely quiet running motor even at full noise. The other big plus for this installation is that the engine block almost disappears into the transom wall, so there is little, if any, engine box encroaching into the main cockpit. This provides a good flat transom to fish against, and yes, you can reach out over the swim platform to clear the sterndrive leg with all but the shortest rods. The boat’s on-water performance is impressive and the hull keeps a positive running attitude with wind coming from any quarter.
The test boat wasn’t fitted with the optional trim tabs, nor did it need them for that matter, but they would come in handy to keep the hull trimmed if heavy loads are to be carried. As far as lay out goes, the bowrider is quite roomy and capable of seating three passengers in comfort. However, if it’s “stretch out and luxuriate” comfort you’re after, two’s the limit here. The bowrider has under cushion storage and the gunwales are high, a great safety measure for kids, because there’s no likelihood anyone’s going to get thrown over the side in tight turns if they aren’t hanging on.
For some reason the Americans seem to have a thing about building descent-sized anchor lockers into their smaller boats and it’s a failing on this vessel. Yes, I admit the bowsprit is designed to carry the anchor when underway, but Aussie fishos normally carry more than one anchor, a sand and a reef pick, and there’s only room for about 50 feet of rope in this locker. Anyone venturing offshore will no doubt be carrying the extra anchor in a milk crate sitting on the bowrider’s floor. Problem solved. The helm station, in the starboard console, features a stainless-steel wheel and full instrumentation.
And don’t worry, there’s still plenty of room to mount a GPS chartplotter/ sounder unit in or on the dash. Both the helm and navigator’s seats swivel 360 degrees; plus, there’s an enormous fish box between the seats that drains overboard. The port console houses the toilet. There’s enough room in here to get comfortable for the task at hand. The rear-quarter seats can be removed to give fishermen unrestricted access to the stern and there’s a 90lt-live bait tank in the transom. There’s a walk-through transom door on the portside, which makes boarding from the swim platform easier.
A swim ladder is also a standard feature. Raw water deck wash, chromed-brass bilge outlets, removable carpets, bimini, 396lt-fuel tank, stereo unit, plenty of drink holders, gunwale-mounted rod holders, kill tank with macerator, in-dash tackle drawers, dual batteries, driver’s footrest; this Seaswirl’s got all the extras to make fishing and boating an enjoyable obsession.
With a price tag of around $69,000, the 2101 DC also represents extremely good value for money. She’s an allrounder that can complete all the tasks likely to be assigned by a family without having to make compromises on any front.
Words by Steve Cooney