Issue: September 2003
Manufacturer: Streaker Boats
Up until only recently if you had asked me to summarise Streaker Boats I would have said, excellent rough water boats, designed to take on Port Phillip Bay’s atrocious conditions and win. Fishos love them, with good reason. Top workboats. But when I think about it I don’t really know how I came to formulate the tunnelvision opinion that Streaker Boats are only workboats. It must have come about because I am also a born and breed Mexican, even if I now reside in places further north, and I just got used to seeing so many Streakers out on the bay chasing snapper and the likes. Then, when I started to frequent places like Narooma and Bermagui during the yellowfin tuna season, I became accustomed to seeing anglers, fishing from Streakers, hooked up to good fish.
Now it seems no matter where I go around Australia I keep running into someone fishing from a Streaker boat. Which, when I think about it, is probably why I have always thought of Streakers as workboats, a workhorse for the Aussie battler. But all that changed during my last sojourn to Melbourne following an enlightening tour of Streaker’s new upmarket one-stop showroom that preceded a test day out on Port Phillip Bay aboard a Sirocco 5.45m Series II runabout. Our Queensland correspondent Steptoe, continually reminds me that up there in the Sunshine State it’s beautiful one day and perfect the next. Well down there in Melbourne when you’re out on Port Phillip Bay it’s beautiful one minute and down right atrocious the next.
That’s what the weather was like during our test of the Streaker Sirocco, bloody atrocious. It was autumn in Melbourne and the morning had been a pearler, but in the afternoon it was a real battle to punch out over the Patterson River bar into the teeth of a howling 35-knot sou’ wester. Out on the shallow bay the wind chop seemed to be coming from all quarters at once and the spray was flying in all directions. Heading out with the wind off the starboard bow, it seemed we were in for a soaking as the wind blew spray over the helm area. Yes, there was a bit of spray about, but the Sirocco’s heavily flared bow kept the spray to a minimum and once I pointed the bow to the south west, apart from getting knocked about by the sea, it was a dry ride.
The conditions, similar to being in a washing machine, barely allowed us to hold on the plan head-on into the sea, but with the sea at our backs the ride was quite reasonable. The sharp bow entry and 20 degrees deadrise sliced through the waves easily, while the boat’s impressive beam (2.49m) and wide flat chines gave good horizontal stability when underway and produced a stable platform at rest. This was impressive given the conditions, but at rest back in the Patterson River the Sirocco was rock solid even when people were moving around the boat. Hydraulic steering is standard on the Sirocco, which made the steering light and smooth. We had to wait until we were back inside the river before we were able to throw the boat into a few ski-boat like turns.
This boat is fitted with a ski pole, which can be replaced by a bait board, so why not drive it like a ski boat ? The hull rockets out of the hole and even flat out she can turn almost in her own length without tail slip or propeller cavitation. Like all Streaker hulls, the Sirocco’s 5.45 Series II hull responds well to trim out and she effortlessly danced across the surface with only about one third of her hull in the water at a quarter trimmed-out. She definitely gets a tick in the box for handling. In rough or smooth water this 5.45m hull excels and it’s only boat speed that decreases as conditions deteriorate. Because of the howling wind and rough seas we were unable to collect our normal performance testing information, but Paul Savage, from Streaker Boats, assured us this boat, powered by a Yamaha 150hp V6 HPDI two-stroke outboard, cruises beautifully at 3500rpm doing 40kph and has a top speed of 80kph at around 5700rpm spinning a 17″ stainless steel prop.
This motor was an excellent choice considering the boat?s power to weight ratio and delivered crisp, smooth and surprisingly quiet performance. Unlike some outboards this motor was quiet enough to alleviate the need to consider purchasing a heavier and more expensive four-stroke outboard, but it does remains an option now that the Yamaha 150hp four-stroke has been released. I said at the start of this piece that some considered Streaker Boats to be workboats, but there was nothing utilitarian about the Sirocco. In fact, the finish and features of this boat were world class and one look at the super smooth gelcoat finish reinforced that opinion.
Both the helm and dash surround are made from carbon fibre. A Lowrance X87 sounder (with through-hull transducer) comes as standard as does a GME GR966 marine CD stereo. Instrumentation may look Spartan, but the two gauges used by the Yamaha engine management system are a brilliant multi-function design and include a fuel flow metre. You know exactly how much fuel you have and how much you are using, so running out of fuel is virtually impossible. Switches for the bilge pump; navigation lights, etc, are mounted behind the steering wheel, as is a compass.
The compass and gauges are all clearly visible when seated at the helm. Seating options include conventional backto- back seats, pedestal buckets or a mix n match combination that works for you. There is a lockable glove box in front of the passengers seat so your valuables can be locked away when you pull up at a secluded beach for a swim, or picnic. The entire cockpit is carpeted; there is a 135lt underfloor fuel tank and an icebox, plus a generous transom lounge. The cockpit has deep sides with generous freeboard, which all go a long way to help make the Sirocco an excellent family boat. Another plus for the cockpit is that when the boat is used for fishing you can get your toes in under the side pockets and securely brace yourself against the gunwales to play a big fish in rough conditions.
A bimini top keeps the sun at bay, although the only thing it kept at bay during this test was the splash from the waves. Because this boat was designed for true family boating, storage has been optimised. Wide deep side pockets hold plenty of gear and water skis, as does the cavity below the removable rear lounge. There are bait wells on either side of the transom top, but the main storage area is in the bow. There are bins on each side of a walkway that leads through the split, raked windscreen and hatch, forward to the anchor locker and the ground tackle. The stylish split stainless steel bow rail is more for looks than security when anchoring, because there is no requirement to walk on the foredeck, all anchoring is done while standing in the hatchway.
Still on the subject of anchoring, the bowsprit is moulded as a separate unit and bolted to the hull. It’s a clever way of doing it, so if you ding the fibreglass bowsprit you can replace it without damaging the hull and foredeck. Being a ski boat access from the water is a standard requirement and Streaker has addressed this problem with a fold-down ladder and moulded fibreglass swim platforms on either side of the motor. Streaker is one of the few Aussie boat builders that practise a policy of complete manufacture to produce a factory rigged boat/ motor/trailer package. Most boat builders leave the final fit-up of the outboard engine and associated systems to the selling marine dealer.
However, at Streaker every component of the rig is factory installed in the correct sequence to assure the new owner of sound construction, guaranteed performance and quality of workmanship. The boat comes mounted on a quality galvanised Dunbier Supa Rolla drive-on tandem trailer with disc brakes making it a true turnkey package complete with registration and safety for six people. Drive in, hook her up, drive away and head for the nearest boat ramp. The Sirocco 5.45 Series II is ideal for fishing, water skiing, cruising and generally enjoying your time on the water.
It has many little features that other manufactures consider to be optional extras, such as rod holders, a removable bait cutting board and recessed grab rails in each gunwale. The standard of finish and quality of fixtures and fittings is second to none, but it was the boat’s ride and handling in the atrocious condition we encountered out on Port Phillip Bay that really sold the Modern Boating team on this stylish 5.45m runabout. She’s a girl with a big beam that, coupled with her sharp entry, flared bow, deep-vee keel and large flat chines, is capable of handling anything that’s thrown at her under normal boating conditions, rough or calm. But there’s more…
The really good news about the Sirocco 5.45 Series II runabout is its turnkey price. The recommended retail price is $47,750, but for the boat show season Streaker is offering the package at the excellent price of $44,500.
Words by Ian Macrae