Issue: October 2003
Manufacturer: Streaker Boats
You only have to sit down and talk with Leon and Paul Savage, from Melbourne based Streaker Boats, for a few minutes to find out just how passionate they are about the boats they build. Which was something I did recently during a visit to Streaker’s new 12,000sq ft showrooms in Bayswater, situated to the east of the city CBD. Good ol Bayswater. If you’d said to me 31 years ago, as I farewell my classmates at Bayswater High School, that the next time I would returned to this Melbourne suburb I’d be a boating magazine editor chasing up information about a new model release I would have laughed at you.
But that’s exactly how long it’s been since I’ve been back to my old stomping grounds. And that’s only one year more than the Savage bothers have been building boats there. When I asked Paul Savage about the Streaker range, more precisely if they intended adding any new models to the line up, his answer threw me a little. Yes and no. We now have what we believe to be the ideal model line-up for our customer-base requirements and manufacturing capabilities.
So we don’t add new models, we re-design and refine our existing range to make them even better, Paul said. Take the Streaker 5.85 Tournament, it has had four upgrades since 1991, hence its model designation, the 5.85 Tournament Series IV, but it’s completely different from the original model. Well, not completely different, because our design parameters remain the same, build the best bluewater fishing boat we can. And now, having spent some time on this vessel, I’d have to agree this boat is one of the best fishing boats under 6m I’ve have ever had the pleasure to test.
It’s not that big that it becomes a pain to tow and it’s not that small that it lacks room to fish from, or the ability to handle the rough stuff normally encountered when offshore fishing. Some readers might say that’s a pretty big call, but by the number of these vessels we see at the various fishing tournaments around the country, there are plenty of other fishos out there who agree with me. There are many items onboard the Tournament that combined, make her an excellent fishing boat, but there are a number of essential ingredients I deem imperative.
A wide-open and uncluttered cockpit, a heavily flared bow with a sharp entry, well defined spray strakes, wide chines and an engine that isn’t over or underpowered that retains the capability to run long distances economically. The 5.85 Tournament Series IV and Yamaha 175hp HPDI combo fits the bill to a tee. But the biggest reason for the success of the Tournament Series is that it is not only built by perfectionists that love boats, they also love fishing and have learned over the years what’s required in a top sport fishing boat.
In many of the boat tests I read, some correspondents write reams and reams about the individual items and options that have been added to a boat. And from a readers point off view these tests can become as boring as bat poo, suffice to say that if it has anything to do with fishing, it will more than likely be fitted to the Tournament. Outrigger poles, berley pot, bait station, rocket launcher rod holder, recessed cleats, twin cockpit spotlights, deck wash, plumbed live bait tank and carpeted floor, just to name a few. But there are other more subtle innovations built into this boat that many readers may overlook. Take the shape of the transom for instance. Were many boat builders now run what started out as engine pods and are now hull extension behind the transom wall, Streaker has stuck with the engine well set-up. And with good reason and it’s all to do with the fishability of the boat.
Think about it. If your outboard is mounted on a hull extension, to reduce the loss of cockpit space, what happens when you try and fight a fish at the back of the boat ? You have to fish over the motor. What happens if the fish dives ? You can’t get your rod straight down into the water to stop the fish cutting you off on the engine leg or keel. Onboard the Streaker, with the aft quarter seats removed, you can get your rod right down beside the outboard leg if required and your are actually fishing right at the back of the boat. You don’t have to fish over anything but the transom wall. The transom wall is also shaped, or should I say had the corner removed, for two reasons.
Again, so you can get right to the back of the boat, but more importantly when you have to back down on a hard running fish, water is channelled around the transom, not against it, then over it into the cockpit. These are only small things, but they show the depth of thought that has gone into this boat. The bottom of the hull also holds a few surprises. Unlike most boats of this ilk, the Tournament has four spray deflection strakes, actually five if you count the one almost half way up the sides of the hull, designed to stop water pressure forcing a thin film of water up and into the cockpit. Streaker has thought of everything.
The Tournament hull has a 20-degree deadrise at the transom and a bow entry that sharp that the hull effortlessly slices through chop and swells without crashing and banging. This, coupled with the hull’s extreme flare, ensures the 5.85 hull delivers a soft and dry ride. The boat is also extremely stable, even at rest, because of the wide down-turned chines that begin only 2′ from the bow and extend all the way to the transom. Air is trapped in the tunnel formed between the outer edge of each chine and the third strake on each side. This generates extra lift for added stability at rest and when underway. The day we tested the 5.85 Tournament out on Port Phillip Bay the conditions were atrocious, bordering on treacherous, but with the clears in place we were able to keep the boat on the plane without any excessive banging and without getting drowned by spray.
Yes, some wind blow spray did hit the screen and a few drops did end up in the aft of the cockpit, but there was more than 40 knots blowing across the bimini and chop and spray going in all directions. In many of the boats we have tested we would have been soaked in those conditions, but the Streaker excelled. She showed all of her true bluewater handling abilities. As an offshore fisher, this boat would equal, if not better, than the rough water handling capabilities of some vessels more than twice its size. Powered by a 175hp HPDI two-stroke Yamaha outboard, the Tournament had more than enough grunt and rocketed the hull out of the hole from a standing start.
Because of the extremely rough conditions, we were unable to gather speed-to-rpm readings, suffice to say that the power to weight ratio was perfect. This engine can be trolled around all day at low revs, then drop the hammer for a fast run home. Low and high speed running are all well within the Yamaha 175hpHPDI’s parameters. But getting back to the features and fittings on this boat, Streaker hasn’t scrimped on any thing. Top-of-the-line Lowrance sounder/GPS, featuring water temp and a dual frequency transducer, to help find fish at varying depths; Yamaha fuel management system; quality compass; hydraulic steering; side pockets with sturdy steps, fire extinguisher, EPIRB, GME radio; deluxe bucket seats with storage and removable seats; underfloor fuel tank and fish box; huge anchor locker; split bowrail; bolt on bowsprit for easy replacement; and the list goes on and on.
And all that’s before you add the optional extras like a marine toilet, or mention the fact that she’s comes mounted on an excellent fully-rollered, drive-on Dunbier trailer. The only downer I found on this boat was the battery and oil bottle were not positioned on a shelf, up off the cockpit floor, although they were protected from the elements by a wrap-around marine vinyl curtain. The best way to describe the Streaker 5.85 Tournament Series IV is she’s a beautifully finished, fully optioned, purpose-built, turnkey fishing machine that offers all the safety, ride and performance any bluewater sport fisho could ever want.
She’s a boat that was built by fishermen, for fishermen and she’s filled with innovative features that make this one of the, if not the best sport fishing packages in Australia. And that?s before we get down to tin tacks and talk price. Complete as tested, mounted on a superb Dunbier trailer, the Streaker 5.85 Tournament Series IV is now at the special price of only $53,500.
Words by Ian Macrae