Issue: April 2003
Before a boat builder goes to work designing a particular craft they normally have set parametres firmly entrenched in their minds about the vessels primary role; then, they make compromises.
It’s easy to build a boat you can fish from basically any boat for that matter but it is an entirely different kettle of fish to go about designing and building a fishing boat. These days there are hundreds of flybridge cruisers on the market and all could be describe as fishing boats, but most only after compromises are made.
In many cases these boats are nothing more than luxury cruisers with aft cockpits large enough for a few fishos move about in without tripping over one another. Normally, the helm station on the flybridge is situated too far forward, so there is no way the skipper can see what’s happening in the aft cockpit.
And standing facing aft, trying back down on a fish racing for its freedom without running over and cutting the fishing line forget it. A dedicated fishing boat needs to be just that; not only dedicated to fishing, but also to the fishermen who use it.
So, what gives construction builder David Heszberger and his jeweller brother, Stephen, the know how to design and build a good fishing boat. Simple, a love of game fishing and years of experience at sea chasing fish.
Sure, they had to leave the hull design to the experts, but they knew what they wanted the hull to do. They also knew how the boat should to be laid out to make it an excellent fishing machine. With the help of their business partners they have designed and built the first White Cap 40 Flybridge Cruiser and she’s a dedicated game fishing boat.
Being the first off the line there are still a few wrinkles that need ironing out, such as the positioning of the throttle levers and the final shape of the main saloon windows, little things that are easily rectified. But after spending a few hours at sea onboard the White Cap 40 the Modern Boating team can attest to this boats sea keeping abilities and overall performance.
A dedicated fishing boat needs to be just that dedicated. What is the point of having a luxury flybridge cruiser you want to use for fishing if you worried about a drop of blood on the saloon carpet, or a bit of fish guts on the upholstery. A good fishing boat has to be a good workboat that?s easy to keep clean and maintain and built from hardwearing materials. And apart from expounding on the White Cap 40’s excellent handling that statement perfectly describes this new boat.
Oh yes, there is another statement that should be added to that, built like a proverbial brick…. house. Don’t get me wrong, this boat has all the luxury fixtures and fitting such as a fully equipped galley, top-quality Bose sound system, DVD and flat plasma television set, but all surfaces subject to wear and tear are either solid fibreglass, teak or heavy duty marine-grade vinyl.
However, if a fisherman has to compromise and buy a boat that’s also capable of taking his family on an extended cruise, the White Cap 40 still fits the bill. But what makes this boat stand out in its fishing boat stakes is that it can also sleep eight burly fishos. You a your mates can remain out there and not have to waste fuel running back in at days end.
The interior of the White Cap 40 offers two standard layouts, three single starboard berths, or one double berth, while the forward berth can be one double or four single berths. There’s a shower and head located to port and both floor plan shares the same saloon, galley and dinette layout.
The U-shaped dinette and lounge seats five people, has plenty of storage underneath and quickly converts into a double bunk. The saloon floor is covered with heavy-duty carpet, while teak has been used on the galley floor. There were no curtains in the main saloon of the test boat, but tinted glass kept the sun at bay.
To fit in with her cruising/entertaining/endof- fishing-day ale role there is a drinking glass cabinet at the end of the galley bench and refrigerator to keep the drinks cold. The forward cabin is roomy, has good under bunk storage and natural lighting via a hatch in the cabin roof. The second cabin is compact, but not cramped and features two single bunks.
Up on the flybridge there’s a wrap-around lounge forward of the helm station, a bar fridge for passengers only of course, quality helm and navigator’s chairs and a comprehensive electronics package including GPS/Chartplotter, sounder and radar unit.
When not directing play standing at the helm facing aft, the skipper can still see what’s happening in the cockpit via the close circuit TV. Communications with the outside world have also been well looked after with UHF, VHF, 27 meg radios and a loud hailer gracing a panel above the driver’s head. There is also a red light mounted here, so the skipper doesn’t lose his/her night vision when working in the dark.
There is an eight-rod rocket launcher style rack across the back of the flybridge and a fibreglass hardtop with two solid stainless steel support on either side of the helm. These don’t impede vision in any way and are an ideal set up for a game boat.
The test boat was fitted with a full set of clears, an emergency life raft was mounted on the foredeck and there were four fenders stored in holders on the bowrail. The bowrail also fits into the “built like a brick outhouse” scenario. I swung on it back at the marina and it didn’t move at all, it was rock solid.
But it was the aft cockpit that really grabbed the team’s attention; it was an angler’s delight. 10 feet by 10 feet of totally uncluttered, self-draining, teak decking graced by a beautiful handmade wooden game chair. There were two huge storage lockers beneath the deck and a wide hatch on gas struts accessing the engine room. A step needs to be placed on the floor of the engine room to make it easier to climb down into, but once inside there’s plenty of room for regular maintenance and scheduled servicing.
There is more storage in lockers mounted in the high gunwales and transom, pop-up cleats, so they can’t snag fishing lines and a wide transom door leading from the marlin board. Also concealed in the teak marlin board is the berley bucket. Deck wash is standard as are the six rod holders built into the tops of the gunwales and the transom.
There is also a 60lt live bait tank and kill tank. Now for the coup de grace – the hull. The White Cap 40 boasts a classic heavily flared bow, extra sharp entry and huge down-turned chines. Is this boat dry ? You betcha. You can run this hull head on into the swell and all the spray and white water gets thrown down and away from the hull.
The only way you’ll get water on the flybridge is if it was raining or somebody spills the ice bucket.
With the trim tabs set to keep the bow running high, the White Cap 40 sliced cleanly and quietly through the chop and swells. No banging or crashing. She delivered an excellent dry ride. When thrown into tight turns she’d come around quickly and cleanly even flat out.
The transom wall is high enough to keep the blue stuff out when backing down hard, but even into a heavy sea, any water that does come onboard drains quickly from the cockpit through two oversized scuppers. The test boat can carry 3000lt of fuel, so even when she’s cruising at 22 knots pulling 1850rpm this vessel has an awesome range. A day trolling out on the Shelf is well within her capabilities. For instance, cruising at 9 knots this boat has a range of around 1100 nautical miles.
As a true bluewater boat the White Cap 40 has few equals. It’s a boat built for fishermen by fishermen, but it will still meet your cruising requirements and has all the mod cons. If you’re looking for a solid, easy maintenance, seaworthy boat to go wide in, take a closer look at a White Cap 40. With its classic heavily flared bow, extra sharp entry and huge down-turned chines… is this boat dry ? You betcha.
The test White Cap 40 was powered by twin 450hp Hino PO9 BTI diesel shaftdrives. The shafts and rudder linkages are all oversized and extremely robust. But according to the builders future models will be fitted with Cummins 450C diesels. An ideal cruising speed is 22 knots at 1850rpm. At 9 knots the boat has an impressive cruising range of around 1100 nautical miles. The boat was fitted with an optional 9KVA Sea Wasp genset. Standard fitment is a 6.5KVA generator. Engine noise was minimal and holding a conversation either in the main saloon or up on the flybridge wasn’t a problem.
Story & Photos by Ian Macrae