Super-light and super-fast infused fibreglass and foam small boats are making inroads into the recreational fishing market, traditionally the realm of aluminium.
|Enlighten Boating use fibreglass and a vacuum infused foam core to achieve outstanding weight, strength, stability and quality finish.|
John Hall, Managing Director at Enlightened Boating in Caboulture, Queensland, identified a market for a range of boats that were light enough for the rooftop of a smaller car or van.
Using a state-of-the-art vacuum infusion process that gives an excellent core finish and therefore minimises the use of resin and therefore weight, John and his team manufacture a range of EzyTopper boats for car roof-top transport and more recently expanded into a range for keen fishermen, the CrossXCountry.
“The advantages of these boats over tinnies is weight and strength. You need less horsepower to drive these boats faster, they are easy to get on and off the roof of your vehicle, improve fuel consumption and we are getting reports from customers saying their vehicle is cooler with the Ezytopper on their roof,” says Mr Hall.
Weighing between 40 and 50kg, the Ezytopper is finding a niche market in the growing “grey-nomad” community while the ultra-quiet CrossXCountry targets the sport fishing and family markets. Each boat is custom fitted to the client’s needs.
While more expensive than the aluminium equivalent, customers are prepared to pay for the advantages and the finish, says Mr Hall. “We have grown from an average 20 orders on the books six months ago to 30 and that is all by word of mouth. We have customers in their 80s and one 97 years old and we have very serious sport fishermen,” says Mr Hall.
“There is about 270kg difference between a 4.3m CrossXCountry and a tinny of the same size, so you are starting with the equivalent of three people less. And if you need to repair one of these boats, all you need is a surfboard repair kit.”
Enlightened Boats’ closed mould infusion process uses a DIAB core with a very fine finish to achieve the light-weight and strength. “An added bonus of the sandwich construction is these boats are very buoyant, they are unsinkable,” says Mr Hall.