by Dom Wiseman

Aluminium boats are the mainstay of Aussie fishermen due to their rugged ability versus weight. They also are able to take quite a beating and do not require the care of a fibreglass boat. Not only that if you bang into something while coming ashore such as a rock, more often than not you’ll feel a bump and that will be the end of your problems.

While there are many aluminium, or tinnies as they are affectionately known, boat brands, none are quite as classy as Sailfish. This Australian manufacturer has quite a reputation for its quality, tough aluminium catamaran style boats with just as many used by commercial operations as recreational buyers.

Specialising in catamarans has enabled them to continually innovate and deliver class leading packages that are insanely stable, have more space than you’ll ever need and all the trimmings necessary to operate as a serious offshore game fishing platform as well as weekender duties when called upon.

The Platinum Series offers owners a complete turn key package with the added option of customised layouts.

WHAT YOU GET

The test boat provided, a Sailfish 2800 Platinum, is an owners new boat and his second Sailfish. He chose the brand because he was looking for something more stable and bigger than his 6.5m mono-hull but still towable so he can go anywhere, anytime. That said he had to buy a Dodge RAM to go with it, of course.

It’s an imposing package and close to, if not over, 15.0m long. The Sailfish 2800 Platinum would be close to 10m on the trailer alone. As it slips off the trailer into the water the most obvious element is the massive cockpit. The owner of this boat is a keen angler and loves to chase tuna offshore, so he has set it up accordingly. The deck is self draining, non-skid acrylic which looks like paint chips. It’s perfect offering easy cleaning once a fish has hit the floor and is non-slip. Underneath, two large kill tanks can accommodate your catch.

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sailfish-2800-platinum-16The design and layout is exceptional. There are hatches hiding the batteries and multiple storage areas all around the sides of the cockpit. The gunwales are wide enough to sit on comfortably even with the handy inset grab rail. They have deck grip on top, which, in a nice classy touch has the brand and model designator etched into it. It also has three moulded rod holders either side. Across the back at the business end of the boat is a bait/prep station that is the perfect height so as to not have you bending over uncomfortably to use it. Underneath, in the gunwale is another hatch and storage compartment. The transom gunwale is split by a wide walkway between the twin outboard set up, something that can only be done on a cat hull. This allows anglers full access out and around the engines, which is crucial if you’re chasing a tuna around the cockpit. On the port side there is a large live well and sink set up. The coamings across the transom and two-thirds along the port and starboard sides are padded, and very comfortable too.
Innovative solutions to some of the space issues are solved with the addition of two aft facing bench seats, handy for sitting out the back watching the lines. Storage is located under the starboard seat and a slide located in the rear wall of the cabin reveals a stainless steel barbeque on a rollered slide. The port seat has another slide hiding a fridge. It leaves the entire cockpit clean and uncluttered which is the way we fishermen like it. Once you’re back inshore you can grab the bench seat from the cabin (it’s light and easy to manage) and slide it in on the starboard side shelf creating more seating space. And you’re close to the barbeque.

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sailfish-2800-platinum-15Up front the accommodation on the Sailfish 2800 Platinum is simple yet effective with a dual door that swings to open or close a full height toilet with hand held shower and a double berth on the starboard side that could easily accommodate three people or plenty of fishing gear.

The cabin is a large affair with dual pedestal suspension seats for the driver and passenger. All the grab bars are located within reach although I felt the passenger side could do with one more. Just inside the cabin, beyond the French doors, is a sink to port and a dual burner stove top on the starboard side, directly behind the drivers’ seat. Access to the bow is via the starboard side only as the bow is pushed to port side to create more width through the centre even between the deluxe helms seats.

POWER

Twin 225 horsepower Honda engines deliver the power on the Sailfish 2800 Platinum. The BF225 engine is built on a single overhead cam V6 platform delivering a maximum rev range between 5000 and 6000rpm. They deliver strong performance with the hull able to reach planning speeds relatively quickly. The package is well balanced with plenty of power, even mid-range, allowing you to find more when and if you need it.

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sailfish-2800-platinum-7At idle they are extremely quiet but when you open them up, throaty enough to know it is running without being so overpowering that it destroys all hope of conversation in the cockpit.

This boat comes with twin 150hp engines as a base point, so if you’re not looking for overall speed and can deal with less acceleration, they would be more than suitable. Either option would be perfect for offshore game fishing.

ON THE WATER

This Sailfish 2800 Platinum has been designed for long trips offshore and once you’re in the drivers’ seat you feel like you could stay there all day and be comfortable the whole time. All the controls are in the right place and the dashboard has been set up perfectly. The suspension seat takes out all the lumps and bumps. If you prefer standing, you can fold up the bolster and still be comfortable. Visibility through the cabin is excellent and offers almost 360 degree views.

Twin hulled boats are a little different to drive than standard mono hulls but the stability is far better. The twin hull set up also means less water is in contact with the hull delivering better fuel economy. This new hull was built on the Hydro Flow Gen 2 design, which not only planes faster, but also cuts through the water more efficiently. It’s a good compromise between speed and comfort.

The twin hull design of the Sailfish also turns much flatter. This is one thing potential buyers will have to get used to but it is by no means dangerous. Quite often first time boaters or passengers cite the banking during a turn in a mono hull as one of the things they find off-putting. This makes a cat a better choice and the Sailfish 2800 Platinum is one of the finest cat hulls to drive. Turns are predictable and smooth at most speeds.

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sailfish-2800-platinum-2We headed offshore in a reasonably choppy sea and found the hull cut through most of the chop. There sometimes is a tendency for the hulls to tip from one to the other but once you have mastered setting up the trim correctly this is a minor point. I did notice water left the hull quite perpendicular so game rods in the gunwales rod holders did cop some spray. The only spray in the cockpit on the test day was reflected off the game reels. The window also stayed mostly dry.

ON THE TRAILER

For keen game fishermen the ability of having a comfortable boat that you can tow anywhere to chase game fish is a must. The Sailfish 2800 Platinum we tested sat on a triple axle trailer and was towed with a Dodge RAM 2500. Anything smaller than this probably won’t cut it, so you’re looking for a truck at the least.

The trailer is perfect for this boat and designed especially for it. It has scaffolding through the centre to make it easy to get the boat on the first time, every time.

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OVERVIEW

 This is absolutely a quality boat and one I’d be more than happy to have in my garage. It’s trailerable and for me that’s a huge bonus. It’s got masses of deck space (another tick) and is versatile enough to keep everyone happy. In this guise it’s aimed at serious anglers who need the extras to enable family and friends to have fun on the water too.

POSITIVESsailfish 2800 platinum-11

  • Exceptional stability
  • Space, space and more space
  • Innovative storage

NEGATIVES

  • Basic accommodation

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Price: $259,990 (as tested)
Construction: Aluminium
Length Overall: 8.80m
Beam: 2.5m
Weight on trailer: 1850kgs estimated
Engines: 2 x Honda 225hp
Fuel Capacity: 2 x 240 litres