The Captain is cruising the Australian coast, jumping aboard the meanest metal rigs we can find. In this issue, we head to the Sunshine State to pilot three of the finest from AMM, Rip Tide and SIC boats.
FULLY SIC BRA
We first spy the SIC resting on the dry dock at Minyama on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The vinyl wrap on this 7.5m platey features a Poseidon character holding a jewel in one hand and a trident in the other. Considered one of the most bad-tempered and moody of the Olympian gods, Poseidon is busily fending off a school of marlin that are seriously pissed about something. As far as wraps go, this is right up there. Although many boaties love a wrap, The Captain generally prefers his stuffed with chicken from the local deli.
This 7.5m SIC Ocean Prowler is owned by real estate agent Damien Said, who has clearly made some pretty smart property decisions judging by his designer home, which cascades down to the Minyama canal where the boat is waiting. Damien can’t join us for the day, but the boat’s builder, Paul Jacobson, has made the trip south from Harvey Bay to escort us around Mooloolaba. No way he’d miss the opportunity — of the 19 boats Paul’s built so far, this is his favourite, taking more than 300 hours to fabricate.
SIC: STYLE, INNOVATION & CUSTOM
Paul Jacobson has been building SIC — “style, innovation and custom” — plate boats for six years. “I like my boats to have a bit of style,” Paul says. “I bring together my innovations as well as my customers’ ideas and deliver a custom package that meets their needs.” It’s a heavy-duty build with frame, girder and stringer construction. “I build a lot of weight down low and you can feel it in the ride,” he says.
With that over-the-top wrap, you’d expect the cabin to be pimped our with 42-inch screens and a sound system stolen from a fully sick WRX, but stepping aboard we’re pleasantly surprised by the absence of bling. Inside, it feels like a sensible, no-fuss fishing boat, with some nice contemporary finishes including plenty of soft curves and flat sections. Paul’s spent quite a few years working on commercial boats and reckons they’ve usually got too much squareness and too many sharp edges.
Not a problem on this boat. “Everything here is radius-edged, where possible,” he says. “There’s not one sharp edge to hurt yourself on. A little radius here and there means a lot to the overall design. I love curves.”
Those smooth edges extend to the transom setup where the bait tank steps into the cockpit, meaning you can slot yourself into the corners aft. The round lines continue on the step-up to the walk-around cabin, as well as the window edges and the vee-berth entrance. You appreciate those touches when clambering around the boat lugging heavy camera gear — and they improve the look.
The colour scheme is a smart monochrome finish with shades of grey bouncing off the white painted insides. A highlight is the roof lining in a gloss grey colour. “It’s ACM sheet used in kitchen splashbacks,” Paul explains. “It’s coupled with 30mm of buoyancy foam and really light — you get no vibration in the roof and it reduces the temperature up to 10 degrees. In the middle of summer, you can stand in here, cock the hatches and just kick back.”
Owner Damien wanted a nice big deck for game fishing and bottom bashing, as well as entertaining offshore or up the river.
It’s not a generous vee-berth up front, but four swags could roll out sideways on the 2.7m wide deck, no drama. It’s a compromise we’d be happy to take, particularly up north.
Paul has fitted some nice touring touches, including a 300L kill tank with two-inch insulation all around, as well as a 200L built-in esky under the helm seat.
A searchlight is mounted up front on the bow rail, designed to light up unlit markers in places like 1770 and Hamilton Island.
The forward positioning eliminates glare from the bow rails and foredeck. The deck also features Octi Tread, an EVA flooring material. It’ll prove handy if Damo ever gets on to any big GTs on his island adventures.
BY THE NUMBERS
– 11 frames
– 2 x 5mm full-height girders
– 8 x 6mm stringers
– 10mm keel bar up the stem
– 6mm bottom
– 5mm sides
– 5mm top deck
– 3mm roof
On the water, the SIC boat is beautifully balanced. Paul calls his boats finely tuned instruments. “Before I start building, I know how my boats will sit and ride,” he says. “During the build process, I monitor the ECG (centre of gravity) with two sets of scales. Working with the designer, Naval Architects Australia, I can factor in fuel loads and make recommendations on horsepower.”
He says keeping track of the balance point is serious business. “It’s not just critical for ride, but also when the boat is at rest, ensuring the self-draining decks work, especially when backing up.” He follows this mantra in keeping the batteries and live-bait tank centrally mounted along the keel line.
IN THE CAB
Behind the wheel, it’s like you’re in an army tank — partly because of the high dash, but also because of the low brow protruding off the hardtop.
The steering wheel helm is cleverly recessed into the fore-dash with alloy fabrication, creating what Paul estimates as about three extra inches of space. There’s a tucked-in feeling and we imagine this boat would be a popular rig down south. In fact, the whole package would be a ripper charter boat option: safe, comfortable and efficient.
Displays are a pair of Lowrance HDS-12 Carbon screens mated to a 600W transducer. “It suits Damo’s purpose,” Paul says. “There’s no point spending money on a 1kW transducer that he’s not going to use. The Lowrance units pair nicely with everything else. They’re accurate with good detail, especially with StructureScan, and easy to use.”
On the high level of customisation, Paul says, “I’m a fisherman myself, so the amount of thought that goes in is probably more than it should be. As a builder, you can do your bum [budget], but when the owner rings you after a day on the water and you can hear the joy in his voice, well, that’s priceless.”
– Great charter boat option: safe, comfortable, efficient
– Beautifully balanced boat — ideal motor configuration
– Smooth, soft and dry ride for big platey
– Huge deck
– Stable at rest
– Sweet Optimus joystick steering
– Nice, clean finish with wide-open spaces
– Good use of rounded edges to improve aesthetics and ergonomics
– Great use of other finishes to break up flat sections (Octi Tread/ACM)
– Deep, safe fishing helm and cockpit
– Tall helm position with grab rails
– Forward mounted spotlight (rather than roof) to reduce glare
– Nicely contoured rear transom
– Recessed steering wheel compartment saves space
– Hardtop brow a bit too low
– Electric steering noisy
– Forward vee-berth a tad short for overnighters
– Seats very high for the vertically challenged and steering position a tad low for standing six-footers
– Carpet is old-fashioned and holds moisture
STICK OF JOY
This build is one of Paul’s favourites, and even when the cameras stop rolling, he’s still throwing the big girl around. “For a large boat, you can throw it into a turn when travelling down a big sea,” he says. “She’s not going to bite and she doesn’t broach — just grips and then pulls out. You always feel safe in any sea.”
After a few runs ourselves we can verify Paul’s claims. She pokes her bow out nicely, no matter what the trim. The SIC boat and its twin Suzuki 175s are a dream pairing no matter what direction they’re travelling. “The boat backs up really well — even into a swell — and it’s also really easy to steer,” Paul says. “You can get about 10–12 knots with a bit of trim up.”
The motors are matched with Optimus 360 joystick steering. “You can put the boat where you want and even do a 360 on the spot for your mates. Crab-walking sideways is a breeze.” He says. On the fuel side of things, Paul says, “the Suzukis burn around 30L per engine at 30 knots so you really cover the ground. Trolling burns around 15L per hour. They’ve got plenty of grunt, fuel economy is great, they’re nice and quiet, no smell — just a great engine.
MORE INFORMATION: SIC Plate Boats – email@example.com