Home' Afloat : AFLOAT June 2015 Contents 42 AFLOAT.com.au May 2015
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
How do you go boating in 2° Celsius?
That’s the question I’m facing.
With a bitter alpine blast along
the coast, the relative outside temperature
is less than half the actual. Worse, waves
are forecast to hit five metres offshore.
And there’s a small-boat and rock fishing
warning. But one needs to be prepared
for more of this weather On The Water
The good news is that, properly
prepared – with safety and sensibility
foremost in mind –the not-so -off-season
offers rich pickings afloat. By necessity,
and that of our boat’s engines and systems,
we’ve become practised at it. One needs
to change their mindset and toughen up
a bit for starters. After all, our winters are
a breeze compared to those in other parts
of the world where they must ‘winterize’
To embrace and enjoy your winter
boating opportunities, start with some
decent attire. Go for a thermal wool base-
layer washed in Cuddly hard-up against
your skin, a performance Polarfleece-type
(polyethylene terephthalate) second layer
as they’re light and wick moisture, then
a jacket ...
Make a lifejacket imperative, as per
legal requirements and even beyond
that, and a compact inflatable yoke won’t
hinder your fishing or sailing activities
on deck. Serious foul-weather gear, or
‘ foullies’ as they’re affectionately known
in the weather-challenged UK, are another
I have no arrangement with Tasmanian-
based Stormy Lifejackets, but I do advance
the view that these are the duck’s guts of
winter jackets, incorporating full-blown
(when you hit the water) lifejackets or
offshore-rated PFDs in the garment. If you
plan to go winter boating offshore then get
one, a personal EPIRB and clip-on strobe.
Beyond the safety aspects of winter
boating, your comfort factor is key. Layered
clothing lets you dress-up or down to
meet the conditions. Fingerless gloves,
especially if you’re tugging on Spectra and
Dyneema polyethylene sheets, and some
form of headdress are essential. It’s hard
to beat a beanie, but in really cold climes
seaboots are necessary, especially when
sitting on the rail to Hobart, trust me.
Suitably attired, you’re set to go. Well
not quite. Forget the esky and add the
thermos. Pack a curry or something from
the slow cooker. Cryovac your meals flat
for easy packing on board, reheat and
eat. A stovetop and some boiling water is
all you need. Did someone mention Irish
Coffee? Heck yeah.
Give the offshore scene a wide berth
if it’s howling from the southwest as it is
right now, but do enjoy the inshore fishing,
cruising, racing, reaching, sun catching and
waterfront dining. Raft-up for a chummy
onboard dinner party, enjoy some “me”
time with a book, or some wholesome
family boating with some board games or a
movie. Just being aboard is transformative
enough in winter.
For the hardcore-fishing crowd, such
softcore options don’t resonate much at
all. Winter fishing is all about a whole lot
of other outstanding opportunities and
they aren’t lost on boat builders. In fact,
there’s been something of a trailerboat
assault by the latitude-challenged yards
here and across the Tasman in recent years.
Sportsfishing boats with cabins,
hardtops and enclosed helms stations are
all the rage. I ’ve been on some timely tests
on a bunch of these craft as recently as
yesterday in the winter wildness.
Chatting to the boat builder, his
success and sales at this time of year
hinge on the quality of the winter fishing.
Prized species like southern bluefin tuna,
yellowfin tuna, billfish including the
emerging Tassie broadbill fishery, snapper
in Port Phillip Bay, and other tablefish like
kingfish, blue-eye, and hapuka all drive
Some of the aluminium trailerboats on
the market today are the most comfortable
ever built for winter fishing. Their protected
wheelhouses and fine hulls make offshore
The list is long and includes Stabicraft
from Invercargill in the frigid NZ South
Island, compatriots Surtees and White
Make a lifejacket imperative, a compact inflatable yoke won’t hinder your fishing activities.
Evolution 625 Enclosed is a Melbourne-built GRP fishing boat ideal for winter fishing.
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