Hartz Vulcan 5.0m Sports Jetboat
Paul Smith first saw the deck moulds for the new Hartz Marine jet boat a little over two years ago. Impressed by the Vulcan's rounded "European" styling and portafino transom design, he welcomed the offer to climb behind the wheel of the latest model.
"We noticed that potential customers wanted more versatility and better value for money in their jet boats - more user-friendly, practical and stylish. To deliver strong brand awareness, model lineage and resale value we would only offer the Vulcan with factory marine engines, name brand waterjets and strong, quality trailers."
Construction & Design
To provide the durability required for river boating, an aluminium alloy hull was deemed mandatory for the new Vulcan. But to provide the rounded "European" styling cues, the walk-through windscreen and foredeck, plus the attractive portafino stern treatment all within an acceptable cost structure, the deck is moulded fibreglass.
To maximize the internal volume of the boat, deck coamings are kept narrow and the hull topsides splayed out with generous freeboard dimensions. The actual length of the hull is 4.8 metres but the design incorporates quite a long waterline/keel relative to the overall hull length and is wide at the shoulder providing good buoyancy forward.
The chine beam is 1.725 metres and while there is a distinct variable deadrise for'd, the Vulcan hull carries a constant deadrise of 17 degrees for'd from the transom for about two metres. The boat under review had a short, single planing strake for'd either side of the keel to generate some hydraulic lift to the bow, but the rear of the hull planing surface was clean. Depending upon the engine and waterjet selection, full-length strakes can be fitted. The chines are quite heavily turned down giving a dry ride and aiding stability of the hull at rest.
The hull construction's best described as "heavy duty" with a reinforced 10mm thick hi-tensile delta keel plate and 5mm 5083 alloy outer bottoms. The transom is 4mm thick while the hull sides are formed in 3mm. The hull incorporates four, full-length girders with multiple strapping and three central bulkheads, while the hull sides are reinforced with 2.2 metre long side pockets.
The three-piece acrylic wrap-around windscreen has a heavy extruded alloy frame and integral grab rail. The centre section hinges back to provide walk-through access and is secured by two strong handles when closed. A "removable hatch" fits neatly over the exposed walk-through to secure the foredeck. Lockers either side of the walk-through are secured with So-Pac hatches and are a useful option.
The transom treatment incorporates boarding steps either side with the centre section of the transom kept flat for ease of mounting and preserving access for maintenance of the waterjets. There is some positive buoyancy generated by the sealed tubs under each boarding step. The aft deck moulding incorporates a central engine and driveline inspection hatch, stainless steel grab handles, pop-up cleats and a ski-tow eye.
The engine surround is formed from lined alloy and is topped by a moulded GRP engine cover which hinges back to provide excellent service access to the engine compartment. Seating is provided for four passengers in comfort with two front bucket seats - adjustable fore and aft - and an extended double bucket rear seat and all three seats have storage under. The cockpit sole is fully lined in marine carpet, while the internal sides are coated in a heavy acrylic, speckle finish.
The comprehensive engine instrumentation is mounted in a central binnacle on top of the dash board without being obstructed by the steering wheel. Minor switches are set below, the forward/reverse actuator falls nicely to hand on the port coaming and the foot throttle is comfortably positioned.
Immediate impressions are of a spacious, well-designed cockpit, which is highlighted by a standard of finish which can only be adequately described as superb.
Engineering & Propulsion
The reviewed boat had been specified with the basic 4.3-litre Chevrolet-based Mercruiser V6 engine fitted with a two-barrel carburetor. The engine is rated at 210hp and was coupled to a Kodiak 7.5-inch diameter two-stage waterjet fitted with stainless steel impellers and the new generation nozzle steering system.
Other propulsion options include the Mercury 240hp EFI Sportjet package and the top of the range 5.7-litre V8 EFI rated at 320hp coupled to a Hamilton HJ 212 waterjet.
Engineering and propulsion options are entirely dependent upon the intended use of the vessel and the available budget, but even the V8/212 powered Vulcan can be supplied for considerably less than $60k.
Performance & Handling
The owner of the review boat did not want a "hot rod", and the scope of his intended use includes braided river cruising, a little adventure boating, and lots of lake work towing the kids on water toys and skis. For this use the 210 Mercruiser V6 and two-stage Kodiak waterjet is more than sufficient.
It has the added benefits of being very compact and economical to run. The well-designed muffler system keeps engine noise muted, although the still tight waterjet is a little more noisy than usual although this is expected to diminish as it beds in.
Our performance and handling evaluation was conducted on the lower reaches of the Waimakariri River which was running very low and crystal clear - perfect for assessing the Vulcan's shallow water capability.
The Vulcan was quick to plane and even under full throttle from idle, the two-stage failed to cavitate providing good drive. The hull is very responsive to the beautifully weighted and balanced helm. The boat had been set up with neutral trim and at slower speeds tended to drive a little on the bow.
However, in no way did the planing attitude of the hull compromise handling which remained positive and easily controlled at all speeds. Of particular note was the slow speed planing capability of the Vulcan in very shallow water which is really impressive.
A comfortable and economical cruising speed of 45kph is achieved at 3400rpm travelling upstream against the current which itself was flowing at about 12kph. While the engine and jet had less than four hours on the clock, the V6 spun to 4400rpm under Wide Open Throttle, and downstream this provided a maximum speed of 73kph. There is plenty of power available in the package to fulfill all of the requirements the owner has for his new Vulcan.
I really liked this new Vulcan - for many and varied reasons. It is really easy to drive, it is very spacious, practical and comfortable, it has no handling vices and given the high standard of fit and finish represents very good value for money.
If the V6 doesn't quite do it for you, then it is just a simple matter of ticking the appropriate engine/waterjet option box on the order form. We have been promised a V8/212 powered Vulcan to evaluate early in the new year - a prospect we are really looking forward to.
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