Image 8.5 Jet

By: Paul Smith, Photography by: Paul Smith

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When Westport’s Dave Tait and his boating partner Neil Avery began exploring a new fishing and cray-potting platform to replace their aging Hamilton Jet 190, they quickly gravitated to an Image 8.5m

Image 8.5 Jet
Image 8.5 Jet
  • Impressive stability
  • Spacious wheelhouse
  • Berthing for four
  • Well-equipped galley and useful heater
  • Pot hauler with engine driven hydraulics
  • Good handling in tough conditions

Invercargill-based Image Boats has a reputation for rugged, no-nonsense alloy vessels, and until now, the majority have been outboard powered.

Image Boats owner Dean Wilkes was faced with the challenge of adapting the Image design to suit Dave and Neill’s requirements of a waterjet.

Construction and design

The Image design incorporates some desirable features for waterjet propulsion, including broad shoulders and wide, turned-down chines.

Constructed in marine grade aluminium alloy, Joint Venture has the optional 8mm thick hull bottom plates. The hull structure is supported by four, full-length longitudinal bearers and four transverse frames and/or bulkheads.

The 2.8m overall beam provides plenty of internal volume and, coupled with the moderate deadrise and wide chines, endows the vessel with impressive stability.

She’s fitted with a long-range fuel tank (500 litres) located centrally, ahead of the engine compartment. Forward of it is a 200-litre water tank.


The foredeck’s protected by a sturdy alloy railing that incorporates a fold-down ladder on the bow. A strong fairlead combines with a heavy duty helm-operated Lewmar capstan and Sarca anchor for anchoring and/or mooring duties. Access to the foredeck can be via side decks and hand rails on the wheelhouse, or a large hatch in the forecabin roof.

There’s comfortable berthing for four in the fully-lined forecabin, including two pipe berths. With the infill squab the vee berth converts to a large double berth. A So-Pac hatch in the for’d bulkhead provides natural light and access to the anchor locker.

It’s a spacious wheelhouse. An overhead binnacle for’d houses the VHF radio, stereo head player and a matching barometer and clock. A large windshield panes provide good visibility ahead.

On the port side of the wheelhouse is a dinette. The timber table lowers to seat height, providing a short berth ideal for children. The seats themselves comfortably accommodate two people, or four smaller bodies. The front seat does not have a reversible backrest, so the occupant has no choice but to face aft when the vessel is underway. The aft seat also houses the Waeco fridge.

In addition to the engine instruments, at the helm is a Furuno VX2 3D Navnet display. Function switching, trim tab actuation and windlass controls all fall easily to hand. The helmseat is located on a drawered base and is adjustable fore and aft.

A compact but well-equipped galley is located immediately aft of the helm station, featuring a four-burner stainless steel cooktop with a glass cover, a grill and small oven.

The Propex gas heater will provide comfort on colder days and a useful feature is the ducting that facilitates demisting of the windscreen when required.


It’s dominated by the long engine cover but there’s still plenty of room to move around. The bathroom is located on the port side within the wheelhouse overhang and is accessed from the cockpit. It’s equipped with an electric macerating head, a shower and the Tasman five litre per minute gas califont. A corner handbasin completes the setup. A vented locker against the starboard side of the wheelhouse bulkhead houses the gas bottle and accessories such as ropes. Nearby is a substantial pot hauler with its engine- driven hydraulics, easily lifting pots that weigh around 80kg. The topsides on the starboard side have been double-skinned for protection.

Treadplate alloy makes up the cockpit sole, and it’s higher than standard to provide a self-draining facility via dual scuppers located aft at either side. Wide coamings incorporate rod holders.

The engine cover is fully insulated and high enough for comfortable seating. A pressure washdown hose is fed from the waterjet.

On either side of the engine box the transom has cutaway access with hinged doors to the full width, caged boarding platform. The alloy rails surrounding the platform incorporate fold down boarding ladders either side of the waterjet. There is also provision for the mounting of an outboard auxiliary engine.

Performance and handling Joint Venture has been fitted with a six-cylinder Yanmar 6LYA-STP engine that displaces 5.2 litres and is rated at 370hp at 3300rpm. It’s a fuel-injected engine, with a dry weight of 530kg.

This combination provides a relaxed cruise speed of between 20 and 24 knots (depending on the sea state and weight loadings). In lightship trim she recorded a best of 26 knots at 3000rpm during sea trials. Maximum speed is 30.4 knots at WOT – 3300rpm.

Using moderate throttle and with the engine turning at around 2700rpm, the boat picked its way through the oncoming waves without jumping off the tops. The waterjet remained primed and gave good drive.

Once out into open water we were able to turn about quickly in the troughs. It is in a severe following sea that any handling vices in waterjet propelled vessels quickly become apparent. In the case of Joint Venture she handled the conditions very well, inspiring confidence at the helm.

The broad shoulders and good sized chines performed well in maintaining bow lift and deflecting the substantial quantities of displaced water down and away from the hull. At no time did we feel the effects of bow steer.

Another aspect of this strongly constructed hull was the lack of thumping and banging that sometimes afflicts plate alloy boats in rough conditions.

To read in-depth boat reviews, see the latest issue of Trade A Boat magazine, on sale now.

Read more Image boat reviews here.


LOA 8.5m
Beam 2.8m
Engine Six-cylinder Yanmar 6LYA-STP
Water Jet HamiltonJet HJ 274
Fuel 500 litres
Water 200 litres

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