Pelin Nomad

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Matthew Jones spent most of 2010 in his shed restoring this classic Pelin Nomad. The pay-off after all that hard work was finally putting it in the water. Let’s see how it went…

Pelin Nomad
Pelin Nomad
  • Good performance and top end speed
  • Stable and soft riding
  • Plenty of storage
  • Well laid out dash
  • Six rod holders plus bait board

Pelin is a name synonymous with boating in New Zealand. Frank Pelin’s designs first came to prominence in 1965, and thousands of his boats have been built and enjoyed in that time.

First impressions

At a glance this is a traditional old-school cabin boat with classic lines and a high quality paint finish. The stainless steel fittings give it modern feel while remaining true to its heritage with a bit of timber bright-work in the mix. Once onboard the cockpit is well laid out and uncluttered and there is plenty of room to stow the gear.

Towing and launching

The GOP (glass-over-ply) construction of this boat is lighter than fibreglass or aluminium boats of the same size, making it easy to tow with a family vehicle. I had no problems launching and retrieving it by myself.

On the deck

Up front there is a decent sized fairlead and bollard. The original fairlead has been replaced with a more technologically advanced model, including a roller and locking pin.

The anchor is housed in an internal locker accessed via a cut-out lid in the deck; it sits neatly inside the v-berth with a lift-up catch that locks the lid closed. The anchor locker is sealed and self-draining.

Hand rails are located on the cabin top (although it could do with a couple more) and there are navigation lights and an anchor light mounted on the sides and roof of the cabin.

Cabin and cockpit

The cabin bunks are a standard v-berth arrangement with vinyl squabs but lack the legroom to be comfortable overnight for anyone taller than six-foot. The cabin walls are lined and there are two lights.

Mounted on the dash are the passenger’s handrail, compass, solar panel and a slightly outdated depth sounder. The cabin and cockpit dashboards are carpeted and finished nicely with a varnished timber face.

The steering console is well laid out, with all the switches in easy reach, and the gauges and depth sounder can be read whether sitting or standing. The stereo packs plenty of punch with four speakers.

The seats are comfortable and reversible, but are of the fold-down variety and collapse forward when leant on, which can be dangerous in unstable conditions. When seated the cabin top obscures the fairlead and a metre or so directly in front of the boat and I felt more comfortable driving standing up.

The bimini top provides good sun protection, with zips allowing the front to be opened, and there are straps to tie it down. The non-slip flooring provides good grip but gets dirty easily.

There are six rod holders, with drink holders close at hand. The bait board is removable and mounted in a designated rod holder on the transom, but can be moved to either of two other vertical rod holders. It is plastic and adequate for this sized boat but not terribly stable if leant on.

There are two stainless steel cleats on the transom and a decent sized self-draining outboard well that can be used to store those messy items.

Storage a plenty

This boat boasts storage space with lift-up lids accessing space under the front bunks in the cabin. The cabin floor also lifts up. In the cockpit there is dry storage inside the seat bases, plus side shelves and panels. A boat hook is mounted along the port side shelf.

Under the floor boards there is a polystyrene chilly bin in the front, although if you are going on a serious fishing trip an additional bin would be required.

The battery and switch are housed beneath the centre floor board, with room for a second battery.

The rear floor board lifts out giving access to the bilge pump and float switch.

Handling and performance

Leaving Westpark Marina solo, the boat was well balanced with only a slight lean due to the lack of a passenger. Once past the five-knot marker I eased the boat onto the plane, which was achieved around 3000rpm. The gullwing hull does take a bit of a shove to get up and planning, but once on the plane it provides a smooth and stable ride.

At this engine’s most economical rev range (3500rpm) the boat is travelling at 23mph (20 knots) and using approximately 16 litres per hour.

The 90hp two-stroke had plenty of grunt and it was hard to resist pushing the throttle all the way down. Given the conditions I gave in to the urge, with the boat responding by leaping forward and quickly reaching the top speed of 43mph on the speedometer (48mph on GPS).

From past experiences this is a hull that handles sea conditions up to 15 knots well. It is only five metres long and relatively light so I wouldn’t want to be out in too much more..

The chines do a good job of deflecting the spray in a following sea but a decent head sea will throw water over the top of the windscreen, especially coming from a slight angle. The Ultraflex steering system is smooth and responsive through the entire speed range and is a good option for those that can’t justify the additional cost of hydraulic steering. The planetary gear system does an excellent job of all but eliminating torque steer when accelerating.

Overall this is a great first boat for anyone looking to take the family fishing without blowing the budget. It is ideally suited for day trips around sheltered harbours, with the option of overnighting if you’re hardy enough.

See a range of Pelin boats for sale.


LOA 5.50m
Beam 2.10m
Weight 980kg laden on trailer
Fuel 46 litres (2 x tote tanks)
Engine 90hp Mercury ELPTO two-stroke

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