Test: Senator RH770

By: Matthew Jones, Photography by: Matthew Jones


Senator RH770 Distant horizons are quickly gobbled up by the efficient Yamaha four-stroke and overnighting is also an option inside that huge lockable cabin. Senator RH770
Senator RH770 Livebait tanks have more than one application – they’re also great for keeping your lunch of scallops fresh. Senator RH770
Senator RH770 Widescreen electronics, uncluttered dash, carpeted helm area... Senator RH770
Senator RH770 ...enormous windows, plush bed to hand – if only home was this comfortable! Senator RH770
Senator RH770 Leanne Dixon had a very specific set of criteria in mind when purchasing Reel Angel and Senator delivered the boat of her dreams —an absolute sportsfishing weapon. Senator RH770
Senator RH770 Check out the acres of space on that massive aft deck — plenty of room for customers to wrangle hefty gamefish. Senator RH770
Senator RH770 Senator RH770

When a commercial skipper went looking for a custom sports fishing machine for her charter business she chose a Senator RH770. Why? We sent Matthew Jones to Whitianga to find out.

There aren't too many big burly blokes who can say they've successfully landed a 100kg plus Bluefin Tuna. And there are even fewer ladies who would entertain the idea of attempting such a feat. However, Leanne Dixon has not only landed a whopping 294.5kg Bluefin Tuna but also potentially smashed a world record for a woman using 60kg tackle in the process. That's pretty impressive in anyone's book, but more so, when you consider that Dixon doesn't even weigh 60kg herself!

So what's next for this fishing high-achiever and commercial skipper? More fishing of course, plus running guided trips and taking fishing charters from the Bay of Plenty to Northland. But to achieve all this, Dixon requires a very special kind of boat— one that's stable, comfortable, offshore capable, has a toilet, an abundance of storage, is built to survey, fits on a trailer and of course, has to catch big game fish. Faced with this long list of requirements, who does a fanatical fisho trust to custom-build their dream weapon? Senator Boats' RH770 fitted the bill.

Fishing and entertaining

Onboard the aptly-named Reel Angel, one day's fishing is never enough, so the boat's been set up to extend the adventure by comfortably overnighting three anglers within the large lockable hardtop. An infill converts the 1.9m long bunks in the front cabin into a large double, while in the main cabin the table and seat backrest drop down to create a third single berth.

Lifting up the squabs on the lure-watching seat in the cockpit reveals a twin burner gas cooker for hot coffee and cooked meals. The adjacent sink (with a pull-out showerhead) will allow the dishes (or the crew) to be given a good scrub before bed and a Califont system is optional for a hot shower.

Senator -RH770-1

An abundance of shelves and compartments cater for commercial safety equipment , along with plenty of room to cater for over-packed guests.

While trolling at of 8kts Reel Angel uses around 9L/h with a 310L capacity allowing multiple days to be fished between fills. If the weather plays up, the sheltered cabin can comfortably seat four crew plus the skipper, while the lockable sliding door also provides a safe haven for expensive fishing gear while on the dock. The game poles are telescopic, so they can also be safely secured in the cabin for towing or self-preservation. Being trailerable also means Reel Angel can move to where the fish are. She tips the scales at around 2400kg and just squeezes under the maximum road legal 2.5m beam on her braked Voyager tandem axle trailer which Dixon says "tows really well" with her Toyota Landcruiser.

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The ride

It was during my time at the helm that Dixon's paint colour choice made perfect sense. Just like our own champion All-Black rugby team, the staunch 6mm hull quite simply out-muscled any opposition in its path. The pontoons also provided lift and fended any spray for a dry, comfortable and match-winning ride. Commendable ergonomics, a comfortable bolster seat and large expansive views made for a comfortable and rewarding drive. There was even a clever kick-down footrest to save your shins whilst standing at the helm — genius.

Engine

Yamaha's brilliant 250hp four-stroke proved a great match for the hull and with drive-by-wire was also super-smooth. It still had the showroom shine so I played nice, but to give you an idea — in choppy conditions Reel Angel cruised comfortably at 21 knots at 3500rpm using 31L/h. At 4500rpm we hit 29kts using 56L/h.

Verdict

Senator's RH 770 strikes a pleasing balance between a capable cockpit, all-weather protection and overnight accommodation for three in a versatile, comfortable and trailerable sportfisher. Ride quality becomes all the more important when playing offshore and the RH 770 combines good all-round stability with one of the best rides I've encountered on an aluminium pontoon boat. Incorporating so many features into a trailerboat that functions is no mean feat, so it comes as no surprise that many professionals put their faith in a Senator. The unwary marlin seem to approve as well.

Senator -RH770-3Highs

  • Comfortable, capable and customisable sport fisher
  • Tough and dependable
  • A nice blend of stability and ride
  • Versatile and functional
  • Loads of storage

Lows

  • Outside cooking facilities could limit all-weather capability
  • Too good a boat to find anything else to complain about

Senator RH770 - Fast facts

Priced from

$135,000 inc GST (standard production boat with Mercury Verado 250XL outboard)

Standard features

Three-year hull warranty, marine-grade alloy, fairlead and roller, foredeck bowrail, anchor hatch, acrylic cabin hatch, forward cabin squabs, fully carpeted cabin, clear safety glass windows, king and queen seats, hydraulic steering, switch panel and wiring loom, non-skid walkaround, port and starboard LED navigation lights, LED mast light, bollards and cleats, four rodholders, nine rocket launcher rod racks, variety of grabrails, underfloor fuel tank, two underfloor fishbins, second shelf in pontoons, enclosed rear transom with two hatches, bilge pump, ladder with grabrails, transducer mount plate, twin duckboards

General

Type: Aluminium pontoon
Material: Plate aluminium
Length: 7.93m overall
Beam: 2.49m external
Weight: Approx 2400kg (dry)
Deadrise: 18°

Capacities

People: 5
Rec. HP: 150 to 250hp
Max. HP: 250hp
Fuel: 31lt
Water: 100lt

For more information

Contact Gary Hatton or Matt Keys at Auckland Marine Centre, via email: sales@aucklandmarine.co.nz or visit aucklandmarine.co.nz.

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