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Tested by Heinrich Kleyn
AT A GLANCE
Fuel capacity: 200 litres
Carrying capacity: six people
Min hp: 1 x 90hp
Max hp: 2 x 150hp
Power as tested: 2 x 115hp Mercury four-stroke
THE big sister of all the Ace Gliders on the market has recently been launched — the all-new Ace Glider 630, built by Ace Boating and marketed by Boating International. A great deal of thought, research and development has gone into this project, and when you look at the boat you’ll clearly see the differences between the 630 and her smaller sisters.
You’ll also see why she drew so much attention at the National Boat Show in Johannesburg.
I have often seen the smaller Ace Gliders, but every time I see one something else catches my eye. When I saw the new 630 waiting for me at the Rod and Reel Club on Durban Bay, as always everything was perfectly in its place, neat and most impressive.
The people at Ace Boating certainly make sure that their craft are neat and tidy and as close to perfect as possible. As with the other Ace Gliders that I’ve tested, my impression is this is a boat designed for comfort. Some would say she’s a yuppy boat because she has all the bells and whistles — I call it “built for comfort”.
Unfortunately, over the four months or so leading up to the early November test, the conditions in Durban have seldom been favourable for boat tests. If the wind hasn’t been blowing at gale force, then it’s been raining.
On this particular morning it was totally overcast and we battled to get enough light to take decent photographs. The sea was not flat, but it was manageable, although I knew we were in for a bumpy ride. There was no wind, but the 2.5m swell was running all over the place which made it very challenging for us, especially taking photographs and trying to hold the camera still.
LAUNCHING AND TRAILERING
The Ace Glider 630 comes on a standard double-axle galvanised breakneck trailer. Though this big boat looks bulky, she was towed through traffic with ease. Putting her into the water was just as easy, even though there were only two of us — the driver and me.
I got on to the boat and the driver reversed me down the slipway, into the water. It was so easy — the 630 just slid off the trailer. When we got back after the test, I drove her straight up onto the trailer. It was a cinch.
These days trailers are usually built to suit a particular boat in order to make it easy to load and offload. This is the case with the Ace Glider 630. With this type of trailer it would be easy to launch and load the boat even when launching from the beach.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
The Ace Glider 630 was fitted with 2 x 115hp Mercury four-stroke engines and wireless binnacle-mount controls which were ultra-smooth — you dont even feel them going into and out of gear.
The Mercury motors looked much bigger than they actually were, and I initially thought that they were 140hp units until I took a closer look. Although the Ace Glider already rides very proud, with her bow high out the water, I would still love to test this boat with two 140hp four-stroke motors on the back.
To help with the handling of these powerful engines, they have installed hydraulic steering.
These 115hp motors were swinging 19-pitch props and I experienced slight cavitation on the turns. Ace Boating were apparently planning on dropping the engines one hole lower and changing to 17-pitch props which would probably solve the problem. I have to say that I was surprised at the power that the 115hp Mercury motors put out and how easily they pushed this boat.
The Ace Glider 630 had no problem with tight turns to either side, and there was no bouncing or sliding. This was the one aspect I had worried about during the photo session, when I saw the Ace Glider running with her bow so high out the water. My fears proved to be unfounded, however, and she handled like a dream.
Moving offshore into the sea with the swell that was all over the place, we had no problem running at 35km/h to 40km/h without any pounding or spray coming over the boat. Heading into the swell the Ace Glider did just what her name implies — she glided through the swell with ease.
With the following sea she didn’t once react strangely or make me feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I also ran her side-on with the swell and she didn’t roll much. I still felt that I was safe and always in control, and that she was very stable, capable of handling quite a big sea. Her proud ride also helps keep you very dry.
At no stage did I have to alter my trims — the ride was very comfortable just the way it had been set up.
The Ace Glider 630 showed very good handling qualities and jumped out of the hole quickly, so I have no doubt that she would be able to do a surf launch with ease.
This is a big boat, but is designed as an all rounder, suitable for any facet of fishing — from marlin fishing right through to vertical jigging and bottomfishing. As I mentioned earlier, she has all the bells and whistles to make life very comfortable on the water.
This is a difficult aspect to cover, because the Ace Glider has so many extras that it’s hard to know where to start. So, let’s start at the very beginning — the bow — and work our way backwards.
When it came to the Ace Glider 630, the designers kept the seats in the port and starboard sides of the bow area, along with some storage space underneath. There’s also a huge anchor hatch in the middle of the bow area, making it easy to access when you need to.
From there you go through a door in the console section and down a couple of steps leading to the deck. The designers have cleverly placed a disposal bin in these steps, to help you keep the boat neat and tidy. Alongside the steps they have fitted a fridge to keep the drinks cold for those hot and humid summer’s days when you’re out trolling. There’s also a basin with tap to wash your hands after working with bait or catching a fish.
A seat with storage space beneath it is also incorporated in this section.
Overhead you’ll find a futuristic radar arch with some extra rod holders on top. The Ace Glider 630 also has more than enough built-in tackle storage space. Furthermore, she also has all the electronics your heart could desire, from radar and CD player to VHF and 29meg radios.
The flush-deck fish hatches that have been fitted are big enough to hold your quota of fish, and the built-in Luna tubes on one side of the transom and the livebait well on the other side will satisfy your livebait requirements.
Right in the stern she has enough rod holders so that you can run six to eight rods at a time. The fuel is stored underneath the seat in the middle of the deck, and she has a 200 litre capacity.
As I mentioned earlier, this craft is certainly built for comfort and style.
FINISH AND CONCLUSION
Once again I have to say that the people at Ace Boating do an excellent job when it comes to the finish of their boats. I cannot fault them in any way, and they get top marks for the quality of finish and fittings.
To build the craft they used a high-quality imported gelcoat called Norpol Gelcoat NGA which is ISO tested and approved. It is heat-resistant, chemical-resistant, UV-resistant and has the strength of steel. The resin they apply is high-grade marine resin and the underdeck is bonded with Crestomer, a bonding paste used for extra strength.
The transom is made of Coosa composites, a very light and wood-free material which is exceptionally strong. Coosa consists of structural panels made of high-density polyurethane foam which is reinforced with layers of fibreglass. It won’t rot or delaminate, and is maintenance-free when left in the water.
The marine vinyl they’ve used is UV-resistant and water-repellent, plus it’s stain-proof and won’t fade, crack or lose its shape. Even the decals have a seven-year warranty. The craft is finished off with high-grade stainless-steel that won’t rust, and the wiring has all been soldered and then covered in heat-shrink wrap.
Boating International and Ace Boating can be justifiably proud of this lovely boat. •