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Tested by Heinrich Kleyn
Length — 5.1m
Beam — 2.1m
Weight — 400kg
Recommended motors — 2 x 40-60hp or 1 x 90-130hp (2-strokes); 2 x 40-60hp or 1 x 80-115hp (4-strokes)
Power as tested — 2 x 60hp 4-strokes
WITH the recession far from over and sky-high fuel prices, one would think that there would be very few if any new boats on the market. However, Yamaha are obviously still very optimistic about the state of the industry and recently unveiled an updated version of the Explorer 510.
I tested the Explorer 510 SC early last year (see May/June 2010 issue of SKI-BOAT), so I had a basic idea of what she looked like, but they’ve made quite a few changes and the centre console version looks quite different to the side console model.
Once again it was Ryan Hansen from Durban Yamaha who brought the boat down to be tested. It seems he is a real go-getter who is always prepared to go the extra mile for the media and his customers.
I can only repeat what I have said so many times before about the boats that Grant Reed builds for Yamaha — his quality of workmanship is outstanding. Over the years I have seen him develop a number of boats and I must congratulate him on his expertise. The same goes for this new Explorer 510 CC: she’s a modern, clean, well-built boat.
I also appreciate that every time I test one of the boats Grant has built for Yamaha, he comes along for the test to answer any questions that might be thrown his way.
TRAILERING AND LAUNCHING
All trailers for Explorer boats are also custom-built at Grant’s factory, and I haven’t heard of one trailer comeback so far. Every boat is put on the trailer at the factory to make sure that it fits perfectly. As a result, towing the Explorer 520 behind a car or bakkie is easy, and taking her onto the beach is also very simple because the trailer tracking is the same as that of a 4x4, resulting in less resistance on the sand.
We unloaded her stern-first into the surf, and once she had slid off very easily we simply swung her around.
After the test I ran her up onto the beach with ease. She was hooked up to the winch and was pulled onto the trailer with hardly any effort, just a little bit of guiding from a crew member.
We took her out on a perfect summer’s day with no wind and just small swell, which meant it would be a challenge to test the boat and get her to perform out of the ordinary.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
The test model was fitted with twin 60hp Yamaha four-stroke motors, normal sidemount cable controls and hydraulic steering. The last model I tested just over a year ago was fitted with a single engine, so it would be interesting to see how the different motor configuration affected her performance.
The controls were, however, very smooth and soft when pushing into gear and back to neutral.
Just by looking at the 16ft monohull fitted with the two 60hp motors, I sensed we were in for an exhilarating, explosive time on the water.
As soon as I left the bay area in front of the Durban Ski-Boat Club I pushed both the throttles flat open — and almost immediately tapped back on the gas! She jumped out the hole with ease and was on the plane so fast that we were airborne within the first five seconds over the first swell.
I turned to starboard and opened her up, but got such a fright with her whopping power surge that I nearly threw Grant Reed out of the boat! There was no cavitation and the propellers bit into the water, pushing her forward like a rocket. I thought that was just a lucky shot and was sure she would cavitate turning to port. I was wrong — I could turn to both sides and open her up with no cavitation whatsoever. This is a very good indication that the engines were mounted correctly.
Pushing her bow into the swell she cut smoothly through the water at a fair speed. I could not open her up completely because the swell gave us wings and made us airborne at high speed. I didn’t experience any pounding.
Turning her around and running with a following swell I could increase the speed considerably. I was impressed at how smoothly she ran down the swell without a hint of broaching. I asked Grant about this and he told me that he had made some changes to the hull to prevent just this. This tendency is usually felt with monohulls and sometimes with cats, but not at all with the Explorer.
The two 60hp four-strokes pushed the Explorer without any effort at all, and it was easy to level the boat simply by playing with the trims.
She was very stable both when riding and on the drift. Even with two people to one side of the boat, she didn’t lean at all.
LAYOUT AND FINISH
As I mentioned earlier, these boats are of the highest quality and their finish is really good. A lot of time and effort goes into their design and development, and Grant takes pride in what he manufactures.
When one looks at the console, the inside of the centre console is very different to the side-mounted console on the boat I previously tested. The lip on the side of the console’s rod racks has also been removed. There is a seat and hatch behind the centre console where some equipment can be stored.
In front of the console there’s a fold-up extra seat, and there’s also seating upfront in the boat’s bow. The anchor hatch is situated just ahead, in the nose of the boat. The Explorer 510 CC has a wet deck, so any water just runs off the back. The gunnels are knee-height and ideal to rest against, making it very comfortable to stand and fish without getting the feeling that you might fall overboard.
The all new Explorer 510 CC is definitely worth looking at if you are interested in a small monohull boat. Her quality is of a very high standard and with a price to suit your pocket. Also, the Explorer 510 CC is an all-rounder for either fishing at sea or skiing on the dam — indeed, real value for money. •