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THE IDEAL ALL ROUNDER
Tested by Erwin Bursik
HOW time flies! Mark Delaney of Two Oceans Marine, Cape Town, recently called to ask me to review the new Magnum 25 Walkaround. “Great,” was my reply, “but it wasn’t so long ago that I reviewed the Magnum 25.”
“Actually, it was five years ago,” he said, and indeed it was. That review appeared in the July/August 2000 issue of SKI-BOAT. Time certainly seems to pass more quickly these days.
I knew there had been a substantial redesign of the top deck, so I was excited about seeing this new model and taking her to sea to assess how these modifications had affected the magnificent ride the forward console model provided.
I, for one, knew the enormous amount of research and development that both Rod Delaney and Mark had put into the original Magnum 25 hull. At the time, this craft was somewhat smaller than the range they were building. They had to prove that the smaller craft was up to the performance standards Two Oceans Marine had achieved with their bigger boats.
To do this, Rod fished the prototype at Sodwana, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth, as well as in her home waters of the Cape. He was more than pleased with the results and thereafter commenced production.
That’s all history, though, and now I was required to assess whether the new Magnum 25 Walkaround would follow in the figurative footsteps of her predecessor, the very successful Magnum 25 forward console.
This craft is, in fact, the fourth model of the Magnum 25 that Two Oceans Marine have put on to the market: the original forward console, the full cabin model which I spent a day fishing on in East London with Arthur Kidson, a centre console version, and now a walkaround model.
I particularly dislike comparisons, especially when it comes to a craft that I’ve liked a lot and which, over the years, has proven just how good she is by the many that have been sold. So, in my mind, the Magnum 25 Walkaround would have to be a new model to rise or fall by her own capabilities and not her pedigree.
In many instances photographs do not properly portray the size nor the impact of a craft. This was once again brought home to me when I set eyes on the Magnum 25 Walkaround. I had seen photographs of her before, including one in Two Oceans Marine’s advert in SKI-BOAT, but when I saw the craft I was about to review on her trailer, she wasn’t what I had expected. She was much more — she was very impressive indeed.
As we were going to launch the Magnum 25 Walkaround and the photography boat, a Magnum 23 centre console model, at the Oceana Powerboat Club slipway, I was able to sit by and watch the towing of the relatively large craft through Cape Town’s heavy mid-morning traffic, and see how easily Rod and his daughter, Lisa, launched her.
Without them knowing it, they were working to my stopwatch. From the top of the slipway until the craft had slid off the trailer and Lisa was driving off to park the rig, it was exactly one minute and thirty seconds. It was quite incredible, and on our return, the two of them accomplished the retrailering — up the slip and on the level — in a fraction under four minutes.
Rod firmly believes that using polyethylene boards over the docking planks on the trailer, as opposed to rollers, is a big advantage. Watching him launch and retrieve his craft was impressive, and he is adamant that his concept works just as well for beach launches. I would like to witness this aspect for myself before commenting.
However, I was there to judge the Magnum 25 Walkaround’s performance at sea. John Couzis’s craft, Jolly C’s, was immaculately presented. Even though she had been out to the deep a few times hunting tuna, it didn’t show — she looked as if she was straight off the showroom floor.
I got my first feel of the craft as I manoeuvred her in the tight confines of Oceana’s harbour at low tide, to edge her bow up to a floating dock to allow Lisa to climb aboard. Then it was out through the very narrow entrance and into Table Bay.
Due to the SAA strike I’d arrived in Cape Town later than I’d planned to that morning, and the south-easterly was beginning to gust to about 10/12 knots. It got progressively stronger during the day and was even more apparent the further we moved from the limited protection of the sea wall in front of the V&A Waterfront.
I felt it too, especially when moving from the comfortable cabin of the Magnum 25 Walkaround to board the Magnum 23 so that I could photograph the striking craft at sea.
I previously wrote quite extensively about the hull design features Rod had incorporated into the Magnum 25, and below I quote the essence of what I wrote five years ago. I can’t argue with what I experienced then, even though there is a big difference in the above-deck profile and aerodynamics ...
“The fine entry of the craft’s sponsons cleave the chop as the stepdown vee of the primary wetted area (planning surface) carries and determines the ride and performance of the craft. Strakes in the initial entry area create a curling effect of the cleaved water. This is then further depressed by the spray emanating from the stepdown profile of the hulls. All the hydrodynamics result in making the Magnum 25 a very dry craft.”
As she was now performing for the camera in far worse sea conditions than the original test, I studied her ride closely to see in detail how the hull was working the water. It was very interesting, and the accompanying photographs tell a story all of their own.
After reboarding her, Rod and I headed straight out to sea with the wind and chop beating us on the beam, while the remnants of a large swell coming in from virtually the opposite direction created quite an interesting sea. I set a course and then played around with the motor trim until I felt I was maximising the ride and getting an even thrust out of the twin Yamaha 150hp four-stroke motors. In the meantime, I was having a general chat with Rod to catch up with what was happening at Two Oceans Marine.
It was only after many kilometres of travel that I glanced at the GPS to see exactly how fast we were going. Just under 20 knots. I was surprised — it was faster than I had thought. With a little more power the GPS showed 25 knots. The ride was still great and soft, but I had to concentrate more as the motors and boat were working harder.
“What’s the point of such speed?” I asked Rod as I eased the throttle back to average our speed at 19 knots.
“To get to the grounds ten to fifteen minutes sooner,” he replied. We both agreed that the comfortable running speed was the better way to go. Rod maintains that over many years, on many hull configurations, one can expect a very comfortable SOG to be 17 or 18 knots. I had never before thought about it, but I believe he is spot on. The emphasis is on attaining an SOG that is comfortable to all aboard — boat, motors, crew and skipper.
Out in the open waters of Table Bay, in the teeth of the south-easterly that was building up steam, I slowed down to troll speed. After all, that is what this style of craft is designed for. In the 15 knots-plus wind that was blowing, I found her very comfortable, both from a “rock ’n roll” point of view as well as in providing protection from the elements. At 5 to 5H knots she enjoyed the task, no matter which point of the compass she was pointing to. At marlin kona speed of 7 to 8 knots the Magnum 25 trolled well, but I found that when heading directly into the prevailing sea the SOW was affected which would have had an effect on kona performance. I might add, though, that in that particular sea I don’t believe any craft other than a big sportfisher would have fared better.
Down to idle on one motor, she lies well in the water and is very stable. She is only affected steerage-wise when trying to hold a course with the wind on the forward bow quarter.
Being a walkaround, this craft was built to accommodate the angler who is harnessed to a big yellowfin tuna while waltzing his way around the boat on the drift, 40 miles off Cape Point. This walkaround allows three or four anglers, “vas” into big fish, to spread themselves out around the craft, thereby minimising wraps and burn offs. While on the drift out in the rough stuff, I spent a lot of time moving right around the Magnum 25, imagining I was into a big yellowfin.
Security of stance and enough handholds, as well as the ample gunnel height, allowed me to feel safe throughout the exercise.
Coincidentally, while chatting to Trevor Roseveare at the recent Shelly Beach competition, he mentioned he’d fished off the 32 Walkaround during the Tuna Nationals a few weeks previously. He particularly remarked how great it was to be able to walk big fish around that craft.
My final tests on the way back, before I started playing, were to see how tightly she could turn when running in front of a swell, then to see how she pulled out of the turn and how quickly I could get her back onto the plane. In essence, I wanted to ascertain how good she would be in the surf. I have often watched Captain Michael Lee’s Marlin, a Magnum 25 Express model, working the surf at Sodwana. Now, after experiencing for myself how the model I was reviewing behaved, I know why Michael makes surf launching look so easy.
Then I switched off one motor and opened up the other. I eventually got her onto the plane and could maintain 12 knots, but only with the Yamaha 150 four-stoke pushing very hard. After trimming the dead motor right up, she not only planed a bit quicker, but I was also able to keep her on the plane at a fraction over 12 knots with the motor backed off a bit to sit at 4 200rpm.
At last it was fun time, and as I opened up the twin Yamaha four-stroke 150s, we literally streaked over the chop with the wind just off her port bow. At 38 knots it was exhilarating, but not my style, so I throttled back to a sedate 25 knots. She really rides beautifully.
Once back in the protected water, I switched off the motors and began to explore this, the latest model Magnum 25, to come out of Two Oceans Marine’s factory in Cape Town.
Firstly, with regard to all the finishes, while Two Oceans have always prided themselves on how they finish off and present their craft, they seem to get better and better with each boat I review. The Magnum 25 Walkaround was certainly no exception. As I scrutinised every hatch, locker and structure of this craft, I was not only fully satisfied with the way she had been constructed, but also more than impressed with her final presentation in finishes, hardware and internal design layout.
I will even stick my neck out and say that the model I reviewed and a few other craft I saw nearing completion on the factory floor, as well as a Magnum Flybridge 32 Walkaround I saw at moorings, all appear to be much more fishing-friendly than those I reviewed years ago.
Rod and Mark have obviously designed and redesigned the internal layouts to the point where their appreciation of what anglers are looking for is inherent in the craft they are now producing.
The Magnum 25 Walkaround centres around the stylish dodger cabin with walkways running down the sides, between it and the craft’s gunnels. In addition, there is space up forward from where one can fish and which has comfortable seating when the craft is used for cruising.
Internal wheelhouse layout is extremely comfortable for the skipper. The configuration of the helm station is comfortable, and all instrumentation — particularly the GPS mapper/sonar — is ideally positioned for the skipper to view, both while trolling or at high speeds. Even if two crew are standing, one on each side of the skipper, there is still plenty of room width-wise, and the skipper still has plenty of arm room to swing the steering and work the throttles. He should never feel hemmed in.
There is no cabin or sleeping accommodation as such, but there’s loads of stowage in the port up-front locker and tackle stowage in the starboard side.
Seating in the wheelhouse is optional. John has opted for a bum seat backrest for the skipper and conventional upholstered seats on stowage hatches for the crew. In addition, he didn’t install below-deck fish hatches, which are the norm, instead going for the centre coffin hatch in which he can easily store his quota of recreationally-caught tuna and other smaller gamefish off Cape Town.
Aside from all this, the fish deck is large, offering plenty of space to work fish. In the transom area a livebait/wet hatch is positioned on each side of the solid, removable opening door which leads to the boarding platform between the motors.
Rod, Mark and Lisa Delaney are very proud of this model of the Magnum 25 — and rightly so. She is a multifunctional, trailerable craft suited for fishing and cruising, has most impressive looks and, above all, rides heavy seas remarkably well.•