Tested by Erwin Bursik
DURING the 2004 Miami Boat Show, I found myself repeatedly returning to the Angler Boat’s stand. Why? Simply because I happened to find this range of “ski-boats” very attractive and their monohull configuration appealing. I think this is primarily because they are very like the craft we use for offshore gamefishing in South Africa.
When Wynand Wiering advised me that NuWave Marine were going to import these craft, I was not surprised and was excited because now I would get a chance to play with an Angler Boat on the water.
A year or so down the track I was eventually offered the opportunity of taking two models, the 22 footer and the 18ft centre console model, to sea. My review of the 18 footer appeared in the September/October 2005 issue of SKI-BOAT.
Seeing the 220WA (Walkaround) on her impressive aluminium trailer arrive at Natal Deep Sea Rod and Reel Club’s slipway into Durban Bay was impressive. Firstly, she was a 2005 model, and secondly, out in the open, as opposed to indoors at a boat show or in a boat showroom, she looked very impressive and bigger than I had anticipated.
The Angler 220WA in its express version carries with it the elegant looks of a big monohull craft with hull lines and flair that immediately give the impression that this boat will ride well.
CONDITIONS FOR TEST
Unfortunately (for boat testing, that is), calm autumn weather was prevailing off Durban with a mild, lazy swell only being ruffled by a moderate NNW land breeze. This only makes for roughish water way out deep when you lose the protection of the beachfront buildings.
Those of us who know the Natal coast in winter don’t like this wind as it blows directly side-on when you’re running to the fishing grounds, both to the north and south. It’s cold and it gusts very strongly in areas off river mouths.
These were the conditions we were faced with, and the Angler 220WA and I had to see what we could make of them ...
LAUNCHING AND TRAILERING
The tandem-wheeled aluminium road trailer on which this craft is imported not only looked very impressive, but also allowed Wynand to launch us very easily off the slipway into Durban Bay. No doubt the smallish diameter wheels mounted on a suspension that carries the craft very low on the road made for this easy launch.
It also made it an easy tow to Durban from NuWave’s showroom in Randburg. However, Wynand was quick to point out that this is not the trailer to use for a trip to Moçambique or for surf launching at Sodwana Bay.
When we reloaded the boat, the trailer’s aft guiding poles ensured that the drive up into position — right up to the bow stop-roller — was effortless. All I had to do was clip in the winch hook and add a half-turn with the hand winch before towing her up the slip and into the parking.
Is there something to be learnt from this imported trailer? Our local engineering fundis will need to have a close look at it to answer that question. However, there is no reason to believe that, on a South African style breakneck trailer, this craft could not be just as easily handled on any of our beaches.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
Twin 150hp Mercury Saltwater Series carburetted outboards swinging 21-pitch stainless props had been chosen to power this craft. And they certainly did push her.
In the United States this craft is normally supplied with one big outboard (max. 300hp) centre-mounted on the transom. However, after being advised of our requirement for twin motors, the factory modified the transom layout and designed a stainless-steel-decked outmount that not only carries the twin Mercury motors, but is also big enough to use as a dive platform. Neatly designed slide-away transom steps are also included in the outmount system.
The side-mounted, standard Mercury controls and a hydraulic steering system ensured extremely smooth operation throughout the full range of on-water tests I did with the craft.
By mounting the motors as close together as is practically possible, the craft’s designed ride has not been jeopardised to any degree. In fact, I feel that, if anything, it has improved it, especially with regard to lateral stability at speed.
It’s quite a change to have a big deep-vee monohull to test, but after just a few minutes behind the wheel I knew I was going to enjoy the craft.
With the fitting of outmounts as mentioned above, the out-the-hole acceleration onto a plane is very quick, but if one gains momentum gradually, the Angler 220’s bow rides high until the back levels out when she gets onto the plane. I am sure that wedging the mounting brackets of the motors on the outmounts would bring her out the hole at a more level trajectory at lower speeds. Once this craft adopts her designed ride, though, she planes beautifully, providing an extremely soft and dry ride.
Her hull design is not trim sensitive and requires only minimal trim adjustment to optimise her ride in changing sea conditions. Due to motor torque, lateral trim is usually a factor to consider on a monohull with a substantial vee’ed hull, but on this craft even the lateral trim was slight, and marginal up trim on the starboard motor corrected her ride.
During high-speed work the effect of her T-top — Bimini top as the Yanks call it — was minimal. This got me studying the design very closely to find out what the manufacturers had done to overcome what can be a big problem on a lot of boats. It all appears to be in the aerodynamics of the T-top design. Don’t ask me how and why — all I know is that it works well.
The Angler 220WA with the twin 150 Mercury outboards is fast, very fast, reaching 40 knots at times. This results in a fair amount of wind rushing over the relatively low profile windscreen. It would be fine in summer, but I found it very cold in the weather that prevailed during the test. Yes, I could have put up the clears that are supplied, but we didn’t, as there was no spray or rain to force the issue.
The walkaround design of the craft is great in that it opens up the forward section of the bow area of this craft to practical use. My own craft is the same size, but the forward area is virtually unusable. Having the walkaround is a great advantage whether you’re fishing conventionally, flyfishing, deploying the anchor, putting up clears, or just want a comfortable area in which friends and family can relax during a cruise.
I took the Angler 220WA a long way out to sea so that we could reach some fairly rough water in which to test her, because I needed to feel her stability under various trolling speeds and at various angles to the wind and sea. She is surprisingly stable, remaining dry and stable throughout the trolling trials from kona speed to ’cuda speed. This stability seems to come from the flattening off of the hull’s planing area towards the transom.
On the drift she lies very prone and high in the water, resulting in a lot of freeboard.
What really surprised me — again comparing her to my own 21ft deep-vee craft — was her performance in simulated surf conditions. For a craft this size to turn as sharply as she did without leaning on her side in the turn is little short of amazing. She came around without cavitation and jumped out of the hole. This certainly was a lot of fun for me, but it also proved her capabilities in tight circumstances.
Running down the face of cresting swells did not slow her forward momentum and also showed that she had no tendency to yaw.
Another trial she did well at was backing up. I trimmed the motors out a bit and then, leaving them in their central position, worked the throttles in forward and reverse and got her to swing to port and starboard, as well as go straight backwards, very easily and without pushing too much water over the transom.
As Angler Boats boasts, the craft offers “360° fishability, a spacious cabin for staying overnight, and all a family needs for cruising”. Indeed, they’ve certainly squeezed a lot into this 22ft craft, making the Angler 220WA a very user-friendly fishing- and family boat.
What impressed me, though, was that the deck layout of this craft didn’t sacrifice traditional offshore fishability in favour of other uses. The fish deck area provides as much usable space as my 21ft does, and I’ve always considered that fairly large.
However, due to the outmounting of the motors and redesigning of the full transom to provide an aft upholstered seat over the livebait well and wet hatches, some might complain that it would be awkward to guide a hooked fish around the motors. This is true to an extent, because the angler either has to climb onto the transom top or onto the outmount swim platform — I tried it and it is feasible — or else the skipper needs to manoeuvre the craft to suit the angler.
With the 120 gallon built-in fuel tank removing fuel storage from the equation, a lot of onboard stowage is provided, including two large fish hatches that would hold a fair quantity of gamefish for the sportfisherman.
I found the helm station both practical and comfortable, even though the area allocated is reduced width-wise by allowing for the external walkaround and the need to provide for a large entrance door to the cabin. Interestingly, the entire helm console hinges forward to allow for installation and repairs, if necessary. Because you don’t have to allow for access to this area via the cabin, the cabin itself is neat and well appointed.
The cabin provides a comfortable sleeping area for two people, as well a porta-potty, but an electric head is available as an optional extra. It also has refrigeration and a sink that is plumbed into the onboard freshwater supply.
Typical of craft built in the USA, a full range of optional extras is available, but that’s not to say that the craft comes bare of normal hardware. Quite the opposite, in fact. The hardware supplied includes live-well pumps, rod holders, Bimini top and washdowns, among other accessories.
The Bimini or soft-top covering the helm station is extremely well manufactured from marine-grade aluminium. It’s sturdy and, I think, elegant in appearance.
Angler claims their craft’s construction is 100% wood-free — so be it. The glasswork, both externally and throughout the deck area and cabin, is of an extremely high standard and is immaculately finished.
What’s more, when I was riding the craft hard, I purposely listened, watched and felt for hull noise, ripples or flexing. Indeed, quality and strength do lie beneath her pretty exterior. She is very sound.
As a production craft she carries all the niceties of quality hardware. The modifications the factory made to convert this craft from single engine to twin installation were superb. In fact, I wouldn’t have known the changes had even been made if the brochures and Wynand had not drawn it to my attention.
The Angler 220WA which caught my eye at the Miami Boat Show has only grown in stature in my mind, now that I have had the opportunity to spend a few of hours aboard her out at sea.
She fits in very well with the range of craft in her size class in South Africa. Indeed, she is well worth looking at, even if one is not currently in the market for a new boat, because she boasts many aspects that will be of interest to all boaters. •