When it comes to boat ownership, for those who have a passion for boating and the open water, it can quickly become a costly interest. Anything from boat servicing to repairs to maintenance and boat transport, boating is expensive but is also one of life’s pleasures that outweigh the costs. Most boat owners are able to transport their boat to where it needs to be without any problems, usually by towing from their garage to the open water, however what happens when you need your boat transported when you are moving interstate, buying a boat interstate or your boat trailer breaks down? Moving a boat, particularly a larger boat isn’t an easy process and requires specialist expertise.
Transport it yourself
The automatic choice for most people when relocating interstate is to pack as much as they can in the car and trailer boat. Although it would be the obvious choice for short distances, it isn’t ideal for long distances considering the wear and tear you will be putting on your vehicle, the hazards of driving at a considerably slower speed limit on highways, the cost of fuel and potential dangers of towing a heavy load at high speed. The time and energy involved for an individual to tow a boat long distance is often not as beneficial as it seemed in the beginning and sourcing a reputable company to take on this responsibility is usually the better choice. Professional vehicle transporters can provide peace of mind and you trust that your boat is in good hands.
Research boat providers
Searching for a good vehicle transport company is probably the most difficult part when it comes to relocating your precious asset. In fact, this is probably one of the main reasons why people choose to tow their boat in the first place. In some way, it is much easier today to research a particular company or business and find out how professional they really are. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of auto transport companies in Australia, but unfortunately not all of them are trusted experienced professionals. There are comparison sites that can provide boat transport quotes to give you an idea of the costs involved transporting a boat interstate, they usually have reviews available to give you an idea of the business you are dealing with. Ideally, you would want to find a company that is experienced moving boats, has a registered ABN and has a good online rating. Ask friends or family for recommendations, the dealer where you originally purchased your boat or even your local removalist.
Ask the right questions
When it comes to selecting a company who you can trust with your boat, it is important to ask as many questions about the process until you feel comfortable. A business that has been doing it for many years will be knowledgeable and able to explain the entire boat transportation process. Stay away from businesses that aren’t able to answer all you questions or provide a quote that is significantly cheaper than the rest. They usually add on unexpected fees whilst they have your boat in possession.
Quintrex’s Top Enders have always been, and continue to be, some of the most versatile fishing boats available. There’s the side console in this boat when original Top Enders were tiller steered. But perhaps the most profound evolutionary change in this boat is its transom.
In what’s now a third generation of Quintrex’s ‘Maxi Transom’ (designated ‘M3’), the bulkhead rake has been tweaked and bottom sheet extensions each side of the outboard trimmed back. A small deck covered in anti-slip material and a flip-up telescopic ladder now ensure it’s as easy as ever to board from aft.
Inside the bulkhead there’s a shelf for batteries and an oil bottle (if you choose the two-stroke with a remote tank) fitting underneath the covering board—off the deck so your feet can go underneath. There’s also a livewell set into the portside and a central socket for a bait board or tow pole.
In the 470 model Top Ender the helm seat is located close enough to the transom to make it cramped fishing out back (without moving it elsewhere). I guess this is okay for bait fishing, but not so good for trolling. With the passenger seat in its forward socket however, there’s plenty of space portside without cramping access to the foredeck (for small to medium-sized people, anyway).
The bow casting deck is the right size for one person—you’d have to be pretty chummy to fish two up there. This is set 25cm or so above a main deck, which then runs flat all the way to the transom, maintaining a full-depth cockpit. All in all, I think the interior is quite workable for a boat its size.
I wasn’t so happy with the helm, though. I test very few boats where I find the helm comfortable enough for the distances many of us run and I’d have to do some adjusting if I owned a 470 Top Ender.
Boatbuilders face a no-win situation here, simply because we’re all different sizes and there’s no way they can cater for everyone. Nonetheless, it constantly amazes me that so few boat owners bother setting their boats up to be more comfortable at the helm. And it annoys me that so few retailers bother to tell people how easy it is to do so! In this case a seat slider and tilt-adjustable helm would work wonders—at a price.
As side consoles go, I liked the way this one has been shaped to leave deck space for tackle and iceboxes. I also liked the substantial grab bar and, whatever you think of windscreens on consoles, I appreciated this one on the cold winter morning of our test.
Stowage is at a premium in any fishing boat and in the 470 Top Ender, Quintrex has made good use of rotomoulded plastic liners in two spacious stowage lockers at the back end of the bow casting deck, and in the main deck just behind it. The foredeck anchor well is lined too, and there’s another (unlined) compartment in the casting deck forward of the lined one.
Wash-down after a messy fishing session is catered for by a set of bungs draining the deck overboard once the boat’s back on its trailer. What a great idea! Note that this boat’s deck is not self-draining.
Below deck there’s a 70L fuel tank—plenty for a boat rated to a 60hp motor—and the options list includes a subsidiary 42L tank for people who need more fuel.
The 470 Top Ender handles chop in fine style—only a ’glass boat its size, and a good one at that, could match it.
Talking size, this boat’s ‘470’ designation is confusing. Quintrex states the ‘hull length’ as 5.08m with an overall length of 5.16m. This means 5.16m including the bowsprit, while the 5.08m is the length from the ’point’ of the bow to the outboard mount.
You’ll need to be aware that the way other manufacturers measure their boats might make this a 5m boat!
In any case, for a fishing boat, the 470 Top Ender is big enough for inshore/offshore and big bay fishing while not too big to be useable in creeks.
I hate to drag up the same old issue time and again with Quintrex, but I can’t let the lack of rod stowage in an otherwise excellent fishing boat pass without pointing out that side-deck rod holders do not, in my opinion, constitute rod stowage and clever use of rotomoulded liners.
Quintrex 470 TOP Ender Specifications
Hull bottom: 3mm
Hull sides: 1.6mm
Length overall: 5.16m
Hull weight: 403kg
Min power: 40hp
Max power: 60hp
Max motor weight: 157kg
Fuel tank: 70L (plus optional 42L)
Price: basic BMT packages from $27,987