Built for Leisure
Whether it’s a fully kitted out fishing rig or a DIY project you’re wanting to complete at your own pace, the LeisureCraft 6.0m Camo could be for you, reports BARRY WISEMAN.
For only $24,000 you get the latest base model bluewater 6m centre console from LeisureCat Australia/Malaysia, the Camo series fibreglass mono vessel.
From there, it’s up to you what it turns into.
You can custom fit the boat to your requirements and style for fishing, leisure, or commercial use.
The team at LeisureCat’s Henderson complex can complete the fit out for you, but many boaters also like to do much of the work themselves according to their budget.
What you do get is a very solid, foam-filled hull with built-in fuel tank, complete electrical wiring, navigation lights, heavy-duty battery switch, decking fittings, kill tank, self-draining deck and bilge pump, compass, and heaps of storage.
A big attraction for many is the raised casting deck up front, complete with four very large lockers.
The gunwale at the bow has another anchor rope locker located behind the stainless bow sprit.
Options are there for either a winch or hand-haul anchoring.
LeisureCat has been on the local boating scene since the late 1990s, producing heavy-duty catamarans to cope with Australia’s roughest oceans.
Its reputation soon spread worldwide and today many government agencies, law enforcement bodies and private individuals fly its flag around the globe.
The move into supplying a mono-hull vessel is a relatively recent one and follows requests largely from the marine tourist and charter fishing industries for small but roomy tender vessels that could ferry customers to inshore fishing grounds and mangrove creeks.
The design team came up with the 6.0m Camo, a centre console vessel that can accommodate a fibreglass hard top or a larger soft top designed to throw more shade over the deck areas.
The size of the cover is determined by the weight factor; moulded fibreglass being heavier whereas a marine canvas top can be supported by the stainless steel frame manufactured to suit each application.
Naval architects have safety guidelines to adhere to so that each vessel passes strict marine safety regulations.
While LeisureCat’s manufacturing plant is located in Malaysia, closer to international shipping routes than Fremantle, all vessels are designed and built to Australian and international standards.
For those bound for Australia, the final fit out is completed at Henderson, south of Fremantle.
The mono-hull range is being marketed under the LeisureCraft name rather than LeisureCat.
Company founder and board member of the Boating Industry Association of Western Australia, Kevin Horsley, knows the LeisureCat product inside out.
Since day one and the first boat show exhibition at the Hillarys Boat Harbour in 1999, he has been instrumental in assisting boaters, professional and recreational, in their ventures into the catamaran market.
The developments LeisureCat has made in the twin-hulled design now continues into the mono hull.
Everyone heading onto the water, up the river or heading offshore, knows they are going to get wet.
Not every day is going to be like glass. In fact, few are.
Whether large or small, a boat is going to take a greenie over the side.
Keeping your gear and the boat’s electrics dry is always a concern.
Like the hatches on the big cats, LeisureCat has made sure the storage covers on the 6m Camo’s casting platform and foredeck help protect what’s underneath.
Large gutters have been manufactured around each lid that can take water away and prevent a build-up leaking into the hatch.
The four hatch lids come with heavy-duty stainless hinges and locking latches and the gutters have a moulded drain to clear any water.
The foredeck comes with a step and the whole structure can double as a day bed or seat with the addition of cushions.
The base model boat comes without the addition of stainless railing.
That, like the size and choice of engine and electronics, is left to the customer.
“We find that some people want low-profile railing, and some want higher safety grab rails, depending on their application,” said Kevin Horsley.
“We leave that to the customer. Whatever they want we can fit.”
The hull comes with a spacious deck plus the centre console with Perspex windscreen.
The angled lower dash panel can accommodate up to a 16-inch electronic display while the upper portion can take another 10-inch unit.
Engine remote control, stereo sound unit and engine management gauges can also fit in front of the helm while the console can accommodate the marine radio.
Location and just how many electronics you need is your decision, whether you do it yourself or have LeisureCat do it for you.
Outboard engine choice is yours too.
LeisureCat is associated with West Coast Suzuki Marine at their Henderson premises, however customers can select the brand of their choice.
The Camo series has a transom power recommendation of between 90-150hp.
The owner of this edition’s review vessel went for the latest Suzuki 115hp four-stroke, which boasts increased speed and acceleration from the two-litre displacement inline four-cylinder motor.
Sea trials have produced speeds up to 38 knots, with Suzuki claiming increased fuel efficiency on early models.
These latest Suzukis are also easier for owners to carry out their own maintenance.
Access to change the oil filter is via removing the top cover, plus a drip tray has been built in to catch any excess oil when removing the old filter.
The oil level gauge is nearby and easy to access.
Supplying fuel to feed the Suzuki is a 180-litre tank fitted beneath the deck and there is the optional upgrade to 260 litres.
Of course, the deck-mounted filler and breather are included.
Pop-up cleats are fitted in the side decks and there are multiple storage lockers as well as those on the foredeck.
There’s a sizable kill tank located under the deck.
In front of the console there is a bench seat and the floor has access to a hatch leading to a very deep kill tank capable of holding a good-sized spaniard.
“It’s built into the deep-vee hull and can accommodate those big mackerel found in northern waters. Because of this vessel’s low profile on the road, we find a lot of fishers are selecting the CC model because of the roominess on offer and ease of towing long distances. Plus, you have a full 360-degrees walkaround vessel and that’s why it is also popular with commercial charter boat operators to use from the mothership,” Kevin said.
Not only is the casting platform a favourite for anglers, the foredeck doubles as a work platform for crayfishers bringing pots on board.
Raised around 400mm above the deck floor, the platform is a workable height and there is room in the gunwale for a drop-in pot tipper/winch.
Other anglers are also opting to fit a GPS-assisted electric motor to the bow section to keep them in location or for stealth operations when chasing certain species.
In fact some customers have ordered the vessel in camouflage colours, especially law enforcement agencies, which was one of the original decisions behind making the 6m CC Camo series.
The design of its hull makes it a fast and agile mover, with an 18-degree entry and 22-degree deadrise at the transom.
Full-length strakes keep it true to course and its reverse chines give it stability at rest.
The transom has a walk-through on the port side and there’s a rubber gunwale rub-rail down the sides.
As mentioned earlier, your $24,000 will give you the hull and console and electrical wiring.
Navigation lights, bilge pump and compass are also part of the package with deck cleats.
The buyer has optional features such as a galvanised or aluminium trailer, T-bar sun/rain protection overhead comprising heavy duty stainless steel bar work and moulded fibreglass or marine canvas, baitboard and rocket launchers, and hydraulic or cable steering for whichever motor they decided to go with.
There’s also the bow and side railing to think about.
LeisureCat can supply and fit all of the above and more.
Alternatively, they can give advice to the customer who wants to complete the boat themselves.
The owner of the review vessel has a floating dock at his canal home and elected to have the LeisureCat team fit the Suzuki 115hp motor plus electronics.
He had no need for a trailer as he operates in local waters around Mandurah.
The Camo’s draft of just 30cm allows him to fish the shallows in the Peel-Harvey Estuary system, plus the beam of 2.17m provides deck space and the bluewater hull allows him to chase bigger stuff offshore.
He opted for the installation of a bench seat with a set of rocket launches along the back, a deck wash, plus a set of clears from the top of the console to the fibreglass hard top for protection from the spray or rain.
Kevin pointed out many fishers want more protection from the sun, especially those venturing north, and will therefore choose the soft top cover which, due to the weight factor, allows more shade fore and aft.
The stainless bar work can also incorporate grab rails and rod/rocket launchers.
The marine canvas comes with a 10-year warranty.
These T-top options are made locally to suit the buyer’s needs and come with a stainless steel or alloy frame.
Seating options behind the console include a steel frame with a forward/reverse bench, leaving space beneath the framework to store ice boxes.
Alternatively, some skippers are happy with a pedestal arrangement, leaving the rear open.
The 6m Camo is rated to carry four people with the emphasis on open space.
It’s up to the skipper to fit it out as they need.
The other main optional feature to decide on is the bait station/cutting board and there’s a range available, portable or fixed.
Many people opt for the ‘drop-in’ type that slots into stainless rod holders screwed into the transom or side gunwales.
One huge advantage of launching on your own boat project, once you have made the initial purchase of $24,000 in the case of the Camo 6m, is you can add to it as the funding and time become available.
Start now and it will be ready for next summer.
The owner of the review boat was happy to pick up the completed rig which cost him just under $58,000.
Doing it as a long-term project you could probably do it cheaper. Worth thinking about.
PROS & CONS
- Custom fit to your requirements.
- Factory installation or DIY.
- Complete the job according to your budget.
- Heavy duty foam-filled hull.
- Bluewater vessel with plenty of deck space.
- Your choice of engine, electronics and trailer.
- Fibreglass or marine canvas soft top.
- The base model is lacking some of the features most serious anglers will want. Most boating anglers have their preferences for the configuration of their craft according to the style of fishing and use. However, there is a distinct advantage of starting with a bare hull and adding components, rather than taking delivery of a standard production boat. Rarely do you get everything you need in a package. The LeisureCraft 6.0m Camo base hull and console is an affordable package that allows you to choose your options and have them completed in-house or as a do-it-yourself project. I think many boaters would be attracted to this option