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Lifestyle : Boat Show 2011
1HERSA1 S019 SALT OF THE BERTH You don't need a goldmine to make waves; kayaks, tinnies and runabouts offer plenty of pleasure for those on a budget, writes David Lockwood. Out and about . . . (from left) the trusty aluminium Aussie staple; a Haines Signature bowrider; kayak instructors Symon Rawles and Jesse Warburg hit the water. Main photo: Tanya Lake Quintessentially Australian, true blue and dinki-di, the trusty tinnie is a great place to start your boating adventures. The knockabout boat is made from aluminium like the namesake can and fits the low- fuss ideals of pleasure seekers on the water. But for those who seek even more simple things in life, ditch the engine altogether and jump into a kayak. Cast your eyes around the harbour or nearby estuary on a sunny weekend and you'll see everyone is doing it -- paddling -- and for good reason: there is no more affordable, user-friendly and convenient craft than a plastic kayak. Strap it to your roof racks or shove it in the wagon, drag it over a harbour park, leap aboard and strike out early, before the wind and boat waves. Troll a line out the back -- such is their stealth that there's a 'yak fishing community -- and you might catch dinner. Then pull into a cafe or boat-only accessible beach for lunch. All that's left is to hose off the hull and stick the kayak in the shed until the following weekend. Maintenance is virtually non-existent. You can get afloat in a kayak from about $600 but $1000 will buy you a beauty with a more comfortable seat, better paddle, dry storage and drink holder. Tell the salesman you want rod holders and a storage area for a small icebox, too. If you prefer something a little faster, you'll need an outboard engine and that trusty tinnie. A 12-foot model is the right size boat in Sydney, where ferry wakes, ocean swells and strong winds can create confused water. There are two types of open tinnie: the bass, barra and bream fishing craft with lower gunwales, more beam, and a blunter entry; and the traditional dory-style tinnie or boat. The former is popular with anglers who demand stability when standing to cast a lure, whereas the latter rides much better in a bump. Tinnies are built right around the country, including in Sydney under the Brooker and Sea-Al badges. A 12-foot Sea-Al Wanderer with 15hp outboard, safety gear, and single-axle trailer will set you back about $5500. Bait and ice extra. You'll also need a pair of muffs to flush the engine at the end of the day but a quick hose will do. The most popular tinnie packages at Andrew Short Marine (long a trader in the precious-metal craft) in Taren Point is the Brooker 410 Fisherman. You get a few more creature comforts by way of a carpeted flat floor, two thwart seats, extruded side decks and even better stability and seaworthiness. With a 30hp outboard, bilge pump, safety gear and single-axle trailer, you can hit the harbour or bay for about $9400. A painted hull will tip you into the $10,000 bracket. Moving up a price point to $15,000 puts you behind the wheel of a runabout package. With a windscreen, canopy or bimini top and a couple of seats, you'll derive better weather protection. Add a ski rope and you can tow tykes on tubes or a surfboard. Chuck a couple of crab traps in the water between runs and dad will be happy. Then do a picnic lunch ashore under the she-oaks. Unsurprisingly, fishing is the motive behind most small boaters -- in fact, it's the reason so many roll out of bed before dawn on a weekend. To this end, the centre console takes some beating. With the helm in the middle of the boat, you can fish off every side, while the ride is much kinder when you are standing on your feet holding on to a rail around the centre console. You'll need about $22,000 to get into a decent aluminium centre console. But from this point, tinnies lose some of their appeal. Above 16-feet, you'll derive a lot more class from glass. Pleasure boaters can -opt for a fibreglass family bowrider for about $30,000. The bowrider takes its name from the seating up front, coveted by kids. An excellent Australian-made Haines Signature cuddy cabin with a couple of small berths in which to catch 40 winks when not reeling them in can be had for between $35,000 and $50,000. Thereafter, the sky's the limit and trailer boats tend to evolve into specialised sport-fishing machines, watersports towing craft and weekenders afloat with tickets up to and beyond $100,000. With a boat in tow, hitting the holiday road takes on a whole new meaning and the simple pleasures derived from sallying forth or setting sail in a small boat shouldn't be underestimated. After all, Huck Finn, Hiawatha and Tom Sawyer had a boat-load of fun. The Sydney Morning Herald July 23- 24, 2011 19 SPECIAL REPORT
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