By Alex Julius Powered by a 200 E-TEC, the OceanMaster 651 is a beautifully-finished, remarkable offshore trailer boat. Except in the most-adverse conditions, it refuses to come down hard. Trim the engine up and it will remain incredibly dry. And if you take it into a barra creek, it’s as much at home as a lion on the Serengeti. The Goomadeer River is tucked away right at the apex of Junction Bay in Arnhem Land. During the Top End dry season, often as not, a stiff easterly wind will push sharp, steep, metre-plus waves straight into the bay. In your typical trailer boat around 6 metres in length, when the wind blows against the tide, and the waves are particularly close together, getting out of the bay from the river mouth, a distance of about 12 km, can take more than an hour. It’s a fight all the way. The first time I took NAFA 2, my new OceanMaster 651 Twister, out of the Goomadeer and into the teeth of a 25 knot easterly blowing white caps across Junction Bay, that same 12 km took only 20 minutes to cross, and it was comfortable all the way. I had three people with me, and one of them, Shimano’s Terry Dunphy, was literally moved to say: “There’s no doubt this is the best trailer boat into a sea that I’ve ever been in; it doesn’t seem to bang at all.” Terry summed up my own thoughts, and I was feeling pretty happy with my latest aquatic acquisition. Powered by a 200 E-TEC, the OceanMaster 651 is a beautifully-finished, remarkable offshore trailer boat. Except in the most-adverse conditions, it refuses to come down hard. Trim the engine up and it will remain incredibly dry. And if you take it into a barra creek, it’s as much at home as a lion on the Serengeti. PERFORMANCE There’s hardly been a person aboard the NAFA 2 who hasn’t commented on how quiet the E-TEC 200 is. Prior to this latest rig, I’d been running 4-strokes almost from the day they first came out. Back then, the sudden change from a noisy 2-stroke to a quiet 4-stroke was a revelation. I haven’t done any decibel tests, but I’d be most surprised if there are any 200 4-strokes on the market that are quieter than the 2-stroke E-TEC 200 HO. A typical day for me will be nine hours on the water, running the 2.5 tonne OceanMaster at roughly 4200 rpm between fishing spots. That gives me a speed of about 50 kph and excellent fuel consumption of about 42 litres per hour. At barra trolling speed, I’m using only a litre of unleaded an hour, and even less casting with the motor running in neutral most of the time. Depending on how far I’m traveling, my average hourly fuel consumption is between 5 and 16 litres. Impressive as that low level of fuel consumption is, I suppose the difference that stands out the most between this boat powered by an E-TEC compared to many other boats I’ve owned with 4 –strokes is the sheer power of the 2-stroke. When I push that throttle forward, it gets up and boogies so quickly that it takes your breath away. And yet, when I’m trolling, I can get engine operation down to a consistent 500 rpm which, the way I fish, means more barra.
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