NEWS & REVIEWS
Mark Robinson | February-March 2008 | Power Boat Magazine
The Theodore 720 Profish is the latest craft in the burgeoning range of vessels built by veteran shipwright Jim Theodore and has received a very warm welcome wherever it has been displayed. As well, it received a Commendation award in 2007 Australian Marine Industry Federation Awards. Beating out most of the competition in the hotly contested Fishing Trailerable (GRP Over 6m) field., the Sport 720 was pipped at the post by the very slightest of margins and then only by a power catamaran. Whether or not it is fair to judge a mono hull against a cat is a matter of opinion, but nevertheless that is how the awards are currently structured so kudos must go to Jim for his achievement.
Interestingly, over 80 percent of the Theodore craft built to date have been sold to blokes in the 50-60 year old range, a fact which suggests that the quality of the build has been an important component in the decision making process at the time of purchase. Blokes who've reached that stage in life when quality is paramount will look deeper into a vessel that makes their short than perhaps a younger, more naive boater will.
This is the first outboard powered craft in the range with earlier vessels sporting variations of sterndrive diesel power; the sparkling performance offered by a powerful outboard may attract a younger buyer. And with its stylish Targa, nicely positioned rocket launcher, practical bait board, rod holder and outrigger setup, this vessel should interest serious recreational anglers.
A huge advantage of a craft with an outboard configuration is that with the hull anti-fouled it can be moored with a minimal degree of maintenance required. Want to go fishing? Step aboard, lower the engine, turn the key, idle out of the marina then hit that throttle and sit back for a fast and comfortable ride. Back at your berth, a quick fresh water flush and hose down should see you front up to the bar, waxing lyrical about your catch and enjoying that first cold beer.
DESIGN & LAYOUT
All Theodore craft feature a hand laid-up moulded fibreglass hull with the hull and deck joint-bonded and internally fibreglassed to provide great structural integrity and long term owner confidence.The grid stringer system provides built in buoyancy with sealed, divided under-floor compartments and by using moulded fibreglass to create this system, timber bearers- so often subject to rot - are completely eliminated.
With a moulded hull length of 7.2 metres, a LOA of 8.04 metres and a beam of 2.5 metres this is a brawny and quite roomy craft with outstanding sea-keeping qualities, thanks to its variable deadrise, deep forefoot, three well-spaced planing strakes, solid chines and a transom deadrise of 20 degrees.
Writing up a test of a sister ship I commented about how well its nicely flared bow deflects water well away from the craft and occupants, to the point where I would think that even in an open configuration, skipper and passengers would remain dry. Now the 720 Profish is pretty well as open a configuration as one can get and on the day of this test I asked Jim to charge through some of the Gulf St. Vincent's notorious chop at speed in order to see how correct my dry ride prediction was.
Well, even when the entire craft was totally obscured by water being thrown every which way to the point that from the camera boat we could only just make out the pennants on the top of the outriggers, no water came aboard and Jim and his passengers remained completely dry. A close inspection of the dash didn't reveal a drop of water, thanks to the very clever hull design.
When it became my turn to take the helm well thought out ergonomics of the previous Theodore were apparent and I reckon part of this is due to the fact that Jim is a hefty sort of bloke and this is reflected both in the room provided at the helm and the spacious seating arrangement. Together this makes the vessel comfortable to skipper, whether standing or seated, while the slightlines forward are quite good in either position for a bloke of average height; the taller among us would still have plenty of headroom and even better sighting.
As you would expect for a craft with the same underwater configuration of its sister ships, the 720 Profish has similar handling characteristics as other Theodore models, giving the skipper great confidence as it takes on the steep and close wind generated waves of Gulf St. Vincent, landing softly each and every time, even after becoming airborne when driven at exhilarating speed. A speed mind you, at which lesser craft would have the teeth of those aboard loosening in their gums with every hard landing.
And with the 250 ponies generated by the Mercury Verado fitted to the test craft the vessel simply flew, leaping on the plane with just a slight push of the throttle and then generating neck-snapping acceleration, quickly achieving its top speed of 42 knots. The craft has a power rating of 200-300hp and I reckon would go just about as well with a 200, although perhaps not quite as much fun. As for a bigger outboard, well I think the 300 would only be the right choice if offshore racing was your priority or you are just an incorrigible dyed-in-the-wool marine petrol head.
As a lifelong professional shipwright, Jim Theodore takes huge pride in his design and construction methods and rightly so. These vessels are the seagoing equivalent of an army tank in terms of structural strength, yet are finished in flawless gel coat the equal of any craft out there in the boating marketplace and better than many.
With a huge list of standard features and a list of impressive options the 720 Profish can be set up to even the most discriminating owner's requirements and with a five year transferable hull warranty. What more could you ask?