running L-R 4.JPG

Following our report in the last issue (No. 62 – June 2014), Jim Theodore and his team at Theodore Marine completed this first twin outboard version of the Theodore 720 Offshore Enclosed Hardtop in time the boat and fishing show in October.

We got to test this new twin 150hp Suzuki 4-stroke variant recently off Outer Harbor and fortunately, had time enough to take in most of the customised features of what is (for now) Jim’s own boat.

A consummate professional, Jim had opted for the best possible solutions for every aspect of operation aboard the 720 Offshore, starting at the bow with a SARCA anchor, its 100m of rope and 8m of chain fed through a s.s. hawse from a Universal Electric Winch set in the anchor well and accessible via a bow bulkhead hatch in the cuddy.

The fully lined cuddy offered a V berth for sleeping two adults with full length padded shelves, a marine toilet, the boat’s Simrad sound system with Bluetooth and a sliding, lockable door. A large tinted Lewmar hatch let in light and gave access to the foredeck.

At the helm we found a large 16” Simrad NSS7 Evo2 touchscreen multifunction unit, set above two smaller units for the auto pilot and engine telemetry, as well as a Simrad wireless VHF radio handset. Only a single Suzuki gauge was required, set just ahead of the twin-engine remote for the Suzukis’ fly-by-wire throttles plus trim.

Very comfortable, adjustable helm seats were mounted on ‘glass pedestals, which housed both a fire extinguisher and storage space. Further seating was provided on moulded storage boxes behind each helm seat. Under the cushion of that to starboard was access to a Xantrex Truecharge2 20Amp multi-stage, power factor corrected battery charger.

Beneath the self-draining cockpit’s sole, we knew, were twin 50 litre freshwater bladders, the 500 litre fuel tank mounted amidships and all the way aft, rated buoyancy foam. Above the tasteful marine carpet ran full length cockpit shelves while each side deck held two capped rod holders and a recessed s.s. grab rail.

At the transom we found, in the starboard stern quarter, a small hatch behind which were isolator switches for “port start”, “stbd. start”, “emerg. parallel” and “house”.

As well we noted two BEP digital voltage sensitive relays which, by allowing both start and house batteries to be charged simultaneously, not only prevented the draining of start batteries but also, therefore, protected the multi-thousand dollar Simrad suite installed at the helm.

In the centre of the inner transom, above floor level, a large hatch housed the three batteries, while to either side, smaller hatches gave access to the twin Suzuki’s Sea Star Optimus steering servos. Under the carpet ahead of the battery locker was access to a bilge cavity, housing automatic and manual bilge pumps with high water alarms. These were repeated in a similar cavity toward the bow. 

A robust fresh/sea water deck wash was installed in the port stern quarter. Atop the transom was a storage well to each side and central plumbed bait tank.

As we moved out into the Gulf we noted the six-rod ‘launcher, radome, GPS aerial, radio antennae and grab rails atop and on the pillars the hardtop. 

Out on calm waters we cruised in comfort before opening the throttles and stirring up some wake and wash. This involved several tight, fast turns to both port and starboard, made effortless by the Optimus steering system. The Offshore heeled in nicely while the twin, counter-rotating 150hp Suzuki “Lean Burn” 4-strokes delivered seamless power.

There would be few boats of this size that could boast the sheer strength and rigidity of the Theodore’s moulded ‘glass stringer module, bracing the hand-laid hull, built to survey standards and carrying a 10 year warranty.

No matter what manoeuvre we tried, over whatever disturbance we could create, the 720 Offshore just ate it all up with quiet efficiency.

As for performance, we noted 24 knots @ 3,500 rpm (36 lph), 28 knots @ 4,000 rpm (40 lph), 37 knots @ 5,000 rpm (92 lph) and 40 knots @ 5,500 rpm (124 lph).

Shot out of the hole the Suzukis had us at 40 knots in just 17 seconds. Later, running on only the starboard engine, we cruised nicely doing 30 knots at 4,800 rpm, “insurance” indeed.

In terms of performance, ride and fitment, we think that this is Jim’s best interpretation yet of his remarkable 720 Offshore, as much for the enclosed hardtop as for those Suzukis.