by Dom Wiseman

Quintrex recently launched their Yellowfin Plate boat update in Brisbane and we were on hand to take a look. There have been some massive changes and the investment made into the brand comes on the back of a rather busy but not entirely innovative local scene. That means they see potential for growth and the increased range and offering certainly puts them in the box seat to meet that growth target.

The plate boat market is a very busy and occupied space with several overseas brands also competing with the local manufacturers. Some of them build great boats. They are a tough uncompromising build with longevity and durability that is often unmatched by any other construction method. Thick sheets of aluminium are welded together over a substructure. Unlike conventional aluminium boats, plate boat panels are not stretch formed. Therefore angles and curves are not as possible with this construction method. What the thicker sheets mean is more weight and a stiffer, tougher boat. One that is capable of serious offshore runs and large gamefish.

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Plate aluminium are the serious end of the aluminium boat brigade. To reinvigorate their own slice of the pie, Yellowfin Plate boats have focussed on just a few key changes to their boats and an enhanced line up. They still range in models from 5800 to 7600 but there is now a rear console, center console, hardtop, folding hardtop and centre cabin boats. Unlike many other manufacturers of plate aluminium boats and perhaps borrowing from the Quintrex experience, the refinement in these new Yellowfin plate models seems much higher. Sure, I did see a webbing grab handle that should have been aluminium, but on the whole across all models the finish seems just that little more classy. It is after all, the little things, the one percenters, that we tend to focus on. And so too have Yellowfin.

They have set about revolutionising the plate market and the development of the new models has been focussed on adding customer comforts into what is traditionally a rough and tumble build. They have modernised and added options such as a lockable roller door on the Southerner models, added a toilet in the centre cabin boats, offer the option of suspension seating across the range and increased the freedom of movement across the entire boat. Seating, dry storage, tackle box storage and esky storage aren’t an afterthought. They are carefully considered elements of a good build.

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Major changes have also taken place structurally with a Folding hardtop and windscreen added for some models. It takes a couple of minutes and is best done with two. Fuel tanks across the entire range have also been increased for long ocean runs and now start at 190 liters in the smaller 5800 models and up to 380 liters in the 7600’s. The dive ladder is a much more sturdy and user friendly design and the transom door re-imagined for simple use.

The Electronics now play a much more important part of the build. Dash space has been increased to fit modern electronics, up to 16 inch in-dash displays in some cases. The access to important parts such as the isolator switch, so often placed in obscure locations on any boat, has been simplified and to deal with the larger electronics, an 80 amp circuit breaker is used instead of a fuse panel. This offer better on water use. If something happens, simply flick the switch again instead of looking for a spare fuse.

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On the exterior, 2 and 3 tone paint is used offering a tough strong finish. They have left areas of high wear such as the outside of the gunwales and transom unpainted. It results in a great look across the range. The carpet and deck grip are both robust enough to handle extreme use and I like the new blackout theme of black burley bucket, hatches, cutting boards and fittings.

They ride fantastically too. The work done on the hulls is evident once you step aboard and give it a squirt. The boat handles well, and in the case of the rear console, blasts along with an Evinrude 175hp like a boat possessed by Lewis Hamilton’s F1 McLaren. It is a sweet ride, that corners hard, not so hard that it will throw you out though. It has a nice little bed in as it turns a corner at speed. The fine entry at the bow slices through waves effortlessly and while at rest it’s as stable as a rock.

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There are now 7 variants to choose from and a total of 27 models. This is a major upscale from the previous 10, so Yellowfin have invested heavily on more staffing to fulfil meet the demands of the new range. They are made in a purpose built and independently run section of the factory to the rest of the Telwater product. They are hand built by 17 builders specialising in plate construction. From what we have seen, they’re certainly going to add some spice to the plate market.

Look out for the review of the Yellowfin Rear Console coming soon.