On Friday 4th May Matthew Willett and Scott Ellis from Matthew Willett Marine embarked from Sydney Harbour en route to the Gold Coast City Marina to deliver the European Powerboat of the year, the Prestige 500. The purpose of the trip was to get the boat up there in time for the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show 24-27 May and rather than a last minute rush we decided to leave early, given favourable weather. In company with us was Jed Elderkin from E Marine Australia aboard his show boat, the Sabre 40.
Conditions on day one were average with a moderate southerly blowing through and seas 1-2m from the SSE. The boat to its credit maintained a cursing speed of 21kts for most of the day averaging just over 100lph. We ducked into Port Stephens for a quick diversion (fuelled by my desire for a Bacon and Egg Roll with Coffee) and headed North around Seal Rocks, past Forster, Port Macquarie and finally pulled into Coffs Harbour fuel wharf around 7pm on Friday night. It was basically a 12 hour sea run on day one but the best part about making Coffs Harbour on day 1 is that Day 2 is generally a short one!
Having dropped my wallet in the water at Coffs Harbour Jed quickly jumped in and saved the day so rather than the standard pizza for dinner I felt it only fair that we have a decent meal close by. Fed and watered we all slept exceptionally well ready for a 6am start once again. On day 2 we checked the weather, the Southerly’s had been forecast to increase along with the seas but whilst it was from the South we knew both boats could handle it. As we left and turned North the boat settled into its rhythm once again and we averaged 21-22kts for the first few hours. When we approached Cape Byron however, as it so often does the seas flattened, the sun came out and we enjoyed a superb run into the Gold Coast sea way arriving at 1pm.
The Prestige 500 performed flawlessly throughout the trip and I have to say the Simrad gear on board was a pleasure to operate. I have never experienced such a stiff and correct autopilot than this Simrad unit and in a following sea we held true and straight along our track at all times. The twin IPS 500 Volvo engines purred the whole way, were economical to run and never showed any sign of wavering under the conditions. The sea keeping ability of the Prestige 500 was superb, a high dry hull kept us clear of spray, the ride was soft and the excessive slapping that I have seen in many infused/injection moulded hulls was not evident in this ride at all. I can put my hand on my heart now and honestly say that apart from being the best laid out 50ft boat in the local market today, it also has the performance and seakeeping ability that we have come to expect as the temptation to stretch our boating legs just a bit further up the coast becomes a real factor in a boat buying decision. All in all a great trip!