I still remember the first time I saw a Dickey boat. It was almost six years ago, in May, at the 2007 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show.
The vessel was the curiously-named Dickey Semifly 28. It was magnificent. Despite sitting outside (instead of inside under the flattering bright lights) its superb workmanship was, nevertheless, clearly visible. It was hard to imagine that this was an aluminium boat.
I was not the only one affected. From memory, the Semifly 28 was one of the main topics of discussion around the show.
The show's organisers, those visiting the show and even the other boatbuilders were all genuinely surprised and impressed.
So, too, were the judges of that year's annual Boat of the Show Awards. They selected it as the winner of the fiercely contested Boat of the Show: Aluminium Fishing Boat Open award.
Since then, Napier-based Dickey Boats have gone from strength to strength.
They now have two model ranges: their larger Semifly "launch" designs (the Semifly basically means semi-flybridge) and their custom trailer boat range.
Their latest release is one of the smaller models from the latter. The Dickey 750X is a variation of the company's popular 750 and has been designed for those who want to overnight (the X means extended stay). Included in the design are a galley, enclosed head, fresh water shower, overall cockpit canvas camper pack and two double berths. Now that's not bad on a 7.5-metre trailer boat, especially one that also boasts a good-sized cockpit for fishing and diving.
Being a custom boat, this first 750X has obviously been designed to cater specifically for its owner. As a result, it comes with a fully enclosed head compartment, rather than a toilet under the forward squab. While that certainly occupies extra space, it does have the advantage of not requiring the bedding to be pulled up if one needs to go in the middle of the night.
With the double bi-fold doors able to be opened even when the double berth is made up, it also offers privacy to those changing in the cabin.
Although seating options are up to each owner, for the 750X, Dickey recommends a double bench seat (with a reversible backrest) to port and single pedestal for the skipper.
Under the bench seat is the small galley. It consists of a single-burner gas cooker, a stainless steel sink unit and a fresh water tank with a 60-litre capacity.
The latter also connects to a fresh water shower, situated in the aft deck area, and a couple of pretty clever fresh water hand wash sprays. Simply operated by applying knee or leg pressure against a coaming-mounted switch, they are a great idea for a quick hand wash when fishing.
A certified gas locker under the bench unit contains the portable gas bottle, with space alongside for storage.
When the galley is not in use, the bench seat combines with a forward "dickey" seat and slide out extension to allow seating for four around a fold-up table.
Thanks to the special attention paid to the shape and size of the bench seat backrest, infill base and table, it can all fold down and, with cushions in place, create a handy second double berth.
The seating is all raised, which not only gives great all-round visibility when seated but also provides extra storage areas underneath. Flip-up footrests are conveniently placed and don't get in the way when not required.
Right throughout the 750X, Dickey Boats' commitment to excellence is evident and the all-alloy hardtop is yet another example. In addition to the welcome sliding side windows, it has been fitted with blue tinted safety glass. Dickey computer designs its own glass panels and they all feature Dickey's personalised fade out and logo printed around the edges - yet another nice touch to a quality boat. The hardtop is also built strong enough to stand on.
Although the cockpit has obviously been designed for fishing, high sides and the lack of a walk-through in the transom ensure it is also a safe haven for young children. There are wide, flat coamings (great for fishermen and divers), full-length trays either side (for rods, gaffs and the like) and a flat, self-draining cockpit sole covered in custom-made non-skid co-polymer foam deck tread.
There is no underfloor stowage as, apart from the 300-litre fuel tank down the centre, the rest has been retained for buoyancy. There is, however, a 110-litre cooler/fish bin in the centre of the aft area and, above, on top of the wide transom, one of Dickey's custom-made bait stations. This incorporates a live bait tank underneath and, for easy access, a swivelling bait board.
With a Honda 250hp outboard on the transom and a Lexor 15in 3-blade stainless steel prop doing the work, the 750X averaged a top speed of 32.5 knots. Its best cruising was in the 22-26 knot range, burning around 30 litres per hour.
The hull and superstructure are built from 4mm or 5mm 5083 alloy and there is a 6mm double plate, which floods at rest, in the keel. The result is a 7.9m alloy hardtop with a dry weight of 2260kg.
Want to know more?
Check out the comprehensive boat test on the Dickey 750X in the May/June issue of Pacific Powerboat magazine or at www.pacificpowerboat.com.
• LOA 7.90m
• Beam 2.50m
• Deadrise 20 degrees
• Construction Aluminium
• Trailerable weight 2260kg (dry)
• Engine Honda 250 4-stroke outboard
• Power options 200-300hp outboard or sterndrive
• Fuel capacity 300 Litres
• Water capacity 60 Litres.
• Price as described $200,000