Wednesday, June 27, 2007

C-Ski 440 by Steve Ellis

"Spumbu" C-Ski 440 made by Steve Ellis at Fibre Tech

At a Glance: The C-Ski 440 by Steve Ellis is an impressive boat, very 'clean and simple'. I think you would have to be a seasoned spearfishermen to appreciate its design. It comes without the flare and finished you find on show room floors.
But having designed and built a boat, I understand it to be functional design. I will let you in ona little secret.... I copied much of what I saw Steve doing when I designed my boat.

First Impressions: Lets take a look at the C-Ski 440's layout. If you are looking at the C-Ski with a center console then this what you will get.
Starting at the transom there is a small hatch, big enough for a yellow safety can and life jackets etc. It is quiet deep and any thing you dont want fish on can go in there.
Next is the center console, the battery lives in here and there is some space for some extras. There is enough space on the center console for a gps / fish finder and compass. The steering and controls will be up to you to decide on ... and thats another whole discussion.
The fish (main) hatch is nice and big, it was designed for spearfishing. Steve is an experienced spearo and designed the boat to suit the needs of spearfishermen. Thats why when you look at most smallish boats designed for fishing the hatches are frustratingly small.
The fuel hatch takes one 25l standard fuel can (the flat one you get with the motor). There is space for a small 10l or15l spare.

The Testa: I was recently up in Mozambique and Iain Ewing brought his C-Ski 440 with. We had fairly good conditions, but did have the odd trip in some serious weather. So I think I have a pretty good idea of how the boat preforms on the water and its practicality for Spearfishing.
The ride for a small boat is excellent, look there was the odd chop that the boat did bounce a little and the occasional spray of bow water. But I have been on most small boats available and this is the one that stands out.

Three of you were on the boat and one must remember Iain is no small chap. This did mean that we had to be conscious of each others movements on the boat. Especially when getting on and off between dives. The C-Ski is only 1.75m wide and being a mono hull does roll a little. There are very few small boats that dont roll, and normally the ones that dont are flat hulls and are terrible on the water.

The sides are low in the water (check the pic of Spumbu on some other trip in Mozam) This makes getting on and off very easy. Some water does wash over the back but this is seriously not an issue, as there is nowere for the water to sit and drains off quickly. Even in the surf, the boat holds very little water on the deck and does not get bogged down at all.

The deck space and functionality of the C-Ski is very good. We each had 2 or 3 guns and all our kit. Everything stashed away nicely in the gunbags and in the main hatch when launching and coming in. The only thing is that we had to have a spare 25l fuel can on the deck. I think this the only place that needs attention. We were traveling long distances and had to change tanks every day. Perhaps there should be space for 2 x 25l standard spuggs in the fuel hatch?

Overall Impressions:
You can understand why so many seasoned spearo's land up owning one of Steve's C-skis. It's just so functional, no frills gonna do the job boat. I would say it is probably the best boat in its class. (3man single motor boat) There are some great hulls out there, but Fibre tech seems to be the only one making this size boat at the moment that works.

I did some sums the other day for a guy for whom I am organising a boat for through Steve and the total cost came to R75 000. But thats for everything from start to finish, with all the bells and whistles. It seems allot but if you look at what else is available and you find your self coming back and having another look.

The costs worked out like this:
Basic Boat - R19 500
Extras -R 9825 (center console, controls, keel strip, covers ect)
Trailer - R 10 800
40 Yamaha - R29000

If you want to go with 2 motors the boats and cost sky rocket into the R100000.00 range very quickly, so thats another ball game altogether.

Would I own one? ........ For sure!


See the new Fibretech C-Ski 444 Here
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