The Sportsman brand offers a huge range of centre console boats with a model to suit every kind of angler. From simple 17 foot fishing boats to well outfitted bay boats through to huge 35ft luxurious offshore weapons. Each and every model encompasses classic lines and design with modern manufacturing process and modern interiors.
The Open 212 has a lot to offer the fishing enthusiast that also has a family. It can seamlessly cross between a hardcore day on the water chasing fish to time with the wife and kids or just a bunch of friends out on the water. Many boat brands claim to be able to do this, but they take a half-hearted approach and become a master of nothing. Sportsman, through intelligent design and a long history in boat manufacturing have managed to do it right and do it with style in the 212.
The 212 measures 6.1m with a 2.6 metre beam, a 15 degree deadrise at the transom and an aggressive entry. The bow offers wraparound seating with backrest for lounging that can all be removed for when fishing providing storage and large storage boxes you can fill with tackle or safety equipment that you can also stand on and cast when weather permits. The console is laid out beautifully with a s cushioned seat at the front that doubles as insulated storage with a cushioned back rest. Most of these seats on centre consoles are very uncomfortable but this seat is wide and offers excellent padding and beautiful upholstery which is consistent on all cushions around the boat.
A side door in the console offers a huge amount of storage and easy access to all your batteries and electronics. The helm is laid out immaculately with modern appointments such as twin flush mounted Garmin MDF’s into a black glass panel which also houses the helicopter style switching system that is laid out beautifully with back lit labels when the Nav Light switch is activated for night driving. A stainless steering wheel with hydraulic tilt, a well-placed binnacle, cup holders and JLA audio Bluetooth stereo unit and an optional VHF unit along with trim tab switches finish off the helm. This is all customisable from the factory and there is even more room to mount more units on top of the helm. The Sportsman website makes it very easy to put a package together where endless options are on offer and quickly receive a quote via its “Build A Boat’ feature.
A deluxe leaning post with individual bolster seats is a great design that is very comfortable and allows for both sit down and stand up driving. Its aluminium frame is finished beautifully and secured well in all places. It offers a footstep, four rear rod holders and underneath the leaning post is room for a 65 litre cooler and the option of a slide out bracket or easy access. The stern offers a flip down seat that also provides easy access to a large bilge area where you can access all your plumbing and also provides additional storage. The starboard side of the stern has a 115 litre live well with an LED cool blue light and the port side has a walk through door with access to a stainless boarding ladder. The alloy T-Top looks amazing with its fibreglass roof that offers great headroom, a four-way rocket launcher and port and starboard outrigger bases outriggers. It’s a very well thought out setup that beautifully caters to the hardcore fisherman and the family. Just by removing or adding a few cushions and back rests you can transform the 212 from fishing boat to functional family cruiser.
Ride & Handling
First off, I must explain that the images you see in this review were shot purely for the purpose of the review. I have had the 212 out in rougher conditions which gave me a better understanding of its ride and handling. The 212 with its wide beam and moderately shallow deadrise offers outstanding stability at rest at while underway. It can be packaged only with Yamaha, but you have the option of 150 & 200 Inline 4 with digital and mechanical controls or the 200SHO V6. The test model was powered with the 200 Inline 4 with mechanical controls and pushed the boat to 70km/h. Hole shot is good and top speed is good. I would suggest anyone looking at it to spend the extra and go for the 200, the 150 wouldn’t suit the majority of Australian fishing conditions and I think with the 200SHO V6 the boat would be amazing.
Go into a choppy Port Phillip Bay with a 10 knot south westerly that was pushing to 15 knots causing erratic of waves just under a metre the 212 ploughs through it with ease. You just trim down and give it as much throttle as you want, and it provides a remarkably smooth ride. The 200 has enough response to time your waves, even in erratic locations such as bays and she lands softly and predictably on the odd wave she comes off a little higher. Nothing in the boat rattles or vibrates excessively and she presents heavier thanks to the great wood free thermal infusion build quality.
With such a wide beam I was most curious to test the boat in a following sea. It offered a predictable and reassuring ride but with an open boat you do need to drive to the conditions to avoid getting wet and taking too many over the front, can you just put the throttle down and hoon home in these conditions? No, but this boat is not built for that and it offers an extremely reassuring ride that rivals many Australian made hulls with much deeper vee’s I’ve tested in similar conditions. Again the 200 Yamaha provides ample power to time your waves, stay above them and get back to port with ease.
The Open 212
This package is priced at $110,00. If you’re after a centre console that can handle all your fishing duties but double as an ultra-comfortable vessel for just having a heap of fun on the water, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that has all these features and such a great ride at this price point. Definitely check one out for yourself.