Since the old Cresta Craft Puma, it has been nigh on impossible to find a craft which is a true ‘do it all’. Hybrid boats for me just don’t seem to cut it – and never mind the give and take where you inevitably lose ability in one aspect of being a true multitasker, I often find the boat just ends up being an ugly duckling. That was basically true, until now…
Words and photos Hans Dettman
Having grown up on ski boats with a fishing mad dad and having experienced the various aspects of barefoot skiing, inshore fishing, bass fishing and the like, I haven’t found a craft which suited a broad spectrum of
boating activities. It is just so difficult to find a boat which is versatile enough to be used in most circumstances and yet still eye catching enough to make a statement. However, in the Fazer X-Fire (or Cross-fire if you prefer), it seems that at last a multi-task boat has been built combining both racy good looks and utilitarian practicality.
The driver’s console is mounted on the starboard side and features an angled non-skid kickboard. The kickboard insert conveniently hides all of the wiring and steering cables beneath the dashboard from sight. A small windscreen deflects bugs as well as chilly winds, particularly on those early mornings when the skiing water is at its best, or while skimming across a glassy surface to that favourite fishing spot. Single lever, double action controls conveniently mounted at the right height ensure ergonomic comfort and the power trim feature allows you to smoothly trim the ride to suit the water conditions. The pilot’s swivel seat is ideal for either driving, or, after swivelling to face aft, simply chilling in conversation with your friends or fishing over the side or stern.
A storage console is moulded into the port side which allows the waterski observer the comfort of leaning back with their legs on the long seat, looking on enviously as you demonstrate your magnificent skiing
form. Conveniently placed cup holders are also a nice touch. Of the two hatches in the floor deck, one is a ski hatch, which is also suitable for short or collapsible rod storage. The second contains a large 105-litre plastic fuel tank which will provide many hours of pleasure and the convenience of not having to stop at the filling station every outing. The fact that it is centrally mounted in the lowest part of the hull, lowers the centre of gravity and adds to the balance and stability of the craft.
The lack of red portable tanks also improves the storage facility behind the stern bench seat and reduces the risk of fuel spillage. Waterskiers, snorkelers, spearfishermen, and anglers, who need to boat a fish using a net or gaff, or hoist a pair of skiis aboard, will appreciate the twin dive platforms on the transom, one of which contains a stainless dive ladder to ease access from the water. The walk-through facility on the starboard side of the engine-well also adds to the safety of access in removing the need to scramble over uneven surfaces particularly in rough conditions.
A standard stainless Targa-wing ski pole is essential for convenience, and the ski-rope hatch on the port side provides a convenient hideaway for tangled ski-ropes and can also be utilised by fishermen as a fish hatch or a live-well with the simple addition of an aerator. Storage space under the seats, which are upholstered with marine grade waterproof fabric, ensures storage for life vests, ropes, safety kit and fishing tackle. The bow rider section was fitted with comfortable upholstered leanback cushions and stainless grab handles for passengers’ safety. A long bench seat in the stern provides added seating and storage for more equipment, while an aluminium fold-up frame canopy ensures protection and comfort during long hot summer days.
Weather conditions were near perfect on arrival at the Eastern hard slipway in Durban, with the sun’s rays reflecting from the eye-catching new 17-foot X-Fire gleaming on its trailer. Fitted with a 130 HP Yamaha 2-Stroke power-trim outboard, my sense of anticipation heightened as this sleek craft easily slipped into the water from its well-designed, galvanised trailer. The factory recommends power from 90 up to 150 horses, but
I assumed that the Yamaha’s 130 HP was going to be on the mark the moment it roared into life. This Fazer is yet another fine Angler Boat design and lately I’ve been very impressed with this builder’s consistent ability to produce a beautifully finished, well-considered craft. On a fresh drawing board, this hull was specifically designed in consultation with Yamaha dealer, Bill Harrison of Natal Caravans and Marine, using his considerable expertise and years of customer feedback.
Weighing in at 1 200 kg on its braked trailer, this unit will suit most average-sized tow vehicles. Filled with 1 080 litres of high density foam flotation, this fine craft meets all of the safety regulations and is quite capable of being registered as an E-category offshore craft suited to inshore and backline fishing, up to one nautical mile offshore with a single engine installation. Obviously, due to the bow rider configuration, it would be advisable
to undertake any offshore excursions from a safe launch site.
Featuring a self-draining deck and having been fitted with ball scupper drainage valves, this boat should suit both fishermen and the waterskiing fraternity, who will relish the fact that they no longer have to bilge copious
litres of water deposited by wetsuits. Even downpours of rain need not dampen spirits as the water trickles away out of the scuppers. Most notably, the design should suit those users, myself included, who utilise their craft to enjoy themany different facets of boating.
The Fazer X-Fire boasts a nice high freeboard, adding to safety, particularly for families with toddlers – and we were to experience this advantage during the review, when an ‘inconsiderate’ passing tug threw some enormous wakes our way. I was pleased to see this boat handle the swell extremely well – not only keeping all of us safely on board, but dry too! As expected, the 130 HP was bang on the money. Boasting good fuel
efficiency, this outboard handles its power perfectly, accelerating the 17 foot Fazer onto the plane in a handful of seconds – more than enough to pop a wakeboarder or skier up from the get-go. What’s more, she has the legs too – giving plenty of vooma for some prime barefoot action.
The Fazer X-Fire is a craft which lived up to my expectations. With an exceptional finish, high level of performance and a comfortable ride, there is no doubt that this fine craft will be seen, and envied. Whether it’s
hauling bare-footers or wakeboarders, or flying across the lake to catch bass in that secret spot, this boat is sure to attract attention.
Pricing on the Fazer X-Fire starts at R250 000.