There's a new name for a traditional tinnie, Panga Longboats Australia have taken the longboat concept and improved the design, handling and styling to relaunch on the Australian market.
Ideal as heavy-duty fishing boat, day boat or family runabout, the Panga currently comes in a 23-foot model, with more planned.
According to David Druce, who has the license for Australia and manages the importing and assembly from their Gold Coast premises, the Panga Longboat has struck a chord with fishos in the remote north and WA, attracted by their stability, versatility and ability to customise to suit requirements.
'We have five or so boats in WA and the Pilbara, with the miners who use them for fishing. They love them for their stability and they're a big volume boat for their size.'
Druce, a keen fisho himself, has spent always been in boating, from messing about as a kids, to a career as a dealer, then importing them from the US and Taiwan. He says the concept came about when his business partner was looking for a boat for his son. 'We took the former brand Southwind and re-designed it as the ideal fishing boat based on a longboat concept.'
Manufactured in China, overseen by an Aussie management team for quality control, the 100% fibreglass Panga was developed along the lines of the longboat familiar in Asia and Mexico. 'We widened it, raised the top sides up for safety, and gave it spray chines to increase protection. They are stable and very dry. The ride and dryness is a direct result of the narrower hull design, something that is actually a standard shape worldwide.'
The key features of the Panga design is a high bow, 2.28m beam with a length of 6.85m. The high bow provides buoyancy and elevation for casting retrieval or carrying heavy loads and minimizes spray coming on board. The boat is self draining. The narrow beam (2.28m) allows the hull to be easily propelled by a modest size outboard
As Druce explains: 'Panga’s unique ride is due to a pad which starts at the bow and tapers to over 300mm at the transom and is one reason why it requires little horsepower. Panga Longboats Australia have C.E. certification for up to 140 hp however they can easily carry up to eight people running with as little as 60hp. Most owners will find that 90hp will provide very economical and quick boating.'
There is a range of accessories as well - targa tops, consoles, and other extras that can be added during assembly, as well as a trailer and engine, or people can source their own.
'Our boats are completely customisable. The customer can dictate exactly the level of fit they require. Many of our customers prefer to have the flexibility of fitting their own engine or their own electronics. Alternatively, if you seek a finished product with nothing left to do but drive to your local boat ramp, then we can certainly provide that too.'
The bare boat retails from $28,750. Druce says he is aiming to sell 'about 20 boats per year', and will be showing the 23-footer at the Gold Coast International Marine Expo in November.
More at www.pangalongboatsaustralia.com.au