At the Newport Beach boat show in California this fall, among the trawlers and cruising yachts of Far Eastern design and construction, a glistening white nugget sat begging for attention. The Australian-built Black Watch 40 sportfisherman held her own within the realm of big boys, with a layout so simple and well thought out that it deceives the mind into thinking something is missing.
In fact, it brings to light some "oh, wow" touches missing on American designs.
The first is the belowdecks stowage, separated from the engine compartment and bilges by bulkheads, beneath the galley sole. This dry, cleanly finished compartment can hold dry stores, rods and reels, tools and more.
Trick number two is a matching pair of tuna tubes flush-mounted in the gunwales on either side of the boat. These units provide a constant flow of water to small fish entered headfirst into the cylinders, keeping the catch alive. East Coast anglers do not cast to free swimming or tailing marlin, but as live-bait techniques for tuna continue to gain in popularity, options like the tuna tubes should become more popular on the circuit.
All deck hardware, including pistons, latches and hinges, is stout. Other amenities are plentiful for acquiring booty for the dual fishboxes. A live bait tank, a transom door, a tackle and prep center, and a freezer are neatly placed in the large cockpit.
The saloon is richly appointed, with quality joinery and spacious accommodations. The head is large, as is the separate stall shower.
Two U-shape counters, one to port and one to starboard, provide a large working area and good stowage in the galley.
If there is one thing to quibble about, at least in comparison with American convertibles, it is the size of the 40's flying bridge. Visibility is great, but the console is a bit tight and the forward-of-the-console seating many of us have grown accustomed to is missing.
Power for the Hunt-designed hull is a pair of turbocharged 500 hp Yanmars.
After seeing the 40, I am waiting-not too patiently-for the 50-footer soon to become part of the Black Watch line.
Black Watch Boats Australia, (949) 722-6617; www.blackwatch.com.au.