How do you make a fishing boat go 90km/h?

What makes a fishing boat Dinghy Derby-worthy?
Riverland Dinghy Derby 2015 © Andy Green/Red Bull Content Pool
By Josh Rakic

From the trailer, a Dinghy Derby racer might look like any other fishing dinghy. But upon closer inspection, it’s plain to see that a Dinghy Derby machine is far from your ordinary boat.

The aluminium Stacer 319 Proline serves as the blue print chassis for Dinghy Derby entrants, coming in at around $2200. And depending on which of the six classes you’re contesting the boat can be modified in a plethora of different ways.

“Like a race car, it’s all about power to weight ratio and you want to reduce weight to get that power for take-off and mid-range,” competitor and Riverland Dinghy Club member Rhys Glazbrook says.

“For the modified classes, we buy a perfectly good Stacer, cut all of the seats out of it, pull the bottom apart, re-shape the flooring, strengthen it and then re-weld it all back in and go from there. The lighter the better.

And that’s about another $600 to $1000 there.”

Riverland Dinghy Derby 2015

Then there are the motors, which range from the base-level 15 horsepower standard outboard to a 3000cc Daihatsu and all the way up to the fully modified 30HP sports class, which propels the dinghies upwards of 90km/h. Yep, that’s no typo. Dad’s old tinnie doesn’t stand a chance.

“The 30HP Yamaha are $4800 for a brand new engine,” Rhys continues.

“Then there is almost no limit on what blokes can spend or modify, other then they are constrained to factory parts.

“And the sports class blokes, the top class, tend to have a second motor for back-up. Some guys run different motors for short and long courses, so they have different configurations on the shelf ready to bolt on.”

So when you’re not racing them, can you fish in them?

“You’d struggle to get four blokes sitting in it for a fish,” Rhys says with a laugh.

“They’re 1.2m wide and 3.1m long. Depending on which class you’re in, you’re allowed a certain number of modifications to the boat itself. And seating certainly isn’t a priority.

Riverland Dinghy Derby 2015 © Andy Green/Red Bull Content Pool

“In the standard class you can lower the seats but they must remain factory seats. But in the modified classes, we pull the seats out make up an aluminium frame out of tube and sit a 20-mil piece of foam on it and call that a seat.

“The standard classes have the closest resemblance to a normal boat but the modified classes, and particularly the top 30HP sport class, are as far from a fishing boat as you can imagine.”

Better yet, there’s a category for almost every budget.

The categories
15 Standard – 15HP w/ standard boat and outboard
20 Standard – 20HP w/standard boat and outboard
300cc Class – 18HP Daihatsu motor open to all modifications utilizing factory parts. Also allowed to are surface piercing propellers, which create less drag
30 Standard – 30HP w/standard boat and outboard
30 Super Standard – A stock 30HP motor off the shelf w/ boat and modifications and trimming devices permitted
30 Sports Class – 30HP modified engine and modified boat

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