Reality is a bit different, and many people find that a bow rider fits their complete mixture of boating very well. It has more seats, or choice of seats really because total load is the same as other boats of its size, it is practical for fishing and has far better shelter than a centre console, kids love sitting up front where you can keep an eye on them, and with the driving position set further aft driver and navigator get a better ride than in a runabout.
Which leaves the flash. With their 520, Coraline have made a good fist of this, the orange paintwork of the review boat making a particularly bold statement set off by polished rubbing strakes. Seating arrangements are standard for the type: a pair of swivel seats on storage boxes at the windscreen, a U-shaped lounge forward that could take three adults, and a folding double at the transom.
Access forward is through the hinged centre section of the windscreen between the twin individual consoles. These have combined footrest-barriers to contain bulky gear, and the navigator’s has a dash grab rail. Coraline is always generous with things to hang onto and the 520 is well-endowed in that line. The length of the main cockpit has shallow rails on each coaming, and the bow cockpit has a full set of rails of generous section. There are also boarding rails running down each side of the swallowtail.
Unlike probably all sub-6m fibreglass and pressed aluminium centre consoles the 520 has a self-draining deck. Some people have a lingering worry that a green one might come over the bow – extremely unlikely in practice – and this boat has the means of getting rid of it quickly. More practically useful is the ability to wash down the deck at sea.
A 70hp Yamaha four-stroke powered the review boat. With two on board this gave 28 knots at full throttle, and would be happy to deliver a cruising speed around 18 or 20 knots. This is about what you would want on the ocean, but for frequent bigger loads or for skiing some more power would be useful, and the builder recommends a maximum of 115hp.
The natural habitat of a bow rider is not rough water – they emphasize the pleasure in pleasure boating – and the weather of the review day was typical of what a family would find acceptable for say a run from Hillarys to Mindarie for lunch. Eight or ten knots of wind, a low swell and just the occasional touch of white in the seas. In these conditions we were able to use full throttle and still stay comfortable.
I tried all the seating positions and comfort levels certainly varied; people in the bow cockpit might have suggested a few knots less. Because it is possible for organic ballast, otherwise known as passengers, to change position by over four metres, skippers have to think trim. With four adults on board, two of them at the windscreen, it would not be a good idea for both the others to sit up front, at least not on the ocean. With just two trim was ideal, and even with the modest power available very small amounts of power trim changed it to suit taking the seas at different angles.
Not a bit of spray to dampen our (cheap) sunglasses, and a happy relationship between windscreen, seat, footrest and controls; excellent encouragement for dropping the elbow to the doorsill. Passengers in the cheaper seats would also do well; with good depth in the upholstery and padding all round the coamings.
The Coraline 520 is a neat interpretation of the bow rider style coupled with the ruggedness of 4mm plate throughout.
Price from $42,685
Price as reviewed $44,560
Length overall 5.6m
Hull length 5.2m
Fuel capacity 100L
Max power 115hp
Motor fitted 70hp Yamaha 4-stroke