Expect to hear more about the Brooker brand in the coming year. This Sydney boat and trailer builder is out to shake up its market image and get more notice from the public.
A new team took over the Sydney manufacturer earlier this year and have made the business a more streamlined outfit with stronger customer-focus and are keen to sell combined boat and trailer packages.
The hulls are pretty proven and Brooker has no intention of moving away from its small trailer boat base. However, it will be introducing new styling in the decks, layouts, colours and cosmetics.
"We want customers to be more aware of the Brooker product and also proud to own a Brooker boat/trailer package," says marketing director, Seamus Campbell. And already you can see this fresh approach in the all-new 410 Adventurer side console model tested here.
This is the first new model since the company changed hands and gives some idea of where Brooker is now heading. As you can quickly ascertain from the photos this is a neat side console and delivers affordable boating.
At the same time the 410 Adventurer is no poverty pack, but a full-blooded sports fishing machine with attractive painted hull, bimini top, 30hp Yamaha four-stroke. And it comes with a factory-matched Brooker trailer.
Brooker’s new owners want to build on its strong Sydney link. It’s the oldest continuous trailer boat brand to call Sydney home and well regarded around the harbourside city. Actually, it’s about to be better known since the company will no longer use the Sea Al label. This was a previous marketing arrangement that helped sell a lot of boats, but did dilute the Brooker name.
Some other new models are already in the planing stage and we can expect to see a stronger, more noticeable Brooker brand in future. The dealership network is also being expanded so it reaches more parts of Australia.
Meanwhile, the Brooker 410 Adventurer is a pretty good start!
It’s smartly styled and suited to coastal estuary and bay fishing thanks to the dory-style hull with high freeboard.
The 410 Adventurer is a craft you could use in the typical choppy waters one encounters in summer on coastal waterways like Sydney Harbour. You will also be able to pop around the headlands and fish near-reefs on good days. However, by virtue of its size the Adventurer is largely a boat for inshore fishing and suits that role well.
It’s always difficult in boats under 4.8m to maintain stability but the Adventurer does this well. Using a traditional warp-plan semi-Vee shape she delivers pretty good wave-cutting ability and at-rest stability.
The 410 Adventurer takes a long shaft outboard and, with a proper splash well for the outboard, you are much less likely to cop ‘splash’ into the cockpit.
The Adventurer is also stacked with lots of big boat features like comfortable pedestal seats, wheel steering and electric tilt/trim control at helm station. This makes her a craft well suited to estuaries, coastal bays and inland waterway fishing. Not just any fishing but sport fishing because of her raised cockpit floor and raised casting decks.
The smaller, lighter hull also makes the 410 Adventurer is easy to beach launches and generally easier to trail.
Design: Called the 410 Adventurer, this boat is 4.2m overall, with a 1.85m beam and 55cm hull depth. The latter ensures this Brooker model has reasonable freeboard depth in the cockpit for stand up fishing.
There’s a choice of colours but there’s no doubt the test boat looks great with jet black topsides, white edging and a red colour flash. It also has white painted decks and a build quality that really shows Brooker has lifted its game.
Quite sensibly the bottom is left unpainted and protected by a Tee section keel and multi-strake bottom pressings. The hull is also quite a tough little critter with 3mm bottom gauge and 2mm gauge topside panels. There’s certainly no skimping on the construction and the 410 Adventurer should stand up to several decades of regular service.
By the way, the hull has internal framing plus foam-flotation to meet Basic buoyancy standards under the Australian Builders Plate (ABP).
We also liked the neat trailer package with moulded fibreglass guards, keel rollers and side support bars. It wasn’t fitted with brakes because the whole rig is so light.
A hull weight of just 210kg ensures the 410 Adventurer is a fairly light boat to tow. The test rig was about 600kg on the road with a full fuel tank. That finds it sitting well within the capacity of small to medium-sized cars like the Holden Cruz (1200kg limit) and the Mazda 3 (900kg limit). And best of all, with no need for trailer brakes the trailer is both cheaper to buy and less expensive to register.
By the way, for parking at home the bimini folds down and so does the top of the console so garage parking is not a hassle at all!
Performance: The conditions were threatening rain the day we joined the Brooker team for a test run on Sydney’s northern playground of Pittwater.
It wasn’t the most auspicious welcome to the new model, however, we ended up enjoying the day. After going through a few passing rain showers and having to seek shelter in the Basin, we finally got some sunshine and the photos we needed.
Like all Brooker boats the Adventurer comes fairly readily to the plane, however, with a bit of load aboard our small 30hp four-stroke did struggle a bit on the lower notes. That said, the Adventurer soon found her speed legs with a bit more throttle and does achieve good top end speeds around 23-24 knots.
More about the power shortly but in all other respects the Brooker handles well and seems to be quite dry in choppy water thanks to the generous bow flare and freeboard.
Playing with the electric tilt and trim is worthwhile, and eventually we had her running beautiful at around the 20-23 knot mark.
Once we had the boat in full flight she ran nicely in the light wave chop and felt really at home. Considering the size of the boat the ride is really quite good, especially with both crew sitting centrally in the boat.
For quicker speed and better fuel economy I’d fold that bimini down.
Like all smaller boats you have to watch the wave patterns and avoid any high-jumps off extra steep waves. However, for a little boat she handles big waves really well. Just don’t overload her and she will look after you well.
Power: The 410 Adventurer is rated for single outboards 30 – 40hp of either two, or four-stroke technology. We tested with a 30hp Yamaha F30 BETL electric four-stroke and this delivers good all round performance. That said, we did struggle at the low 3500rpm level to stay on the plane as the following performance figures show:
3500rpm 10 knots
4500rpm 18 knots
5500rpm 23 knots
My guess is a 30hp two-stroke would deliver a better bottom-end performance though no more top end speed. This is my gut feeling and makes me feel this hull probably would benefit from some extra ‘podding’ at the transom. Perhaps this will come in time because all the Brooker designs are under review and the company wants to bring them right bang up to date.
Alternatively, you could try a 40hp, four-stroke and benefit from the smooth, clean performance such motors deliver. Then again, if the hull seems to be a two-stroke (lighter) motor then maybe that’s the way to go. And, yes, there are some clean-tech two-stroke 40hp if you are wondering – the Evinrude ETEC, Tohatsu TLDI.
And talking about power the 410 Adventurer doesn’t have an in-floor fuel tank, however, a portable 24-L fuel tank fits neatly within the rear casting deck.
Our test boat also came with a full motor fit-up, 13 plate marine battery, battery box, mechanical steering and electric start at helm.
Deck layout: This is going to be a pretty nice rig for coastal, inshore fishing. It comes standard with a bowsprit anchor roller, low split bowrail and a moulded fibreglass anchor well.
Up front there’s also a Tee bollard, navigation lights mounted on the bowrail and raised casting deck. The latter lets you get better line of sight fishing and comes with an underfloor locker for fishing gear and slot for a pedestal seat.
Further back we find the alloy console on the starboard side with a grab rail and windscreen. This console gives you mechanical steering, waterproof switch panel and digital tacho and speedo. You get a sports steering wheel, under bench stowage shelf and room to mount a Humminbird sounder that came with the package. I also notice there’s an electric bilge pump, power tilt/trim control and a very comfortable helm seat. Our test boat was also fitted with an (optional) folding bimini canopy and envelope cover.
The cockpit also gives you a second passenger pedestal seat, two more floor slots so you’re passenger can sit socially alongside.
There are also proper welded side decks, small side pockets for your fishing gear and a fully carpeted floor.
Also amazing for a boat of this size, the 410 Adventurer comes with no less than six rod holders in the side decks. This goes to prove it's far from being a poverty pack!
Another great feature of this new Brooker model is the rear thwart seat/casting platform. This seat neatly contains the fuel tank and battery and gives you a nice step into the boat from the stern.
Regarding the transom, the 410 Adventurer also comes standard with a rear landing step and grab handle.
As you can see, the 410 Adventurer ticks the box as a fishing boat really well. Personally, I’m not so keen on the bimini because it does tend to take up a bit of space. However, in all other regards I love this rig and would enjoy taking her for trips to inland impoundments as well as places up the coast.
This would be a brilliant boat for solo fishing, or fishing with a mate. It’s certainly roomy enough for two anglers and at the same time you don’t need extra hands to launch.
Considering that many people don’t want to over spend on their hobby these days the Brooker 410 Adventurer seems nicely timed. It’s a great boat if you’re down the sport fishing path.
Verdict: Brooker has been one of the quiet achievers in the past, but perhaps not any more. With this new boat it looks like it is going to be a stronger player in the tinnie market. I think a lot of people are going to like this new compact sport fishing craft and it’s going to help direct more interest into the Brooker brand.
I think you would agree that the 410 Adventurer is right on the money for today’s market. Especially with rising fuel costs and a trend to more high-rise living, boats like the 410 Adventurer suit modern demographics.
And, yes this little doer could be used for family boating as well. On the test day we had two youngsters along for the ride and they loved the 410 Adventurer for its ‘hot looks’ and performance. They gave it the ‘thumbs up’ as a boat to go fishing.
And while we’re on the subject of fishing, keep in mind that in all parts of Australia you’ll need to have a life-jacket on any kids in a boat under 4.8m (underway). Some states like Victoria also require adults to wear a life-jacket, but why not just don the jacket yourself and set the kids a good example. Family boating should be about safety as well as fun and you may as well start with high standards!