MAKING WAVES

Tournament begins

Tournament begins

Port Stephens' annual inter-club game-fishing tournament kicks off this weekend. More than 150 boats and 600 anglers will head to sea in pursuit of seriously big fish. The target species are marlin and sharks, as well as incidental captures of mahi mahi, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and more.

The bite during last weekend's lead-up shootout event was steady. There were small black marlin along the inshore grounds, with good numbers of bigger blues out wide.

A 2005-06 study by Ernst & Young estimated anglers spent $80.8 million a year, or $291 a day each, on recreational fishing in Port Stephens.

The Nelson Bay Foreshore Festival is also under way. The festival features free music and entertainment, wine and food, local artists and family entertainment near d'Albora Marinas.

See festivalsnsw.com.

Family favourite

Well-known Queensland boating family the Leigh-Smiths are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Alaska boats in Australia with the release of the new 49 Aft Cabin Yacht Fisher.

The first new aft-cabin cruiser in decades is pitched as the ultimate family cruiser. There's a full-beam aft stateroom with king-sized bed and en suite, and two cabins up front with a separate second bathroom.

"We looked at the market and considered our own family boating use and discovered that the aft-cabin cruiser hasn't really been about on the new-boat market since the 1990s," Dean Leigh-Smith says. "It's a great family design."

The 49 Aft Cabin Yacht Fisher is being offered for $999,000 with the first pair of Cummins QSB 6.7 480-horsepower engines in Australia, plus a cockpit for fishing. See lscruisersales.com.au.

New flagship

Lobster boat-builder Back Cove has released plans for a new flagship 41. The Kevin Burns-designed boat is powered by a single Cummins QSC 8.3 600-horsepower electronic common-rail diesel engine for cruise speeds of 20 knots.

There are also new levels of low-speed manoeuvrability thanks to an optional proportional docking system.

Back Cove importer Jed Elderkin expects the new Maine-built flagship to be a big hit locally. The twin double cabins and bathrooms, galley and big cockpit, along with the single-engine sensibility, will resonate with Sydney boaters, he says.

The first new Back Cove 37 Downeast day boat will arrive in Sydney in December.

Back Cove is celebrating its seventh year in Australia.

See emarine.com.au.