2020 was a tough year but it did come with a few a highlights. One of those was meeting Matt Vance, a vastly experienced seaman and journalist for leading New Zealand publication, Boating New Zealand. Here's a few highlights from his September appraisal of the Custom 950...
After reviewing the Dickey Semifly 32 last year I’ve become another of those writers who anticipate nothing but the best from this Napier company.
The first thing the expectant reviewer notices about the 950 is its hull design – it’s from the 28 Semifly ancestry. If you are going to have ancestors make them good ones. The hours of designing and detailing put in by the design team back in 2008 on the original Semifly 28 hull achieved that rare condition of timeless design.
Due to the alloy construction method and the company’s customer-service mantra, each boat can be customised. Owners have significant input into the set-up.
Two of the larger longitudinals become the mounting structure for the engine and this plugs the power straight into the hull. The result is a seriously strong structure, built to last and which won’t flex or twist in even the biggest seas, making this a truly offshore-capable trailer boat.
With the hatch open it’s a mechanic’s dream as there
is plenty of room to get around, and with white bilges any potential leaks will be spotted well before they become an issue. All the filters and intakes are easily accessible and this engine would be a pleasure to service.
A walk through the 950 is a feast for the senses.
The central console is the dominant feature of this particular layout. It contains a Swiss Army knife-like array of fish bins, seats and drained rod holders. In addition, it narrows the deck space to the surrounds, which makes it infinitely safer in a rolling sea as there is always something on which to brace yourself.
While the Dickey construction and presentation are always immaculate, it is the ride that sells them as quickly as they can make them. Our review day had conditions that would put this ride to the test
Within minutes it’s obvious that while this boat can be transported on a trailer easily enough, her demeanour is that of an offshore-capable launch. There is none of the ‘pingy’ trailer boat feeling – only the sure-footed weight of a launch ... We were able to maintain a good cruising speed in conditions that would slow many trailer boats to an uncomfortable crawl.
Between 19 knots and 27 knots boat speed fuel consumption remains constant at around 1.66 litres a nautical mile. This is a large sweet spot that allows for a considerable range of sea states that will keep the family in all-day comfort or get you back from an offshore fishing trip when it cuts up rough.
While the Dickey Custom 950 straddles the zone between trailerable boat and marina-based launch, she is by no means a compromise. Her design, construction and finish are in keeping with the high standards of Dickey boats but it is her ability to fill a tricky dual-purpose niche and still ride like a 1970s Cadillac that is most apparent.