Fit for Purpose by Pacific Powerboat Magazine

When a kiwi superyacht owner decided he needed a new ‘tender’ he looked beyond the usual large rib. Barry Thompson went to the bay of islands to check out the boat he chose and why.

Media Coverage

July 20, 2018
Fit for Purpose by Pacific Powerboat Magazine

When a kiwi superyacht owner decided he needed a new ‘tender’ he looked beyond the usual large rib. Barry Thompson went to the bay of islands to check out the boat he chose and why.

Pacific Powerboat Review - Dickey Semifly 36 (March/April 2018)

By Barry Thompson


The new tender needed to be and a boat that was not only suitable for day boating but something that would also double as a comfortable overnighter and be suitable for New Zealand waters. He also wanted a boat of exceptional quality both in construction and finish.
Something that portrayed the same persona as his superyacht, SY Sassafras. He found all that he wanted
and more in the Dickey Semifly 36.

Now you might think that an 11m, 7000 kg sedan style cruiser is a bit over the top as a tender for a 35m sailing superyacht and you’de probably be right. This is really more than a tender; it’s more of a support boat that can be enjoyed both when the ‘mothership’ is an anchor for day fishing and diving excursions, or used solely for overnighting and day trips.

The owner is no stranger to cruisers, having owned many Kiwi built launches, such as a Carter 36(1986) and a Salthouse Sovereign 60, (1998), so the Dickey is something of a step back into the past to where his transition from trailer boats to cruisers all started.

A single Volvo D6-400hp provide over 30 knots


After reading the review on the Dickey Semifly 32 (PPB Jan-Feb 17), he rang Jason Dickey of Dickey Boats to discuss the purchase of a 32. As things progressed it was quickly established that the 10.43m, 32 would be okay, but the 11.25m 36 would be even better.

“Once we had set the parameters of what I wanted, it was a seamless process with Jason and his team, who considered, evaluated and in most cases implemented all the changes we wanted”, says the owner.

With a penchant for quality and style, the owner’s wife became very involved with the fabrics and colourways, from the double stitched Tasman Antique Oak leather to the choice of Pecan timber veneers and Sisal floor coverings over false teak.

“Everything had to blend in and while not over the top in style, we wanted it to be tasteful, practical and not ostentatious”, she added.

A big Simrad MFD takes up a lot of the helm.

After all, this was a boat that the owners and family would be using themselves, with no help from a crew, so not making things too complicated and moving away from any aspect of the boat that might prove problematic was also very important.

The primary focus for the boat was fishing, hence the move to the bigger Semifly that offered a larger cockpit. When the owner first saw the Semifly 32, he thought the cockpit was plenty big enough, but now appreciates just how much more there is in the Semifly 36.

Overall the 36 is 11.25m x 3.46m and displaces around 6100 kg (dry), whereas the 32 is 10.43m, but carries the same beam and weighs a little less at 5700 kg.

Designer Jason explains that the boat is more than just adding 600mm on the transom. The big difference is the SF36 waterline length increases by 0.75m. There is about 200mm extra length in the
saloon and the rest in the cockpit. The roof overhang has also been extended to
follow the natural flow of the cabin lines. The hulls are specific to each design, although both run the same 18 deg deadrise at the transom and on the water; at a glance you would be hard pressed to see the difference. Both are also built from 6mm/4mm 5083 marine grade alloy.

When I reviewed the Semifly 32, Jason took the time to explain how he constructs his boats; I pointed out how quiet and slap free the boat was. The Semifly 36 is no different.

The saloon space is open practical and exacting in every way


Jason explains that it is all about the way the boat is built and the space frame construction that, gives an incredibly stiff hull with no reverberation anywhere.

A secret he says is there are sealed air gaps between the interior spaces and the hull. There is no solid foam anywhere in the hull. These sealed air gaps eliminate any condensation and act as sound deadening. The boat has a very low CofG that does a lot to the way the boat rides, trims and handles in any sea. I found the 36, like the 32, didn’t need a lot of trim and had very little bow high attitude. It slips greasily onto the plane and reaches maximum rpm in a flash. While we recorded 28 knots on the Simrad MFD when first launched with a clean bottom and lightly laden it ran around 31 knots. The plumb bow shape means there is plenty of buoyancy to keep the bow up, in a following sea, so you don’t experience any bow steering. Zipwakes add an extra degree of trim and can be set in auto mode, or you can operate them manually. The owner commented that it’s an incredible system and they tend to leave it in auto all the time.

It’s a big runabout that runs on rails and is a pleasure to drive at any speed. In the calm water of the Bay of Islands, I sat around 3000 rpm/24 knots and had a fuel burn of 52.9 lph. The owner told me that that was about the same speed they sat out on the delivery trip from Napier to Auckland.

Power for Sassy is a single Volvo Penta D6-400/DPH that is a totally integrated package, powered by the in-line 6-cylinder, 5.5-liter, common-rail diesel engine with double overhead camshafts, and turbo. It is matched to a DPH Duoprop drive and an electronic vessel control system.

This is the highest horsepower diesel stern drive package available from Volvo Penta and while it’s a perfect match, I feel the boat would run great with even more horsepower. It’s rock steady on
the water, dry and it feels like it wants to go! The owner added that it is probably the first launch he has had that doesn’t suck a salt-air mist back into the cockpit when underway.

Dickey make engine access very easy, with almost the entire cockpit sole lifting on an electro/ hydraulic ram. Just make sure you have the deck space free before you push the auto button!

The forward cabin has two upper berths and a starboard lower.

Being a semi-production boat the layout choice is up to each owner and while only two have been built to date, there are quite a few differences. The owner’s of Sassy had a lot to do with the layout of the transom area that is highly speced for fishing. Most noticeable is there isn’t a boarding platform hanging off the back, something that those seriously into gamefishing can understand why.

Centre of the transom is the bait station with a live bait tank and twin tuna tubes. With no boarding platform you can fish right into the stern quarters with deep toe-kicks and padded coamings for stand-up fishing. Hatches hide storage areas and there is a seriously robust stainless steel drop down ladder mounted into the port side transom door. While the emphasis is unquestionably on diving and fishing, if you not into either, then Dickey are happy to add built-in seating and a cockpit table. If you are looking for extra cockpit shade, then you can have a bimini fitted to the roof overhang.

The owners have also added a set of bottle racks either side, plus there’s plenty of side tray storage for stuff like rods, gaff, tag pole and a dive flag. The cambered deck has been designed to not only
be able to fit the engine under but also means any water that does enter the cockpit is expelled to the sides and runs straight back into large scuppers, so there is no pooling on the sole. Teak is an option but Sassy is finished both inside and out with false teak. Lighter and cheaper, plus it looks almost like the real deal.

When you need to access the foredeck, Dickey has made it a little easier with cockpit steps either wide, wide side decks and well-placed handrails on the cabin top.

The master cabin is surprisingly spacious.

With the rear windows and door open the saloon and cockpit merge almost as one. I think I would have gone for a hopper window so as the not decrease the seating space on the forward cockpit lounge when the windows open. However, there’s still plenty. Inside it’s all about entertaining and comfortable living for those overnight stays.

To port is a large U shape settee/dinette with a fixed central table. The double stitch leather portrays a feel of excellence and that even extends to around the table base and across the helm. Subtle but with class.

The starboard side features an aft galley, complete with Corian surface, oven, gas hob and ample storage. There’s a small fridge opposite under the dinette settee, with the freezer back in the cockpit. Sassy’s side windows are fixed so any extra ventilation comes via a pair of roof hatches. No air con but there is an Eberspacher heater to keep thing warm during your winter boating.

If you are going to be using your boat for fishing, then there’s no point in having a small MFD. While a Simrad 22” MFD takes up most of the upper dash, there is space below for items such as a, Fusion sound system, Simrad autopilot, CZone display, ICOM VHF and controls for the Sidepower bow thruster and Zipwake tabs. I loved the leather seat, which was extremely comfortable and with a bolster style base allows you to drive either seated or standing.

Like the Semifly 32, the Semifly 36 offers berths for six from two cabins. The forward cabin has two upper berths and a starboard lower that transforms from a single into a double thanks to a slide-out base. Under the upper port berth, there’s a dedicated rod locker plus storage cupboards. The second cabin runs athwartships under the saloon and the owner’s refer to this as their master cabin. Cosy and comfortable with plenty of storage in a hanging locker and separate bins and even a small settee. Sassy’s accommodation offers the flexibility for two couples, mum and dad and a few kids or the owner and four fishing mates.

Both cabins share the same head shower space, with its large walk-in shower cubicle, raised bowl on a Corian surface and electric flush head. Clean, well vented, practical and with surprising space.

The Semifly 36 is the latest edition to the Dickey Semifly family, which also includes the Semifly 28, 32, 40 and 45. All are based on a very similar hull design that is unquestionably one of the secrets of the success of the Dickey Semifly range.

Like the Dickey Semifly 32 that I reviewed last year, the meticulous finish and presentation of Sassy is faultless in every respect.

While Dickey Boats has established a strong brand loyalty for their trailer boats over the past few years, it is their Semifly fleet that is attracting so much attention these days.

The owner sums it up by saying that Sassy offers all the attributes of his superyacht, but in a more manageable small package. He calls it his big, small boat, that does exactly what he requires and is certainly fit for purpose.

Pacific Powerboat Review - Dickey Semifly 36 (March/April 2018)

By Barry Thompson

View Dickey Semifly 36 model page
Contact Jason Dickey

SPECIFICATIONS AS TESTED: Dickey Semifly 36 - Sassy

Year Launched 2017
LOA 11.25m
Beam 3.46m
Deadrise 18 deg
Displacement (Dry) 6100 kg (dry)
Max Speed 30 knots
Construction Aluminium 6mm/4mm
Fuel Capacity 1000 litres
Water Capacity 300 litres
Engines Make/HP Volvo D6-400hp
Drive Train Duoprop
Thrusters Sidepower SE60
Trim Tabs ZipWake
Lighting Hella
MFD Simrad
Entertainment System Fusion

FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA - Dickey Semifly 36

To allow for adverse conditions, range is calculated on 90% of the fuel.