View Full Version : Buying First Tinny Brooker or Polycraft

03-06-2006, 02:51 PM
Thinking of buying a little tinny for me the wife and 2 kids to do a little fishing at Bribie and dams etc. Never owned a boat before i have looked at the Brooker 4.1m Fisherman and the 4.1 m Polycraft Challenger both fm Cunninghams Marine. The Fisherman seems a good price at $3660 {boat and trailer only} against Polycrafts $4450.

As i am on a small budget can anyone advise me on the best priced tinny available and any tips etc when buying. As i have a bad back i thought the Polycraft may offer a smoother ride.

I was thinking of purchasing the motor seperate, best priced 2 satroke i could find was a Tohatsu 25hp, any thoughts on the motor would be really appreciated.

Im based at Mango Hill on the northside, i look foward to reading some responses.

03-06-2006, 03:10 PM
go the brooker they are much tougher than tupper wear

03-06-2006, 04:13 PM
The poly has it all over the Brooker. Tougher as there are no welds to crack or fatigue and no chance of corrosion. The Poly is a lot softer riding than any pressed tinnie and your back will really appreciate it, especially if you get the optional bucket seat with it. #Plus you get a flat floor casting decks and a huge amount of underfloor storage for not much more in price than a basic open tinnie. #
With the 4.1 Challenger a 30 hp 2 stroke would be a much better choice than a 25 hp. By the time you load it up with gear you would find it a bit sluggish with a 25hp.

03-06-2006, 04:17 PM
go the brooker they are much tougher than tupper wear

Actually that is crap! #Could you be a bit more specific? does tupperware have problems with corrosion? do the welds split? Is it as easy to put a hole in it or tear it at all as you can in an ally boat ? #Can you drive a truck over an ally boat and have it retain its shape? #No ally boat is in any way as "tough' as a poly

nqboy #- people on here ask questions often because they can't afford to waste their hard-earned. #If you have an opinion, fine #- but at least back it up with something substantial and thought-through.

Parrot #- as you can probably gather from the above I own a 4.1 Challenger and I don't have any experience at all with the Brooker - so i can't comment on it.

Some random thoughts:

To get the cheapest option, it is obviously better to buy something (ally) 2nd hand. #Some people suggest that the best value option is to buy a basic old shell and put #new motor on it #- so that might be worth looking into.

With regard to your back, people do say that the challenger rides a bit smoother than the tinnies. I don't have enough experience with tinnies to comment on this. But the Challenger will bounce on chop.

In my experience with the Poly #it is better to buy the boat and motor together ie from the same agent. Putting a motor on the poly is a tricky business and it should be done by somebody who knows the polys #(ie a poly dealer). #I opted against the best advice available and got #my local guy (not a poly dealer) to put the motor (40 HP 4 st Suzuki) on my boat rather than the poly agent #- it took him a lot of stuffing around to get it to sit right in the water. (heavy motor, 2 batteries and fuel tank all in the back with a tiller steer made it too bum-heavy). #If i had my time over I would have got the poly agent to put the motor on.

25 HP may be too small a motor for the poly if you have the missus and kids (who grow) with you. I understand 30 Hp is about the min. #That said - I dont need as much as 40 Hp to get from A to B in fact it is a bit overpowered - at least for 1 person.

Its a good plan to get a test run on whatever they are offering. #Remember its always harder on your #back at the bow than at the stern.

cheapest will be the tinnie - better ride and "tougher" will be the poly. #

The poly is probably twice the weight of the tinnie #- that's why you need a bigger motor. so the tinnie iself is cheaper and the motor you need for it to get you up and going is also cheaper

If you decide to go the poly #- have a talk to richard martin at Martin Marine in Pialba. He will give you a very competitive quote.

Best I can offer just now #- been to the pub and couldn't string it together too well - hope it is of some help. #I'm sure others will give you some considered answers


03-06-2006, 04:36 PM
the 25hp tohatsu is a derated 30hp, there is a restriction plate which can be removed, and then you have a 30hp outboard. I own a 3.95m stacer with this motor, the 30hp, though mine is a Mariner, idnentical to the tohatsu and Mercury 30hp but just painted differently. It is a good strong reliable motor that will survive no matter what is thrown at it, and pushes my 3.95m along very nicely, I usually fish with myself and my girlfriend, about 130kg total weight plus gear, the boat has no floor in it yet, and it gets up on the plane effortlessly and I can cruise comfortably without needing WOT, I have had 3 large blokes and myself in the boat, it still got up on the plane ok but it was a lot more sluggish, and it goes much better with 2-3 people onboard. The stacer was very cheap, $5800 for the package with motor, nav lights wired up and battery and 3 yrs warranty on the lot. The boat rides well and can handle a small chop no worries. I could imagine a poly riding a lot softer, but costing a fair bit more and needing more hp to push it because it's heavier. I can tow a tube no worries too with 2-3 people in the boat and it's done all I have asked of it. The motor idles a little bit rougher than the other 25/30hp's around except for the yamaha 25/30hp cv which are about the same. The smoothest 30hp is the Yamaha which runs 3 cylinders and 3 carbies, the non cv model, but more expensive than the tohatsu. I hope this helps, Joey.

03-06-2006, 04:44 PM
Never heard of a Poly having a split hull, but heard of and seen heaps of pressed tinnies which have had a visit to the welder. I have had a 4.1 poly and found it excellent. Would reccomend a 3 cyl 30 for it though. Perko.

03-06-2006, 04:54 PM
Another poly plus I forgot to mention is that the 4.1 is amazingly stable for a small boat, both at rest and underway. You can actually stand up and walk around fighting fish in fairly open water. Compare this with a rocky tinnie with gear and clutter everywhere, slippery sloping floor with ribs and thawth seats in the way!

03-06-2006, 05:16 PM
Now you've opened a can of worms nqboy. What you should have said is, go either the poly or the brooker but stay away from Quintrex because they are crap, and everyone would have applauded you. :) ;)

Parrotfish, my two cents worth, given the option of either a polycraft or a pressed tinny of any brand around that size, I'd go the poly. It might cost you more but it would be worth it for the peace of mind, if you intend to take the missus and kids out. Poly is heavier so a smoother ride, more stable and practically unsinkable.


03-06-2006, 05:16 PM
I can vouch for the Tohatsu 25. Most surf club racing boats used these motors. They are a gutsy unit and after you run it in, remove the restriction plate and you have a 30hp. Some very good prices around at present


03-06-2006, 06:12 PM
Wow, thats an insight for me - Poly's are heavier and dearer!. I would have thought the opposite, otherwise why develop them?

Are they as heavy as fibreglass?

A 4.1 - I think it might be a bit big for the dams which might be considered local to you, (Pine and Baroon) they are electric only. I've got my old mans 3m tinnie at the moment, fitted with a 65lb minikota (24volt) and I wouldn't want anything smaller when pushing back into a breeze. I'd reckon you'd have to go a front and rear electric with a 4.1, or row as well when you want to troll! ;D.

03-06-2006, 06:13 PM
Either would be ok, the Clark has gunnels which make them stronger and their lighter weight make them easier to get on and off a trailer.
I looked at polys recently, you'd be happy with one of them too. The ride in a poly would beat the tinnie in most conditions. I have heard of a tuff tender and another model poly in for warranty claims with splits along either side of the keel. No idea how this was done to the polys, but the owners found out when the hulls filled with water. They must have had rough treatment, because normally they withstand almost anything. Plenty of tinnies have needed repairs over the years.
The Tohatsu 2st wont let u down.

03-06-2006, 06:40 PM
Feral, they are not dearer at all! They are slightly dearer than a basic open tinnie but if you compare them to a bass type tinnie with flat floor casting deck etc (ie their equivalent) they are cheaper. With the larger boats the price saving is much greater.
As to weight they are in between fiberglass and alloy. And they are not all that much hevier than a fuly decked out bass type tinnie.
Also remember that the 4.1 Challenger is fairly flat bottomed so it doesn't need all that much more power than a tinnie. You certainly don't need a 65lb electric. I have just a 36lb electric on my 4.1 poly and it is fast enough to troll minnows at a fast clip.

03-06-2006, 07:10 PM
Feral, they are not dearer at all! They are slightly dearer than a basic open tinnie but if you compare them to a bass type tinnie with flat floor casting deck etc (ie their equivalent) they are cheaper.*snip*

oops i think I might have caused that misconception. Billfisher has it right. You can get a basic tinnie cheaper than a poly - but we are not comparing apples with apples here. You can get the poly with floors and casting decks and stowaway space cheaper than the equivalent tinny. As he says it is also more stable and all-round a better deal - for my money anyway. But if you want budget, then the basic tinny is cheaper.

03-06-2006, 07:33 PM
I've just go through this whole exercise and bought just a couple of days ago. I went tin and bought the boat/trailer separate from the motor.

Looked at poly but two factors went against, a) cost, it would have blown my budget b) weight, heavier than comparable size tinnie and subsequent larger motor(?)

Looked at the brooker but found that it didn't have a great deal of freeboard (I'm 193cm), it had all of the bits, the rails front and rear, pockets, bow roller, transducer bracket, anchor well so it's well kitted out for approx $3400 ( price in Adelaide for hull only).

I was told by opposition dealers that they are a cheaper built boat than others, but I took allot of the hype with a grain of salt. Sales talk in a lot of cases is all that it is, just talk to gain a sale. I like to make my own decisions.

Be mindful of the trailers, a lot of the "packages" that I saw although reasonably priced compromised on the trailer, short skids, 10" wheels etc. A hard to launch/retrieve boat because of the trailer will sour your boating experience.

Motor, you mentioned a bad back, the tohie/merc/yamaha all have zip starts so consider what effect pull starting the motor will have on your back. I'm in a similar boat (excuse pun) my back plays up now and again, I chose an electric start 30 hp suzi (also has zip start) for about 10% more than the tohie and yamaha and slightly cheaper than the merc. It also has a charging system be it only several amps but it will cost you about $70 - 100 to retro fit on the tohie/yam but comes std with the merc.

With electric add for the battery, about 400 - 500 cca about $100 (calcium). Advantage is that you have a power source.

I chose a 4.2 tinnie, couldn't care less about all the supposed negatives such as cracks, its alloy, it can be welded. Most materials have their negatives.

Faults/damage in the poly would require specialised poly welding which I would imagine would be dealer than mig welding (just an assumption).

Just my two cents worth, research then you will know when the right boat comes about for the right price and whether it's a bargain or not, take your time; don't get pressured by "itís the last one" sales pitch.

Last but not least, I found that the price comparison between new and used for the same size was fairly small ( in my case about $1000 - $1500) and with new you get the warranty and customise that boat to suit yourself rather than trying to adapt to some elseís idiosyncrasies.



03-06-2006, 07:58 PM

I have the same motor on my 4.1m poly, ie a 30 hp electric start Suzuki. So maybe the polys don't need more hp after all? You wouldn't happen to know the top speed? I get 24.3 knots out of mine according to GPS, which I think is fast enough for a tiller boat.
PS I find the electric start very convenient and I definitely wouldn't want to go back to a pull start now.

03-06-2006, 08:10 PM

As I mentioned I picked up my boat (tiller) a couple of days ago and have not yet had the chance to "wet" it. Hopefully in a fortnight or there abouts if work permits.

For an extra $300 for electric start, it was too good to pass up. Start with the push of a button with the added peace of mind of zip start.

How have you found the motor to be??. I have found very little info on them.



03-06-2006, 08:13 PM
Nothing Crooker than a Brooker

GO TA 40 Toey 30 knots on a 4.2

03-06-2006, 08:33 PM

Its like most other 2 cylinder two stroke 30s I suppose. Plenty of grunt when the revs build up but a bit noisy. A bit rough at idle but bearable and OK for slow trolling. Its light at 56kg so no problem tilting it up. Also its quite light on fuel. I generally give it a caning and find it hard to use more than 10 to 15 L covering a lot of water in half a days fishing. You will need to adjust the cave plate quite agressively #to counteract all the torque steer.
I am running it on 50:1 as recommended by the dealers mechanic rather than the 100:1 the manufacturer recommends to protect it from wear. This has been the subject of another lengthy topic so I won't go it to it further!

03-06-2006, 08:40 PM

Good feedback, thanks for that. The dealer set the cav plate at about 5 degrees if 0 degrees is staitght back. What have you set yours at?



03-06-2006, 08:51 PM
A lot more than that, from memory it would be more like 20 to 30 degrees. Its a freezing night in Sydney at the moment so I don't feel like going outside for a look! I had to keep increasing it several times to find a level I felt comfortable with, as I was getting a sore arm in no time.

03-06-2006, 08:59 PM
Again thanks for that. This is the first time I've had a tiller, all of my other boats have had steering wheels.

Looking forward to a whole lot of fun. :)



04-06-2006, 02:22 PM

As a new member on here i would really like to thank each one of you for your detailed and informative respones, well most of you anyway its fantastic and extremely helpfull.

Thankyou so very much, look like its the Poly, the local dealer is an agent for Mercury is this motor ok, or is the Tohie better.

cheers guys


04-06-2006, 02:52 PM
Hi parrotfish

My tip is poly 60% fibreglass 30% and a tinny 10% If you wish to pull a tube behind then 30-40hp will suit if only for fishing 20hp is enough and cheaper to run
Fuel is not going to get cheaper ( we are talking tops 4,1 meter open boat) Hooning is expensive... Enjoy your fishing days with children --remember most have to wear life jackets....


04-06-2006, 03:56 PM

I thought we settled this argument before. Its false economy to underpower a boat. With a 20hp on a 4.1 poly you will be going full throttle everywhere and be using nearly as much fuel as a bigger motor working in a more economical rev range. Not to mention shortening the life of the motor and poor resale value as you be stuck with a rig no one wants to buy.
A 2 cylinder 30hp on that boat is still very frugal and will give you a more enjoyable boating experience. Also safer too as a turn of speed means you may be able to outrun bad weather.

04-06-2006, 04:31 PM
Parrotfish - Tohatsu make all the 2 strokes up to 40hp for Brunswick (Mercury/Mariner). So to answer your question. There the same engine different sticker. Just shop around is the only advice I'd give, most makes of engine don't need to go back to where you brought them for warranty service.


04-06-2006, 04:57 PM
Go with the one that is the cheapest (tohatsu,merc) as they are the same . I had one of the 2 cylinders 2/s 40hp on a hornet and it went very well . and dont under power it as it will cost you more in fuel and it will cost too much to up grade. as for the fuel side I get the same fuel econo out of my 140hp as I did out of the 90hp which was on it before but have more power and get there quicker.
have fun

04-06-2006, 06:00 PM
If you decide to go the poly - have a talk to richard martin at Martin Marine in Pialba. He will give you a very competitive quote.

Totally agree with the above

Never owned a boat before i have looked at the Brooker 4.1m Fisherman and the 4.1 m Polycraft Challenger both fm Cunninghams Marine. The Fisherman seems a good price at $3660 {boat and trailer only} against Polycrafts $4450.

Ref above:
I purchased my 5.3 From Martins and it was a 30000 dollar approx deal and i saved at least 2500 from not going to MY closest dealer.... I am at Bald Hills ..... my closet dealer is ........ at Oxley/Recliffe - You work out who that dealer is ? ::) I say nothing.....

And Finally:
Im based at Mango Hill on the northside, i look foward to reading some responses.

Mate I am just down the road at Bald Hills feel free to drop me a line anytime.... look forwrd to seeing you and the family out and about in the new boat :)

04-06-2006, 06:52 PM
As already stated, Mercury/Mariner 30hp 2 stroke is the same motor as the Tohatsu 30hp but just painted black. Price the package without the Merc motor and see if it works out cheaper to buy the motor seperately. Cheers, Joey.

04-06-2006, 07:15 PM
Hi Parrot,

I went thru all this 12 months ago. I considered the poly boat as well but after experiencing "memory" deforming with my kayak (same principle used in poly boats) I went for a tinni. The ply was heavy and if you are the skipper you get the best seat at the tiller anyway. Open boats up to 5 meters can be limited by the weather. A 4.5 tinnie is uncomfortable in chop and a breeze of 10knots or so.

If this is your first boat, then it won't be long before you want to step up into something more substantial. I'm going thru this at the moment. My advise is to try for something 2nd hand but near new.

It took me 3 months of procrasternation and kilometers before I finally picked up of a near new tinni and saved onver $1000. This was a giant step as I (and probably you) had the thought that I was buying somebody's problems. As it turned out I got into a 4.2 Bluefin with a 30hp Mariner, it was 12 months old - had 2 years warrenty on the engine and another year on the hull and trailor. This was a private sale. The boat looked and smelt brand new not a mark of rust or salt stains on the trailor or hull. 4 pfd, oars, all the safety gear came with it.

It was still on 20/1 fuel and had not even had the first "free" service. Very happy with both hull and motor. Friday I picked it up from Mr T's after having had it's first full service (I don't use it all that much). today we put her in at Colmslie and run up to Riverside and back purred on the plane with 3 on board and used about 1/3 of a tank.

when you ask for opinions on hulls and motor's you are going to get opinions both biased and ill-conceived based on reputation and heresay.

Go for a main stream hull - longer rather than shorter - use 4.2 as your minium and the max up to 475. HP a minium of 25 but with a 30 or 40 you will happier 6 months down the track. This size is easy to tow - launch and retrieve. The motor is the most confusing when you see a 30 for $x and another for much less. Thats becaue of the sofistication of the technology. 3 cylinders are better than 2 and an oil injector is better than premixed. I wish I had and oil injected as the pre-mixtue of 50/1 cause plug troube for extending strolling. Good when on the plane but not that hot if you want to troll for 1/2 and hour or so. (my opinion only).

there you go - I din't say one brand was over another. Grab something less than 3 years old and you should have no trouble.

Something that you should consider is that buying a used boat from a deal, is no guarantee that you are protected by a warrenty worth the paper it is written on. The rule "buyer's risk" is worth remembering.

Make sure you insure it and the trailor. Now get out there and buy something. I'll keep you id on hand and send you and offer on mine in a couple of weeks if you like.

Cheers, Coochie

07-06-2006, 04:59 PM
thankyou so much Coochie, Joey and MrWong for your great advise its fantastic and i really do appreciate it.

MrWong as im up the road im waiting for the invitation............. I would like to purchase second hand but im just kinda scared all i would be buying is someone elses problems, i see some tempting ads in the local rags but not sure whether to go for it or not.

08-06-2006, 02:10 PM
hey Parrotfish

I bought my first boat second hand, and my experience so far has been ok. I found a 4.75 foward steer glass brooker, is a 1986 model so way out of the talk in this column. But it did only cost me $3500 and came with a 60hp johnson. When I was looking I asked a boating mate what to look for, and he said in a second hand motor, look at the paint on the head, if it's there and still origional, then at least you know that major damage has not been done (always exeptions of course).

My motor has the origional paint on the head (is 20 years old), and I have had no major probs, have had it for 1 1/2 years. I think the best bet is to get someone who knows outboards to have a look at any potential buy, or at least tell you what to look for. If it starts first turn and the motors cold, its always a good sign.

I have a lot of fun in this boat, it cruises along pretty good up to 28 knts and I would hardly ever use more than a tank (25ltrs), on trip (6-7 hours). The other benifit is as it's an old shitbox, I'm not to worried about running into docks, walls ect (within reason), which is good while your learning. I drill holes in it, mount things here and there, doesn't really matter.
Having said all that, the trailer it came on is F*cked, so I've had to put a bit of work into that (would've been better off getting a new one)