Skills show in his craft
WHEN John Margetts left a secure job with the Gold Coast Riviera group 13 years ago and packed his boatbuilding tools to settle in Cairns, many of his former workmates felt he would fall on hard times.
They all learnt to appreciate his skill but were concerned he would struggle to earn enough money to put toast on the table.
Sure, he struggled in the early days when he built one coral trout fishing dory a month for local commercial fishermen.
His perfectionist attitude to building these knockabout open fishing boats with a super-strong fibreglass moulding process almost led to his downfall.
But he was determined to make the change from building his Hooker fishing dories to being recognised among Australia’s best in custom-built leisure craft.
Being an experienced angler and having the skills to design and hand-shape a female plug allowed him to gradually win market share in a competitive industry.
Initially, the design and combined structural strength of the tiller-steered Hooker 5m, which handled the windtossed offshore environment with a high degree of safety, made it the boat of choice among families who lived in remote areas of Cape York. There is still a strong demand for the baby of the Hooker range, but Margetts has applied his design skills to match an increasing move among local fishermen to extend their boundaries.
‘‘We cover a wide range of building options, from the popular 5m pro-fisherman to the 8m twin-enginepowered pro-fisherman (pictured), which really qualifies as a mini-game fish boat,’’ he said. ‘‘Our most recent venture has been involved with building high-powered ski boats and securing a contract to build 20 boats for the Papua New Guinea Government.’’
It is hard to say which Hooker model – from the 5m open dory to the 8m offshore voyager – carries the title as the flagship of the fleet.
Generally, the size and sea comfort provided by the 6.7m walk-around cabin-style vessel has been accepted as the ideal family boat. The neatly-styled cabin provides security when the weather turns nasty, while the hull shape handles the bumps and the freefall that can occur in reef waters when the afternoon breeze blows in. This reputation proves that John Margetts made the right lifestyle choice 13 years ago.
Further information from hookerboats.com
One of the Hooker range of boats is the 8m twin-engine-powered pro-fisherman
John Margetts has secured a contract to build 20 boats for the Papua New Guinea Government