Marco 950

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY JOHN EICHELSHEIM

State­ment in al­loy. We pre­sent the first re­view of this award-win­ning fish­ing ma­chine.

Mike is a fa­nat­i­cal fisher who loves chas­ing game fish and all his boats were set up to in­dulge this pas­sion. He se­ri­ously con­sid­ered buy­ing a launch this time around but again opted for a trailer boat because of the flex­i­bil­ity it gives him to fish any­where in the coun­try. “If I had a launch, I’d be stuck on one coast.” From his Hamil­ton base Mike can ac­cess east and west coasts eas­ily enough. Raglan, a reg­u­lar launch­ing spot, is only an hour’s tow away and a ves­sel like Res­o­lute al­lows him to work the some­times-treach­er­ous bar with con­fi­dence.

Res­o­lute im­pressed the judges enough at the Hutch­wilco New Zealand Boat Show in May to win Boat of the Show in the Spe­cial­ist Fish­ing Boat – Open cat­e­gory. It’s not hard to see why.


This is an im­pres­sive rig from what­ever an­gle you look at it. De­signed by Jar­rod Hall, re­spon­si­ble for custom and pro­duc­tion boats for many of New Zealand’s lead­ing alu­minium boat builders, Res­o­lute is 10 me­tres long with a dry weight of 6500kg on the trailer.

The boat was built by the team at Marco Boats un­der the care­ful direc­tion of Dayne Horne. The in­te­rior fit-out is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between owner Mike and Dayne’s team. “Dayne and the guys at Marco are su­per-tal­ented. What­ever ideas I came up with, they would fig­ure out how to make them hap­pen,” says Mike.

Mike is al­ways busy with projects and there’s noth­ing he en­joys more than work­ing with tal­ented peo­ple to make some­thing spe­cial hap­pen.

As an ex­am­ple, a 1969 Holden Monaro Mike built some years ago fea­tured on the cover of NZV8 and has re­mained on that mag­a­zine’s Peo­ple’s Choice Top Ten list for the last 10 years.

“I just love the op­por­tu­nity to work with re­ally tal­ented peo­ple – to get the best out of them. With the Monaro, the skilled team at Rocket Speed Equip­ment brought my vi­sion to life,” ex­plains Mike. “This project [ Res­o­lute] was just like that. The guys at Marco Boats gave it their all – noth­ing was too hard or too far out of left field to con­sider, and I was al­ways happy to de­fer to their knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence. I can’t speak highly enough of them and the con­trac­tors they work with.”

The tan­dem-axle custom alu­minium trailer un­der­neath Res­o­lute was de­signed by Dayne, built to COF stan­dards by cer­ti­fied al­loy welders at Marco Boats and ap­proved by Be­van Olsen, the di­rec­tor of Trans­port So­lu­tions Group. The trailer is an in­te­gral part of the rig, al­low­ing Mike to safely tow Res­o­lute be­hind the truck he bought for the pur­pose.

“Ac­tu­ally … I im­ported a 2016 Chevy pick-up from the US with a six-tonne pin­tle to tow the boat, but when Res­o­lute was de­liv­ered she weighed 6.5 tonnes – so, I had to buy the truck!”

The trailer fea­tures air brakes and air bag shock ab­sorbers. A large wa­ter tank strapped to the truck

tray not only pro­vides weight over the rear wheels for im­proved trac­tion, it also feeds a high-pres­sure pump for wash­ing the boat and trailer any­where, any­time. “That way we can wash the boat down with fresh­wa­ter wher­ever we might be,” ex­plains Mike.


Res­o­lute ticks all the boxes when it comes to fish­ing. The Perma-teek cov­ered cock­pit is mas­sive. The en­gine box is fully walka­round, so there are no is­sues mov­ing around the cock­pit with a large fish on the line. Game-fish­ing is a pri­or­ity, so un­sur­pris­ingly

Res­o­lute is prop­erly set up for trolling baits and lures.

Reel Rods game poles mount high up on the wheel­house, so you can still duck un­der them to walk to the bow. When they are not re­quired they stow out of the way in a tun­nel between the hull/cabin and cabin liner.

The re­mov­able game chair mounts aft of the en­gine box and there’s no swim plat­form to snag lines or com­pli­cate back­ing up in pur­suit of a ram­pag­ing mar­lin. For sim­i­lar rea­sons, the duo-prop leg is tucked back un­der the tran­som.

Res­o­lute backs up very well, as Mike found out on the boat’s maiden voy­age when the crew tagged and re­leased a po­ten­tial Raglan Game Fish­ing Club record mar­lin. They tagged an­other mar­lin on the sec­ond trip out, bill marks in the paint on Res­o­lute’s port side bear­ing wit­ness to their suc­cess.

A sec­ond game chair mounts on the roof, not for play­ing fish, but for spot­ting game fish and watch­ing lures in the wake.

The ves­sel’s wide coam­ings and high gun­wales of­fer se­cu­rity in a se­away and good sup­port when fish­ing while the dou­ble-hinged tran­som door opens out­wards for safety. Its dou­ble-act­ing latch is a clever piece of en­gi­neer­ing from Tony North­cott. Side lock­ers house the bat­ter­ies, gas bot­tles (two) and pro­vide some stor­age, though the largest lock­ers are also the air in­takes for the en­gine, so they can’t be over-filled. There’s also a fully func­tional helm sta­tion in the cock­pit.

Res­o­lute’s cock­pit drains to sumps in the cor­ners, each with an au­to­matic bilge pump. Two more bilge pumps along the keel line deal with any wa­ter that finds its way into the hull. Cleats are mounted in­ter­nally, the lines passed through holes in the coam­ings.

Res­o­lute is a trailer boat with all the com­forts of a launch.

The fish­ing cock­pit’s cen­tre­piece is a large bait/ rig­ging ta­ble on top of the en­gine box. An­other clever bit of de­sign, it has a pivot point between the two halves of the en­gine box cover. The ta­ble swivels for­ward or aft to open one side or the other of the en­gine box cover and the bait ta­ble can be re­moved to com­pletely ex­pose the Volvo Penta D6 en­gine.

Ver­ti­cal rod stor­age around the perime­ter of the en­gine box can ac­com­mo­date up to 16 rods, there are nine flush rod hold­ers in the gun­wales and tran­som, plus stor­age for an­other 12 rods in a dou­ble row in the rocket launcher. The un­der­floor wet lock­ers ei­ther side of the en­gine box are sprayed with Rhino Liner. This re­duces vi­bra­tion noise from ob­jects stored in them.

A tran­som live bait tank and a pair of tuna tubes take care of live baits, while a smaller Icey Tek ice­box for dead baits fits un­der the ta­ble when needed; the large Icey Tek bin aft of the en­gine box is re­served for the catch. For longer-term cold stor­age, there is a dou­ble freezer and seat against the wheel­house bulk­head.

For night use re­cessed Hella flood­lights il­lu­mi­nate the cock­pit and there’s a light bar to light the fore­deck as well. Un­der­wa­ter lights are Bluefin. Up for­ward a Muir winch does the heavy lift­ing and there’s a dou­ble fair­lead to ac­com­mo­date a sec­ond an­chor and rode, per­haps a Dan­forth or a grap­nel, though the Sarca an­chor fit­ted is a good all-rounder.


Res­o­lute is a trailer boat with all the com­forts of a launch. There’s a cock­pit shower, the shower head re­cessed into the cock­pit over­hang and the hard­top’s tinted glass and alu­minium fold­ing doors pro­vid­ing a mod­icum of pri­vacy, and a custom in­te­rior.

On the star­board side of the wheel­house the gal­ley sports a three-burner hob and gas oven. The ceil­ing is vinyl-lined and custom cab­i­netry is used through­out.

A drawer re­frig­er­a­tor un­der the helm seat keeps food and drink cool, there’s seat­ing around the ta­ble on the port side, with plenty of stor­age in the seat bases (draw­ers) and un­der­floor.

Bi­fold doors and an elec­tric cav­ity win­dow, both by Sand­brooks, en­sure un­ob­structed views of any lures in the wake, while slid­ing side win­dows and large, open­ing sky­light hatches pro­vide ven­ti­la­tion and light. The hatches are hinged on the in­board side to al­low ac­cess past the radar dome to the ob­server’s chair on the roof. Sight­lines from all of the boat’s seats are good.

A sep­a­rate plumbed toi­let, with a black­wa­ter hold­ing tank, was one of Mike’s re­quire­ments. The heads com­part­ment is squeezed into the bow between two tiers of bunks. There’s sleep­ing for­ward for two chil­dren and up to three adults when the in­fill is in place. The wheel­house ta­ble and seats con­vert to an­other gen­er­ous berth if re­quired.

The boat’s custom helm seat is po­si­tioned so that Mike can turn it side­ways, re­cline the back­rest and put his feet up on the seat op­po­site. It’s his favourite po­si­tion while trolling. One of the arm­rests has been mod­i­fied to bet­ter sup­port his arm while scrolling through menus and screens for the pair of 12-inch Ray­ma­rine MFDS. The tog­gle and rocker con­trols just be­hind the throt­tle lever are eas­ier to use in a se­away than the touch­screens.

The MFDS also dis­play video feeds from an in­fra-red en­gine room cam­era and FLIR bow cam­era, along with radar, sonar, nav­i­ga­tion and en­gine data. Res­o­lute boasts se­ri­ous fish-find­ing power with a 2kw through-hull CHIRP trans­ducer pow­ered by a 4kw sonar mod­ule, plus a tran­som-mounted 600W 3D CHIRP trans­ducer.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is han­dled by two VHF ra­dios in the over­head con­sole, pro­vid­ing built-in re­dun­dancy for safety, while sounds are cour­tesy of a Fu­sion head unit, a se­ri­ous pre-amp, 10-inch sub-woofer, plus four six-inch and two four-inch speak­ers.

In some re­spects, though, Mike has kept things sim­ple. There’s no Czone or sim­i­lar dig­i­tal switch­ing. In­stead, Mike has opted for sim­ple push­but­ton light switches and cir­cuit break­ers for the main switch­board – no fuses.

A DCM panel mon­i­tors wa­ter and waste­water lev­els, fuel, house and start bat­tery volt­age and there’s a built-in in­verter-charger that he plugs in to shore power via a do­mes­tic three-pin plug.


Driv­ing this boat, it’s ob­vi­ous de­sign­ers and builders have got the hull pro­file right. While she feels more like a launch than a trailer boat – Res­o­lute is nearly six tonnes and 10 me­tres long af­ter all – she’s still pretty nim­ble. Throt­tle re­sponse from the 370hp Volvo-penta D6 is good and the duo-props get plenty of pur­chase on the wa­ter while Humphree self-lev­el­ling in­ter­cep­tor trim tabs keep the boat on the level.

Top speed is around 35 knots depend­ing on load­ing, but what’s more im­por­tant is how well the boat trav­els in a se­away. We had a bit of slop out­side Tau­ranga Har­bour, which demon­strated that the 950 Souwester rides very nicely.

Ac­cord­ing to Mike, who has clocked up quite a few hours al­ready, Res­o­lute is very com­posed in most sea con­di­tions: he can main­tain an eco­nom­i­cal 22 to 25-knot cruis­ing speed even when it cuts up rough. In the con­di­tions on the day, we could main­tain a com­fort­able 30-knot cruise.

Mike reck­ons the 950 is pretty cruisey in most con­di­tions: “She’s a heavy boat, which in­spires con­fi­dence, es­pe­cially cross­ing west coast bars.” Three wipers (with fresh­wa­ter wash­ers) keep the wind­screens clear.

With 8mm tran­som and bot­tom plates and 5mm sides, she’s solidly built. “There’s lots of un­der­floor struc­ture,” says Dayne, “in­clud­ing full-length stringers, frames, bulk­heads and sealed buoy­ancy chambers ei­ther side of the fuel tank.”

Res­o­lute car­ries 580 litres of fuel un­der the floor, giv­ing a range of 318 nau­ti­cal miles at 25 knots, plus 140 litres of fresh­wa­ter, heated through a 20-litre cal­i­font.


To build a custom ves­sel like this you need the right owner, reck­ons Dayne. Marco Boats has been build­ing large custom Sou’west­ers along­side its pro­duc­tion boat range for sev­eral years, but this is the com­pany’s big­gest and most com­plex project to date.

“We would never have built this boat for any­one else – but we’d worked with Mike be­fore. Res­o­lute is the third boat we’ve built to­gether, so we knew Mike and he knew us. Con­se­quently, it was a great project all round.”

Mike is clearly the right owner, because he loves his new boat.

“I get to ben­e­fit from all the fan­tas­tic work by a bunch of re­ally tal­ented trades­men and oth­ers who had in­put into this boat. Between them, they made it hap­pen,” says Mike.

His only re­grets are that he took pos­ses­sion right at the tail end of the game-fish­ing sea­son and that in­clement weather quashed a planned south­ern bluefin tuna ex­pe­di­tion to Wai­hau Bay in June. Now he’s hang­ing out un­til the wa­ter warms up and the mar­lin start run­ning!


The award-win­ning Marco 950 Sou’wester Res­o­lute is the Tau­ranga com­pany’s third custom alu­minium build for Hamil­to­nian Mike Cal­lagher – and the sec­ond to bear that name.

TOP The cabin top sup­ports the radar dome, aeri­als, FLIR cam­era and fore­deck light bar.

ABOVE The sa­loon area has all the com­fort and fa­cil­i­ties of a launch.TOP RIGHT An ex­ten­sive elec­tron­ics suite com­ple­ments fly-by-wire en­gine con­trols and power steer­ing.BOT­TOM RIGHT The bow area fea­tures an en­closed head with bunks ei­ther side. All the avail­able in­side space has been clev­erly utilised.

LEFT There’s plenty of fish­ing room in the 950’s cock­pit.ABOVE With the bait ta­ble swiv­elled one way, ac­cess to the rear half of the en­gine is easy; ro­tate it the other way to ac­cess the front half.

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