Blake's vessel is his pride and joy

MOST young blokes are into flashy cars but when you live in the Gladstone region it's all about flashy boats.

And while the boat of 23-year-old Blake Williams is still a work in progress, it's come a long way since he bought it two years ago.

Although Blake still has a couple of months' work ahead of him on his 1999 model Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge, he's got a recent addition to it in the form of a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.

 

ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.
ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.

 

"It's one of the newest Mercury four strokes they've brought out. It's a 225 horsepower and pushes the boat along nicely - it gets up to about 34 knots (63km/h)," Blake said.

"It's pretty hard to beat when you compare it to the rest."

Fishing since he was six, Blake's current pride and joy wasn't his first.

"I started getting serious with it at about 13 when I got my first boat," he said.

"It was a 3.7m Quintrex with an old 15 HP Mercury on the back. Then I went up to a 4.5m Quintrex with 40 HP on it."

 

ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.
ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.

 

His current boat had a 175 HP OptiMax on it before he upgraded to the latest Mercury model.

"I've done a fair bit to the helm, it did have an L-shape seat that went down around the back so I pulled all that out to make more fishing room," Blake said.

"I've done a whole new dash layout with new electronics in it - I left that to the experts because you don't want that mucking up when you're 150km out at sea.

"I've got big plans for it as it's only just scraping the surface where it is now.

"I want to get rid of the hard top and put a fibreglass hard top with a stainless pipe canopy so I can get a radar in it.

"It's got a V-berth up the front and another bed underneath the floor so it can easily sleep four people in it. It's got a small toilet and sink as well."

 

ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.
ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.

 

A regular Boyne Tannum HookUp competitor, the Boyne Smelters employee has forked out a fair bit of money - $32,000 (overall cost) for the outboard and $28,000 for his boat - but said it had been worth every cent.

"It's definitely worth the price and I couldn't imagine anything else," Blake said.

Blake's preference is to head out to the reefs when he wets a line.

"When you do it you've got to do it right - there's no use in paying that much money for a big boat and only fishing in close," he said.

"You may as well make the most of it and do a good trip out there. I'm always getting some decent Spanish mackerel, trout and all your good reef fish.

 

ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.
ME AND MY BOAT: Blake Williams, 23, with the latest addition to his Haines Signature 702 Sports Bridge - a 225 HP four-stroke Mercury outboard purchased from Ship and Sail Chandlery in Gladstone.

 

He also gave a decent plug to Ship and Sail.

"They helped me with every step of the way," Blake said.

"Even though there was a bit of a wait for the outboard they made sure they got it here as quick as they could and added in a few extras for the wait.

"They make sure they look after you."