Southern XP816 & Yamaha 425 XTO

Barry 2018-11-09

Southern Alloy Boats have been building the XP816 for a few years now and until the 425 XTO came along, the biggest power has been a single Yamaha 350hp outboard.

Available in either sterndrive diesel or petrol and single or twin outboard power packages, the XP816 has built up a reputation as a great performing boat that can easily handle plenty of power.

So when Yamaha recently released the potent 425 XTO onto the market, Family Boats, sole distributor for Southern Alloy Boats, couldn't resist the challenge. Would the 8.1m hardtop handle the awesome power and torque that the 425 XTO generated? After PPB took it for a run on Auckland Harbour, the answer is you bet it does. In a word, blistering!

The 425 XTO is reasonably quiet, especially for a V8 and the throttle response is instant. Even an only gradual increase of rpm, the XP816 shows a soft, smooth transition onto the plane with very little 'hump' to climb over. Push the throttle down, and anyone who is not hanging on will be flat on their backs. Acceleration right through the range is impressive.

What else is just as impressive is the digital helm. No hydraulics, no cables, only a single wire from the helm to the outboard.  Top speed is an impressive 53 knots (61 mph) on the GPS @ 6100 rpm, with fuel consumption that, let's just say, was plenty.

The  Southern XP816 is the biggest of the 2.5m wide XP range, with anything bigger built with a 2.9m beam. While the boat tested was primarily a day boat with overnight concessions, such as a head, sink unit, cooker, fridge/freezer and handheld shower, the full lockup model is pitched as a true weekender. The big difference is the solid aft bulkhead which turns the open helm area into a wheelhouse. Ideal if you are boating in colder weather or like to have that extra comfort a fully enclosed hardtop boat gives.

Forward in either layout is a V shape berth, with an infill, storage under and a plumbed in head on the starboard side. If you need extra accommodation, there is an optional pipe berth available.

 Side trays are big enough to look after plenty of gear, and there's an access panel to the back of the helm. In the open version, a sliding bulkhead door lets you lock off the cabin, while in the weekender version the port side bulkhead is left open.

Seating in the open boat has two king/queens with forward swivelling pedestals on moulded bin bases. There's a 68-litre fridge, sink unit and provision for a cooker. The passenger backrest is reversible so you can flip it over if you want to watch what's happening in the cockpit or if you are towing a water toy. Also, a great place to sit if you are trolling a couple of game lures.

There are double trays under the coamings as well as dedicated tackle lockers, plus extra wide side coamings with rod holders. Naturally, there is also the obligatory rocket launcher overhead.  Being an alloy boat the cockpit and cabin layout are very much owner driven, and none of the twenty Southern XP816s built since 2014 have been quite the same.

Gone are all the instrument on the dash, replaced with a single Yamaha 7" display, which 'talks' to the Garmin. This has all the engine management data and even comes with a rudder angle indicator. Helps that the Yamaha unit is manufactured by Garmin. Other accessories include Lenco auto glide tabs, Fusion entertainment system and Maxwell auto winch controls.

The XP 816 is really all about fishing, and in our test boat, the transom area reflects that 100%. Centre stage is an extra-large live bait tank with viewing panel, flanked with deep walk-throughs with drop-in washboards, through to the transom platforms. A sizeable removable bait station sits above and the separate battery locker below. A freshwater handheld shower (hot/cold) is nearby as is a saltwater wash down.

With the XP816 being a semi-custom model, you can personalise the boat to suit your needs. As for the power, well while the Yamaha 425 XTO is a magnificent engine and the boat certainly has no issues in handling the extra power or weight, I think most owners would be just as happy with a 300-350hp outboard. But then, if you really like getting to your fishing spot off the coast in a hurry then go for it. Overall the Southern XP816 and Yamaha 425 XTO make a great combo.

For a full review check out the latest issue (Nov-Dec) of Pacific PowerBoat Magazine.

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