The Oracle 17 is a sport utility craft, made to be versatile and crafted to be fun. Whether you’re taking the kids for a day of watersport, or heading offshore with the boys in search of fresh fish, this craft bridges the gap between having to make the choice.
The Oracle range is no newcomer to the industry. This locally built boat has been making waves for the past couple years, and I’m impressed to see that the fit and finish has been further improved as time has ticked by. If you need an excuse to spend more time on the water this summer, then the Oracle 17’s versatility may just be the answer.
The 17 foot Oracle is the ideal size between easy handling and sufficient deck space. We heading out for the day on the water – and with six persons on board, as well as a selection of slalom and trick skis, we still hand enough personal bubble space to look each other in the eye afterwards. The extra wide helm seat allows for the skipper plus one, but if you’re going to tackle the ocean, a standing position feels just right on this craft. A seat on the front of the helm can be flipped up and into place when needed, or neatly folded down to give a roomier bow area when the lines are in the water. Additional rear-facing seats are located on the bow for two crew – or for mom to be seated at with a perfect view for watching the kids learning to ski. Convenience is catered for on the Oracle 17 with steps leading up to the deck on the bow, as well on the outside of the transom leading into the boat for when people need to get onboard.
Since you are likely to be chasing the fish with a boat like this, it has been equipped with the angler in mind. There are sufficient rod racks in the gunnels for storage, as well as built into the sides of the binnacle. Rod holders are located in the top of the gunwales, as well as on the back of the skipper’s chair. When it comes to the bait storage, a hatch at the transom with a window is right where you’d need it – or alternatively it can be used as a cooler box when fishing isn’t on the cards.
This Oracle is equipped with a full wet deck, meaning that water is almost instantly drained from the boat if it makes its way onboard.
The helm is simple and elegant, giving you the instrumentation that you require; but if you’re looking to fit a fish finder, there’s plenty of space to allow for even a large screen device.
The Oracle which we had the pleasure of using for the day was fitted with Suzuki’s 150 HP. Although this large displacement 4-Stroke greatly contributes to a powerful acceleration and torque, Suzuki claims this engine to be one of the lightest in its class. It certainly has the raw grunt, dropping the hammer down to pop the hull, five on board and a skier out of the water without a hint of struggle. If you’re looking to save on the price, you could probably get away with Suzuki’s 115 HP, but really, the 150 provides the Oracle with good balance and plenty of power for when you need it. There really is no need to go any bigger, however.
Quaggaskloof dam is a popular hangout as boats go out in their droves when the weather is good. Crossing over other boats’ wakes, the Oracle maintained a smooth and comfortable ride which also proved to be super stable. When there’s a wind chop on the water, the 17-foot glides across it with hardly even a vibration – something which really stood out for me.
This Suzuki motor uses fly by wire technology instead of traditional cables, meaning that throttle adjustments and gear selection is instant and responsive. When it comes to figures, the Oracle accelerated from 0-plane in around three seconds and bulleted to a top speed of around 75 km/h. Throttling back to trick skiing speeds, I enjoyed the Oracle’s ability to maintain its course and ride true. And, when standing at the helm, you really get good vision all around the craft to ensure a much safer skippering experience.
The Oracle 17 is one of those boats which performs perfectly at what it’s designed for. Take it on an ocean adventure or cruise the dam in comfort and you’ll soon see why this versatile craft has impressed me beyond belief.
Pricing starts at R350000 with a 115 HP.