Image Field :
Brisbane couple, Russell and Kim Dahl – and their beloved Shnoodle, Merv – are the proud owners of an Integrity 490, a Raised Pilothouse version – the one and only in the fleet.
“When it came to designing our current boat, Norcliff III, I wanted a separate helm station,” explains Russell. “We went to Brett Flanagan and asked him if he could do that for us, and he was excited by the challenge. We gave him a list of things we wanted and he had them designed. We went back and forwards til we got them just right, and the end result is just as we had always imagined it.
“With Integrity, there’s a real ‘can do’ approach. Every boat is different and they’re always working to make things better.”
Russell and Kim came into the Integrity family in 2013, with a background in sailing.
As Russell recounts: “When Kim and I first met, I was into sailing having done a few offshore races, namely a Sydney to Gold Coast and Brisbane to Gladstone yacht race. I was probably a little gung ho! We started off in yacht share on a Bavaria 37 based at Manly, Brisbane. We would sail over to Tangalooma and spend some time there.
“However sailing caused too many disputes, as I would always ask Kim to tack just after she had poured a glass of fizz, so that did not go down well. Some other friends of ours had a power boat so we joined them with a purchase of a second hand 28ft Bayliner, which we enjoyed for a couple of years around Moreton Bay. But at 25 knots, there were too many bumps for us to cope with.”
They discovered the Integrity range at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show and bought an Integrity 380 Sedan. “We named it Norcliff in honour of my mother and father, whose names were Norma and Clifford respectively. They had owned a block of flats called Norcliff, so the name is somewhat of a tradition.
“The reason for Integrity besides the classic trawler lines, was stability – Kim can drink champagne in peace – the slower pace, walk around decks, room and of course a reasonable price.”
Since the couple’s first Integrity, they have formed a firm relationship with Brett and the team and have upgraded twice, to their current 490 Raised Pilothouse, Norcliff III.
“We have a great rapport,” states Russell. “They’re easy to get along with, take great pride in their boats and every aspect of workmanship. During the build process, I went to the factory three times and gave our input along the way. Nothing is too much trouble.”
Custom features include the Raised Pilothouse design, specially crafted removable rails on the transom for tender stowage, which easily converts to a swim platform, and a Sovereign barbeque off the back for fuss-free entertaining.
“The reason for the pilothouse is that it provides me with a separate helm station as well as side access doors to both Port and Starboard sides of the boat and there is plenty of storage and entertaining room.
“Kim was very hands-on with the interiors and we managed to achieve everything we wanted in this boat.”
In the past 12 months, the Dahls have enjoyed exploring Moreton Bay, Tangalooma and the Gold Coast waterways aboard Norcliff III, fully appreciating a slow pace of boating, with all the creature comforts of home. Their trusty companion, Merv, a 10-year old cross Shih Tzu-Poodle, is only just getting his sea legs, but is taking to the boating lifestyle with gusto.
“We’re not into fishing, but we love swimming, relaxing, whale watching and entertaining friends on our boat. It’s the ideal entertainer, with free-flowing spaces from the aft deck through the saloon.”
Below decks, Norcliff III boasts a full-beam Master cabin with ensuite, and a VIP cabin with Queen size bed and ensuite.
Powered by a single Scania 700hp engine, Norcliff has more than enough grunt to handle coastal and offshore cruising. “We have no problem at all with single engine power. If anything, the boat is probably overpowered. But we have stern and bow thrusters, thankfully, which make berthing a lot more manageable.”
Planning a long summer of boating, Russell and Kim are enjoying the camaraderie and shared interests of the Integrity family. “We enjoy the socialising and hope to do more of it,” he says, suggesting an Integrity Facebook system where owners can advise each other of their cruising plans and then meet up for an impromptu raft up.
“We love our boat, the Integrity family and are looking forward to start venturing north to Hervey Bay and The Whitsundays in 2018.”