New Zealand Bay Fisher joined Andrew Carlson at Takapuna Boat ramp to put the Surtees 610 through its paces!
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Surtees Grand Prize a Winner
By John Eichelsheim
This year’s Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show Grand Prize is a 6.1m Surtees 610 Game Fisher on a single-axle Surtees trailer and a Yamaha F150B V6 four-stroke outboard. The boat is packed with extras, top-of-the-line electronics and gear from a long list of suppliers; all up, as tested, the package is worth $104,000.
New Zealand Bay Fisher joined Andrew Carlson at Takapuna Boat ramp to put the Surtees 610 through its paces (Andrew owns Fishing Boats NZ, a leading Surtees Boats and Yamaha Outboards dealer based on Auckland’s North Shore).
The sign-written boat drew quite a few admiring looks as Andrew lined up the trailer on the boat ramp. The boat’s sides are painted a deep ‘Tasman Blue’ while the cabin, transom and hardtop roof are stark white. It’s a striking contrast, complemented by the boat’s shiny Nyalic-coated interior.
The Surtees multi-roller trailer features Surtees’ usual Quick-Hitch trailer catch system – however, this trailer was also fitted with a Balex Auto Boat Loader launching and retrieving system.
The 610 Game Fisher’s layout is skewed towards fishing and diving. The cockpit is uncluttered, with ample storage for long items in the full-length side shelves. These are wide enough for dive bottles, and neoprene panels protect the sides from damage; but Surtees also offer clip-on dive bottle racks, one of many ingenious Surtees accessories.
The chequerplate cockpit sole is sealed to provide buoyancy compartments and there’s an underfloor wet locker aft. Forward of the wet locker, a 150-litre underfloor fuel tank extends to the cabin bulkhead. A Jabsco wash down pump keeps the decks clean.
Located on the port side under the transom step-through and opposite a simple T-type boarding ladder on the swim platform, a decent live-bait tank, plumbed and venturi-fed, is filled via an easy-to-reach valve above the sump; a Rule bilge pump deals with any water inside the boat.
In typical Surtees’ style the transom is uncluttered. The bait station can be replaced with a ski-pole, and the now familiar fold-down seat affords excellent access to the batteries and isolation switches. With this in the ‘up’ position everything is well protected from the elements, but it provides a couple of extra seats when it’s down.
Neoprene non-slip panels on the coamings, side decks and foredeck provide secure footing, as well as sit-down comfort. There are plenty of rod holders and a removable sunshade that’s easy enough to fit, though it does block access to the rocket launcher.
Inside the hardtop a pair of fully adjustable soft rider pedestal seats provide comfort and security. Pipe footrests and handrails help to keep everyone in position.
This boat has an open-backed hardtop with a lined ceiling, cabin lighting and LED cockpit floodlights. Forward vision is marginally affected by the window mullions, but this is mitigated somewhat by the one-piece side windows. None of the windows open and there’s no skylight/overhead hatch, so the open back will be welcome on a hot day.
There’s a lot of gear on this boat. A Garmin GPS/Map 7412 multi-function display is bracket-mounted on the dashboard, while Yamaha’s newest electronic instrument display occupies the space immediately above the steering wheel. Other gauges, controls and switches are distributed around the helm fascia but Andrew commented he’d rather see the Lectrotab trim controls on the opposite side, close to the throttle control.
For onboard entertainment there’s a Fusion stereo system with Bluetooth, and twin outlets also provide 12V and USB power for the now-mandatory portable devices everyone carries. Garmin supplied the VHF radio, Exalto the single windscreen wiper and Marinco the remote-controlled spotlight on the hardtop roof. Anchor duties are performed by a Stress-Free drum winch in the bows.
The prize Surtees gets an upgrade to fabric upholstery in the Frontrunner lined cabin. Berth infills create a generous double berth, while there’s storage under the squabs and in side pockets, and room for a Portable toilet– and a step in the bows makes it easier to lean out through the large forward hatch which, being acrylic, lets in lots of welcome light.
Performance with the V6 Yamaha is pretty snappy. The Surtees hulls like a little weight on the transom to help with their fore-and-aft trim, so while a four-cylinder 150hp would certainly do the business – or even a 115hp – the slightly heavier and torquier 240kg Yamaha V6 is better.
The Surtees-Yamaha combo is quick off the mark. In sheltered water there was no need to open the ballast tanks, but even with with 340 litres of water along the keel and the gate closed, hole shots should be more than acceptable.
Water ballast provides stability at rest and some extra displacement in rough conditions. Operating the spring-loaded gate is simple: simply pull on the cord to raise it, using jam cleats to secure it open; unjam the cord to close the gate. When the gate is open water drains from the ballast tank very smartly.
Yamaha’s display showed us our fuel flow: at 22 knots we burned about a litre per hour. The boat cruises nicely at 22-25 knots where its very economical to run, but the Yamaha provides an impressive turn of speed when required. We touched 46 knots flat out, the lumpier conditions out in the channel ensuring a lively and exciting ride.
The Surtees 610 Game Fisher is a soft, comfortable traveller with easy handling. Effortless Ultraflex hydraulic steering provides enough helm feedback to feel the effects of engine trim adjustments. The hardtop protects occupants from spray and trim tabs allow the driver to compensate for crosswinds or difficult sea conditions.
Balex proves its worth
After a couple of hours of fun, it was time to head back to shore. Nosing in slowly to Takapuna at dead low tide, we touched bottom well short of the ramp: retrieving the boat was going to be a challenge.
Andrew backed the trailer as far as he was able without submerging his vehicle, but only a combination of muscle power and a succession of large, sweeping waves allowed us to bump the bow of the boat up to the trailer; but that’s when the Balex Auto Loading system took over.
With the bow positioned on the trailing edge of the tracks, Andrew activated the loader from inside his vehicle. Once the Balex got a grip on the hull our troubles were over and the boat ‘walked’ onto the trailer, controlled by the push-button remote, with no need for the winch. And that’s with the hull dragging on the sand, which is not the normal scenario! Impressive.
Whoever wins this prize is getting an exceptional boating package, whether they’re into fishing and diving or they prefer more family-oriented boating. With a long list of extras, this is a dream boat one visitor to the 2016 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show, May 12-15, can make their own.
To be in with a chance to win this fantastic prize, visitors to the show must get their paid entry ticket stamped at each of several clearly-marked booths spread around the showgrounds. Completed entries can be deposited in the entry box. The winning entry for the Grand Prize will be drawn after the show closes on Sunday, May 15, and the winner will be notified immediately by phone.