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Boat Test: Sure footed Surtees 6.7 Gamefisher
  |  First Published: December 2013



I always enjoy time spent in a New Zealand-made Surtees plate alloy craft. The heritage behind these rigs is pure fishing, pure boating excellence; any boat that does well in the Shaky Isles is certain to gain wide acceptance in our boating conditions. With 20-odd years involvement in the boating industry, Surtees certainly know what makes a good boat and are happy to back it with a 6-year world wide hull warranty.

The 6.7 Gamefisher Hardtop reviewed was the ‘Open’ version which featured a curtained entry to the cuddy cabin rather than a lockable door. Construction was to the highest standards with a 5mm bottom, 4mm sides, water ballasted hull featuring no less than 6 under floor, full-length stringers mated to a pair of factory-tested air tight buoyancy chambers; the result being the ultimate in strength. Total integrity matched to the utmost in deck rigidity thanks to a fully welded tread plate floor.

Attention to detail within the Gamefisher was obviously a priority, yet not always evident. Wiring running the length of the gunwales sat on neat but concealed bracketing while a panel behind the dash area could be removed to access wiring or fuses. Externally the paint job was of the highest quality finish, upholstery perfect and all welded surfaces neatly smoothed. The end result saw the Surtees being a very handsome and well-designed boat with eye catching dark livery offset by gleaming white topsides and cuddy, bright rails and other chrome work.

Designed for off shore fishing

At 6.7m long, 2.39m beam and 1000kg hull weight, the Surtees 6.7 Gamefisher is very solid craft. The hull, with its fine entry and an 18° Deep Vee design, has a 380L under hull water ballast system that allows water to flood a compartment at rest, and spill out freely as the hull moves forward or onto the plane. Yet there’s flexibility in the set up: a hand operated flap system on the water ballast system can either prevent water from entering or keep it trapped if required.

Up front of the cuddy cab a wide, almost over-sized, well-sealed cabin hatch allows access to the bow area. A bow roller, large bowsprit and deep anchor well complete with winch for easy ground tackle management were all set within a strong bow rail. Exterior side height was 950mm, interior floor depth being 720mm, all of which gave the craft great sea keeping capability and plenty of cockpit depth for ease of fishing.

Cabin and hardtop offered good shelter

The cabin was well set up. There was a floor mat, excellent head and leg room, overhead shelving and the 1.9m long bunks had deep storage boxes under them. An infill converting the bunks into a large bed was also available. Side windows allowed in plenty of light, as did the cabin entry area proper.

The Surtees Gamefisher sported a very strongly made cabin hardtop, providing ample shelter for skipper and mate. It featured overhead lining, interior and external lighting, 8 rod holders, a fabric extension for extra shade and large rear hand holds. Most importantly, it had terrific headroom making it particularly easy to stand at the helm and drive if sea conditions demanded close attention to travel. A 3-piece, armoured glass windscreen was connected to both fixed and sliding windows each side, the sliders providing just that bit extra visibility when open.

Aft of the windscreen a very large flat and carpeted, area was available for installation of navigation aids with a Lowrance HDS9 unit taking up only a small amount of that handy area. Items placed there would remain in place, too, thanks to a lip at the rear of the shelf.

Smart dash layout

The Surtees Gamefisher’s dash was compact, uncluttered and uncomplicated. Yamaha LAN gauges plus a set of switches were uppermost. Trim tab and windlass controls were to port of the hydraulic wheel with both marine and pleasure radios lower and to starboard; everything in place and easily identified.

The three spoke, soft feel steering wheel was central and with engine forward controls set up on the side of the hull it was a pleasure to drive the powerful rig.

Helm seating was deluxe, consisting of a well shaped and very supportive Softrider mount pedestal bucket seat for the skipper, another similar bucket seat for the mate with the latter seat being mounted on a large storage box with aft facing squab attached for a passenger to enjoy. A storage shelf for the mate plus hand holds were also featured. Note that the speakers for the craft’s Fusion iPod and stereo system were set by both skipper’s and mate’s sides.

Removable rod holders

The cockpit work area of the craft was almost 2.2m long and offered plenty of fishing features. Wide, 400mm decks equipped with non-skid rubber sections came with three rod (and three drink) holders per side. Very wide side pockets were large enough to hold a lot of fishing or diving gear and came with snap-in-place, totally removable rod holders to complement the four rod holders mounted on the floor aft. The port pocket had a deck wash unit, which is a very handy item on any fishing rig.

An aft bait station was also equipped with a cutting board and rod holders while the battery compartment at the transom featured a strongly hinged vertical door that, when lowered, also doubled as a seat.

Boarding was via a large ladder and cut out step to port; the step actually being on top of the craft’s live bait tank with its Perspex front. Hand rails were fitted both sides, as was tread plate full width across the boarding platform aft.

Note that both paired engine/house batteries plus fuel filter were very easily accessed astern. The battery set up in particular was well thought out with today’s state of the art technology ensuring that any battery down in power received first top up from the Yamaha 4-stroke 200hp astern.

Handling and Performance

Out off Shorncliffe in the wide expanse of Moreton Bay, with two aboard, the 6.7 Surtees Gamefisher Hardtop was given a chance to show what it could do. The ride was at all times exemplary. I noted ample power from the responsive Yamaha 200hp on the pod astern, and powering through Moreton Bay chop and swells saw the craft never falter, never bang or wallop nor did any spray come aboard thanks to the protection provided by the cuddy cabin and the craft’s metre-high sides.

The 20º Vee hull, with its wide reversed outer chine but totally smooth bottom might have been expected to roll around at rest or perhaps lean excessively into turns but this was not the case. At rest the water ballast system settled the hull just a little deeper to allow the outer reversed chine to maintain easy stability. While under way the hull’s design maintained an easy, upright, stance at all speeds.

Hydraulic steering made driving very easy and the response from the extra quiet Yamaha 200hp was everything one might desire in a fishing orientated craft. Engine ratings are from 140-250hp, which saw the Yamaha 200hp 4-stroke at mid-range power. While the top speed was impressive at just under 40 knots (73km/h), I was also impressed with the instant response from the Yamaha virtually through the entire rev range. If you need power to get out of trouble, it was certainly available.

Fishability and Summing Up

There can be no denying the credentials of this purpose built fishing craft. It’s built to a standard, not a price, and the six-year hull warranty speaks well of the sort of service life expected of the rig. Finish is highest quality and with the craft’s great sea keeping ability linked to easy handling and ample performance from the chosen engine off shore fishing would be something to really look forward to.

Supplied by Northside Marine and on a Redco Sportsman trailer (with Surtees Quick Hitch system for ease of loading) plus registration and safety gear the rig as reviewed would come home for $107,653. Northside Marine can be contacted on (07) 3265 8000 or on the net at www.nsmarine.com.au.

Fact Box

Specifications

Length of hull:6.84m
Length on trailer:8.56m
Height on trailer:2.995m
Beam:2.39m
Hull construction:5mm bottom, 4mm sides
Hull weight:1000kg
Deadrise:20º
Fuel:240L
Engines:140-250hp
Engine fitted:200hp Yamaha 4-stroke
Persons:Six
Towing:6 cylinder wagon or large 4 x 4

Speed vs revs

Planing2800rpm13 knots (25km/h)
3000rpm18 knots (34.5km/h)
4000rpm26 knots (48km/h)
5000rpm29 knots (53.3km/h)
WOT5500rpm40 knots (72.5km/h)
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