If there’s one thing I know about the Kiwis it’s that they take their outdoor recreation very seriously. They are a nation of devoted fishers and hunters and they demand only the very highest quality and performance from their outdoor equipment – and that includes their boats. And if they can’t find what they need amongst the many offshore imports, they’ll damn well build it themselves! The range of Extreme aluminium boats are a shining example of good old Kiwi ingenuity.
Recently, thanks to the boys from Inverloch Marine, I got the chance to take a squizz at three of the Extreme boats, including the very impressive 700 Game King. These made-to-last aluminium alloy fishing machines are manufactured to survey standards in Whakatane, on the east coast of the North Island – only a good cast from the fish-rich waters of the Bay of Plenty. They currently have the largest market share of any aluminium boat in New Zealand and are the most awarded alloy boat in the last 7 years.
In Australia, Inverloch Marine are the sole distributor of these boats throughout Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, while in the northern states there are three other dealers nation-wide.
For a pleasant change we had a fine and sunny test day and Shane Hemming and Tim Edney launched the 700 Game King at the main boat ramp in Inverloch (which is only a few hundred metres from the Inverloch Marine yard, making test drives a breeze).
She looked a picture, with her deep blue hull and gleaming hard top cabin – but other colours are also available. She slipped easily from the custom-made galvanised tandem trailer (alloy trailers are available as an option), and with little fuss we were off to put her through her paces in the deeper water near the entrance to Anderson Inlet.
The first thing I noticed when I climbed aboard the 700 was a level of luxury and utility not common in boats of this kind. The entire layout has been designed with great vision and has a definite air of refinement about it. The hard top cabin – which is self-standing with its own internal framing – is like a veritable Tardis. Behind the driver’s seat you will find a fridge, with a sink and a tap on top (the tap sources water from a freshwater storage tank). The padded driver’s seat is within easy reach of the steering wheel, dashboard and controls, while there is an equally comfortable seat for a passenger alongside.
The control panel had been fitted out with all the gear you would need to fish safely from the vessel offshore, including all the Yamaha fly-by-wire controls, VHF radio, AM/FM radio (iPod compatible through Bluetooth) and Garmin touch-screen depth sounder/GPS combo. The cabin also has sliding windows if you’re looking for a little fresh air. Meanwhile, downstairs, there is a substantial sleeping area, complete with mattresses that lift up to reveal a flushable, direct discharge underbunk toilet.
In the wheelhouse wall that separates inside from out there is a bi-fold door and drop down window that opens the whole area right up when the weather is good. Right at the back there is a removable lounge that flips up to allow access to a series of rod holders for when it’s time to stop lounging and get serious. Similarly there is a cushioned seat up against the bulkhead that opens up to reveal a concealed stove – perfect for cooking your freshly caught dinner. There are plenty of side pockets for stowing gear and the walk-through transom also cleverly incorporates a live bait tank.
At the other end of the boat, of course, is where you’ll find the anchor, which is lifted into a self-draining well in the bow by a fully concealed drum winch (also available as a capstan). For the record, a feature of Extreme boats is that 90% of the accessories – including the rod holders – are welded in place (as opposed to bolted or screwed), to reduced corrosion.
The features don’t stop above decks either. Beneath the tread plate floor there are three large buoyancy tanks, a 250L fuel tank, kill tanks plumbed into the flooding keel, and 450L of storage space. Amazing! Then, on the roof right up out of the way, are the aerials and yet more ‘rocket launcher’ style rod holders. Finally, all Extreme boats have external, transom-mounted fuel filling ports, which saves getting fuel spilt in the interior.
Yes, yes, that’s all very well, I hear you say, but how did it perform? Well, when the throttle went forward the 225hp 4-stroke Yamaha outboard popped the 700 out of the hole at less than 21 knots (40km/h); this was undoubtedly aided by a waterline keel that was well forward with a nice slope to help the transition from standing to planing. Then, at the top end, the Yamaha SDS (shift dampening system) 17-pitch propeller helped push the big boat along at around 43 knots (80km/h). At that speed, it’s not going to take you long to reach the fish!
And the ride? The ride was as exceptional as you’d expect from a hull design that has had so much thought put into it. Like all Extreme boats the 700 Game King hull has a 20º deadrise, a proud nose, broad waterline beam and aggressively down-turned reverse chines. Conclusion? These boats are perfectly balanced. On the test day the 700 felt very stable and cut through the short chop in the inlet with minimal pounding. Shane assures me they are equally sure-footed in the much rougher seas offshore and don’t suffer from broaching in a side-on sea. The 700 has a lot of boat in the water and so is very stable at rest as well – a quality that is further enhanced by the flooding keel.
In summary, the 700 Game King would be an eminently suitable trailer boat for chasing game fish all around Australia, including the mako sharks and blue fin tuna of the deep south. With its well thought out hull design and facilities it is capable of long range and overnight trips, plus it would be a great party boat for entertaining your family and friends. Of course, you could also use it for targeting bread and butter species like snapper and whiting in either of our two magnificent bays.
If you’d like to know more about pricing, or organise a test drive, you’d better get hold of Shane and Tim at Inverloch Marine. You’ll be extremely pleased you did.
For further information, pricing, or to arrange a test drive, contact Inverloch Marine on 03 5674 1502, or send them an email at --e-mail address hidden-- These guys are the sole dealers for Victoria, South Australian and West Australia. You could also have a look at www.extremeboats.co.nz.
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Marine grade aluminium alloyReads: 2255