With a New Zealand heritage, a standard of alloy craftsmanship and overall finish guaranteed to turn heads on both sides of the Tasman, the Surtees brand has become so thoroughly established that these boats require little introduction. Suffice to say that this 6.1m craft with a beam of 2.26m and its ultra strong construction (there are 6 fully welded stringers under the floor) is as solid as a brick. The 5mm thick deep V hulls are water ballasted for ultimate stability both at rest and under way (a flap can be closed to retain water when necessary), and it’s reassuring to note the 610 Gamefisher’s below-floor section includes paired safety buoyancy chambers.
With that sort of introduction, it likely comes as no surprise that the Gamefisher 610, amply powered by the F130XA Yamaha 4 stroke, put a lot of runs on the board during a test drive in Moreton Bay recently. Provided by Northside Marine and launching easily from it’s Redco/Surtees special trailer at Cabbage Tree Point, the craft hummed gently out through the leads while I took stock of what was on offer. And, I might add, I found plenty to please me. Finish, fitout, fishability all caught the eye and imagination.
In the usual cuddy cab style, the Gamefisher 610 has a cabin featuring quite plush bunks set up with useful storage under them, plus full length overhead shelving as well. Head height within the lined cuddy was generous and I noted that the door-equipped cabin was quite suited for an overnight stay for a couple of folk, to perhaps enjoy time out of the weather, or for anglers with lots of valuable gear to store it when travelling. A quite large central foredeck hatch permits anchor well access up front, where a solid bow rail facilitates ease of access to or from the craft when necessary. A marine toilet within the cuddy is an option.
The Gamefisher’s helm setup was ideal, with all the visibility in the world through the tinted toughened glass windscreen whether seated or standing. Side windows provided plenty of fresh air for those hot summer days — they are not that far off again — and thanks to the height of the hardtop with it’s extendable shade section, there was a distinct feeling of roominess while driving. Hand holds up front for skipper and mate, along with foot rests, were also standard.
Dash layout was simple but effective with Yamaha gauges, a large switch panel, power outlet and marine radio all set out on a neat fascia area. For ease of sounder installation, Surtees have thoughtfully provided a large padded and raised section on the flat full-width section aft of the windscreen, ideal for setting up even the largest of sounders. These great Gamefishers offer several seating options and the ones chosen for skipper and first mate within the reviewed craft saw fabulous fully-swivelling wrap-around bucket seats mounted atop alloy storage boxes.
As a specialised fishing craft, the 610 Gamefisher certainly offered a lot to please the angler, and something that catches the eye is that there are no sharp edges around the helm or aft in the cockpit work area.
The sealed tread plate cockpit floor (draining into a sump with 2000gph bilge pump) offered sure footing with the ease of clean-up at day’s end. Three metre-long side pockets adorned each cockpit side, while 30cm-wide gunwale tops were equipped with rubber material for utmost comfort, as was the flat upper section of the full height transom.
Four rod holders per side on gunwales complimented the 11 rod holders elsewhere. Of interest was the sliding rod holder rack set up on the starboard side pocket, this item being an extra many owners would favour as it allowed 4 rods to be carried upright while under way.
A large fish bin was set up under the cockpit floor, a plumbed clear view live well within the port transom corner (you step over this to enter from astern), where a tread plate platform, ladder, plus a rail were standard. The transom featured a rod holder-equipped bait station with off-floor shelf permitting access to paired batteries via a rubber coated drop-down shelf that could be used as a short term rear seat. In all, a cockpit work area obviously designed by an angler for an angler to use.
Good as these features were, it was the ride and handling of the 610 Gamefisher’s 19° hull powered by the 1.8l 4 cylinder Yamaha 4 stroke that really showed the potential of this craft as a family all-rounder or a boat for the dedicated offshore angler. The Gamefisher’s 5mm thick alloy hull, at 550kg, qualifies for an engine rating of up to 150hp. Accordingly, the 130 Yamaha (lightest in class, incidentally) was neatly mid range power, but certainly not lacking in sheer grunt. With 2 aboard it jumped onto the plane in a few boat lengths at a speed of 9kts at 2600rpm, while 3000 rpm saw a speed of 12.5kts recorded, 4000rpm 18kts, and 5000rpm recording 26.7kts. As the engine was quite new it was spared further tasks, but there’s little doubt that when fully broken in speeds around 32kts would be par for the course. Driving was a lot of fun; the fingertip control via hydraulic steering taking all effort from sharp turns.
The Surtees offered a ride that was everything you’d expect from a boat designed for New Zealand’s tough sea conditions. Unfortunately, the test runs were carried out on calm water, but as we were also working in conjunction with one of Northside’s big Stabicrafts, we used each boat in turn to set up a wash to assess ride quality. Neither craft threw much of a wash I’ll admit, but we solved that little problem by going very hard at the wash we generated. These boats don’t break, so why not?
The Surtees simply offered one of the best rides I’ve experienced in a 6m alloy hull. No bump, no bash, just a sensation of controlled impact — and certainly nothing you’d call uncomfortable — as we hit each wash. Dedicated spray deflecting chines just aft of the hull’s entry took care of water deflection, and it would need to be pretty bad conditions to see any water coming into the Surtees other than rain.
The thing that really appealed about the 610 Gamefisher is the variation in hull weight offered. Savvy boaters understand that weight can be a great asset to ride quality, and the ability of the Surtees to add or shed weight via the hull’s floodable tunnel was very handy. Interestingly, with 2 aboard (rating is for up to 6 people) the big Surtees rode perhaps even smoother with a little extra water ballast aboard.
It’s a neat system. At rest, with the control flap open, the tunnel floods rapidly to settle the craft down on its outer chine to offer the sort of stability that’s somewhat unexpected from a 19° deep V hull. Tender? No way. Raft-like is how I saw it.
In terms of fishability, the 610 Gamefisher is virtually a complete package. The roomy cockpit is made for serious fishing work. There are rod holders overhead, along the inside, and on the bait station. Catch and bait storage is well taken care of and the craft’s brilliant ride plus a fuel capacity of 150l would see a lot of cruising range on tap.
Stability’s there in spades and with a near metre cockpit gunwale height, both family and offshore anglers would have ample confidence aboard. Last but not least is the high quality finish throughout. Welds are easily noted, but very smooth, all joinery is first class and the combination of Nyalic finish plus classy paint offer a good degree of bling to what’s already an eye-catching design.
In all, the 610 Gamefisher/130 Yamaha combination presents as a lot of boat that should last for years. On a dedicated Redco Sportsman trailer with Surtees Quick Hitch facility, the 610 Gamefisher package with all extras aboard would come home for $74,648.
Northside Marine can be contacted on phone at (07) 3265 8000, or check out their website at www.northsidemarine.com.au
Hull: 5mm alloy
Engine rating: 100-150hp
Engine fitted: 130hp Yamaha 4 stroke
Towing: Family six sedan or wagon.Reads: 1016