When Fishing Monthly first tested a South Australian built Northbank boat earlier in the year, we were pretty impressed with the finish and performance of the brand. Set up at Melbourne Marine Centre with one of the new, 2.1 litre Mercury 4-strokes, the 550 Cuddy was a great rig and we were keen to get out in the boat’s bigger brother.
Fast forward six months and we get to take it out for a ride – the 600C. Paired with a 3L 150HP Mercury 4-stroke, our initial impression was that this setup was going to be underpowered, but we were wrong. Overall, we were highly impressed by the set-up and value for money that the combination presented.
Andrew Stephen from Melbourne Marine Centre got his timing just right. This was a boat set up for hard core snapper fishing and we were testing it just before the AFL Grand Final – if you wanted to get out on the water quickly with a stock boat that’s ready to go right out of the yard, this rig would tick all of the boxes.
Like all Northbank test days so far, we were greeted with a sloppy Port Phillip Bay. Nothing wrong with that though, as the conditions the boa face are actually testing. There are plenty of awesome boats when it’s blowing 2knots with 10cm of wind chop.
Imagine a couple of feet of leftover westerly roll combined with some northerly white caps and you can see we were in for a challenge of a comfortable ride.
Indeed, with the unpredictability of the waves, we couldn’t get WOT performance data – 4000 RPM was the maximum we felt comfortable pushing the boat to – both with and against the chop.
At around 3000rpm and with the boat trimmed down, the 600 landed softly and progressed at around 30km/h into the mess. About face and jacking the motor up a little, she surfed nicely down the waves.
Andrew expanded on why the seemingly minimal 150 HP works so well on this hull;
“It’s a large, 3L capacity engine and matched with a 14 ½” Enertia propeller it develops a lot of torque at low range. That’s why it jumps on the plane so quickly and has fantastic economy,” Andrew said. On average, this package returns 1.5km per litre of fuel used.
150 litres of fuel capacity therefore will give you around 300km of range – ample for multiple snapper trips in the bay or extended trips chasing SBTs.
And although this boat is at the lower end of the price range for vessels in this class, it seems that there’s not much skimping on the little bits that make the boat much more ‘liveable’.
“The carpet is clip-in and removable, which makes it easy to pull out and wash down after a heavy fishing session and the little comforts – like the fold-away rear lounge – makes for a great place for the mates to sit while travelling and you can swing it away when the business starts,” Andrew continued.
Melbourne Marine is also focussed on making the transition to a larger vessel user friendly. After all, towing, launching and driving a 6m craft may be daunting if you’re upgrading from a smaller boat.
“You can tow this with a family Prado or Territory no worries,” Andrew said, “and it’s easy to launch, easy to clean, easy to drive and it’s easy to get in and out of the boat with the swim board, transom door, step and ladder,” he continued.
Indeed, as tested, this rig came in at just over $80,000, but with ‘starting-from’ pricing as low as $65,602, it’s a great stepping stone into the world of big boats.
For more information on this package, give Andrew and the team at Melbourne Marine Centre a call on (03) 9703 2003 or visit www.melbournemarine.com.au.
|Length (with bowsprit):||6.0m|
|Length on trailer:||7.3m|
|Hull only weight:||1100kg|
|Towing weight:||2000kg (approx.)|
|Price as tested:||$80,938|
Note: rough conditions meant that we couldn’t open out the rig to WOT.
Scan this QR Code to watch the interview about this boat with Melbourne Marine’s Andrew Stephen.Reads: 992