There’s no better feeling than jumping in a new boat and taking it out for a test drive. One midweek day in October, I got the chance to take a spin in a Tabs 6.70 Ocean Series.
The day was definitely not one to head out in a smaller craft, but it was more than ideal for this brute of a boat. After leaving the confines of our safe harbour, the 20-knot northwesterly blew straight up the river, pushing a solid metre or more of chop with it.
Once aboard the 6.70 you quickly realise just how spacious this boat is. There is no doubt that on construction the manufacturers had their minds set on building a grand fishing vessel.
The helm has been cleverly designed in such a way that everything is compact and free from obstructions. The fibreglass dash can accommodate a wide range of electronics, including the standard feature of the Vessel View Gauge that gives all the boat’s vital signs from one screen.
Mounted just to the left of the dash is a Humminbird 937c, ideally the best spot for the sounder would be on the upper dash where it can be easily viewed, while leaving plenty of room for other electronic devices.
The AM/FM and 27mg radios were mounted on the inside of the hard top. There are also two switch panels located just below the steering wheel to accommodate nav lights, anchor lights, spot lights, cockpit lights, bait tanks and other electronic features.
The three-piece windscreen enables excellent visibility. There is also a set of clears mounted between the windscreen and the hardtop that keep any excess spray completely out of the cabin area.
It was amazing to see just how high the hardtop has been fitted. And the 6.70 must have been made for tall people, the headroom is huge!
There are two deluxe upholstered seats with armrests, each mounted on a pedestal that slightly extends for a small cushion to be mounted on each. The helm chair is a swivel bucket with slide adjustment containing a footrest, which was perfect for me since I’m not the tallest bloke in the world, but still had excellent visibility while driving. Under each pedestal is more storage space, ideal for tackle boxes or other boat paraphernalia.
Access into the cabin is surprisingly easy considering the two seats are far enough apart that there is no need to squeeze past. Inside the cabin it is also very spacious with two full-sized Vee cushioned bunks for up to two anglers to rest or sleep. Each cushion lifts out enabling storage space underneath for things like life jackets, clothing and similar.
Above each bunk is adequate storage space and access to the bow can be gained in one of two ways, either through the cabin’s glass topped hatch or externally around the cabin on the narrow but usable side decks. There are also high grab rails to keep you stable when walking towards the bow.
If you are heading to the bow to manually lower the anchor, you’ll be pleased with the size of the anchor well that can accommodate substantial lengths of rope and chain – although I suggest if you’re purchasing a boat of this size it is highly recommend you seriously think about getting an electric winch fitted.
On top of the hardtop is a permanent set of rocket launchers, antennae and, as an optional extra, spot lights fitted fore and aft.
If there’s one thing that’s important when you’re a diehard angler, its storage space. And there’s more storage space than you could imagine on the 6.70.
There are not only storage facilities in the cabin, but also on both the driver’s and passenger’s side pockets in the hull. Further back in the boat, you’ll find another two storage boxes in the pedestals under the seats as well as two large storage shelves along the inside of each gunwale – more than enough for most anglers!
Most impressive was the large amount of fishing room for anglers while in the cockpit. With a rating to carry seven anglers and a beam width of 2.5m, five could fish at once quite comfortably without overcrowding.
There is adequate rod storage space in the overhead rocket launchers for eight outfits, but if you were to add in a few sets of combing racks to the inside of the gunwales, you’d have more than enough.
On the fishing front, the 6.70 comes fitted with four gunwale plastic rod holders and two transom transducer brackets. I would have liked to see stainless steel rod holders, but nevertheless the inclusion of these four is still a welcome feature.
The floor in the test boat was checker plate throughout; ideal for cleaning after a mad fishing session. However, if you’re a neat freak you have the option of having a fully carpeted deck.
The transom has a folding lounge attached to the portside and two good-sized boarding platforms on the exterior. There is easy walkthrough access to the boarding platforms via a lockable transom door on the starboard side.
The boat also has a self-draining deck with two large drain holes on both the port and starboard sides of the transom.
The 6.70 was powered by a Mercury 225hp Optimax DFI V6. Running an Enertia 16’ prop got it up on the plane quite quickly for such a large craft.
This was the first time I’d been in a boat running a Merc and was pleased at the results. In the choppy conditions I wasn’t hopeful of getting great speed out of her, but once on the plane I had set three speeds to get accurate readings. At 2000rpm the boat fluctuated between 13-14km/h, at 3000rpm it read 29km/h, at 4000rpm it travelled at 51km/h and while running along with the waves it punched out around 80km/h at 6000rpm. Although the conditions were a little unfavourable, the boat did very well while driving side-on to the chop.
Heading into the waves, the bow cut through the waves cleanly making it a comfortable ride. Like all tinnies it did bang around a little as you’d expect, but not to the extent of some other aluminium hull boats I have been in lesser conditions in the past. With spray chines covering the length the boat, spray and excess water was kept outside the vessel rather than in.
I was most impressed by how the Tabs 6.70 handled in the choppy conditions. Since most keen anglers rarely deal with the calmest of conditions, this boat has been designed to perform well in all saltwater fishing scenarios. Better yet, having such high gunwales and spray chines covering the length of the boat makes it the ideal weapon to head out while staying dry.
One of the best things about this boat, is that it’s built tough. Tabs are very particular in their manufacturing, so much so that they offer a five year structural warranty on the hull.
As a family boat, it is more than suitable for a leisurely cruise in the bay, but when it’s time to venture offshore for a shark or marlin, or just out in the bay for a snapper, it’s certainly one boat to consider hopping into.
The boat I tested was fitted with some optional extras; price as tested $89,880. For further information contact Tabs on 07 5594 6333.
TEXT BOX 1
Anchor well carpeted, battery box, battery compartment enclosed (2 hatches), battery oil tray, bilge pump 1250gph, bow eye double, bow rails, bow sprit and bow roller s/s, cabin cushions (standard), cabin lined, cleats (3), fibreglass drivers dash, full carpeted self draining floor (amour ply), fuel tank under floor w/sender unit 250L, fully welded gunwale and side decks, isolator switch, navigation lights, painted white hull w/stripes, plastic rod holders (4), rear folding lounge and backrest seats, moveable and upholstered seats (2), seat box cushions, side decks extruded, carpeted side pockets (2), side rails, full length spray chines, hydraulic steering, deluxe steering wheel, stern light, switch panel 6 gang (backlit), transducer bracket, transom door, transom tie down lugs (2), full width pod transom (whale tail), under floor flotation, windscreen curved 3 piece.
TEXT BOX 2
|Max transom weight:||350kg|
|Number of people:||7|
|Dead rise entry:||37 degrees|
|Hull Weight:||1200kg (approx. dry weight)|
TEXT BOX 3
|Auxiliary motor transom ext, boarding ladder (stainless steel hidden), bunk infill (fitted to test boat), deck wash saltwater (fitted to test boat), ally core self draining floor (fitted to test boat), freshwater shower, main floor kill tank plumbed and removable (fitted to test boat), rear deck live bait tank plumbed (fitted to test boat), paint 2 tone (fitted to test boat), hydraulic steering (fitted to test boat), starboard side swim platform||and hidden s/s boarding ladder (fitted to test boat), port side swim platform (fitted to test boat), fully double welded rod holders|