Tristram Boats is a name a lot of Australians haven’t heard of yet, but New Zealanders have been running round in the nine various models for some 40 years now. With that amount of experience behind you, it’s no surprise that we seen some truly refined craft.
Like Australia, most of the population in New Zealand lives along the coast so boating is very popular. With a lot of bays and open waters, the boats need to structurally sound and offer a good ride in order to take on the harshness that open water can present.
From a testing point of view, it’s nice to jump into a boat with a different layout and some different ideas.
With boating very much a family sport these days, with the masses of waterways and beautiful islands that we have, it’s not hard to justify a boat with comfort and style to make that time a little more enjoyable on the water, whether it be day tripping or for a few days away.
Jumping onboard the 691 Tristram Millennium, it was very obvious that this manufacturer has strived to achieve a spacious, well laid-out boat, making the most of the space available. In doing so you see a lot of hidden extras that don’t clutter the deck.
Before we take the tour around the boat it’s worth noting all the soft rounded mouldings on the Tristram, making a very appealing interior.
Inside the cabin there is a quite generous bunk area which can be used as two single bunks or, a with the centre cushion in, a double bunk. The internal side pockets are nice and wide so there’s room for small clothes bags and bedding in them.
More storage is found below the bunk cushions where there’s also a toilet. Unlike many cabins, there is no stuffy, squashed-up feeling inside. Plenty of light comes through, with the tasteful beige lining highlighting the light.
The walkway down into the cab is recessed at the top and has a step at the bottom so you don’t hunch over and scrape your back each time you have to move in and out of here. It also adds to that more open feeling. Warmer regions of the country will tend to leave the access into the cabin open, while in colder areas a door can be fitted to keep the warmth in during overnighters.
Moving up into the helm area, I found this also to be very spacious and well-laid out rather than crowded with just enough space to slip in behind the wheel. The sloped back windscreen gives plenty of space across the top, and like the rest of the boat some smart mouldings produce a neat and tidy area for gauges and electronics.
The helm seats themselves also follow the style of fine moulding throughout the rest of the boat. Here the seat module has the helm seat one side and a rear seat the other side. Both are nicely padded with plenty of room.
You’ll find the same on the passenger’s side, with each of the two seats hinged to fold forward and reveal a substantial area for storage.
The transom area continues the style, with no harsh edges. Batteries and associated control cables for the engine are all tucked out of sight, through they’re still easily accessible for when you need to get in here.
On the port side, a walk-through section in the transom makes the task of getting in and out of the boat a little easier on and off the water, with a fold-down ladder.
The fishing side of things hasn’t been forgotten, and while you may have nice carpets and lining in the boat the rear carpet can be quickly taken out. Below this in the aft section you will find two fish wells, one on either side. These elongated boxes are ideal for storing your catch, and having one on either side has a few advantages.
The side pockets have been designed so that longer rods, tag poles, gaffs and so forth can slide up and under the gunwales where they won’t get broken. Rods can also be kept in the overhead rocket launcher.
The powerhouse for this baby is Yamaha’s 250 HPDI (High Pressure Direct Injection). There’s enough speed and grunt in this unit to pull a bend out of the river, without the high fuel consumption of your standard carbureted engines.
As you can imagine, with this amount of horsepower it doesn’t take much effort to get the boat up and going, maintaining a brisk 25-knot cruising speed around 4200rpm, thus helping maintain good economy working at those lower revs.
It’s not always practical to have big horsepower on the boat if the boat can’t handle the speed, especially in rough conditions. The Tristram’s 22-degree deadrise cuts through even nasty chop with notable ease. You don’t really realise how well it does it until you look down at the speedo and see just how fast you are actually travelling.
Good stability is retained at speed and on the move with a 2.48m beam, and significant outer reverse chine.
Add to all of this hydraulic steering, a quite smooth engine and you have a very pleasant boat to drive.
The Tristram is one of the nicest boats of its type that I’ve been in for quite a while, with an excellent ride and fit-out. No doubt we’ll start seeing quite a few more of these around in the various models.
The trailers are custom made for each of the boats, which certainly made putting them on and off an easy job, even the first time around.
Westside Boating at Goodna, just outside of Brisbane, is the Queensland stockist of these boats, and when you consider the Tristram’s starting price of $75,000, they are well placed in the market.
Test Boat supplied by Westside Boating, ph. (07) 3818 0400.
Make/model - Tristram 691 Millennium
Type - Half cabin
Construction - Fibreglass
Length - 6.9m
Beam - 2.48m
Weight - 1950 (on trailer)
Deadrise - 22 degrees
Fuel - 250L underfloor
Height - 2.3m
Flotation - foam filled
Price as tested - $86,500
1. Offering a very soft ride, both the keen fishos and the family man will enjoy the new 691 Tristram Millennium.
2. At just under 7m there’s plenty of scope to go places and enjoy the water.
3. While offering plenty of comforts the 691 retains style and makes good use of space.
4. Here you get a reasonable idea of the room available down the aft end of the boat.
5. In the cabin is a nice big double bunk, big side pockets, storage below the seats and a little extra seat that you might need from time to time.
6. The module unit of the helm seat is great with easy access to a heap of room.
7. On the fishing side of things the carpets are removable with fish boxes below deck.
8. Yet more seating at the transom and more storage below.