Traditionally, Quintrex has been a minor player in the plate aluminium boat game - but the company began experimenting with a large plate offshore model about a year ago. This very competitive segment of the market has long been dominated by companies building boats with sheer rather than pressed sides, with the exception of West Australian boatbuilder Trailcraft, who has been pressing clinker-style chines into plate for a number of years.
The advantages of plate are that it is tougher, thicker and more resilient to harsh treatment than sheet alloy, and therefore can cope with more customisation at the end of a mig or tig welder.
The toughness of the material is a factor that's held back many manufacturers from using plate aluminium over sheet, due to the size of the press needed to put clinker strakes in such material. Clinker strakes add incredible strength to a hull and eliminate the need to have large, complicated internal frames, which results in significant cost and weight savings. The end result is less horsepower required to push the boat and more dollars left in your pocket, both at the dealership and from then on at the petrol pump.
A plate clinker hull has less chance of taking on a warped appearance after years of use, which can sometimes happen with sheet alloy boats.
A company that leaves no stone unturned in its effort to capture an even greater share of the alloy boat market, Quintrex has designed and built the plate aluminium 610 Offshore series for anglers who like to put a bit of distance between themselves and the mainland.
NEW & IMPROVED
Although the Offshore has only been around for about four months, I have spent quite a bit of time in an earlier-model Quintrex 600, mostly fishing on lakes near the Snowy River, and also off Bermagui in southern NSW. To put it bluntly, the old 600 was a great boat for estuaries and lakes, but left something to be desired when venturing into lumpy water.
While the forefoot of the Millennium hull was effective at piercing waves, in my opinion its turn-downed chines put the brakes on split waves as they passed underneath, and some of the jolts from what seemed to be small waves were occasionally harder than normal.
With that in mind, it was with a measure of reservation that I stepped aboard the new 610 and headed out of Coomera for this test. Gale-force winds belting into the Seaway put paid to any ideas of taking this boat out onto its namesake, so we stayed inside the Broadwater and had no trouble finding plenty of wind-driven chop and boat wash to get an impression of the boat's ride.
With the first huge luxury cruiser wake looming, my knuckles whitened in their grip on the handrail. Up and over it and... nothing! It was a gentle landing with the usual amount of tin-boat “water on hull” noise, but no hard banging was experienced. The passengers on the rear deck of the small ship we were zigzagging behind were no doubt commenting about the ratbags playing in their wake as we made sure the first run wasn't a fluke. It wasn't.
Gentle tapering of the hull aft of the Millennium swage has eliminated the bad habits of the 6m model I've had experience with. Quintrex has dubbed its newly-designed hull the “V-Flare”, which features variable deadrise throughout the bottom of the hull. This design change may well help the company attract a loyal following in offshore fishing circles.
The test boat was fitted with Honda's new 150hp four-stroke, which was still to be officially released at the time of writing (see issue 173 for a full test of this outboard). With just 60 minutes on the hour meter, the engine was tight and in need of a smaller propeller to spin it past 5400rpm and into WOT rev range.
As it was, the boat pulled 65kmh at 5400rpm running a 17in four-blade stainless-steel wheel. Holeshot and acceleration was good, but performance will be that much better with a re-prop. At 2600rpm the hull popped onto the plane and held it down to 22.3kmh, and a cruise speed of 47kmh came in at 4000rpm.
The 610 Offshore is fitted with trim tabs as standard, and they would come in handy especially when quartering into strong winds or when carrying heavy loads.
The helm and passenger seats are reasonably comfortable buckets on swivels, and feature forward and rearward adjustable bases. While the hull (at gunwale height) is the correct distance out from the starboard side of the skipper, the inward-sloping aft section of the cabin felt a little too close to the shoulder.
The throttle was mounted on this upper section and it felt a little cramped to operate. I found that when cruising along at full speed my arm knocked the throttle while steering around corners. There are not a lot of options for relocation of the remote control box, so perhaps the only way of alleviating this would be to recess the throttle into a rebate in the side of the cabin wall.
A neat Rotothane dash module featured Honda's smart instrumentation in a wraparound format, and the standard Lowrance X97 sounder was easily viewed and worked well at all speeds.
The family is well catered for with a roomy and high cabin that would sleep two people comfortably. Heaps of dry stowage is found below the berths and there is legroom aplenty in the well for four people sitting out of the weather.
Rotothane mouldings are found throughout this boat. The insides of the cockpit sidepockets have liners - a nice touch. The cockpit walls are enclosed and filled with foam to allow the Offshore to achieve a positive floatation rating, which means the boat will float upright if swamped. Not many other aluminium boatbuilders can offer this level of safety.
Another liner is fitted to the anchor-well, which can accommodate a decent-sized Danforth pick and plenty of rope and chain. Access to the ground tackle is through a large tinted hatch in the cabin roof. You can stand in the cabin well and reach the bollard to deploy or retrieve the anchor with a great deal of safety in rough seas.
Quintrex didn't skimp in the bowrail department either, fitting a heavy-duty 25mm aluminium tube number to the Offshore.
The forward section of the Honda 150 cowl is chamfered, similar in style to the 200hp cowl, which allows for dual rigging close together on larger boats.
The transom bulkhead on the Offshore is comparatively small, and the engine cowl contacts the hull when fully tilted up. On left-hand full lock it missed the hull by just a fraction. No doubt the R&D department at Quintrex is already onto fixing this.
The coamings on this boat are wide all round and are at thigh height for security at sea. Removing the rear lounge opens the cockpit up for additional fishing room.
The general handling and manoeuvrability of this boat was good. It turned with a very flat attitude rather than a steep bank, and the hydraulic helm made light work of steering the rig through tight turns.
With the new V-Flare hull underneath, you can expect to see more 610 Offshores heading outside for some reef and light-tackle sportsfishing in the future - and the overall weight of this rig puts it into large sedan towing territory, making it ideal for family weekends away.
|QUINTREX 610 OFFSHORE|
|Price as tested: $56,000|
|Ski rail, transom door, deluxe ¾ lounge, canopy, engine upgrade|
|Priced from: $47,000 ex freight w/ Honda 130hp four-stroke|
|Material: Pressed plate aluminium (5mm bottom, 3mm sides)|
|Length (overall): 6.32m|
|Rec/max hp: 150/200|
|Weight: 823kg (hull only)|
|Payload: Six adults|
|Make and model: Honda BF150|
|Type: Fuel-injected four-stroke|
|Rated hp: 150|
|Gearbox ratio: 2.14:1|
|Propeller: Solas 17in stainless-steel four-blade|
|SUPPLIED BY: Gladstone Marine Centre, Gladstone Marina, Qld, tel (07) 4972 7111 or email email@example.com|