– an af­ford­able 650 Hard­top Six-and-a-half me­tre alu­minium hard­tops rank as one of New Zealand’s most pop­u­lar boat con­fig­u­ra­tions and, as Sam Moss­man found, they are not nec­es­sar­ily out of the av­er­age Kiwi’s price range. PER­FOR­MANCE SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

NZ Fishing News - - Trailerboat Trials - RPM Speed Fuel burn

Sportcraft Boats, mak­ers of Bluefin and Scor­pion trailer boats, have a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to many in the in­dus­try, look­ing at their mar­ket­place and build­ing boats to fit their cus­tomers’ bud­gets. This ap­proach has worked well for com­pany head Jamie Black and his family firm; they main­tain re­tail out­lets in Mor­rinsville and Mount Maun­ganui.

De­cid­ing that they needed a model sized be­tween their 620 and 665 Bluefins, they de­vel­oped the 650 HT, an open-backed hard­top model that, like Goldilocks’ por­ridge, would be ‘just right’. A stretched ver­sion of the 620, the 650 fea­tures the same 2.30m beam, but a larger cock­pit that of­fers more work space for fish­er­men and divers, as well as the op­tion of stay-away trips.

I nipped down to Mount Maun­ganui for a day in early May to take the new hull for a run with Sportcraft di­rec­tor, Jamie Black.

The new 650HT, with a base key-turn pack­age of $60,500, sells at half the price of some more highly-specc’d boats of this size, but while the layup has been left fairly plain, this rig still in­cludes a sounder, VHF, up­hol­stered helm seats, deluxe bait-sta­tion, lined and up­hol­stered cabin, hard­top lin­ing, and ground tackle – all car­ried on a Sport­line tan­dem trailer, un­braked (the tow weight is only 1450kg), but with all the usual fit­tings: leaf-spring sus­pen­sion, wobble rollers, wind-down jockey wheel and sub­mersible LED lights.

Sportcraft has a con­struc­tion sys­tem that uses slot­ted alu­minium ex­tru­sions along the chines and keel into which the bot­tom and side plates are in­serted, then fully seam welded.

The rig has pos­i­tive buoy­ancy and the qual­ity of fin­ish is good, with the cabin and hard­top lined to the deck, and neat, ro­bust weld­ing. With more work space in the en­larged cock­pit, in­creased by the open-back con­fig­u­ra­tion and the ad­di­tion of a 90-litre

Ma­te­rial: Con­fig­u­ra­tion: LOA: Beam: Bot­tom: Sides, top­sides: Dead­rise: Test En­gine: Prop: Fuel Ca­pac­ity: Trailer: Tow weight: Key-turn pack­age: As tested:

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