– 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
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: