Buccaneer 605 Exess

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Buccaneer 605 Exess

Text by Barry Thompson

Buccaneer 605 Exess retains the well-proven hull of the 605 Escape, but has been transformed with all new Exess deck appearance. It now completes the Exess styling change for all current Buccaneer models going into the 2005-06 model year.

In 2002 Buccaneer launched the first of the Exess models, the 635, at the New Zealand Boat Show. A year later it was followed by the 730 Exess and last year by the 530 Exess. With the 605 Exess, the line-up of current models transformed into the Exess style is now complete.

I was given the opportunity to test the prototype of the new 605 Exess, although the only difference between it and the first production model – due for release at the June Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show – is a full inner fibreglass liner. Visually it was as the production boat will be.

The scene for our test was the beautifully romantic Whangaroa Harbour and the Cavalli Islands. This is an area that is stepped in history and in 1800 it was estimated there were over 4000 Maoris living around it shores. It spawned towns like Totara North, Waipuna and Whangaroa, which grew from the kauri milling trade. It was also where Zane Grey anchored his mother-ship while he explored the big-game fishing grounds in the north, the Ruahines and the Cavallis.

Over time it has become known for events such as the burning of the Boyd in 1809, the long established Marlin Hotel and more recently the game-fishers iconic base, Kingfish Lodge. But more importantly it is unquestionably one of this country’s best boating areas.

Well, enough of the geography and history lesson, what about the boat. The main features of the 605 Exess are its more aggressive appearance with the new Exess deck, yet it still retains soft curves from the bow through to the portofino stern.

A big plus over the 605 Escape is the fact that the new 605 will now take a hands-free winch, the same as all of the other Exess models. Our test boat was fitted with a Quick winch and very handy chain counter.

The cabin headroom is 45mm higher and there’s a Weaver lockable hatch overhead. A fully lined light tone fabric interior is offset with thick side cushions facing wide side parcel trays. There is further storage in areas under the full-length squabs and even provision for a fully plumbed electric head. A privacy curtain can be fitted across the open bulkhead.

Another change over the 605 Esprit is that the helm bulkhead while still essentially in the same position is angled further forward. This gives the appearance of more volume in the cockpit without sacrificing any cabin bunk space. The split dash has the black and white Evinrude instruments spread across an imitation walnut fascia, with a centrally mounted Furuno combo plotter, GPS, sounder below. The BEP switch panel, Quick winch control and Uniden VHF are all within easy reach.

Due to the fact the boat will have an inner liner the seating layout is virtually fixed with no options apart from the removable rear double bin seat. There is a large king/queen to port and a swivelling helmsman bucket seat opposite. The fibreglass bases are both used for storage. Upstands in the cockpit sole guarantee a perfect fit for all seat mouldings.

The windscreen is a little higher and with 25mm less rake than the 605 Esprit.

I found the screen still a little low for me as I was looking straight at the top alloy extrusion and handrail when seated. Standing, it’s a different story and not only does the seat base slide well back out of the way, the screen handrail stops well short either side so you don’t end up with bruises on your arm after battling through rough seas.

The rigid frame bimini/rocket launcher is also at a good height so there’s enough clearance without being too high. A full set of zip-on clears keep you weather protected should you require it. There is also the bonus of the bimini folding down for those with a height restriction in their garage. Such is the solid stainless structure of the bimini you can leave it up when towing and it’s also fine to attach the wakeboard towline to it.

When you’re on a fishing trip and want as much cockpit space as possible, you can leave the rear bin seat behind. A full width vinyl curtain hides away all the bits under the aft deck and also means there is easy access to the batteries.

Rod racks are standard either side and there is provision for a centrally mounted bait board, stainless steel rod holders either side in the teak-capped coamings and a wet locker aft for the bait and berley. A deck wash is another great option to have if you are seriously into your fishing. The transom is very much the same as the 635 Exess, with large boarding platforms either side of the engine. This is also a good area to mount a portable live bait tank if you are that serious about your fishing.

The 165-litre fuel tank is fitted in the forward centre section of the cockpit with the space behind used for a moulded fibreglass wet bin. There is a full-length glass stringer grid and solid foam buoyancy that complies with the CPC flotation standards.

Quiet and Grunty

The picturesque waters around the Cavalli Islands provided the ideal surroundings for our test and although the waters were reasonably calm, the Buccaneer 605 Exess performed faultlessly. It’s always hard to fully evaluate a boat in calm water but having had considerable boating experience with the 605 Escape I can assure you that it’s one of the better boats for its size in moderate to rough water.

Changes made to the deadrise and running surface of the original 605 Executive a number of years ago, when it was re-launched as the 605 Elite and later the 605 Escape transformed the boat’s reputation for great rough water handling.

“I couldn’t see what I could do to make it any better, so felt it was best to leave well alone”, said designer Gerry Gerrand. Starting with the right underwater shape is a huge plus and the new 605 Exess, like its predecessors is a boat that doesn’t require big horsepower.

Buccaneer rates the boat from 150hp to 200hp, although it will certainly handle a 225hp without any problems. For the test we had a 200hp Evinrude E-Tec which gave a top speed of 53.5mph. This was my first experience with a V6 E-Tec and I was impressed. Firstly, its compact styling doesn’t make it look overpowering on the transom. It starts first time, every time and you almost have to check the tell-tail or tacho to see if it’s running. It slides smoothly into gear and has instantaneous throttle response. The no-feedback Hynautic hydraulic steering makes driving effortless. Running a 19” pitch three-blade alloy prop, we went from zero to 5000 rpm with dragster like acceleration. Even at mid range the acceleration is impressive. Tell your passengers to hang on!

Wakeboarders will be happy with about 20mph @ 3000 rpm and I found 34.5 mph @ 4000 rpm a very comfortable cruise speed in the conditions. If you’re trolling, the Evinrude E-Tec ticks over quietly at 700 rpm @ 3.5 mph. At this speed the engine is running with super economy and in ‘stealth’ mode.

With the engine on 2/3 trim, 5000 rpm and no tab, I was able to pull exceptionally tight port and starboard turns without the prop letting go and any hint of sliding-out from the hull. 

Although this was the prototype 605 Exess, the engine hour indicator showed 75.5 hours, so a lot of serious on-the-water testing has been done since the boat was launched on Christmas Day 2004. It has been blooded with a marlin 35 nautical miles off Raglan, a mako at the Cavallis, trout on Lake Taupo and the boys from Buccaneer have lost count of the snapper that have come aboard. A lot of those hours were also used towing a wakeboarder or skier on the lakes. The 605 is a very versatile boat that serves a variety of functions and with a trailerable weight of ???? is easy to tow, launch and retrieve.

According to Gerrand this was about boat number 800 to carry the 605 badge since the first 605 Cuddy Sport was launched 15 years ago. Interestingly, while the 605 has never won a prize at a boat show, boaters in their droves have chosen to buy them. With so many 605s on the water, it’s certainly gathered its own share of awards amongst contented owners and with the latest model to bear the 605 badge, that success is certain to continue for years to come.


  • Model: Buccaneer 605 Exess
  • Price (Boat Only): $38550         
  • Price as Tested: $83500         
  • Designer: Gerry Gerrand
  • Type: Cabin
  • LOA: 6.46m           
  • LOH: 6.05m  
  • Beam: 2.26m           
  • Height on Trailer: 2.30m           
  • Deadrise: 22.5 deg       
  • Trailerable Weight: 1700kg
  • Engine Capacity: 150-200        
  • Power Options: Outboard only
  • Fuel Capacity: 160 litres


500 rpm 2.5 mph
1000 rpm5.0 mph
1500 rpm7.0 mph
2000 rpm8.5 mph
2500 rpm12.5 mph
3000 rpm20.0 mph
3500 rpm27.5 mph
4000 rpm34.5 mph
4500 rpm39.5 mph
5000 rpm46.0 mph
5500 rpm49.5 mph
5700 rpm53.5 mph

All speed recorded on a Lowrance GPS  and rounded off to the nearest 1/2mph.

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