Author : Freddy Foote
Taking it to the EXTREME
In 2001 NZ Propeller editor Barry Thompson tested one of the first Extremes built by the original owners, the 620 Sportz Fisher, and had the following to say: “The builders have achieved a nice balance of fishing functionality and stylish flowing lines, taking away that serious ‘blokes’ look from what is still a serious fishing boat.” A couple of years later, with new owners, a new direction and a reputable designer, it’s a builder to watch. Freddy Foote went to experience the Extreme 635.
The Extreme name has been around for a few years now, and quickly grew a good reputation, largely to the design name of Scott Robson firmly entrenched behind it. However, new owners took over the company just prior to last year’s Hamilton Boat Show, seeing growth potential for the brand and quickly set about building the name and boosting production. Currently, production sits at around 50 to 60 boats a year, but the aim is to have that number up around 150 boats a year before not too long, and as this goes to print, an export deal to Australia has almost been negotiated. Around 8 models are available at the moment, and our 635 is the first of its kind to hit the water. The boat had been sold just prior to Christmas to Aucklander Jason Lynch, whose previous boat had been a Lazercraft. With already a few hours on the clock, Jason has used it thoroughly over the summer and already customised the boat to his liking, such as adding carpet throughout, a bimini top, and getting a road cover custom made.
The boat is primarily used for fishing all year round, and during the summer months, his sons take over and wakeboarding is number one on the agenda for boating activities. As for a lot of the aluminium boats on the market, the set-up of the boat is quite amenable to customisation by the owner, and the layout of this boat was exactly to Jason’s requirements. I found the driving position was perhaps set a little too far forward for my liking. I found that when wanting to stand I was pressed up against the steering wheel. But to be fair this was probably due to the chosen seating arrangement, and perhaps if the optional pedestal seat was fitted, then the problem would be solved. The seated position on the other hand was very good with the seat being very comfortable and giving good side support, a well-placed footrest was a great benefit as well. I was pleasantly surprised at the height of the windscreen. It was nice and high keeping me well protected from the wind and spray, so driving while standing was great. It was so high in fact that when standing to steer, approaching the docking jetty at the ramp, I had to stand on my toes to peer over the top to get a better view!
Its one of the few boats that I have encountered that keeps you protected so well, I loved it. The bonus of the king/queen seating arrangement was that the rearward facing seats lift up to provide ample storage space underneath. One suggestion that I could make was that the lift up seats were actually quite heavy, and if you were storing a number of items in there just before a day out on the water, rather than having to hold the seat up, perhaps the addition of a small latch might be worth a look. The dash had plenty of room for everything imaginable. There was a Navman 5500Tracker GPS, a Navman 4500 fishfinder, a CD player, the controls for the Quick winch and below a Uniden VHF. Next to the driver’s seat, there were two big storage shelves, and on the passenger side, there was the same setup. In front of the passenger seat, on the dash there was a grab rail for the passengers, and Jason tells me, that although there isn’t a footrest for the passenger at the moment, he plans on fitting one in the near future, which Extreme does offer as an optional extra. Jason had had the boat carpeted shortly after he had purchased it, and it looks great. But after a bit of use, reckons he would have been better off with a clip down carpet, which makes it easier to keep the boat clean. The carpeting reaches into the cabin, and what it lacked in having no storage underneath the squabs because of the bouyancy compartments, it made up for having two big storage shelves on both sides of the cabin.
The cabin footwell could be drained through a small bung on the cabin floor. Set in the cabin roof was a hatch, which would provide great cabin ventilation, as well as giving easy access to the Quick winch mounted up on the deck. Inside the cabin there was access to a sizeable anchor locker and the lower half of the winch unit. Back in the cockpit, under the floor there was quite a large storage compartment that had two separate access panels. It’s a self-draining compartment, with two drain bungs, one on the side which drains down through the scuppers. There is another bung on the floor of the compartment, which drains into the flooding keel. The problem we encountered with this was that prior to the boat test, the boat took on a bit of water in the big storm that hit Auckland at the end of February, so the underfloor tank needed to be drained. No big problem, we just opened up the bung and heard the water flowing out the back of the boat onto the ramp. With a little bit of water left, I assumed it would drain out as we got underway but I was surprised to see water bubbling up as we were motoring out. But once underway it did drain out quite quickly.
. A benefit of this that you can fill the bins with seawater from the flooding keel to keep your catch fresh, just remember to put the bung back in! Any other water that may find itself onboard, would drain down the stern of the boat into the bilge or would find its way out of the scuppers. The cockpit itself is huge and provides more than enough room for a couple of fishos. Deep side pockets are located on both sides for rod or gear stowage, and is big enough to house a couple of skis. The sides are nice and high – great for stand-up fishing when playing big fish and there are two rod holders each side, on the top of the coamings. There is a flooding keel section running almost the entire length of the keel line, giving this boat excellent stability at rest and making it an excellent fishing platform. The design of the aft section was well thought out and is ideal for divers, with a T-style boarding ladder, and ample room on the transom to walk over into the cabin. The batteries and fuel/oil are all housed up on a shelf on the transom, accessed via three hatches.
On top of the transom is a fitting for a bait board and a ski pole. A wash down pump and hose has also been fitted, with the hose being tidily stored away underneath the transom. This 635 was powered with the very latest 2004 Mercury 150 OptiMax swinging a 17″ High Five propeller. We managed to obtain a top speed of 38 mph at maximum rpm of 5500. Perhaps a little slow, but bear in mind that the boat was carrying a full load of 200 litres of fuel, three adults and some gear, so the results were to be expected. However, the 150 OptiMax provided excellent holeshot and running the High Five propeller held on very well with no prop slip through turns. If you weren’t a petrol or speed freak then the 150 is a good option, but traditionally, Scott Robson designs love horsepower, so this boat would be ideally suited to a 175hp or a 200hp. The ride was excellent, very smooth and soft riding – it handled a crossing chop with absolute ease, but unfortunately we didn’t get to experience any really rough water, as just after our photo shoot, the wind dropped and the water flattened to dead smooth. But again, the reputation of the Robson design suggests that this boat would be another excellent performer in rough water.
So overall, another successful design from Scott Robson, a more than happy owner, and an excellent build from an up and coming builder. Many new boat buyers are venturing towards smaller builders, for they find that the builders are only too willing to please customers and to fulfil their requirements, each one coming out with a boat that’s 100% to the customer’s liking. Extreme is one of these builders and I can see the order book filling up fast.
- Model: 635 Sport Fisher
- Price as Tested: $61,400
- Price Boat Only: $22,151
- Designer: Scott Robson
- Builder: Extreme Boats
- Material: Aluminium 5083
- Type: Cuddy Cabin
- LOA: 6.5m
- LOH: 6.35
- Beam: 2.4m
- Deadrise: 20 Degrees
- Hull Configuration: Monohull – Semi Deep Vee