After recently reviewing the 7.5m Extreme 745 Game King for this magazine, Barry Thompson checks out the larger, 8.85m, 885 Game King, and found a boat that makes the best use of the extra space.
They say size matters and when it comes to boats that is so often true. So, is a 7.5m hardtop that much different from an 8.85m hardtop of an almost identical style from the same manufacturer? I had a chance to find out when I went to Whakatane, to run two boats side by side; an Extreme 745 Game King and an Extreme 885 Game King. Extreme is unquestionably one of the leading brands in New Zealand, with more than 300 boats built annually.
The 745 Game King is one of eight models that are included in the Game King range, starting with the 6.07m, (605 Game King), through to the 11.85m, (1185 Game King). No matter what the size they all share the same DNA and design philosophy to provide an exceptional deep-water fishing machine, that still retains the versatility to be enjoyed as a family boat. Hard-out fishing platform or weekend cruiser, the Game King range ticks all the boxes.
As in all models in the Extreme Boat’s range, the 885 Game King is based on a fine entry hull, high chines with full shoulders and a wide beam for excellent sea handling and stability.
At 2.82m, the 885 Game King carries 33mm (1.3”) more beam than the 745 Game King and is 1.42m (4.65”) longer overall. With that extra volume, there is a lot more scope for layout innovations and the 885 Game King has plenty.
Extreme build their boats tough so that you can endure severe sea conditions with a feeling of security and safety. The hull plate has been increased to 6mm, with 4mm sides and decks. If that’s not enough for you, then there is an option for an 8mm hull, but quite frankly you don’t need it.
Extreme use the highest grade alloy and all structures are welded with an under deck sub frame that stiffens and binds the hull into one very tight structure. All the buoyancy areas and fuel tanks are pressurised and certified, and aluminium sheet certification can be verified.
Such is the external finish that when the hulls are fully painted it is hardly possible to tell if it is alloy or fibreglass and many a boat show the hulls get the old ‘tap test’ to prove they are actually built in alloy. As the Extreme website says, “The finish is that good”! I certainly can’t argue with that.
The most apparent difference between the 745 Game King and the 885 Game King is the amount of area available both in the cockpit and the wheelhouse. With the 885 Game King, you have the option of a fully enclosed wheelhouse, or you can leave the back completely open.
With the enclosed arrangement there are a number of custom options, such as having a separate port side head, a starboard side sink, rear drop down window and central door to the wheelhouse. If you value your cockpit space, then you can leave all that out and retain the central door with drop downs either side.
I like the separate head as this a real must I feel if you are going to use the boat for family cruising. Also having the ability to enclose the wheelhouse gives you a warm cosy area in the colder climates, which can be boosted with the addition of a small heater. Roof hatches and sliding side and rear windows provide plenty of ventilation.
As this is a boat destined for fishing, it is only natural that the cockpit is set up for the task. Across the transom, there is a central bait station with optional tackle drawers under a large cutting board, a live bait tank and a single (twin option) transom walk-through.
An optional cage around the aft platforms allows you to carry your fishing experience right to the extreme edges of the boat. Rod storage is in wide side trays or overhead, and there is plenty of wet locker space in the sole for dive gear.
Inside the wheelhouse, there are again a variety of custom modules available. As on our test boat, a dinette and convertible berth to port and galley opposite behind the helm is the most popular.
It’s a practical layout that works, giving extra accommodation, plenty of storage and a galley, with a fridge/cooker combo.
If you do choose to have no wheelhouse wall, a popular option is curved seating with the ability to accommodate a cooker, fridge and storage drawers. One area that remains virtually unchanged between boats is the dash. It is set at the right angle to easily read the MFD, which in our case was a 16” Raymarine Hybrid touch. You can fit a couple of 12” screens, and there is still plenty of real estate for all the extras you need such as gauges, switches, autopilot and VHF.
The driving position, both seated and standing, was at the right height for me, with clear visibility through the toughened glass screen. A suspension seat is also available.
Following along the cruising theme, the 885 Game King has an extra-large berth forward, made up of twin side squabs and an infill. If there was no wheelhouse wall and separate toilet, you could fit a head forward under the cabin squabs. Double racks either side look after a lot of storage, and the full cabin fabric lining means there is no indication anywhere that this is an alloy boat. There is a pipe berth option which when not used as a bunk, is a great gear shelf. You can also have a curtain to add some privacy to the forward cabin.
You have the option of single or twin outboards or a single diesel stern drive, 200hp – 450hp with the majority being sold with a single outboard. For our review, we had two 200hp Yamaha V6 outboards which returned a top speed of close to 40 knots.
Running the boat in the light to moderate sea state off Whakatane didn’t do the boat justice, and I would have liked to gone out wider. The active volcanic White Island is about 26nm offshore, so a run out and back would have been a great test. Maybe next time. The twin Yamaha 200s pack enough punch for the 3000 kg (approx.) 885 Game King to make it a slippery boat through the water.
The boat planes easily and without much throttle and has a real sweet cruise around 25.5 knots @ 4000 rpm. Fuel consumption showed at 53.5 lph, and we had a range of 190nm. The deep-vee hull and wide chines dissipate the water and provided a soft, smooth ride in the choppy water. Like all big hardtops when you have wind and tide and wave patterns all mixing together around the boat trim tabs proved ideal to maintain a level attitude. The flooding keel does a great job in keeping the boat extremely stable at rest, and the water is expelled just about as quick as it takes to get onto the plane.
Extreme Boats have won so many Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show awards, they need a separate room at their Whakatane factory to hold all the trophies. Considering how hard it is not only to be a finalist but to actually win an award, that is a massive credit to owners Glenn and Diane Shaw and the staff of this Kiwi builder.
The 885 Game King was released a few years ago and over the years has undergone
a number of tweaks and changes internally to make it even better. Externally the only
difference is the sheerline has been raised since the earlier models.
If the you thought the 745 Game King, was a great boat, then you are going to be
overwhelmed when they get to experience the 885 Game King. Simply a boat that proves that size does matter.