Author : Freddy Foote
FC Boats are one of the newer alloy brands to the New Zealand market, but their parent company Fish City has been a leading organization in the industry for many years.
With a core knowledge in fishing, it has lead the Fish City team to develop a most innovative new boat, with features never before incorporated into a trailerable powerboat. Freddy Foote managed to crawl over it and see what it was all about.
The FC 600 CC is quite a revolutionary boat with a lot of features that have never been incorporated into such a boat before. The end result being a culmination of ideas from the fishing fraternity and a bit of kiwi engineering know how to bring together a boat that allows everything to work.
Ross Christensen says that in designing the new FC600 they had to set about getting a combination of all the good points of the good hulls and point them together.
“Everyone wants a nice light weight boat to tow, but then you get out to sea and it bounces around which then lends itself to not being very stable. Then of course, the deeper the vee you put into the design of a boat, the less stable it gets. It’s a real hard compromise to get a boat that’s light enough to tow and to not have huge horsepower on it, but also has the stability at rest.”
“We’ve also incorporated a gull wing design that has been successful in our smaller models.”
The FC600 also sees a separate ballast and flooding keel system incorporated into its design.
Essentially, there are two systems. Aft, there is a flooding keel, which floods when the boat is at rest, making the craft ultra stable, then when underway the water drains quickly out.
In the forward section there is a controllable ballast system, enabling the skipper to bring onboard the desired amount of forward ballast, and then to dump it when not needed. A large leaver is located between the twin pedestal seats at the helm.
Open the valve, and at around 20mph the pick-up will fill the front 200L tank in around a minute. To empty the tank, move the lever to ‘Empty’ get the boat in motion and it will drain the water quite quickly.
“In mine and Craig Archers experience in offshore and water ski racing, we learnt that you can achieve a lot better ride and performance by having a little extra weight up the front in rougher conditions – it makes the world of difference,” says Christensen.
“I don’t think there is anything in this configuration currently on the New Zealand market which has a passive live bait tank, a 180L flooding keel chamber and a 200L ballast tank.”
“I’d done a lot of research and a lot of reading about what everyone was saying about centre consoles. The general consensus was that they were largely nice boats, plenty of room for fishing – but there was no shelter.”
One of the first prerequisites for the 600CC was a double console, so that a driver and passenger can be immediately behind, with a further two standing behind that, and all four being protected from the elements.
Testing the absolute limits of trailerable boat design, the 600CC features extended gunnels and a raised sheer line to achieve ergonomic access around the sides to the foredeck area – and it works very well.
“I think that for any true centre console, it has to have fishability, so you will be able to follow any big fish right around this boat if you need to.”
The FC 600CC features a ‘passive live bait tank’ meaning it doesn’t have pumps and has been cleverly integrated into the aft floor area.
Like other FC Boat models, by removing the lower bung, the sump area can be converted into a live bait tank. The natural movement of the boat on the water will keep in oxygenated, and when underway will quickly drain the water out.
“It will then flood to water level, and if you leave the bung out, the movement of the hull will ‘pump’ water in and out, keeping the well oxygenated and your baits alive. The new 600 has is a pick up through the hull so at any speed the baits get a good supply of water, there is a tap to close or regulate flow if required.
With most boats having big transom sections to house oil tanks, batteries and other onboard systems, Fish City saw this as a massive compromise on cockpit fishing space. And in wanting a centre console, they set about ways to maximise the after cockpit area.
So what they did was to remove a big and bulky transom area, and elect to house all the batteries and systems under the helm console. During the build process a small-tubed tunnel is built into the floor of the boat to feed cable and wiring through at a later stage for the engine installation.
The result being a non-clutter aft area, giving anglers the ability to fish right to the rear of the boat.
“We wanted a boat that you could really get into these aft corners, and that’s why the boarding platforms aren’t too big, it’s all about being able to get as close to that fish as possible.”
The aft corners feature a great fold down seating arrangement, that when not in use for passengers, the seat lifts up and folds pretty much flush into the corner sections.
At the helm, a large console is nicely finished with a carbon fibre look and has plenty of room to place all the necessary instruments, gauges and controls.
Underneath there is plenty of dry storage for all the days gear, and given that this area also accommodates the onboard systems such as batteries and oil etc this can be accessed from a second hatch forward.
In the bow area, the floor has been raised to provide more surface area. This design feature essentially gives the boat a false floor and provides more underfloor storage for dive bottles and whatever gear you may wish to store here.
A large chilly bin with squab is position in front of the helm console and provides another place for passengers to sit. On a nice calm day it’s always a great place to sit, and given that the boat has a forward ballast tank it should be a good place to sit even on the rougher days.
After going over the boat with the boys at Fish City I organised to go out with them when they did their first sea trial. I was interested as to how it would perform and handle serious sea conditions. Well as it turned out when we got on the water it was reasonably calm, so the best I got was to check out the calm water handling and collect the fuel and speed data.
Running a Mercury 115, 4 stroke and a four blade Trophy 17” prop the FC600 ran 36.0mph @ 5800 rpm. We had 180 litres of fuel aboard and the Smartcraft guage was indicating 36.5 lph. Interestingly when we dropped all the clears around the bimini, the speed increased to 37.8 mph. Just goes to show how much drag there is.
Stability was great with just two aboard and the boat handled well in the very calm sea conditions. However sometime in the new year we are going for a serious fishing trip off the West Coast out of Raglan, when we should learn just how good this boat is in an environment it has been designed for.
- Model: FC600 CC
- Builder: FC Boats
- Country of Origin: NZ
- Designer: Ross Christensen / Kim Bertelsen
- Priced From: $NZ60,000 (estimated)
- Type: Centre Console
- Construction: Aluminium 5mm/4mm
- LOA: 6.00m
- Beam: 2.50m
- Deadrise: 20 deg
- Height on Trailer: 3.10m
- Trailerable Weight: TBA
- Trailer: Voyager
- Engine Capacity: 115-150hp
- Engine: Mercury 115 EFI
- Propeller: 17” Trophy
- Power Options: Outboard Only
- Fuel Capacity: 180 litres
- GPS/Plotter/Sounder: Humminbird 958DI
Performance – Mercury 115