New & Improved
Fyran continues to upgrade and enhance their range of models that are setting new standards for this iconic Kiwi boat builder. Barry Thompson spent a day checking out the fishing aspects of the latest Fyran 660 hardtop.
When Nick Herd, Production Manager for Fyran Boats, asked me about doing a review on the new Fyran 660 Hardtop he suggested that we should make it a fishing trip, as that’s the target market for the boat. No argument from me, although recently I have been finding the snapper fishing around Auckland a little lean. Plenty of fish but all undersize or just legal. Not that that would ever stop me from a day on the water.
Fyran have come up with something a little different with the 660 Hardtop, which sets it apart from anything they have done before. They have taken a novel approach to the foredeck and hardtop design and in so doing maximised the space available internally. This is also the first Fyran hardtop in about ten years, to come with an all alloy roof, as opposed to previous models that featured GRP hardtops on alloy frames. The full wrap-around window treatment is fresh and modern and, above all, the finish and presentation of the boat are to a very high standard.
Fyran is on a mission. A mission of achieving the highest quality of finish, construction and style. “We want to put the Fyran name right back on the top of the list when it comes to quality, so we are doing everything we can to achieve that, right from the way we build the boats, to how we fit them out”, says Nick.
His passion for the Fyran brand is reflected in every aspect of design, construction and presentation. A lot of the construction techniques used in the new 550 that was released in 2014 have been carried over to the 660. Interestingly, the 660 Hardtop, like many of the new Fyran’s, was clear coated with Nano Clear by TransVisual in Auckland. This process not only protects the alloy, but it presents an almost paint-like finish to the unpainted areas. Nick says that painting hulls are now secondary to vinyl wrapping, is less expensive to apply and incredibly tough and durable. It also allows you to personalise your boat with some cool hull graphics. Another benefit is it makes the boat so easy to wash after a day on the saltwater.
FOR REAL FISHOS
If you are serious about marketing a boat as a fishing platform, then you need to make sure that everything about that boat is targeted to the fishing enthusiast. This goes right from the height of the coamings, depth of the toe kicks, to the design of the bait station and the working size of the cockpit. So when Fyran looked at a total redesign of their 635/650, they effectively started with the same well- proven hull, added a little more rake on the bow, extended the gull-wing profile, changed the shape and size of the pod, and then took a clean sheet of paper to everything above the waterline.
The result is a genuinely fisherman friendly boat, which comes standard with everything you need in a fishing boat, but also with the ability to add plenty of options to make it even better. So it was only natural, that for the boat test, we went fishing and I got to experience the fishability of the layout. Prior to leaving the ramp at Gulf Harbour, Auckland, the first task was to put the rods in the rocket launcher. Not a difficult task you say, but if you are vertically challenged, it can be a bitch reaching up to mount the rods. What Fyran have done is added a ‘buddy’ seat behind the two pedestal seats that are ideal to stand on to gain some altitude when dropping the rods into the rod mounting tubes. Then there’s also the dedicated steps built into the side decks, which are not only ideal when having to access the foredeck, but also again give you a lot more height when reaching above. The weather conditions on Auckland Harbour were light to moderate on the cruise out to the back of Tiri Tiri Matangi Island. I had been there a few days prior and although we only brought back a few small snapper, I had lost a fight with a reasonable size kinghie, so had some unfinished business.
Next great fishing accessory has to be a good size MFD and the 660 came with the latest 12” Simrad. Nice size screen, easy to read and quickly helped me position the boat on the edge of the 20m line just north of the lighthouse. Fish sign was not good, but I decided I knew better. Yeah right! Plenty of fish but all undersized and my kinghie had probably long since departed.
We had three aboard and could easily have had more in the 3m long cockpit. This is a boat that has a cockpit big enough for 4-6 anglers. I liked the stability of the boat at rest, which was often tested as we moved around the cockpit.
Fyran have used a very similar ‘new’ transom as on the 550, with a central bait station that is multi-functional. The base is a kill tank that comes standard as a live bait tank, complete with a viewing window and the top is the bait board. The thick kauri board is flanked by pockets for tackle that you might need in a hurry and don’t want to go searching through your tackle box. If you find the board too low, it’s designed so that it can be folded up by another 150mm. This can only be done when the outboard is down, so you need to remember to fold it back down when tilting the engine.
I found the coaming height at 580-600mm was perfect for me for fishing and the 340mm wide side decks great to sit on. Fyran have added their touch by incorporating a handrail running full length of the coaming. This is recessed and flush with the deck so it doesn’t break the line or usability of the side deck. It is also a great place to tie lines or fenders.
I brought along a large Engel fishbin full of bait and while we left this on the cockpit sole, there was provision to stow it under the starboard side transom walkthrough. The 660 Hardtop has twin walk-throughs with optional drop in washboards. They double as extra seating and provide easy and wide access through to both sides of the boarding platforms and the drop down alloy T-bar ladder.
FYRAN 660 SEATING OPTIONS
There is a variety of seating options available, such as Softrider pedestals and king/queens, but as this was the fishing version the seat option was basic. Twin fixed pedestal seats with flat alloy ‘buddy’seats hinged off the rear. The fold away buddy seats, says Nick, “are work in progress” and still needed some refinement. The idea was to not encroach into the cockpit, yet still provide adequate and comfortable seating for two under the 2.9m high hardtop.
Interestingly the all alloy hardtop is glued and screwed to the cabin top, which isolates it from the main hull and reduces vibration and any noise. 5mm toughened glass is used. Take a look around and there is provision for a windscreen wiper. A lack of heavy forward mullions means visibility is not impeded. Personally I like sliders so I can position the seat base where it best suits me. However in saying that, the driving position was great, the large dash nicely positioned for direct eye contact and the controls came easily to hand. Fully lined lockers either side provide space for keys, phones, wallets, etc. Storage trays either side run full length of the cockpit and is a handy place to stow the rods. An underfloor wet storage locker is easily access with hatches that fold 180 deg, so no problem dropping gear in. Overall a great and very practical fishing cockpit that works as it should.
Fyran describes their new foredeck styling as a ‘step-around’, which incorporates a step either side in the coamings. This has allowed for maximum space in the cabin and yet at the same time giving accessibility around the hardtop. The fabric lined cabin is very traditional, with twin 1.8m berths, a central infill squab to make a massive double and provision forward for a head.
I would have thought that a boat this size would require a minimum of 150hp to perform at its best, but not so. While our test engine was a Honda BF135, Nick says they are rating the boat as low as 115hp and right through to 200hp.
I was surprised at the top speed with the Honda BF135 was 35.4 knots (40.7 mph) and impressed with the fuel consumption of 45 lph. For the run across to Tiri, I found around 4000 rpm @ 23 knots (26.5 mph) gave a comfortable ride and certainly an economical one at 18.6 lph.On the return trip, the wind had got up and the white capped waves followed us all the way home. I did give the boat full throttle in the following sea and it ran well. The hull was quiet, easily driven and predictable. A little tab was required to counteract the breeze, but no more than you would expect from any hardtop. I am not sure what the ride would be like in a heavy sea, being 17 deg deadrise at the transom. I have a trip planned on the 660 Hardtop to White Island sometime soon so I will let you know after that.
The Fyran 660 Hardtop is designed as a combo package. It’s a fishing boat that you can still use as a family day boat or an overnighter. It has a big cockpit for a boat this size, ample enough space under the hardtop and a more than adequate cabin. Next new model to be released from Fyran will be the 610, which will have a similar appearance to the 660, but with a smaller cockpit and cabin.
Fyran is on target for the revamp of their entire range and with the 660 Hardtop, they are certainly showing they are heading in the right direction.