After picking up an award at the New Zealand boat show for the Best Aluminium Fishing Boat Under 6m, the new Ramco 1700 HT is the start of a new direction for Ramco. With a new designer on board and a new focus, Ramco looks to be re-affirming its share of the market as one of New Zealand’s foremost aluminium builders. Freddy Foote took the new 1700 Profisher HT for a run to see what all the hype was about.
After much anticipation and speculation about a new look for Ramco, the recently released Ramco Profisher 1700 HT gives an indication as to where Ramco is heading. With an eye on the future, the company has brought a new designer, Scott Robson, onboard to help bring the brand back to the forefront of the market, with a new look.
“This is a totally new direction for Ramco,” says Don Good, Manager of Ramco Boats. “We needed a boat that was going to be the basis of Ramco’s future over the next 10 years, and it had to be an outstanding all rounder, for our core fishermen. This is where it is all going to start,” said Don.
The 1700 HT is one of the first production models to come out of the Hamilton factory. Also off the rank was the 2100HT which was also seen for the first time at the New Zealand Boat Show. In the near future expect to see more trailerable production models come on stream, customised models such as a 2900, 3200, 3400 and 3800 are currently in production.
“We wanted to design a boat knowing that we were going to put a hardtop on it, rather than adding it further down the track as an afterthought,” said Don. In designing the hardtop section, Ramco settled for a more than adequate headroom of 1.95m (6’5”), enough for maybe 99% of boaters, but not so much as to make the boat look too top heavy.
On first stepping aboard the 1700 HT I was amazed at how roomy it was, especially for a boat that is only 17ft!
The forward cabin layout is traditional with its V berth, with a small amount of storage available underneath. The inside of the cabin is fully carpeted, and also features side shelves. Access to the anchor locker is through the hatch in the foredeck, and the Quick capstan is operated by using the foot control set into the forward bulkhead.
At the helm, the most noticeable feature is the large multi function Navman plotter and GPS display which is set into the dash. Above are the Mercury SmartCraft gauges.
Large side pockets are built into both the port and starboard sides of the helm, with slightly large pockets on the port side.
The inside of the hardtop is well finished with carpet lining. Sliding side windows are a great feature as is a Majestic CD player and stereo, and the Navman VHF, all neatly located above the helm.
With a large amount of underfloor buoyancy built into the boat, as well as the 95-litre underfloor fuel tank, underfloor storage space is a little bit minimal. However, there is a small storage space in the forward part of the cockpit, to the left of the helm seat.
The cockpit also features full length side pockets that are ideal for gaff or oar storage, while purpose built rod racks have been fitted below. A ski-pole doubles as a bait board mount, and fishers will love the berley bucket mounted into the starboard/aft corner. A walkthrough is located in the port corner, with a drop-in door when not in use.
Our test boat was fitted with an optional fishbin/seat that had been positioned in the middle of the cockpit. The bin is secured into place using a couple of clips, and is easily removed or shifted out of the way if desired, but as it’s positioned it provides a handy third seat. In most boats you probably wouldn’t even consider doing this, as you would expect that it’d take up too much room in the cockpit. Not the case here, as the 1700 HT is built fairly wide, and the internal beam is quite noticeable when you first step aboard as I mentioned earlier. In fact the size of the boat itself is quite deceptive; the hull length is 5.37m, with an overall length of 5.88m, while the beam is a chunky 2.34m.
Rod holders were plentiful around the boat, with three either side, as well as six on the rocket launcher. The rocket launcher has a cockpit floodlight for night fishing.
The creature comforts certainly haven’t been left out, with a number of cup holders positioned around the boat, in the dash area (great for keeping your cellphone handy) as well as one in each of the coamings. Two more were positioned in the aft section around the ski-pole/bait station. In hindsight, perhaps not a great idea, being right under the bait board. I don’t imagine you’d want a chunk of pilchard dropping into your coffee!
One thing I loved was an innovative hitching catch on the trailer. It’s ideal for those instances when wind conditions at the ramp aren’t quite so favourable for retrieving the boat onto the trailer. Simply drive the boat up onto the trailer, and when you get quite far forward a latch drops down over a hook just below the towing eye and secures the boat into place.
Ramco has installed a new range of seats, which are some of the most comfortable I’ve experienced on a boat, giving plenty of back and lateral support. Adjustable forward and back, the seats can be easily altered to suit whoever is at the helm.
I loved the seating position – it was perfect for someone of my height (6’1”). A footrest has been welded onto the front of the bulkhead, whereas I’d perhaps like to see it recessed into the bulkhead so that your feet will fit on a little better.
The driving position while standing was also good, with plenty of headroom for all except the tallest of people.
Our test boat, the first 1700 HT off the production line and was fitted with a 115hp Mercury OptiMax, and it seemed the perfect combination. It delivered excellent power right through the rev range, and acceleration out of the hole was good.
Swinging an 18” Vengeance, the 115 OptiMax pushed the 1700 HT along to a very respectable 40.2mph @ 5700rpm. Lower speeds saw us up onto the plane at around 2600rpm and doing just over 8mph.
The 1700 HT has been rated for up to 150hp, but I really don’t see the need. The 115hp gives more than enough performance for a boat of its size, and the benefit being that it will use less fuel and also obviously cost less than a 150hp to buy.
As you can see from the running shots of the 1700 HT, test day conditions were superb, with hardly a ripple on Auckland Harbour, so it was hard to fully test the rough water capabilities of the 1700 HT. However Scott Robson designed hulls have an enviable reputation as being amongst the best performing hulls in rough sea conditions and the 1700 HT with its 20 degree V, wide beam, wide chines and planing strakes would be no different. The only rough pieces of water I could find were a few disturbed areas on the inner harbour where it had been churned up by ferry wakes. Hitting a few bigger wakes in succession the 1700 HT’s hull was smooth, soft and quiet; I could easily say probably one of the nicest riding boats of its size I’ve experienced with no banging or reverberation coming through the hull.
So overall, Ramco has re-asserted its place in the market with a real winner. The 1700 HT is a clear demonstration that you don’t have to have a big boat to have fun. It will allow you to get to most places within reason, and of course it will be easily towed by the average family car. However, on saying that, if this is a taste of what’s to come, I can’t wait to see some of the bigger production models come on stream. Put simply, Ramco is back!
- Model: Ramco 1700 HT
- Designer: Ramco/Robson
- Material: Aluminium
- Type: Hardtop
- LOA: 5880mm
- Beam: 2340mm
- Deadrise: 20 degrees
- Hull Configuration: Deep V
- Engine Capacity: 115-150hp
- Power Options: Outboard only
- Fuel Capacity: 95 litres
Performance – MERCURY 115 OPTIMAX
|1000 rpm||3.7 mph|
|1500 rpm||5.5 mph|
|2000 rpm||6.5 mph|
|2500 rpm||8.0 mph|
|3000 rpm||11.5 mph|
|3500 rpm||20.0 mph|
|4000 rpm||25.0 mph|
|4500 rpm||29.0 mph|
|5000 rpm||35.0 mph|
|5500 rpm||38.0 mph|
|5700 rpm||40.0 mph|
Speeds recorded on a Lowrance GPS and rounded off to the nearest 1/2 mph.