The all new Ramco Sportfisher 650 replaces the Ramco 620, with visual, structural and design differences that differentiate it from the previous model. Barry Thompson spent a weekend with one of the first 650s, the actual boat that was destined to be the NZ Boat Show gate-prize draw.
I was anchored off the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula as dusk was falling, with my kids and a nice haul of snapper aboard, when this big red Ramco Fishmaster cruised alongside and stopped.
“Nice looking boat mate, is it new one ?”
“Yep, the latest from Ramco”
“Looks great, I love the lines, how big ?”
“6.5metres end to end”
Not surprisingly that wasn’t the first ‘boatie’ that day that had passed a favourable comment on the overall look of the new Ramco 650. The break from the traditional harsh deck and cabin lines to softer curves, the big workable cockpit space and the full cabin all drew praise. And most of that was before we even launched the boat.
The design of the 650 is totally new and follows a revamp of many boats in the Ramco range. The 650 takes the soft deck line styling to the extreme and incorporates curved glass screens which emulates its fibreglass counterparts.
Ramco has been building aluminium boats since 1985 and is regarded as one of the leaders in its field. Of the 500 or so boats a year the company produces out of its Hamilton factory, the average size over recent years has been creeping up. Five years ago 5.5m was a big boat. Today it has to be over 6m to even be counted near the top end and then the 6.5 to 7.5m Ramco’s are fast gaining popularity. Ramco in fact build to 9m although not with a legal trailerable beam.
For some, the Ramco 600 was too small or the Ramco 720 too big, so the new 650 slots in nicely between the two. Base price of similarly speced boats with a V6 135hp outboard, is $42,500 (Ramco 600), $48,850 (Ramco 650) and $72,000 (Ramco 720).
The Sportfisher 620 cuddy cabin has always been a popular model, especially with serious fishermen, and despite the changes, the styling and layout wasn’t about to be altered too much to loose that very important market.
So what’s different. Most obvious is above the gunnel, with a completely new cad-cam designed hull, deck and cabin. Gone is the five piece perspex screen, replaced by a curved, toughened-glass three piece. Glass also means you can fit a windscreen wiper, which, when incorporated with the hardtop version, will be a nice set-up for all-weather boating. The cabin top now carries right through to incorporate the bowsprit and roller and the side perspex windows are further forward and shaped differently. An interesting feature is the wide lip under the screen, designed to deflect water that comes over the bow, and break the wind flow over the screen.
Once again a big Weaver hatch is used and a deep anchor locker is accessed via a moulded rubber hatch. There’s space for a small automatic anchor system.
The position of the helm and height behind the screen is about the same as the previous 620, although the sides of the cabin come back further into the cockpit. This allows for more storage behind and better protection from the spray and wind in the cockpit.
Inside, the layout is very much the same with twin single berths and a head fitted beneath the central squab. Storage is provided under all the seats as well as in wide side shelves. With the changes to the deckline, the headroom has been improved and there’s enough space to stay out overnight.
The hull has also come in for some changes, although you can’t see a lot of difference at a glance. The same 17 degree deadrise form with no strakes is used, but the chine now has far more pronounced downturn and is wider. Most obvious is the redesigned bow shape, with a finer entry. This gives the boat a better ride in rough water, when it cuts rather than pushes through the waves.
This was the first Ramco 650 fitted with a Mercruiser and Alpha One drive and it was certainly a nice match. Obviously the majority of 650s will be sold with outboards, but the sterndrive option is well worth considering as well.
We pulled 4800rpm @ 80 km/h in a light moderate chop, with the boat quick to plane and reach maximum rpm. It ran best between 1/4 and 1/2 trim and unless you move excessive weight to one side (like four kids!) it remains very stable both at rest and underway. Cruising at 4000 rpm @ 70 km/h.